(he' der-ah)

Common name: Ivy

Family: Araliaceae, Aralia (Ginseng)

Height x width: vine, indefinite length

Foliage: alternate, 3-5 lobed or entire, often variegated, various with cultivar and growth phase

Flowers: umbels of tiny, 5-lobed greenish flowers followed by usually black berry-like fruits in fall; flowers and fruit seldom produced indoors

Light: bright to low; variegated forms require higher light, turning more green in low light

Temperature: wide range

Watering: well-watered, tolerates average to dry

Fertility: moderate

Humidity: humid prefered, tolerates average

Soil: well-drained, organic

Pests and Problems: root rots, leaf spots, stem rots, spider mites (often most serious pest), aphids, mealybugs, whiteflies; leaves turn reddish to pink below 40ºF indoors

Growth habit, uses: groundcover indoors, hanging basket, terrarium, topiary

Other interest: from the Latin name for the plant; the plant has two distinct growth phases-- a young, juvenile phase in which it often has lobed leaves, adventitious rootlets, minutely hairy young leaves, and climbs; the older, mature phase has larger, mainly broadly ovate leaves, forming aerial "bushes" in tops of trees, flowers and fruits, and this latter phase is seldom seen indoors; unlobed ivies grown vertically often produce lobes; lobing and habit is also affected by seasonal variation; many cultivars have been selected as this plant sports or mutates readily; generally hardy to zones 5 or 6-10, 7-10 for variegated cultivars; this plant reportedly helps purify indoor air; contact with sap may cause skin irritation, or severe discomfort if ingested

Other culture: vines climb by clinging to surfaces, so may need to the fastened as desired

Propagation: rooting stem or tip cuttings of juvenile growth, often root in water



azorica (aa-zor' i-cah)-- Azores Ivy, fan-shaped light green leaves to 3" long, vigorous climber, white-hairy new growth, native to the Azores

canariensis (ca-nair-ee-en' sis)-- Algerian Ivy, Canary Island Ivy, heart-shaped or 3-lobed glossy emeral-green leaves 4-8" long, vigorous climber, native to Algeria

colchica (col' chee-kah)-- Colchis/Persian Ivy, heart-shaped, leathery and dark green leaves 3-8" long and aromatic when crushed, native to Caucasus

helix (he' lix)-- English Ivy, vigorous climber, leaves broadly ovate to triangular varying widely with many cultivars, the most commonly seen species in commerce, native to Europe; f. poetarum has 5-lobes, orange-yellow fruit even when young

hibernica (hi-ber' ni-cah)-- Atlantic Ivy, broadly ovate to triangular, leaves 2-3" long, 5 triangular lobes and light green veins, native to western Europe


nepalensis (ne-pal-en' sis)-- Nepal Ivy, weak vigor, leaves generally entire and elliptic, sometimes with 3-6 toothed lobes, native to Himalayas

pastuchovii (pas-two-cho' vee-ii)-- Caucasus Ivy, moderate vigor, triangular to heart-shaped and widely spaced leaves, dark green and shiny to 2" long, native to Caucasus

rhombea (rom' bee-ah)-- Japanese Ivy, unlobed ovate to triangular leaves to 2" long, native to Korea and Japan; var. cypria has grayish veins


The American Ivy Society has categorized ivies generally two ways-- by leaf shape, and type if unusual.


Miniatures (M)-- leaves under 1" long, small habit, delicate

Oddities (O)-- unusual traits such as distorted or curly stems or leaves, bushy habit, upright

Variegateds (V)-- leaves of more than one color, or a color other than green

Leaf shape: Ivy (I)-- "typical" leaves almost flat, palmately 5-lobed

Heart-shaped (H)-- heart-shaped or triangular, 3-lobed

Fan (F)-- fan-shaped or triangular, lobes or equal length or pointing forward and prominently veined

Bird's Foot (BF)-- narrow lobes or willow-like unlobed

Curly (C)-- ruffled, rippled or wavy leaves or margins or both

The following are more common, representative or recommended of the several hundred available. In addition to the species, especially for helix, those marked * are most commonly seen. Type is standard, usual unless indicated as different.
Cultivar species type leaf foliage  
'Adam' helix V I grayish, variegation creamy turning yellow  
'Angularis Aurea' helix V I angular lobes, young leaves with yellow  
'Anne Marie' helix V I 5 rounded, creamy variegated lobes  
'Asterisk' helix   BF small, deep and narrow lobes  
*'Baltica' helix   I more heart-shaped, white veins  
'Boskoop' helix   BF large, glossy, 3-lobed, curled  
'Bruder Ingobert':'Ingobert'          
*'Buttercup' helix V I pale green in shade, bright yellow in sun  
'Caecilia' helix V C rounded, frilled, gray blotches, white edges  
'Calico' helix V I small, 3-lobed, white variegated centers  
'California' helix   C broadly 5-lobed, slightly raised veins  
'California Fan' helix   C,F 5-7 lobes, bold veins, wedge bases  
'Ceridwen' helix V I grayish, broad yellow margins, 3-5 lobes  
'Chester' helix V I lime-green and cream variegation  
'Congesta' helix O   2-ranked dark green leaves, bushy habit  
'Conglomerata' helix O   thick, 3 shallow lobes, wavy margins  
'Cristata':'Parsley Crested'          
'Curley-Q':'Dragon Claw'          
'Curly Locks' helix   C large, rounded, tightly grooved margins  
'Deltoidea' hibernica   H slow, dense, shallowly lobed   
'Dentata' colchica   H arching, dark green, purplish stems  
'Dentata Variegata' colchica V H light green, grayish streaks, whitish margins  
'Diana' helix   H 3 lobes with drawn-out apices  
'Dragon Claw' helix   C 3-5 strongly curled lobes  
'Duckfoot' helix M BF 3 shallow lobes as in a "duck's foot"  
'Erecta' helix   I erect, creeping, light veins  
'Fan' helix   F broad, veined, 3-5 lobes point forward  
'Flamenco' helix O C small, frilled, flat petioles  
'Fluffy Ruffles' helix   C small, 5 wavy lobes with frilled margins  
'Garland' helix   H broad, glossy  
*'Glacier' helix V I 3-5 lobes, silvery variegation, white margins  
'Gloire de Marengo' canariensis V H wide white margins, grayish centers  
'Gold Child' helix V I grayish, broad yellow margins  
'Gold Dust' helix V I gold splashed green or gray  
'Gold Harold':'Gold Child'          
*'Gold Heart' helix V H 3 lobes centrally splashed yellow  
'Golden Inge':'Golden Ingot'          
'Golden Ingot' helix V I bright yellow, green margins  
'Golden Kolibri':'Midas Touch'          
'Green Feather' helix M BF 3-5 narrow and long lobes  
'Green Finger' helix   BF none to 3 lobes with basal "ear" lobe  
'Green Ripple' helix   F 3-5 jagged lobes pointing forward  
'Hahn's Self-branching':'Pittsburgh'          
'Harrison' helix   I large, triangular, white veins, purplish in cold  
'Helena' helix V BF small, star-like, white margin, gray centers  
'Ingobert' helix V I grayish with dark green, creamy margins  
'Irish Lace' helix   BF star-like, 5 linear lobes, margins rolled under  
'Ivalace' helix   C 5 lobes with wavy, curled, crimped margins  
'Jubilaum Goldherz':'Gold Heart'          
'Jubilee' helix M V compact, grayish with green, creamy edges  
'Jubilee Goldheart':'Gold Heart'          
'Kolibri' helix V I small, creamy white, 3 forward lobes  
'Lala Rookh' helix   C 5 irregular and deeply cut lobes  
'Little Diamond' helix M V grayish margined creamy, diamond shaped  
'Manda Crested' helix   C large, 5 lobes, tips point down  
'Maple Leaf' helix   BF star-like, 5 lobes, irregular toothed  
'Marbled Dragon' nepalensis   H grayish-green with whitish veins, long stalks  
'Margino-maculata' canariensis V H creamy white, speckled grayish  
'Melanie' helix   C very curly, maroon margins  
'Midas Touch' helix V H ovate, bright yellow variegation  
'Midget' helix M BF small, flat, star-like, 3-5 narrow lobes  
'Misty' helix M V BF, gray streaks, narrow white margins  
'Mrs. Pollack' helix   F 5-7 lobes point forward, with yellow  
'Needlepoint' helix M BF bushy, small, 3-5 lobes  
'Oro di Bogliasco':'Gold Heart'          
'Paddy's Pride':'Sulphur Heart'          
'Parsley Crested' helix   C rounded, wavy and crested margins  
'Pedata' helix   BF 5 lobes, "bird's foot" shape  
'Perkeo' helix M H short joints, thick, streaked light green  
'Pierot' rhombea M H 3-lobed, dark green, delicate  
'Pin Oak' helix   BF 3 lobes with central elongated  
'Pittsburgh' helix   I heart-shaped, 5 lobes  
'Plume d'Or' helix   BF 5 narrow, elongated lobes, large  
'Professor Friedrich Tobler':'Tobler'          
'Romanze' helix V C 5 lobes, gold variegated, wavy margins  
'Rona' hibernica V I gold with green freckles  
'Schaefer Three' helix V I short joints, variably colored white, gray  
'Shamrock' helix M BF 3 rounded lobes deeply cut  
'Silver Lace':'Misty'          
'Spectre' helix V BF 3-5 curled, twisted lobes, streaked gray  
'Spetchley' helix M BF flat sprays, tiny, 1-3 lobes  
'Striata' canariensis V H centers splashed yellowish  
'Sulphur Heart' colchica V H gold to chartreuse centers, white main veins  
'Suzanne' nepalensis   BF grayish, white veins, basal lobes point back  
'Telecurl' helix   C curled between 5 lobes  
*'Thorndale' helix   I heart-shaped, 5 wide irregular lobes  
'Tobler' helix   BF small, 3-5 deeply cut lobes  
'Treetop' helix   O erect shrub, glossy maturing dark green  
'Triton' helix   F 3-5 pointed, twisted lobes, non-climbing  
'Variegata' hibernica V I yellow-green variegation, green blotches  
'Variegata' rhombea V I creamy-white margins, slow growth  

©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS121, Indoor Plants.

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