English ivy is an old-school houseplant that’s still trendy thanks to its easy-care nature, elegant look, and versatile stems. A plethora of varieties is available—look for selections that have foliage in varying shades of green, as well as marked with silver, white, or chartreuse. There is a wide variety of leaf shapes, too, so it’s easy to get just the look for your home decor.
In addition to its beauty, English ivy, like many houseplants, has proven to help purify the air by removing particulate matter like mold spores, as well as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as the harmful chemicals found in paints and cleaning products.
There is one caveat: Because the leaves contain toxic chemicals, this plant should be kept away from kids and pets.
Growing English Ivy
You can grow this vine a number of ways in your home. Its trailing stems are perfect for growing in hanging baskets suspended in front of a window or on a shelf.
Its pliable stems also make English ivy a classic plant for topiaries, so you can grow it up a moss form to add a touch of elegance to your favorite room.
English ivy's air-cleaning abilities make it a perfect plant for bright bathrooms, bedrooms, and offices.
English Ivy Care
Indoors, grow English ivy in a spot with medium to bright light. The plant tolerates low light, but over time it tends to get weak and spindly. But if you have a low-light spot that's perfect for English ivy, try rotating it with another plant every couple of months to keep it healthy.
English ivy has medium water needs, so it doesn't want to dry out completely, but it also can't stay wet for extended periods or the roots will die and rot. To develop a watering schedule when you first get English ivy, water it well, then check the soil every few days to see when it needs watering again. Do this a few times and you'll develop a rhythm for your plant.
Spider mites love English ivy, but you can help keep these pests at bay by growing your English ivy in a spot with above-average humidity (mites hate moist air) or in cool temperatures (below 70 degrees F). This plant is otherwise largely free of pests and diseases, except for a virus. If you're concerned about virus-infected plants, go with Exotic Angel Plants varieties; they're certified virus-free in North America.
Watch out for drafty spots—if English ivy is exposed to hot or cold drafts, the leaves will brown and crisp prematurely. Keep it away from heating and air-conditioning vents, as well as ill-fitting old doors or windows.
Varieties of English Ivy
'Glacier' English ivy
This heirloom variety has three-prong, gray-green leaves edged in silvery white.
'Needlepoint' English ivy
Needlepoint ivy is distinctive for its fine-textured, deeply lobed, rich green leaves.
Variegated Algerian ivy
This English ivy cousin has large leaves and prefers warmer conditions. It bears three-prong leaves edged in white.