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Hedera

English
  • Indoor Plants
Hedera canariensis 'Gloire de Marengo'
Photo: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Josée Bouthot)

Onglets

Botany

Origin and description

Different species of the genus Hedera are native to North Africa, Asia and Europe. Hedera helix, better known under the names of ivy or English ivy, is used as a climber and as a ground cover in subtropical and temperate regions of the globe. Its evergreen foliage is more or less triangular; young leaves typically have three to five lobes. Adventitious roots cling to any surface. This plant grows at the expense of the plant to which it attaches itself and can end up choking. Indoors, it is mostly the many cultivars of the species that are used as climbing plants or in hanging baskets for their “weeping” effect.

Species, cultivars and related plants

Hedera helix ‘Chicago’ is one of the most popular cultivars. It is hardy and can be grown as a vine or a ground cover. Hedera helix ‘Variegated Chicago’ has bicolor foliage with creamy yellow edges. Hedera helix ‘Cristata’ has green, wavy foliage that has a curly look. Hedera helix ‘Emerald Gem’ has pointed emerald green leaves. Hedera helix ‘Glacier’ differs from the species – its leaves have a white edge and silver sheen. Hedera helix ‘Goldheart’ is variegated dark green and creamy yellow. Hedera helix ‘Jubilee’ has dense, variegated foliage that is dark green, gray and white. Hedera helix ‘Little Diamond’ has diamond-shaped foliage, variegated olive green and pale yellow. Hedera helix ‘Sagittifolia’ has arrow-shaped pale green and yellow leaves. Hedera canariensis ‘Variegata’ is a different species, which bears large variegated pale green and creamy white leaves. It endures more heat than Hedera helix

Toxicity

The leaves and berries of English ivy are considered toxic. Place the plant out of the reach of children and pets.

Common name

Hedera / English ivy

Latin name (genus)

Hedera helix

French common name

Botanical family

  • Araliaceae
Horticulture

Growing conditions

English ivy prefers good light, but no direct sun. It can accommodate a weaker light, but cultivars with variegated foliage require more light to keep their colors. Place it in a sunny room, preferably near a window facing east or west. Ivy grows best in a cool environment and endures a minimum temperature of 7ºC. Note that the variegated varieties generally require slightly warmer temperatures. Summer temperatures can exceed 18ºC if they are accompanied by a good level of humidity. In the winter, it prefers cooler temperatures (below 18°C). Avoid placing ivy near a heat source.

Easy to grow?

This ivy is easy to grow. It is a vigorous plant that adapts well to indoor conditions. It does not flower as a houseplant.

Watering and fertilizer

This plant does not tolerate drought or excess water. During the growth period (March to October), water moderately when the first few inches of soil are dry to the touch. During rest period, reduce water intake and let the soil dry out almost completely between watering. Fertilize three or four times in a period of active growth. A balanced fertilizer for houseplants or an all-purpose fertilizer such as 20-20-20 gives good results.

Pruning and maintenance

Pinch new shoots regularly on varieties that have fewer branches to promote the development of lateral shoots and compact and dense foliage. Prune stems that are too long. Clean dusty foliage in the shower with warm water or with a damp cloth. If ivy is grown as a vine, give it support that is of sufficient size to allow for its full development.

Repotting

Re-pot ivy in the spring in soil that drains well. A commercial potting soil for houseplants is generally suitable.

Pests and diseases
  • Cyclamen Mite
Physiological disorders

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