How to Reduce the Thickness of a Swedish Ivy


Swedish ivy (Plectranthus australis) is a tender herbaceous perennial native to Australia that grows outdoors in USDA plant hardiness zones 10 to 12. It is a ground cover that typically reaches a height of 2 feet or less and one plant can grow up to 6 feet wide. Swedish ivy can also be grown as a hanging houseplant in any climate. To identify it from other ivy-like plants, Swedish ivies have scalloped and glossy green leaves and small green flowers with tubular blossoms. Fortunately, you usually can't do irreparable damage to Swedish ivy when pruning; it will eventually grow back.

Step 1

Examine your ivy and decide how you want to shape it or where you want to keep it confined.

Step 2

Cut the ivy back in the spring when new growth begins. Simply cut the stems off by squeezing a pair of hand clippers around the vine stems about 2 feet from the desired shape or length. Discard the cut ivy in the trash, compost pile or local yard waste facility. Wear gloves and be cautious of small animals and insects that may be lurking or nesting in your ivy bed.

Step 3

Thin out the ivy in the middle of the plant to reduce its thickness. Take your hand clippers and squeeze around the stem of the plant where the ivy is too thick. After making a cut, remove the section before cutting the next piece so you can accurately see how much plant is remaining. If it's still too thick for your liking, cut off another piece. Repeat as necessary. Note that in the long run, the ivy will only grow thicker and bushier after thinning, so do it sparingly. If you do thin it out, repeat thinning in the early and late summer to keep it that way.

Things You'll Need

  • Handheld clippers


  • Plectranthus australis
  • Paula's Herbs and Plants: Swedish Ivy Plant

Who Can Help

  • University of Florida Extension: Houseplants
Keywords: reduce thickness ivy, Swedish ivy, thin Swedish ivy, prune Swedish ivy, Plectranthus australis

About this Author

Melissa Lewis has been a professional writer since 2005. Her work has appeared in various online publications. A former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist, Lewis is also a script writer, with a movie script, "Homecoming," she co-wrote currently in production. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology.