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Keyword: ‘english ivy’

Hedera helix

Common name: Common Ivy, English Ivy, Hedera Helix, Ivy, Vine

Family: Araliaceae

Synonym:  Hedera acuta
Hedera arborea
Hedera baccifera
Hedera grandifolia
Hedera poetica Salisb.
Hedera poetarum Bertol.

Hedera helix

Hedera helix

Distribution and habitat: Hedera helix is a species of ivy native to most of Europe and western Asia. It is labeled as an invasive species in a number of areas where it has been introduced.
It is an evergreen climbing plant, growing high where suitable surfaces (trees, cliffs, walls) are available, and also growing as ground cover where there are no vertical surfaces. It climbs by means of aerial rootlets with matted pads which cling strongly to the substrate.
The leaves are alternate and have petiole; they are of two types, with palmately five-lobed juvenile leaves on creeping and climbing stems, and unlobed cordate adult leaves on fertile flowering stems exposed to full sun, usually high in the crowns of trees or the top of rock faces. The flowers are produced from late summer until late autumn, individually small, in umbels, greenish-yellow, and very rich in nectar, an important late autumn food source for bees and other insects.
The fruit are purple-black to orange-yellow berries, ripening in late winter and are an important food for many birds, though somewhat poisonous to humans.

Description: Hedera helix has typically ivy-shaped leaves with tree to five lobes of which the one at the apex is the longest and most pointed. The original species has been superseded by its many varieties. Most of the following plants are self branching (each stem tend to branch naturally at frequent intervals) and this makes the plants dense and rather bushy.

Houseplant care: Winter growth of English Ivy plants tends to be very long without bearing many leaves. Trim areas like this with lots of woody growth but few leaves. For the plant to fill out properly during growth cut the stems down to strong growth areas.
Native to light woodland areas, Hedera helix as houseplant thrive in an environment of bright filtered to low light. Ample light helps the leaves become more colorful but filter the light to prevent excessive heat which can lead to drying and poor performance.

Temperature: Hedera helix plants are not greatly affected by hot and cold temperature, but fluctuating temperatures can stifle performance dramatically. Keep Hedera helix in an atmosphere with a consistent temperature and away from drafts, open doors, or vents. In temperatures above 18oC (64oF) provide extra humidity.
During the winter months encourage them to take a short rest by keeping them cool. A temperature of 10oC (50oF) is ideal.

Water: Hedera helix plants prefer an evenly moist environment. Water the plants freely during growth. Keep Hedera helix houseplants moist in the winter. Spraying Hedera helix with soft water weekly will help prevent spider mites from infesting the plants.

Fertilising: Hedera helix care requires the monthly application of liquid fertilizer or, another option often preferred, is to apply a quarter strength fertilizer when watering.

Potting and repoting: Use a soil based potting mixture. Overcrowded plants can be repotted during any season. Move the plant in a pot one size larger whatever pale roots emerge through drainage holes. Maximum pot size should be 12-15cm (5-6 inch). Top dress annually those plants that are not being moved on. For best effect put four or six small plants in a single basket.

Propagation: Root cuttings are the preferred method of propagation. Root the 10-15cm (4-6 inch) cuttings of young (not matured) growth during the spring to autumn. More mature cuttings (adult growth) of 18-23cm (7-9 inches) will produce a bushy “tree-ivy” type of growth but root very slowly if at all.

Problems: Plant care and maintenance helps reduce these problems.

Common pests affecting Hedera helix are spider mites, aphids, mealybugs and scale insects. Red spider mites are often difficult to see without a close inspection. However, white webs formed on the plant are usually indicative of a spider mite infestation.
Treatment: Remove the infested leaves and treat the plant with a pesticide or insecticidal soap.

Typical pathogen (fungal and bacterial) problems affecting English Ivy houseplants are bacterial spot, stem rot and fungal leaf spots.
Treatment: Apply fungicides and repeat the treatment as mentioned on fungicide instructions.

Recommended varieties: There are several different species of the Hedera helix that have different leaf shape, size and color.

Hedera helix ‘Chicago‘ has 2-3 cm (0.7-1.2 inch) long and 3cm (1.2 inch) wide, medium greenleaves. The lives of one of its forms, Hedera helix ‘Chicago Variegata’ are creamy-edged. Those of another Hedera helix ‘Golden Chicago’ are marked with golden yellow patches.

Hedera helix ‘Cristata’ (Parsley Ivy) has 3-4cm (1.2-1.5 inch) long and 4cm (1.5 inch) wide medium green leaves that are so notably undulate as to seem curly-edged.

Hedera helix ‘Emerald Gem’ and Hedera helix ‘Emerald Jewel’ both have 2cm (0.7 inch) long and 3cm (1.2 inch) wide, sharply pointed, emerald green leaves.

Hedera helix ‘Glacier’ has 3cm (1.2 inch) long and 2cm (0.7 inch) wide leaves which are medium green with grey-green blotches, white marginal patches and pink edges. For dense growth this plant needs pinching out two or three times a year.

Hedera helix ‘Jubilee‘ has 2cm long and 1.5-2cm (0.5-0.7 inch) wide dark green leaves variegated with grey and white. This variety is notably dense.

Hedera helix ‘Little Diamond’ has roughly diamond shaped, 2cm (0.7 inch) long and 1.5cm (0.5 inch) wide, medium green leaves thinly bordered with white. It needs pinching out to become bushy.

Hedera helix ‘Lutzii’ has 3cm (1.2 inch) long and 2 cm (0.7 inch) wide, dark green leaves covered with pale green and yellow spots. Not self-branching it needs pinching out two or three times a year.

Hedera helix ‘Sagittifolia’ has  arrow-head-shaped, 4cm (1.5 inch) long and 3cm (1.2 inch) wide, dark green leaves. A variegated form, Hedera helix ‘Sagittifolia Variegata’ has light green and pale yellow markings. These plants make an excellent trailers, but growing points must be pinched out if bushy growth is desired.

Uses: Hedera helix is a popular ornamental, valued for its ability to thrive in shady places, provide excellent groundcover and cover unsightly walls, sheds and tree stumps. The evergreen, woody-stemmed plants are often seen trailing across yards and gardens, climbing walls, or encouraged as climbers along a supporting pole inside homes for a beautiful and decorative houseplant accent. Very easy to grow, ivy makes a very attractive hanging plant. Although the specimen above looks leggy, ivy can be very bushy if planted in mass.

Hedera helix is frequently used in cut flower arrangements, particularly in winter displays. The glossy, cream, ivory-like heartwood is sometimes used in flower arrangements.

Hedera helix is an ideal houseplant for people who have pets. Scientifically termed as Hedera Helix, this plant is known to filter indoor pollutants like fecal particles, formaldehyde aerosols and much more and keep the house toxin free.
It’s known for removing the chemical benzene, a known carcinogen found in cigarette smoke, detergents, pesticides, and the off-gasing of other synthetic materials, is said to be fantastic for asthma and allergies and also removes formaldehyde. Hedera helix is particularly effective against benzene found in oil-based paints, detergents and plastic material.


Foliage – green / variegated
Shape – climbing & trailing

Watering in rest period – sparingly
Watering in active growth period – moderately
Light – bright
Temperature in active growth period – min 16oC max 24oC (60-75oF)
Humidity – high

Hardiness zone: 5a-9b

Hedera helix 'Chicago'Hedera helix 'Chicago Variegata'Hedera helix 'Galcier'Hedera helix 'Cristata'Hedera helix 'Emerald Gem'Hedera helix 'Emerald Jewel'Hedera helix 'Jubilee'
Hedera helix 'Lutzii'Hedera helix 'Little Diamond'Hedera helix 'Sagittifolia'Hedera helix 'Sagittifolia Variegata'

Indoor Plants, Low Light Plants, Top Anti-Pollutant Houseplants , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Indoor plants create clean air

Research has shown that indoor air pollution is now becoming one of the major threats to our health. These health issue include: asthma, allergies, chemical hyper-sensitivity and cancer.

NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America studied houseplants as a way to purify the air in space facilities. They found several plants that filter out common volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Lucky for us the plants can also help clean indoor air on Earth, which is typically far more polluted than outdoor air. Houseplants were able to remove up to 87% of air toxins in 24 hours.
Other studies have since been published in the Journal of American Society of Horticultural Science further proving the science.

Google Office - plants display

Google Office – plants display

Indoor plants improve air quality

We all know that plants are the lungs of Mother Earth and they are a very simple and effective way of treating and recycling air and water used by NASA to improve astronauts’ life quality when spending months in a small space station, surrounded by synthetic materials that constantly emit chemicals into the cabin. Astonishing, however, was the discovery that plants can remove many of the more than 300 chemicals found in the air of a spacecraft.

Plants and chemical pollution

The NASA study has proven that plants can remove airborne chemicals to some extent. But where do these chemicals go? Scientists of the German National Research Centre for Environment and Health exposed popular indoor plants to formaldehyde, one of the most common indoor air pollutant. They reported that enzymes in the plant leaves break down the toxic chemical into non-toxic components that can be used by the plant. This process is similar to the way a human liver rids the body from toxins. Research also shows that chemicals are translocated into the root system and the adjoining soil, where soil micro-organisms can break down the substances even further.

Plants as dust removal

Airborne chemicals aren’t the only health hazards indoors. Scientists of the Washington State University conclude that foliage plants can reduce indoor dust levels by up to 20%. And you don’t have to plant a jungle either. The plants they added to an office room occupied only around 5% of the volume.

Do plants promote biological pollution?

A concern could be the growth of fungi in the soil and on decaying plant matter. As long as the plant is healthy, however, this is not the case. The plant has its own defences against micro-organisms. It releases small amounts of its own disinfectant essential oils to control or destroy bacteria and fungi that invade the space between the leaves. We make use of this ourselves whenever we use disinfectants or room deodorizers that contain natural plant oils from, for example, citrus or pine trees. Experiments have shown that plants significantly reduce the number of microbes in indoor air. For example, when pots of citrus trees were added to a room, the air became almost sterile.

Do plants contribute to high humidity?

Another point of concern is the increase in humidity levels. Yes, plants transpire and increase the amount of water vapour in the air. The good news is that the increase depends very much on the humidity level that is in the room in the first place. On humid days, the rate of evaporation is very low and the humidity increase is only marginal. On dry days the plant ‘sweats’ significantly. This is to our benefit, because the indoor air is very often below the comfortable humidity level, as during the heating period. Cooling a room with an air conditioner also reduces the humidity significantly. Besides dehydration, dry air promotes cracked skin and lips, the drying of the mucus in airways and sinuses, and is a recognized trigger for asthma attacks. Allergens, bacteria and viruses can get easily past the dried-up defense mechanism. There is evidence that cases of the common cold are more frequent when the humidity is low.

The best indoor plants to improve air quality

By adding house plats to your living / work space, you improve the air quality and greatly enhance the health of your and your family. Many houseplants will purify the air in your home, but some more than others. Here is a list of some of the best plants and very popular for your house or office:

  • Aloe (Aloe vera)
  • Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
  • Gerber daisy (Gerbera jamesonii)
  • Snake plant (Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Laurentii’)
  • Golden pothos (Scindapsus aures)
  • Chrysanthemum (Chrysantheium morifolium)
  • Red-edged dracaena (Dracaena marginata)
  • Weeping fig (Ficus benjamina)
  • Azalea (Rhododendron simsii)
  • English ivy (Hedera helix)
  • Warneck dracaena (Dracaena deremensis ‘Warneckii’)
  • Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema Crispum ‘Deborah’)
  • Bamboo palm (Chamaedorea sefritzii)
  • Heart leaf philodendron (Philodendron oxycardium)
  • Peace lily (Spathiphyllum)



houseplants for improving indoor air quality

The list can continue on and on again. The rate at which the plants metabolizes the substances depends on the growing conditions, such as the available light, the temperature, the humidity, and the nutrients that are available to the plant. Please be aware, however, that plants don’t remove the chemicals completely and different plants have different capabilities. A particular plant may be very good in removing formaldehyde, while another is better in destroying benzene.

Studies show that Americans spend ninety percent of their lives indoors, which means that good indoor air quality is vital for good health. Indoor plants will help reduce pollutants and purify the air in your home or office. The more plants you have, the better you will feel! By having plants in your home or office, you create your own micro-climate – the indoor weather.

Recommend number of plant: at least 15-18 good-sized plants (203mm (six- to eight-inch ) pot diameter) for a house or apartment of 167 square meters (1800 square feet).
According to the NASA study, the plants listed below proved effective in removing certain indoor air pollutants.

Top Anti-Pollutant Houseplants

Top Anti-Pollutant Houseplants

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