Ivy is a type of plant that grows best for ground cover or climbing up structures such as buildings or trees. They are a fast-growing plant that grows great in both indoor and outdoor settings. You can plant your ivy to grow up structures or cover arbors in your garden. To use as an indoor houseplant, you can place it in a decorative basket and add it to a beautiful shelving unit as a piece of decor.
Popular indoor ivy plants include Duckfoot Ivy, Buttercup Ivy, Shamrock Ivy, and Manda’s Crested Ivy. Popular outdoor ivy plants include English Ivy, Algerian Ivy, Irish Ivy, Japanese Ivy, Himalayan Ivy, and Persian Ivy.
Table of Contents
- How To Identify Different Types of Ivy
- What Are The Different Types of Ivy?
- Best Types Of Ivy Plants For Outdoors
- How To Care For Outdoor Ivy
- Best Types of Ivy Plants for Indoors
- How To Care For Indoor Ivy
How To Identify Different Types of Ivy
To identify different types of ivy, you would look at its distinctive shape. Ivy plants generally have lobed leaves that will climb along with trees and other structures. Depending on the variety of the ivy plant, the size, shape, and color of the leaves will vary.
Ivies are generally lumped in the botanical genus Hedera that makes evergreen leaves that grow very quickly. Many ivy plants get their names from native countries such as Asia, Africa, and Europe.
The different types of ivy plants are English, Boston, Irish, Bettina, Himalayan, Persian, Algerian, and Needlepoint ivy. Other types of ivy include Glacier, Swedish, Duckfoot, Buttercup, Shamrock, and Manda’s Crested Ivy.
What Are The Different Types of Ivy?
1. English Ivy
English Ivy is the most common type of ivy and is also called the Hedera helix. It can survive in cold and low-light situations. Since it makes for a great all-year ivy, many people choose this type of ivy to add to their decorative gardens. During the Christmas season, some people even use English Ivy for their ornaments. The English Ivy plant is popular with growing up the sides of homes and buildings and adds bright green color wherever it grows.
Did you know that you can also use English Ivy for medicinal purposes? The Hippocrates in Ancient Greece would use English Ivy to reduce swelling and to use as an anesthetic. In present times, some herbalists now use it for asthma, inflammation, and even arthritis. The two key components of the English Ivy plant are Triterpenoid saponins and flavonoids. The first helps fight bacteria and improve the gut. The second helps removes toxins, strengthens blood vessels, reduces allergies, and helps modulate enzymes.
According to scientists, English Ivy plants are one of the top ten air purifying plants. English Ivy plants can remove toxins such as formaldehyde, benzene, xylene, and toulene. Scientists also said that this plant can reduce the number of mold particles. When they conducted their study, mold went down by seventy-eight and a half percent.
English Ivy can be a great use for inflammation and arthritis. Inflammation is one of the key ways that will ramp up cancer in the body. When scientists conducted a study using English Ivy on mice, they found that inflammation and swelling in the joints decreased over seven days. This leads scientists to believe that it very well could be a cost-effective treatment but still needs to be conducted on humans for further testing.
2. Boston Ivy
Boston Ivy is a woody vine that is very easy to grow and needs periodic pruning. Unlike English Ivy, Boston Ivy can damage the siding on homes, gutters, and sometimes roofs if it is not managed correctly. There are even areas in North America where growing is discouraged because of damages.
This ivy doesn’t only grow in the summer, but can also grow into the Fall months. In Springtime, the leaves on Boston Ivy are a red color, in Summer turn green, and in the Fall turn back to red.
This ivy is a fast-growing ivy that can grow three to ten feet each year. Sometimes plants that have reached their growth maturity can reach up to fifty feet. There are different ways to care for Boston Ivy. If you don’t want your ivy to grow up walls, make sure you plant it at least fifteen feet away from any structure. If you do want your Boston Ivy to grow up walls, make sure you’re set with it being permanent. If you can, don’t let your ivy grow up a tree. Allowing it to grow up a tree will deprive it of the nutrients it needs.
Boston Ivy needs partial shade to full sun to grow. To achieve its full Fall color, it needs full shade. If you’re in an area that tends to have hotter Summers, place your ivy faced east or north so they can receive some shelter from the sun. For soil, make sure your soil is well-drained. For water, make sure the first water allows the ivy’s roots to be watered. After that, only weekly watering is required, maybe more if it’s hot.
3. Irish Ivy
Irish Ivy is a close relative of English Ivy. Often people confused the two because it’s hard to tell them apart. Irish Ivy requires similar growing conditions and has the same appearance. Irish Ivy has glossy deep foliage and pale veins, with five lobe leaves. You can find Irish Ivy growing in countries that surround the Atlantic Ocean. From full sun to full shade, it can survive in any condition, although it does prefer balance.
Although it will survive in ideal soil, it does prefer moist soil. Irish Ivy grows yellow flowers from September to October, which are then followed by blackberries. The blackberries that are grown on this ivy are important for supply food to birds and wildlife. Even though they are a food source for wildlife, they can be poisonous to humans.
4. Bettina Ivy
Bettina Ivy is known to make for a great houseplant. This ivy has a splash of cream or white-like edging on its green leaves. Even though it can be grown to cover the grounds outdoors, this ivy is one that you would like to keep in smaller spaces, like a desk or countertop.
To keep the vines contained, regular pruning would be needed. When watering the plant, make sure you wait until an inch of the top of the soil is dry, and make sure it gets bright, indirect lighting. If you want your ivy to have vigorous growth, make sure you fertilize the ivy twice a year with houseplant fertilizer that you have to dilute to half-strength.
5. Himalayan Ivy
The Himalayan Ivy plant is a type of evergreen ivy plant. This ivy has both child and adult life stages. In the child stage, the plant has lobed leaves and has growth that will form dense patches on the ground. For the ivy to move from the child to adult stage, it has to climb a structure, such as a fence or a wall. When the ivy starts growing up a structure, it will develop its woody vines. The leaves will then go from lobed to unlobed, which will eventually turn to small flowers on its secondary vines.
This ivy will bloom from October to April. All parts of this ivy are toxic, which can irritate the skin and eyes. If digested, this plant can cause disturbances to the gastrointestinal nervous system. Himalayan Ivy grows mostly in moist soil and shade. It can climb over rocks and trees and is used as a decorative ground cover.
6. Persian Ivy
Persian Ivy is best grown in zones six through nine, and also can be grown in zone ten if it is protected from the sun. Another name for Persian Ivy is the “bullock’s heart” because of its shape. This ivy can tolerate more sun than other types of ivy, and can even survive with dry soil without starting to die. In width, it can grow up to six feet, and anywhere from ten to forty feet high.
The heart-shaped leaves that this ivy has been the largest of any other ivy. The leaves alone can grow up to ten inches long. When trying to identify Persian Ivy, it has a solid color and can have a creamy-like edging that makes it stand out.
7. Algerian Ivy
Algerian Ivy grows in full sun, but could also have a stunt in growth if you don’t water it frequently. If Algerian Ivy is grown in the right setting, it can grow up to forty feet. They can grow up walls and grow on the ground. They can grow in just about any type of soil whether it’s clay, sand, chalky, or acidic. Algerian Ivy prefers settings without drying winds, so sometimes it must shelter itself.
To care for these ivy plants, they can be trimmed in the spring to control growth. As the ivy starts to cover the ground you might need to guide them to grow in the right direction so you can fill in the areas that you want to be covered. If you live in a cooler region, you can grow this ivy in the Fall. During the Winter months, Algerian Ivy can develop purple color.
8. Needlepoint Ivy
Needlepoint Ivy is an evergreen ivy that is elegant with its beauty by having dark green leaves and sharp pointy lobes. Even though the leaves on the smaller side, are set too close together. The needlepoint ivy is great if you want to hang baskets or other types of containers, or as a ground cover vine if you want it to climb a structure.
Needlepoint Ivy can grow up to three feet tall and thrives best in part to full shade. It grows great in medium soil or well-drained soils. Compared to other types of ivy, this one is not picky on what kind of soil it likes. It shows its best cover in moist soils and can even tolerate some drought. The only thing you’ll want to do is protect it from dry, windy conditions.
9. Glacier Ivy
Glacier Ivy is another type of English Ivy that is great for indoor growing. Even though it is great for indoor growing, it can still be grown in an outdoor setting. It has shades of green and cream that can make for a great backdrop to other bright plants. Glacier Ivy can tolerate shade but must have six hours of sun per day.
To allow for great growth, use a pot that can have well-draining features and allow it to be completely dry before watering again. Make sure to keep pets away from this ivy as it could make them fall ill. Glacier Ivy can be toxic to both dogs and cats. In addition to having beautiful leaves, Glacier Ivy looks great in baskets or hung up on shelves as decor.
10. Swedish Ivy
Swedish Ivy, also known as Swedish Begonia or the Creeping Charlie, is not related to English Ivy. Swedish Ivy is a fast-growing ivy that is native to both Australia and Africa. In addition to its beautiful green leaves, it also features leaves for white edging. You can keep your ivy in indirect sunlight, but make sure it’s not directly in harsh sun settings.
Before watering your ivy, make sure you allow the soil to dry completely out, and to take care of its fertilization so it doesn’t outgrow the plant too fast. If your ivy has grown too long, you can trim off the cuttings to make a new plant if it’s potbound.
11. Duckfoot Ivy
Duckfoot Ivy is a clingy or trailing vine that that has three to five glossy lobed leaves. This type of ivy is mainly used as a decorated plant for baskets and shelves and makes for great houseplants. This solid green ivy thrives greatly in the shade, while other ivies require part sun. If you’re going to prune a Duckfoot Ivy, it should be pruned in the early Spring.
This ivy is considered to be in the evergreen family, is low maintenance, and has small leaves. It can tolerate sandy to clay soil, and for watering prefers normal watering to moist levels.
12. Buttercup Ivy
Depending on the amount of sun Buttercup Ivy receives, it can have yellow-green leaves in shade, and bright golden leaves when in the full sun. This ivy has many uses including indoor home decor, ground covering, and gardening. Its yellow color emerges in the Spring and remains yellow throughout the Winter months.
Buttercup Ivy is a woody vine that requires occasional maintenance and upkeep. The texture of this ivy can blend into landscapes and can be balanced by mixing in trees and shrubs. At its maturity, Buttercup Ivy can grow to be six feet tall and can spread out to twenty-four inches.
If you’re using this Ivy as a climbing vine, it is leggy near its base and can be underplanted with low-growing plants. If you’re going to use this as a climbing ivy, you should plant it near a fence or other landscape structures. This will allow it to be trained to grow upwards instead of on the ground cover.
This ivy can be used for both indoor and outdoor use. If you’re growing this ivy on the inside of your home, you can grow it in a pot where it will be allowed to spread and hang. It will give it that spill-over look. If you’re growing this ivy in an outdoor container, it may require extra watering.
13. Shamrock Ivy
Shamrock Ivy is an evergreen climber that has small dark green leaves that have a large central love and two smaller side lobes. This particular ivy makes for a great houseplant. To grow Shamrock Ivy, you want to make sure it has moist, well-drained soil that is in the sun or part shade, and is sheltered from the wind. You can grow this particular ivy on flower borders and containers.
For this ivy, growth starts coming back around the Spring. It can become damaged by insects, spiders, and vine weevil if grown in a container. It could also become infected by a fungal leaf spot.
14. Manda’s Crested Ivy
Manda’s Crested Ivy is a medium-sized climber and has broad, dark green leaves that are five-lobed with wavy-like margins. In the winter months, the leaves will turn bronze. It can tolerate both chalk and loam soils. For watering, it requires moist, well-drained soil. To grow this ivy, keep it in sun or partial shade, and keep it out of dry winds.
Best Types Of Ivy Plants For Outdoors
Ivy plants are a great consideration for outdoor gardens that you want to have ground cover for to provide shade in an area. All outdoor ivies are very low in maintenance and can tolerate a variety of soil conditions. Here are a few great ivy plants to have for your outdoor area:
- Algerian Ivy: Algerian Ivy is the type of ivy that can tolerate a little sunshine and grows well in many types of soils.
- English Ivy: English Ivy is a great consideration if you want to grow ivy all year long. The ivy will climb very tall and the large leaves will provide fantastic coverage. You’ll want to plant your English Ivy plants that have partial shade.
- Irish Ivy: Irish Ivy plants grow very similar to English Ivy, but have a shinier look with leaves that are a darker green.
How To Care For Outdoor Ivy
Caring for your outdoor ivy is a little different than caring for your indoor ivy. When planting outdoors, ivies are a great plant to grow in sections of your garden that other plants may not be able to tolerate. Even though all types of ivy can grow great outdoors, they should always be planted in well-drained soil. Outdoor ivy will grow best in alkaline soil.
After a year of planting your ivy, you should water it regularly to make sure it’s established. Once you have established your climbing vines, you may only need to water them if the weather is dry. When watering, make sure the soil is dry so it doesn’t become too soggy, as this can affect growth.
To keep the growth of your ivy under control, you’ll need to cut it back every three years or so. To prevent your ivy from becoming invasive, consider using container pots. This will keep the roots from spreading.
Best Types of Ivy Plants for Indoors
If you are looking for an ivy plant to keep indoors, different types are available. Many types can grow in different kinds of soil and don’t require to be in full sun for them to grow. Ivies make for great indoor houseplants because the trailing vine look can add an interesting feature to your home. You can put them in baskets, shelves, or even bookcases. Here is a list of our favorite indoor ivy plants:
- Manda’s Crested Ivy: The Manda’s Crested Ivy is a shrub ivy that has leaves that are darker green with an edge. In the winter months, the leaves will turn the color of bronze.
- Buttercup Ivy: The Buttercup Ivy houseplant has yellow leaves that will a yellow0-green color every year.
- Duckfoot Ivy: Duckfoot Ivy is another type of English Ivy that has small green leaves that are in the shape of a duck’s foot. This ivy grows beautifully in pots and has red stems.
- Shamrock Ivy: Shamrock Ivy is a climbing plant that has leaves in the shape of a shamrock. This ivy will grow flowers and blackberries each year and makes for a great houseplant.
How To Care For Indoor Ivy
If you’re considering purchasing ivy to keep as an indoor houseplant, you may be wondering what’s the best way to take care of it.
Your ivy will need enough natural light, but shouldn’t be in the direct sun. If variegated don’t get enough sun, they might start to lose their color. When it comes to figuring out how to water your ivy, don’t keep the soil too moist. Before you water your ivy, always check the soil to see if it’s dry first. The pot or basket you keep your ivy in should have plenty of drainage at the bottom to prevent standing water.
One tip often not talked about is ivy leaves should often be washed to prevent any dust build-up. This can easily be done by sticking your plant in the shower and rinsing off its leaves. Also, make sure your ivy has plenty of irrigation so you can keep your plant looking healthy.
As you can see, there are many areas to consider when picking out the perfect ivy plant for your garden or home. Trying to care for plants, in general, can be stressful and tasking, as all plants differ in care. It always helps to know the different types of ivies that are grown, how to care for them, how much sunlight they need, and what kind of soil works best for them to reach their full, healthy growth. No matter what ivy you decide on, when caring for it correctly, it will be sure to add beauty to any area.