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Ivy House Plant

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Ivy House Plant

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Overview

Ivy plants are ideal houseplants. Although they don't produce showy flowers, they're easy to grow and propagate. Except for regular pruning, these elegant looking plants are also easy to maintain. They're commonly grown in hanging baskets or espaliered on small trellises. They can adapt to most any type of environment and their vines are used to decorate shelves and other household items. According to the Denver Plants website, a typical ivy plant has vines that trail as long as 6 feet.

Identification

Ivies are climbing evergreen plants, meaning they keep their leaves all year. When an ivy plant sheds its leaves indoors it's a sign of a disease. Belonging to the genus Hedera, the plant has woody stems and its leaves are either green and white or green and yellow.

Types

Several ivy species are suitable as houseplants. Small-leaved ivies are preferable to those with larger leaves. English ivy, with its creamy white and green leaves, is one of the easiest ivies to grow as houseplants. This variety is generally grown in hanging baskets, on windows or horizontally if support isn't available for trailing. It does well in medium light and cool temperatures. Algerian ivy has 6-inch leaves, while the heart-shaped leaves of the Itsy Bitsy variety are tiny. Curlilocks ivy has crinkled leaves and California gold is variegated ivy with gold, yellow and green leaves. Dumb cane, belonging to the Arum family, can grow as long as several feet tall with leaves up to a foot long.

Benefits

In addition to beautifying a home, English ivy is used to remove airborne mold by significant amounts in addition to removing formaldehyde. Because English ivy is effective in removing odors, it's helpful to place this plant near birdcages or litter boxes. Just ensure it's out of reach of any pets.

Ivy Care

Although ivy vines can be trained to cover shapes, they need to be constantly clipped. They also require regular trimming for maintaining their shape. Ivies need to be checked for spider mites, which are a common pest of houseplant ivies. By spraying an ivy early the plant can continue to stay looking healthy. Early pest detection is necessary as mites do intense damage in a short period of time.

Misconceptions

There are several misconceptions about ivy houseplants. Various vines within the same Hedera genus are colloquially called "ivies" such as Boston ivy and poison ivy, but are not true ivies. Many people believe ivy houseplants are poisonous, but they're not. This misconception comes from the term "poison ivy," which actually pertains to the plant known as Rhus radicans, causing severe blistering when touched. Another misconception is that ivies don't need light. The fact that they climb is a hint that they do need light. Light is especially important for variegated ivies because their leaves can look dull when grown in a corner that is too shady.

Keywords: ivy houseplants, types of ivy houseplants, ivy care, benefits of ivy houseplants

About this Author

Venice Kichura has written on a variety of topics for various websites, such as Suite 101 and Associated Content since 2005. She's written articles published in print publications and stories for books such as "God Allows U-Turns." She's a graduate of the University of Texas and has worked in both Florida and Connecticut schools.