English ivy, or hedera helix, is a green creeper and climber, at home both on the ground and in the trees. Its aggressive spreading and hardy constitution have given it a bad reputation in some areas, such as the Northwest, where it is seen as an invasive species. Nonetheless, the attractiveness and versatility of this vine ensure that it will always have a place in and around the home.
Indoor Air Quality
English ivy may be most popular outdoors, but it is indoors where this plant does the most good. Indoor air can be up to 12 times more polluted than air outdoors as a result of "chemicals from paints, varnishes, adhesives, furnishings, clothing, solvents, building materials and even tap water" according to the Telegraph. In a University of Georgia study cited by the Telegraph, English ivy was rated among the four best plants studied at removing indoor pollutants from the air. Indoor ivy is good for anyone's health, particularly those with chemical sensitivities that may make them more susceptible to indoor pollution.
Ivy can grow both down the wall and up. Plant English ivy on a trellis at the base of a wall and you will get a thick, lush covering, giving your building an aged, dignified look. Alternately, the University of Florida Extension suggests growing ivy in window planters or elevated urns and allowing the vines to cascade down in front of the wall to soften the architectural lines and add texture.
Another use of English ivy suggested by the University of Florida Extension is in topiaries. Build a frame out of sculpture wire in the shape of an animal, a geometric shape or an abstract design. Plant a fairly hardy English ivy cultivar with fine leaves in a container in the middle of your frame. As the ivy grows, train the vines around the frame. Clip off stray branching vines to keep the ivy at a uniform density as it winds around the frame.