How to Grow Swedish Ivy

Overview

Swedish ivy (Plectranthus australis), a popular perennial houseplant also known as creeping Charlie, produces cascading stems studded with rounded, glossy leaves. Small, white or pale mauve flowers appear on short spikes in late spring or early summer. Tolerant of average humidity and cool room temperatures, Swedish ivy thrives in typical household conditions. A member of the mint family, the plant grows quickly and requires only minimal care and maintenance. The plant's trailing growth habit makes it ideal for placement in hanging baskets near brightly lit windows.

Step 1

Plant Swedish ivy in a 6- to 9-inch container filled with two parts potting soil, one part peat moss and one part perlite to provide adequate drainage and fertility. Place the container in a location that receives bright, indirect sunlight throughout the year.

Step 2

Maintain a constant temperature of 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit year-round for the best results. Place a thermometer near the plant to ensure the temperature does not leave this range, or cold damage may occur.

Step 3

Water Swedish ivy once every seven to 10 days, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between applications. Soak the soil until water exits the drainage holes on the bottom of the container, and then drain away any excess. Do not allow standing water to remain.

Step 4

Feed the plant once every two weeks during spring and summer, and once every month during fall and winter. Use a balanced, liquid houseplant fertilizer following the label directions for the best results.

Step 5

Prune Swedish ivy any time of year to keep it under control, healthy and aesthetically pleasing. Pinch back vine tips by several inches after flowering ends to encourage a dense, branching growth habit.

Step 6

Re-pot Swedish ivy during spring once every two or three years, or whenever the plant has outgrown its current container. Provide a fresh growing medium and increase the size of the container by 2 or 3 inches each time.

Things You'll Need

  • Container
  • Potting soil
  • Peat moss
  • Perlite
  • Thermometer
  • Houseplant fertilizer

References

  • Texas A&M University: Swedish Ivy
  • University of Vermont: Plectranthus australis
  • "The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual"; Barbara Pleasant; 2005
  • "The House Plant Expert"; D.G. Hessayon; 1992
Keywords: grow Swedish ivy, Swedish ivy care, growing Plectranthus australis

About this Author

Willow Sidhe is a freelance writer living in the beautiful Hot Springs, AR. She is a certified aromatherapist with a background in herbalism. She has extensive experience gardening, with a specialty in indoor plants and herbs. Sidhe's work has been published on numerous Web sites, including Gardenguides.com.