Ivy plants grow along the ground, on trellises or in decorative hanging baskets. The Hedera genus includes English ivy (Hedera helix) and other common species. Some Hedera cultivars have multicoloured or variegated leaves. Variegated ivies grow best in bright, indirect sunlight or partial shade and rich, moist soil. Indoor plants grow well under a fluorescent light or in medium light. Avoid south- or west-facing windows.
English ivy has shiny, evergreen, lobed leaves, which grow up to 1 to 3 inches long. Its aerial roots allow it to climbs trellises, walls and other structures as high as 50 feet. It also forms a dense mat up to 8 inches tall, which spreads along the ground. Many variegated English ivy cultivars are available. According to the Clemson Cooperative Extension, one of the most popular cultivars is Glacier, which has grey-and-green leaves with pink or white edges. Caecilia has frilly, grey and light-green leaves with white margins, and Gold Heart has heart-shaped, yellow-centred leaves on pinkish stems.
Algerian ivy (H. caneriensis) has glossy, widely spaced leaves that grow up to 5 to 8 inches wide and 4 to 8 inches long. Each evergreen leaf has three to five lobes. The vine uses aerial roots to climb up to 30 feet high. Gloire de Marengo is a variegated cultivar producing grey-and-green leaves with cream-coloured edges. The Striata cultivar has yellow-centred, light-green leaves. The Clemson University Cooperative Extension recommends growing Algerian ivy in an indoor hanging basket.
Persian ivy (H. colchica) has thick, heart-shaped evergreen or semievergreen leaves that grow up to 10 inches long and 7 inches wide. According to the University of Illinois Extension, the crushed leaves produce a celery-like fragrance. This vine spreads or climbs up to 50 feet high and grows well in an indoor hanging basket. The Dentata Variegata cultivar has light-green leaves with grey streaks and white edges. Sulphur Heart leaves are green with gold centres.
Young variegated ivy leaves lose their colour patterns in heavy shade or low indoor light. Removing the structure causing the shade or placing the plant in a brighter area restores the variegation. Variegated ivy leaves lose their variegation as they age. Although ivies tolerate subfreezing temperature, the University of Illinois Extension states that variegated cultivars may require more winter protection than other varieties.
- Clemson Cooperative Extension; Indoor Ivy; Karen Russ; April 1999
- University of Illinois Extension; Climbers and Twiners -- Vines for the Home Garden; Greg Stack; 2004
- University of Florida IFAS Extension; English Ivies to Know and Grow; Richard W. Henley, et al.; April 1997
- Clemson Cooperative Extension; English, Algerian, and Persian Ivy; Marjan Kleupfel, et al.; May 1999
- NC State University Cooperative Extension; Hedera Canariensis; Erv Evans; 2009