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How to Identify Types of House Ivy Plants

Updated February 21, 2017

Traditional ivy houseplants create cascades of flowing vines that may reach lengths of 5 to 8 feet or more, depending on the growing conditions and age of the plant. Those grown in the home make attractive hanging baskets but may also be grown on stakes or trellises or simply trained to vine over a bookcase or up a window frame. The most common ivies grown as houseplants are English and German ivy, but there are many culitvars of ivies suitable as houseplants.

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  1. Examine the shape of the leaves on your ivy. Ivy leaves may be lobed with five distinct lobes, or they may be heart-shaped. Trace the outline of a leaf on paper to make identification easier.

  2. Measure the length and width of mature leaves. Jot these numbers down on your tracing.

  3. Look at the colour of the leaves on your ivy. Many ivies are green, but others are variegated with white, yellow or pale green on a dark green background. Jot down the colours on your drawing.

  4. Feel the leaves to determine their texture. Some ivies leaves are smooth and thin, while others are rough, thick and stiff.

  5. Inspect the veins in the leaf. Rub your finger over the vein to determine if the vein is raised. Jot down a description of the veins on your ivy leaves.

  6. Refer to a gardening book or the database from the American Ivy Society (see Resources), using your notes as a guide to determine the type of ivy you are growing

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Things You'll Need

  • Sketch pad
  • Pencil
  • Ruler

About the Author

Nannette Richford is an avid gardener, teacher and nature enthusiast with more than four years' experience in online writing. Richford holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from the University of Maine Orono and certifications in teaching 7-12 English, K-8 General Elementary and Birth to age 5.

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