We all know the common ivy as it grows anywhere, climbing walls, fences and trees. As it is resistant to frost, it’s dark green leaves are a nice thing to see in the winter. However, if you want to grow it at home, you need to choose an appropriate subspecies. Which variety of common ivy should we pick then?
The Common Ivy – description
The common ivy (Hedera Helix) is a perennial belonging to the Araliaceae family. The varieties grown at home can live up to 10 years.
It is a green climber. It’s got aerial rootlets with matted pads. It’s small leaves are densely scattered on climbing stems. They are dark green and shiny on the top surface. They have clearly visible light yellow veins.
When potted, the plant can grow up to 2 meters. It grows fast, even up to 40 cm per year. You can shape it by adding a variety of stands or ladders, or just letting it hang freely.
It grows in Europe and Asia Minor
How to take care of the common ivy at home?
The subspecies adapted to indoor cultivation are not frost-resistant!
Leaves. In rooms with high temperatures leaves have to be sprinkled with water.
Aerial rootlets. This roots grow on stems and are used by the plant to cling on to various objects.
Fertilization. From the spring till the autumn the plant has to be fertilized once a week using a green plants fertilizer.
Repotting. When the roots begin to get out of the pot, it means it’s time the plant was repotted.
Trimming. It’s a must – the oldest stems have to be trimmed at least once a year.
How to grow the common ivy at home?
It prefers cooler spots with ambient temperature between 15 and 18 C.
Half-shades and bright, yet without direct sun exposure. The subspecies with darker leaves prefer more shade.
The plant likes being watered on regular basis. It hates being both overwatered and too dry.
The plant can be propagated using a stem with at least one leaf or using seedlings. You can also stick a stem in a pot standing nearby and wait for the roots to develop, without actually cutting it off from the base plant.
Be careful! The ivy is toxic, even though its extract is used to manufacture a number of syrups.
We tend to mistake diseases with inappropriate cultivation. It’s either excess or shortage of water that damage the leaves. Fading and losing color are symptoms of nothing but inappropriate cultivation.
Fungus disease result in stains on leaves. You have to resort to fungicides then.
Spider mites are small red spiders that leave some residue on the leaves which eventually turn yellow-brown.
Thrips cause silver stains on leaves.
Aphids make leaves wrinkle and dry out.
Armored scale insects cause hairy stains on the bottom part of leaves.
All gardening stores have got appropriate agents to kill off the pests.
Subspecies of the common ivy for indoor cultivation
There are several of them. The most popular include ‘Goldheart’ with small yellow-green leaves.
Another one is ‘Glacier’ with silver-green tips of the leaves.
‘Spetchley’ is a miniature one, growing only to 30 cm.
Other subspecies that can be grown indoors.
Hedera Colchica, also called ‘Persian ivy’ or ‘colchis ivy’, comes from Iran and has got the biggest leaves, with diameter between 15 and 20 cm.
Hedera Canariensis, also called the Canarian ivy. Its most subspecies is ‘Gloire de Marengo’, having green and white leaves.