Growing English Ivy (Hedera Helix) Plant Indoors: Ivy Vine Care, How To ID Ivy

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Gardening | March 29, 2024

Excited person looking at an english ivy plant after learning how to grow english ivy (hedera heliz) indoors, ivy care and growing tips, how to identify english ivy flower and vines.

The English Ivy Plant has a love and not-so-loving relationship with green thumb enthusiasts. The ornamental plant can be an option to use as a fill-in for your backyard landscaping design.

However, if you’re not careful, the English Ivy Plant can overstay its welcome with its aggressive and invasive way of growing.

This ivy plant is considered one of the less lethal Poison Ivy Vines, so protecting yourself, young children, and animals from skin rashes is important with this vine plant.

It is for this reason that many plant lovers consider other vine options.

But the English Ivy, also called Common Ivy, can be an ornamental house plant vine. Whatever your decor may be in your home, the English Ivy indoor plant provides several benefits.

According to Wikipedia,1 of the most important benefit of the English Ivy is being confirmed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as one of the top 10 air purifying plants.

If you’re upgrading your indoor houseplants or considering planting an English Ivy Plant, keep reading this guide on growing English Ivy (Hedera helix) plant Indoors. It also outlines different English Ivy cultivars, give tips on Ivy Vine care, and shows how to identify the Ivy plant when growing among other poisonous vines.

Hedera helix: English Ivy Plant Facts

The Common Ivy or English Ivy (Hedera helix) is a powerful plant. Often used as a ground cover, but it can climb if the plant is well maintained.

Removing this ivy plant from walls or buildings is not easy, and if you want to avoid the English Ivy Plant growing in your home, plan the planting location carefully.

Common Ivy, Ivy, English Ivy, or European Ivy

(Hedera helix)

English Ivy Plant in an oval frame on a green background.
  • Family: Araliaceae
  • Genus: Hedera
  • Leaf: Evergreen
  • Seed: Black and tough outer layer
  • Blossoms: Fall until summer
  • Native Habitat: North Africa, Europe, and Asia
  • Height: 6 feet to 100 feet
  • Canopy: The vine drapes in a basket or pot. Ground cover plants climb.
  • Type: Perennial and woody
  • Native Growing Zone: USDA Zones 4-13

Image Credit: Jacques GAIMARD (GAIMARD)15

Planting your new English Ivy Plant has many benefits, but all factors need to be considered before planting. This ivy plant may be an air purifier, but it can also wreak havoc on other wildlife and plants in your backyard ecosystem.

Besides the beauty that the English Ivy can bring, different types of birds, such as the Blue Jays and Red-winged Blackbirds, enjoy the vine’s berries or seeds.

In appreciation for the English Ivy seeds, these birds help pollinate your Common Ivy by spreading the seeds, as reported by Penn State University.2

How To Identify English Ivy Plant

If you understand how to identify English Ivy Plant, it’s not very hard if you know what you’re looking for. You may see them alongside highways, homes, or commercial buildings.

English Ivy Plant identification chart showing English Ivy Plant leaves, English Ivy Plant stem, English Ivy Plant flowers and fruits.

The English Ivy Plant also climbs trees and has flowers that bloom, unlike other ivy varieties.

Vine plants grow vertically that have a lifespan of up to 50 years if provided quality care. The English Ivy Plant facts are provided below to give you a better understanding of this controversial and loved plant:

English Ivy Plant Leaves

Climbing English Ivy Plant leaves are palmately or leaves that spread. These evergreen leaves are dark green and grow up to 8 inches long.

The leaves have up to 5 leaves per stem. The leaves get more fanfare than the flowers.

This evergreen plant’s leaves do not fall in the winter. The English Ivy Plant leaves are perennial.

English Ivy Plant Flower

Depending on who you ask, the English Ivy Plant flower is deemed insignificant. But some appreciate the yellow and green flowers that bloom in the fall.

The clustered flowers are not grown until the Common Ivy is mature. According to the Texas Invasive Species Institute,3 the English Ivy Plant flower is considered mature after growing for a minimum of 10 years.

English Ivy Plant Seeds

The English Ivy Plant seeds are inside the berries. With the help of the birds, they release the seeds after eating the berries, which helps the fast-growing outdoor ivy plants.

English Ivy Berries

After the flowers bloom, the English Ivy berries begin to grow. The English Ivy berries appear in the winter months and often during the month of November.

These blackish-blue berries are poisonous for humans and pets.

English Ivy Plant Symbolism

The English Ivy Plant symbolism varies in religions and cultures. The consistent meaning is everlasting life, friendship, and good luck.

English Ivy Indoor Plant Identification

The evergreen English Ivy indoor plant has glossy green leaves with a length of up to 4 inches long. The leaves can be light to dark green, whether it’s an English Ivy hanging indoors or planted outdoors.

This air purifier ivy plant spills over its basket, which is a great identifier compared to other plants.

Types of Ivy Houseplants

The Ivy plant is popular for its waterfall-hanging ivy vines. This ornamental plant loves sunlight, but it’s best not to have direct sunlight for your indoor plants.

Cooler temperatures are needed in the summer, with mist being provided often to ensure the plant doesn’t experience severe dry air. Humidity is appreciated but not dry air.

English Ivy, showcasing its variegated dark and light green five-lobed leaves, creeping up a grey wall.

(Image: Nika_Akin12)

The following are types of ivy houseplants to consider for your indoor plant oasis:

  • Angel Snow English Ivy: The Angel Snow Ivy is often considered a small or compact plant.
  • Asterisk English Ivy: The Asterisk’s leaves look like an asterisk and often are easily identifiable.
  • Baltic English Ivy: The Baltic Ivy leaves have designed white veins and have up to 5 lobes.
  • Gold Child English Ivy: The Gold Child Ivy leaves are aligned with gold edges with green-centered foliage.
  • Green California English Ivy: The Green California Ivy has light green veins on its dark green leaves, often described as low maintenance.

The above-mentioned are often called English Ivy because they are varieties of Hedera helix.

The majority of English Ivy Plants are often considered high maintenance. But the Honeysuckle and other vine plant varieties can be an option for your indoor plant if you prefer low-maintenance plants.

Outdoor Ivy Plants

The outdoor ivy plants surrounding your area can be a great help for fence vines, ground covering and provide cooler temperatures on buildings that the outdoor ivy plant climbs.

Retaining moisture may be one of the difficulties gardeners may have with outdoor ivy plants. The English Ivy Plant thrives in humidity but must have well-drained soil to maintain its lush green leaves.

With several cultivars, it’s estimated that there are over 30 cultivars with 76 species enjoying the Common Ivy berries, as reported by Wikipedia.4 You have several options to choose from in the Hedera helix family.

English Ivy vs Boston Ivy

English Ivy vs Boston Ivy has some identical characteristics, such as the following:

  • Flowering vines
  • Climb buildings
  • Climb trees

The biggest difference, the Boston Ivy is a vine, not an ivy. The Boston Ivy is part of the grape family also known as Vitaceae.

The English Ivy is evergreen. The Boston Ivy is deciduous.

The English Ivy leaves stay glossy green all year long as an evergreen plant. The Boston Ivy leaves fall in the winter and turns red after being green in the spring and summer.

English Ivy vs Kudzu Vine

Depending on where you live, the Kudzu Vine may not be an option. The Kudzu vine is so aggressive and strong that it has brought down trees and buildings.

Most ivy plants are fast-growing. However, the Kudzu Vine can grow 1 foot a day, as reported by Washington Invasive Species Council.5

The Kudzu Vine is banned from Washington and Oregon.

English Ivy vs Kudzu Vine may be an easy decision. Check with your local college extension or local agriculture department for the best recommendations for your outdoor ivy plants’ backyard design.

English Ivy Poisonous: Ivy Leaf and Ivy Flower

Is the English Ivy poisonous? It is moderately poisonous compared to the Poison Ivy Vine in the Toxicodendron genus.10

  • The Ivy leaf and the Ivy flower from the English Ivy can cause itching and irritation for some. However, Poison Ivy sap won’t just cause irritation of the skin, it will immediately cause blisters and swelling.
  • English Ivy is poisonous when ingested, whereas Poison Ivy is poisonous from the touch or contact of the leaves.

To easily see the difference between English Ivy and Poison Ivy, you’ll have to look at their leaves.

  • The Poison Ivy leaves have pointed tips and are smaller than the English Ivy lobed leaves.
  • The English Ivy usually is five-lobed leaves versus three-leaf lobbed like the Poison Ivy.

English Ivy to Animals and Humans: Is It Toxic or Safe?

From the sap, leaves, and berries, the English Ivy Plant is considered toxic to animals and humans. The sap from the leaves will irritate the skin.

It’s crucial to handle it with care to avoid adverse reactions.

How To Care for English Ivy

How to care for English Ivy involves watering, fertilizing, repotting, pruning, and a weed control schedule.

Caring for your ivy plant involves an ongoing review of the vines and their growth.

Close-up of a potted English Ivy showcasing its dark green variegated leaves.

(Image: Greta Hoffman 14)

Evaluating your new vine plant can ensure the soil is moist, the leaves are still a healthy dark green, and the plant is growing in a controlled manner.

Watering needs for English Ivy Plant are weekly during the hotter seasons, such as spring and summer. However, if your region has year-round humidity and more heat throughout the year, check your soil to ensure your soil is not dry.

English Ivy Care

For English Ivy care, full sun is not needed. Partial shade is needed to keep the English Ivy Plant growing and thriving.

Fertilizing healthy soil is important too. A young English Ivy Plant may need a monthly fertilizer schedule.

However, fertilize your established English Ivy Plant bi-weekly in spring and summer in most regions. But checking with your local college extension on the best fertilizer schedule is recommended.

Indoor Plant Care: English Ivy Hanging Plant

For indoor English Ivy hanging plant care, repotting must be part of the care plan. Seeing vine plant roots peaking out of the drain holes of the plant container and extensive vines outgrowing the pot is an indicator to re-pot.

English Ivy in Winter and Ivy Vine Care

If it’s not freezing temperatures, English Ivy in winter and ivy vine care is not so difficult. Re-framing from fertilizing and watering when the soil is close to dry during the winter is often suggested for ground-covering Common Ivy Plant.

The ground covering can be well watered throughout fall, and placing mulch throughout the English Ivy Plant can help protect the ground covering from winter temperatures.

Placing your English Ivy indoor plant inside near a window sill for adequate winter sun is acceptable for a healthy plant in the winter months.

Ivy Care: Identify Weed by Photo for Weed Control

Weed control is necessary to keep your Common Ivy healthy and the surrounding plants. If you’re not sure if you’re looking at aggressive weeds, many apps can identify weed by photo for weed control.

You simply upload a photo of your plant and you will get confirmation if it’s a weed or not. Pulling weeds from your Common Ivy Plant in the fall and early spring is the recommended weed control method.

Because of skin irritation and not knowing what the English Ivy may have attracted in the wildlife ecosystem, using gloves to pull your vine plant weeds is a good idea. Pruning during the spring season will help regulate weeds and new growth.

How To Grow English Ivy

How to grow English Ivy is not nearly as complicated as taking care of the fast-growing ivy plant. This English Ivy Plant can be grown by cutting or seed.

When it comes to when to plant English Ivy Plant for the best yield, it’s in fall through Spring, according to Chicago Botanic Garden.8

Common Ivy plant wrapping around a tree trunk in a thick forest.

Although the English Ivy Plant can wither many types of temperatures and weather conditions, waiting to plant after the last winter frost is recommended.

Some shade is acceptable for your English Ivy Plant, it prefers indirect light to avoid burned leaves and dry soil.

The English Ivy Plant can sustain a variety of soil types, but the best soil must be well-drained. Also, healthy and rich soil with a pH of a minimum of 5.5 is desired.

However, your location and the type of soil in your backyard will determine the lifespan of your ivy plant.

English Ivy Plant Growing Zone

The best growing conditions for English Ivy Plant begin with your location. The growing zones for English Ivy Plant (where to grow) are zones 4 to 13.

From New York to Montana, the English Ivy is not very discriminating when it comes to the pH of the soil.

English Ivy displaying its green foliage and intertwined vines as it climbs a tree trunk.

In the English Ivy Plant growing zone, while it can virtually grow anywhere, some states offer alternatives because of the aggressive growth and possible weed issues you may encounter.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife recommends Alumroot instead of an English Ivy Plant for your landscaping needs.6

Growing English Ivy: How To Propagate English Ivy

When you ask the question, “How to propagate English Ivy?” some green thumb enthusiasts will say it’s fairly simple. But if you live in the Northern Pacific states such as Washington and Oregon, the ivy plant is not welcome.

So before you propagate the English Ivy Plant, be sure to look at the surrounding flowers and plants in your backyard oasis. This ivy plant can choke out or take over the nutrients in the surrounding area.

Growing an English Ivy Plant From a Cutting

Growing an English Ivy Plant from a cutting is the popular choice for indoor and outdoor ivy plants. You can start the growing process in a container by doing the following:

  • Buy cuttings from your favorite nursery
  • Plant multiple cuttings in the ground
  • Cuttings are to be a minimum of 24 inches apart
  • Place mulch around the plants

If you decide to wait for your ground-covering English Ivy Plant to grow a minimum of 4 inches long, you can cut 4-5 inches of the stem cutting and place it in a container with potting mix.

A minimum of six weeks after planting your ivy in the ground, your root system should be established. When the root system is established, transferring your cutting into a container is possible.

Some local nurseries or college extensions may recommend propagating an English Ivy Plant in water. Propagating an English Ivy Plant from a cutting by doing the following:

  • Cut 3-5 cuttings of 4-5 inches long English Ivy Plant stems
  • Remove 2-3 leaf stems to have nobes available to root
  • Nobes must be completely submerged
  • Place cuttings in an open container of water
  • Place cuttings and container in an area of indirect light
  • Change water at least once a week or bi-weekly

It is suspected that the cuttings will root as early as four weeks. But once the stems are two to three inches long, you can place your cuttings into a quality potting mix and container.

Growing an English Ivy Plant From a Seed

It is possible to pick your own riped English Ivy Plant berries to collect the seeds; growing an English Ivy Plant from a seed is not difficult.

Whether you collect your own seeds or buy English Ivy Plant seeds, you must prepare the seed by doing the following:

  • Pick or buy the darker seeds
  • Peel the seeds
  • Remove the pulp in the berry that carries the seeds

After peeling and removing the pulp of the English Ivy Plant berries, make sure you use gloves. The berries for humans are considered poisonous.

English Ivy Seeds and Germination

Depending on how you collect the English Ivy Plant seeds, you may not have to peel the seed; however, germination is suggested. To germinate or not to germinate is dependent on the type of English Ivy Plant seed and location.

Because vine plants typically grow fast, germinating seeds may not be necessary. But soaking the vine plant seeds for 24 hours at a minimum will help with establishing the root system and health of the seed.

English Ivy seeds and germination require:

  • Place several seeds in grow bags with mulch
  • Check seeds and mulch moisture
  • Then place the seed in the refrigerator for up to eight weeks

When you remove your stratified English Ivy Plant seeds, soak your seeds for 24 hours. Make sure to place your dry seeds in a potting mix and well-drained pot.

Your new English Ivy Plant will need moderate temperatures of no lower than 50 degrees and no higher than 70 degrees. Indirect sunlight is best for a young plant to establish a root system and leaves.

Growing an English Ivy Plant From a Seedling

Buying a seeding helps speed up the growing process for a ground covering. However, growing an English Ivy Plant from seeding to thriving houseplants is done quite often to beautify homes.

The English Ivy indoor plant needs the same quality care as ground coverings.

When growing an English Ivy Plant from a seedling, the spring and summer months require more care to ensure moisture in the soil. Fertilizing the indoor English Ivy Plant is necessary with increased humidity and heat.

Planting Tips for English Ivy Plant

Before planting your vine plant, have a design and care plan. English Ivy Plants are considered aggressive growing plants.

They can grow faster than expected, and weeds may appear.

Close-up view of English Ivy weaving through a metal grid fence.

(Image: Lum3n13)

The following planting tips for English Ivy Plant to ensure a new thriving Hedera helix:

  • Make sure the English Ivy is allowed to grow in your region
  • Plant in a fairly large space for ground coverings
  • For houseplants, ensure your home has cooler to moderate temperatures
  • Have a fertilizing schedule that works for your soil and weather conditions
  • Have pruning and weed control care plan ready

The planting of English Ivy Plants is fairly easy. The care, time of year, and where the English Ivy Plant is planted matter.

Humidity, temperatures no hotter than 90 degrees will help your plant grow healthy indoors or outdoors.

Besides the care of your newly planted ivy plant, the planting tips for English Ivy Plants are not just the care but where to plant it. If you are not interested in your ivy plant climbing your home exterior, fences, or trees, plant them a minimum of 2 feet away.

English Ivy Plant Disease Prevention

Avoiding falling leaves or turning yellow or brown involves the quality of care. English Ivy Plant disease prevention is possible.

Some of the common pests of the English Ivy Plant are:

  • Aphids
  • Bacterial Leaf Spots
  • Powdery Mildew
  • Spider Mites

How to stop English Ivy Plant disease is accomplished by not over pruning, overwatering, and also not dehydrating your English Ivy plant.

Root rot is possible with overwatering and can cause the above-mentioned diseases and pest issues.

Pest Control: English Ivy Plant Care

Natural pest control for English Ivy Plant is Neem oil, water, and rubbing alcohol.

Before using chemicals, watering down the trouble spots that show the aphids, spider mites, etc, is recommended. Then spray Neem oil and later use a cotton swab with mixed water and rubbing alcohol to clear up the honeydew residue.

In terms of English Ivy Plant care, these natural pest control options can help if your English Ivy Plant is in the beginning stages of being under attack by pests due to disease.

How To Kill English Ivy

How to kill English Ivy can be a challenge if you don’t apply an organic weed-killer recipe. There are many recipes to get rid of weeds, but the primary ingredient is vinegar.

Making sure you have gloves, pants, and boots to protect your skin during the pulling of weeds.

Pulling your Common Ivy from the root requires the soil to be slightly wet. Whether you wait until a good rain comes and do it for you or use your garden hose, this will help the pulling process not to be so tough.

Organic weed killer recipe may vary with essential oils, tablet salt, and vinegar, but it does help naturally get rid of the underground roots of the English Ivy Plant.

Common Ivy: Types of Fence Vines for Privacy

Common Ivy is a great option as a perennial plant for fence vines. However, you must consider how tall your fence is and if the plant can cover the type of fence properly.

There are many types of fence vines for privacy to choose from. Some varieties are not in the Araliaceae family, such as the following:

1. Boston Ivy

The Boston Ivy is a fast-growing vine from the Vitaceae family. Turning red in fall, the Boston Ivy is a decorative ivy that can provide adequate privacy on your fence.

The Boston Ivy will grow fast and hard on your wood or chain link fence.

Lush green and red Boston Ivy foliage enveloping a building's facade and windows.

(Image: RonPorter11)

Close-up view of a Honeysuckle vine showcasing its white blossoms, intertwining stems, and vibrant green foliage.

2. Honeysuckle Vine

The Honeysuckle Vine is in the Caprifoliaceae family.

Several varieties of Honeysuckle Vines bloom red, white, yellow, or pink flowers.

Unlike other vine plants, the Honeysuckle has a sweet fragrance. The Honeysuckle Vine can be grown on a variety of fences, including wood, vinyl, and aluminum.

3. Morning Glory

The Morning Glory blooms beautiful white, purple, or blue flowers that start to grow in the summer season. It’s in the Convolvulaceae and can also add privacy to various fence types.

A group of Morning Glory plants displaying their radiant blue blooms and lush green leaves in daylight.

Deciding to add additional privacy with the help of English Ivy or other varieties of vine plants requires knowing which ivy vine is best. Some may suggest not using English Ivy or choosing the Kudzu Vine because of its fast-growing vines and weeds.

But other green thumbs will swear by the beauty and strength of the Clematis Vine. To lessen any confusion, be sure to check with your local nursery or college extension for the best kind of fence vine for your area.

English Ivy Plant Growth Rate

The English Ivy Plant growth rate is deemed as rapid two years after planting it. During this period, the plant experiences a growth spurt.

Therefore, it’s not unusual for a Common Ivy to reach 100 feet and grow up to 9 feet per year.

This plant needs up to 60 feet of space to grow on the ground, according to North Carolina State University.7

How Much Carbon Does English Ivy Plant Sequester?

As mentioned above, the English Ivy Plant was determined to be listed as one of the top 10 air purifiers. How much carbon does English Ivy Plant sequester is not necessarily known.

However, being a woody plant, it does its part in sequestering carbon emissions. According to the University of California, Davis,9 landscapes with plants throughout the world capture an estimated 25% of carbon emissions.

With the large ground covering that English Ivy Plants provide, the carbon emissions are captured in the leaves, wood, and soil for decades.

Everyone and everything, including the internet, has a carbon footprint. Planting new trees and plants helps your immediate environment by absorbing the carbon dioxide present and will result in reducing your carbon footprint.

To get a better estimate of how much carbon emissions your family puts out into the atmosphere, use a carbon calculator to help plan to decrease your carbon emissions.

Although there is an ongoing debate about whether to allow such an invasive plant, the English Ivy Plant purifies the air and does its part in resolving global warming.

Frequently Asked Questions About English Ivy Plant

Can the English Ivy Plant Grow Anywhere?

The English Ivy Plant is very versatile in where it can grow, but it’s best to grow the ivy plant in USDA Hardiness Zone 4-13.

However, you need to contact your local Department of Agriculture or college extension to make sure the English Ivy Plant is welcomed in your area.

How Fast Does English Ivy Grow?

The speed at which how long it takes to grow English Ivy Plant is rapid compared to other plants. How fast does English Ivy grow is estimated to be up to 9 feet per year.

When Should an English Ivy Plant Be Pruned?

It’s recommended in early spring to prune and mow excessive vines.

What Is the Best Distance To Consider How Far Apart To Plant English Ivy Plant?

Knowing how far apart to plant English Ivy Plant is essential for ensuring its healthy growth and access to necessary nutrients. Planting your English Ivy 1-2 feet apart from its fellow vine plant helps it get nutrients and room to grow.

How Much Sunlight Does English Ivy Plant Need Each Day?

This Ivy plant can be grown in partial shade and up to 6 hours of indirect sunlight. This answers the question “how much sunlight does English Ivy Plant need each day?”

What Is the Best Option To Keep the English Ivy Plant in High Humidity Indoors?

Using a humidifier or misting your Ivy plant can help it to stay healthy during the colder months of the year.

What Are the Companion Plants for Growing English Ivy Plant?

When considering the companion plants for growing English Ivy Plant, between the Coleus plant and Heucheras, it may be a surprise that the English Ivy Plant can share a space with some other plants. However, the companion plants mentioned, as well as hostas and ferns, can upgrade and complement each other.

What Is The Best Way on How To Treat a Skin Rash From the English Ivy Plant?

There is no cure or specific medication to treat a skin rash from the English Ivy Plant. Contact your medical provider if keeping the skin clean and dry is not helping to improve your skin rash.


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