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Hedera helix

Ivy Houseplants: Versatile Trailing Vine Plant

The ivy houseplant, also known as English ivy, is a very versatile plant that many people enjoy displaying in their homes. Since they are a plant that grows in trailing vines, ivy is often grown either in a hanging basket or on a trellis.

Other names for this plant...

Common Ivy Ivy English Ivy Bindwood Lovestone

About Ivy Houseplants

A plant that is great for beginners, English ivy is low-maintenance, and the beauty can be enjoyed year-round. There are studies that illustrate houseplants, such as ivy, improving disposition and mental health.

English ivy plant leaves are also said to have medicinal value, and the leaves are sometimes applied to the skin to treat burns and joint pain. They are exceptional air purification plants.

Botanical Name

Many ivy plants are called Hedera helix and have the common name after the botanical name. Two examples are the asterisk ivy (Hedera helix ‘Asterisk’) and the buttercup ivy (Hedera helix ‘Buttercup’).

There are ivy plants besides Hedera helix, such as the Algerian Ivy (Hedera Algeriensis). Most other types of ivy are not grown indoors as houseplants; rather, they are garden ivies.

Plant Type

The ivy is a clinging evergreen vine, also described as a climbing evergreen plant. It attaches to surfaces with aerial roots.


English ivy is native to Europe, part of Ireland, southern Scandinavia and Spain. You can also find it in Western Asia and in cooler climates of Northern Africa.

Types Of Ivy Houseplants

  • English ivy: The most popular ivy, it is well known for its distinctive leaf shape. The English ivy does well in anything from bright light to partial shade.

  • Algerian ivy: This plant has a leathery foliage and glossy leaves. They are very tolerant to direct light and are popularly grown in hanging baskets.

  • Persian ivy: These have the largest leaves and tolerate very dry conditions.

  • Irish ivy: Irish ivy is considered a nuisance plant because it is so easy to grow as an outdoor plant that it can take over landscaping. When grown as a hanging plant, it is a pretty and worry-free plant.

Many types of ivy exist, but most have star-shaped leaves and trailing vines.

Ivy Houseplant Styling 

Ivy houseplants are most often grown in hanging baskets so that the leaves and vines can grow down. Sometimes ivy is grown on a trellis, which most people associate with outdoor plants. However, you can put a small trellis in a large pot and train your ivy to grow up it.

For a real wow factor inside, you can create a living wall with ivy and other climbing plants, like Philodendron, Pothos, and jasmine.

Ivy is often styled in hanging baskets.


Ivy plants grow best in bright, indirect light. They will tolerate low light or medium light, but the leaves of variegated varieties may turn solid green without enough light. Ivy does not do well in harsh, direct sun.


Ivy houseplants do not like wet soil. Wait to water the ivy until the top inch of the potting soil has dried out. Ivies should have adequate drainage holes to ensure the soil dries out and doesn’t cause root rot.


Ivies grow best in temps between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.


Indoor ivy plants enjoy 40% or higher humidity. If the humidity is not high enough, you can mist the ivy leaves between waterings. If you do not have enough humidity in your home, especially in winter, one way to help grow ivy indoors is to invest in a humidifier or use a pebble tray.


Ivy plants are not picky about their soil. Just choose a potting soil that is rich and loose with good drainage. You may choose to mix your potting soil with peat moss and perlite if you find that it stays too moist between waterings.


When ivy vines get too long, prune them back with sharp, clean scissors. To encourage bushier growth, trim back leggy stems as needed. You can also take cuttings from a main stem, propagate them in water, and plant them back in the same pot.


An ivy requires a 20-20-20 fertilizer. This means it contains equal amounts of nitrogen (20%), phosphorous (20%) and potassium (20%). Follow the instructions on the package and apply the fertilizer once a month during the growing season.

Height & Growth

Depending on the cultivar, ivy houseplants can grow up to 8 inches tall and as wide as nine feet. Since the vines tend to spread quickly, you may need to keep your ivy trimmed. Ivy can be contained to a 6" pot or allowed to trail many feet.

Before bringing an ivy plant home, it’s a good idea to decide where it will live. A hanging basket or the top of a shelf is ideal to let the vines grow downward, but they can also be trained to climb up an indoor trellis.


Ivy is mildly toxic to humans if ingested in large quantities.


Ivy is toxic to dogs, cats and horses. According to the ASPCA, you should contact your veterinarian or poison control if you think an animal has ingested ivy.

Common Problems 

  • Aphids: Also called plant lice, aphids can cause serious damage to ivy plants. These insects are small and pear-shaped and will appear as yellow ‘clumps’ on the leaves.

  • Spider Mites: Spider mites can cause the leaves to be stippled with red or yellow spots.

  • Mealybugs: These insects gather in white, cottony masses and they encourage mold growth as well as attract ants.

  • Fungal Disease: You will notice brown blotches or a gray coating on the leaves if your plant has this issue.

  • Canker: Caused by either fungi or bacteria, cankers are swollen and discolored areas of the plant.

  • Over-watering: If your ivy has too much water, the leaves will turn yellow and wilt on the edges. A quality potting mix that encourages draining can help keep your plant healthy.

Pest infestations can cause significant problems and should be dealt with quickly. There are many pesticides that are safe for indoor use once you’ve quarantined the infested plant. For a more natural solution, you can try killing pests with diluted sprays made with soapy water, neem oil, garlic and hot pepper, or eucalyptus essential oil.

How To Propagate Ivy Houseplants

Propagation of ivy is very easy. Use a sharp knife or scissors to cut off shoots that are 4 or 5 inches in length. Be sure to remove any leaves that are coming off of the bottom portion of the shoot you have cut.

After dipping the cutting in a rooting hormone, place them into your rooting medium, which should be a sand and soil mix. Water the soil well and then use a plastic bag over the plant to keep the environment humid. Water the cutting once a week.

Within 6-8 weeks, there will be roots sprouting and you can plant the sprout into a new pot.

Many ivy cultivars will also root in water.

Ivy is easily propagated through stem cuttings.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is ivy a good indoor plant?

Ivy plants are excellent indoor plants as they are beautiful and easy to grow. The heart-shaped leaves and vining growth habit make them a distinctive addition to your houseplant collection.

How big does ivy grow?

Ivy vines can grow nine feet long/wide, so it’s an important consideration before bringing one home. Vines can easily be pruned to the desired length, or you can style them in a hanging basket or high shelf and let the vines meander.

How do you know if an ivy houseplant needs water?

Stick your finger into the soil. The top inch of soil should be dry before you water an ivy. If it’s still moist, check again in a few days.

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English Ivy (Hedera helix) is an evergreen perennial that thrives in indirect light.

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