If you're playing detective to identify an unknown vine growing in your home, then you need to brace yourself. Some of the most popular plants found in homes have green leaves and can grow into long vines. For most of them, the color and shape of the leaf is the easiest way to identify the plant. But keep in mind that these plants often have cultivars that bear little or no resemblance to the original plant.
Philodendron (Philodendron spp.) is a very common, easy-to-grow vining houseplant. Leaves vary greatly depending on the type. The heartleaf philodendron (P. scandens) has dark green, heart-shaped leaves that are between 2 and 4 inches long. The fiddle leaf philodendron (P. panduriforme) has olive green, fiddle-shaped leaves that are between 12 and 18 inches long. Other varieties include the elephant's ear philodendron (P. domesticum), which has thin, arrow-shaped leaves about 18 to 24 inches long; and the velour philodendron (P. melanochrysum), which has very long, blackish-green, velvet-like leaves.
Pothos (Epipremnum aureum) is also called pothos vine, golden pothos, variegated philodendron and devil's ivy. It has glossy, heart-shaped leaves that vary from light to dark green. Leaves are variegated or mottled with yellow or white coloring. It is usually grown as a hanging plant, but can be trained on a pole. It grows up to 8 feet long. It is a very common houseplant that is easy to grow. Pothos looks similar to a smooth-stemmed philodendron, but has ridged stems.
Ivy (Hedera spp.) is another common, versatile, vining houseplant. The most popular, and most varied, is the English ivy (H. helix). It has more than a hundred cultivars that vary in color, shape and size. Leaf shape varies greatly and may be the traditional ivy shape, rounded, fan-shaped or even shaped like a bird's foot. Persian (H. colchica) and Algerian ivy (H. canariensis) have heart-shaped leaves about 4 to 8 inches long. Japanese ivy (H. rhombea) has triangular leaves with gray vines. Nepal ivy (H. nepalensis ) has gray-green leaves and grows on slender stems. Russian ivy (H. pastuchovii) has glossy black-green leaves.
Hoya (Hoya carnosa) is also called the wax plant, due to the waxy layer called the "cuticle" that covers its leaves and flowers. It is a semi-woody vine with oval-shaped leaves 2 to 3 inches long. Leaves are usually smooth and dark green, and form in opposite pairs. "Crinkled" varieties with curled leaves are also available. Hoya produce very fragrant flower clusters that look like stars.