There are many types of ivy available to gardeners. Variegated forms are great for brightening up dark corners and shaded recesses. When grown on a wall, ivy imparts a lush and formal appeal. The type of ivy you decide on depends on the growing environment your yard or home provides.
Perhaps the most widely planted and popular ivy to date, H. helix, or English ivy, can be grown as a houseplant, ground cover and even trained to scale walls and trees. This ivy fares best in partially shaded areas with well-drained soils rich in organic matter. There are different forms available for purchase such as variegated, wavy-leaved and even miniature types. Tree ivy is actually the mature form of the vine H. hedera. Scale, white flies, spider mites, aphids and mealy bugs can attack H. helix.
Algerian ivy (H. canariensis) is a striking plant with leaves measuring up to 6 inches wide. As with H. helix, Algerian ivy can be grown successfully indoors if given proper light, water and humidity. When used as a landscaping plant it prefers a moist, shady site with organic rich soil. Variegated varieties of this species are now available for purchase. Algerian ivy is poisonous to people and pets. Pests that attack Algerian ivy are the same as for H. helix.
Boston ivy (P. tricuspidata) is often planted on houses and other buildings. This leads to problems when the strong vines weaken the structural soundness of their supports. Boston ivy prefers a shady location with well-drained soil that is thick in organic matter. This plant thrives when plenty of water is given. Variegated forms are available. Other colors include red, purple, green and a mix of these colors. As with H. hedera, P tricuspidata can suffer from attack by white flies, aphids, mealy bugs and spider mites.