Contents

Types of Ivy Plants

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Indoors or outdoors, the trailing stems and glossy foliage of ivy plants create a distinctive profile, whether grown as a houseplant, ground cover, climber or container plant. Ivies with a wide variety of regional origins and huge range of individual cultivars generally share preferences for moist soil, partial shade and plenty of room to climb or trail. Their vigor, however, can lead to control problems in some growing situations.

English Ivy

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English ivy (Hedera helix spp.) is probably the best-known and most frequently planted ivy groundcover in states across the United States. Cold-hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 9, English ivy tolerates snow and ice, poor soil and occasional dry spells. Cultivars number over 500. Glossy dark-green leaves range from heart-shaped to spiky “bird’s foot,” from under 1 inch to approximately 2 inches in size. Some species are mottled or edged with white, cream or pale yellow. This vigorous grower can reach 50 to 100 feet high in time and can deprive large trees of necessary light if not kept in check. An aggressive growth habit means that English ivy is classified as invasive in 18 states and the District of Columbia.

Irish Ivy

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Closely related to English ivy, Irish ivy (Hedera hibernica) shares similar growing habits and USDA zones. Sometimes confused with English ivy, it also illustrates how local growing conditions can determine whether a plant is regarded as invasive, noxious, troublesome or beneficial to the local landscape. In Washington State, for example, Irish ivy is labelled a noxious weed and controlled on public lands like an invasive plant. Homeowners are, however, free to plant it as desired and encouraged informally to keep it under control.

Persian Ivy

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Persian ivy (Hedera colchica) is native to the Near East, and grows in USDA zones 6 through 9, and sometimes in zone 10 with protection from sustained hot sun. It is sometimes called “bullock’s heart” ivy because of leaf shape. More tolerant of direct sun and periodically dry soil than some other kinds of ivy, a Persian ivy plant can spread 3 to 6 feet and reach a height of 10 to 40 feet. Heart-shaped Persian ivy leaves are the largest of any ivy variety, between 4 and 10 inches long. Varieties may be solid-color, mottled or bordered with cream or white.

Algerian Ivy

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Also called North African or Canary Island ivy, Hedera canariensis is hardy in USDA zones 6 through 10. Leathery, high-gloss, five- to seven-lobed dark green leaves are supported by distinctive red-tinged stems. Algerian ivy prefers moist rich soil and has a higher tolerance for direct sun than English ivy, to which it is closely related. According to Floridata, Algerian ivy establishes more quickly and grows faster than English ivy in situations where either variety is a compatible choice.

Japanese Ivy

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Another warm-weather ivy, native to Japan, Japanese ivy (Hedera rhombea) flourishes in USDA zones 8 and 9. A less strenuous grower than Algerian ivy, Japanese ivy reaches 10 to 12 feet in length at maturity. Stems are noticeably purplish, and the shallow-lobed heart-shaped leaves of Hedera rhombea variegata contain streaks and blotches of pure white against dark shiny green.

Nepalese Ivy

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Native to the high altitudes of mountainous Nepal and Bhutan, Hedera nepalensis is sometimes called Himalayan ivy. It shares the general family preference for moist soil and can grow in USDA zones 7 through 10, thriving in daylong partial shade or morning sun only. Glossy leaves are diamond shaped and appear to droop a bit on stems. Vines spread to between 5 and 10 feet, while reaching a height of 8 to 10 feet.

Russian Ivy

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Native to the Caucasus mountains, Hedera pastuchovii is called both Russian and Iranian ivy and sometimes included, confusingly, under the “Persian ivy” rubric. Russian ivy is marketed as perennial in USDA zones 7 and above. According to Washington State University Extension, comparisons of cold-tolerance of several ivy varieties suggested that Russian ivy can survive in USDA zone 5 with winter mulching; farther north, it should be treated as an annual.

Tag Archives | Hedera hibernica

Common names:

English Ivy

Atlantic ivy or Irish ivy

Scientific Name:

Hedera helix (syns. Hedera helix ssp. helix, Hedera canariensis, Hedera helix ssp. canariensis)

Hedera hibernica (syns. Hedera helix ssp. hibernica)

Noxious Weed Listing:

  • WeedWise: Maintenance
  • State of Oregon: Class B
  • State of Washington: Class C
  • 4-County CWMA: Class C
  • Columbia Gorge CWMA: Class B

Description:

General:

English ivy is an evergreen climbing vine in the Araliaceae (Ginseng) family. It has historically been a common garden ornamental and has more than 400 cultivars. It has escaped cultivation to become highly invasive in forests and natural areas throughout the Pacific Northwest. Native to Europe, these plants are characterized by long viny stems reaching up to 30 m in length, with aerial, clinging small roots. English ivy damages desirable vegetation by shading out and smothering plants. English ivy also covers trees making them more susceptible to wind damage due to the additional weight of the ivy in the trees as well as the additional drag of the evergreen leafy vines. English ivy has two distinct growth forms: a juvenile form, that is characterized by rapid clonal and vegetative growth, and a mature form characterized by flowering and berry production.

In Oregon, three Hedera species have been documented: English ivy (H. helix), Atlantic ivy (H. hibernica), and Persian ivy (H. colchica). However, only H. helix and H. hibernica are listed as noxious weeds in Oregon. The invasive plant commonly referred to as English ivy is actually comprised of both H. helix and H. hibernica. Identification and differentiation between the species are complicated because of there many cultivated varieties. Both H. helix and H. hibernica have been commonly sold as English ivy, but can be differentiated by leaf shape and tiny hairs on the young leaves. These two species can also be differentiated through genetic testing.

Leaves:

The leaves come in two forms: juvenile and mature. Both leaves are evergreen, leathery, and palmately shaped. Juvenile leaves have 3-5 lobes and are slightly hairy. Generally, the lobes on H. helix are deeper than H. hibernica, but the lobes can vary. The leaves of mature ivy are ovate to diamond-shaped, unlobed or slightly lobed, darker green and more leathery. On both growth forms, the leaves alternate along the vines and are up to 10 cm long. Leaves can be toxic to humans and cattle if ingested. Leaves can also cause contact dermatitis in sensitive individuals.

Flowers

English ivy generally will only flower under conditions with adequate light and optimal nutrients. Flowers are only produced high in the tree canopy within infested forests, or along steep slopes. English ivy flowers in the fall and are pollinated by insects. Adult plants flower in clusters. The flowers are five-petaled, greenish to white in coloration and are only 3-5 mm long.

Fruits

Fruits develop as fleshy, dark blue to black berries that ripen in spring. Thousands of fruits can be produced by an adult plant each year. English ivy berries, particularly when underdeveloped, can be toxic to humans and cattle if ingested. These fruits are 5-10 mm in size and hold 1-3 seeds. Approximately 70% of the seeds produced are viable.

Roots

The juvenile English ivy plants have adventitious roots at their nodes. Roots are generally shallowly rooted, but robust. English ivy also forms aerial, clinging rootlets, allowing it to adhere and climb vertically. Adult English ivy plants form a woody base.

Reproduction:

English ivy reproduces both from mature seeds as well as from root-like stems and sprouting fragments. The berries of English ivy are ingested by birds and the seeds can be dispersed great distances from parent plants. New plants can regenerate from stems and fragments from both the mature and juvenile growth forms. Regenerating plants maintain the growth form of their parents, such that plants formed from stem regeneration of adult form plants will keep adult characteristics. Once established juvenile plants can live up to 10 years before reaching maturation. English ivy plants can live up to 100 years or longer with one plant in England being documented at more than 400 years in age.

Habitat:

The areas most infested by English ivy are urban natural areas, disturbed forests, woodlands, and along stream corridors. Plants grown in moist soils with summer shade and winter sunlight will flourish. Urban forest and natural areas are especially impacted as a result of repeated reinfestation from garden escapees.

Impacts:

  • Weighs down and harms large canopy trees making them more susceptible to wind throw
  • Smothers and displaces forest floor vegetation.
  • Degrades wildlife habit and reduces the diversity of animals in infested areas.
  • Toxic berries and leaves can cause injury.
  • Very invasive with rapid and intense vegetative growth, that can quickly transform a site.
  • Seeds disperse great distances, making containment of infestations very difficult.
  • Can be a reservoir for bacterial leaf scorch harmful to elms, oaks, and maples.
  • Vines tangle among native understory making removal difficult.
  • Increases erosion due to the displacement of native species and a shallow root system.

Introduction:

The original introduction of English ivy to the United States is believed to have been by European immigrants during colonial times as a garden ornamental. The earliest record of English ivy in North America dates to 1727. Introduction to the Portland area occurred between 1875 and 1899 (Christy et al., 2009).

Distribution:

Clackamas County:

English ivy can be found throughout Clackamas County. It is very widespread and directly impacts properties throughout the county. As a ubiquitous weed, this is not a species that is actively surveyed and the mapped distributions do not represent the full extent of the English ivy population in Clackamas County.

State of Oregon:

  • Oregon iMapInvasives
  • Oregon Weedmapper
  • Oregon Flora Plant Atlas

United States:

  • EDDMapS
  • USDA Plants Database

Management:

Strategy:

The management of invasive weeds is best served through a process known as Integrated Pest Management (IPM). IPM is a weed management methodology that utilizes:

  • Management thresholds to determine when and if to initiate control,
  • The ecology and life history characteristics of the targeted invasive weed,
  • Site-specific conditions and land use considerations to inform management practices,
  • The effectiveness and efficiency of various control methods.

An IPM based strategy ensures the maximum effectiveness of treatment measures. IPM strategies typically use more than one management method to target one or more susceptible life stages. It should be adaptive to site conditions in the field and to the response of a plant to management. The utilization of multiple management tools inherently reduces the use of herbicides in a management plan. The IPM process ultimately provides a framework for the establishment of Best Management Practices (BMP) which outlines the best approach for controlling a weed particular infestation.

Manual:

English ivy is often best controlled using manual control methods. The waxy leaves of English ivy and its ability to regenerate from stems and fragments, make it resistant to chemical and mechanical control methods. While effective the removal of English ivy can be time-consuming and labor-intensive. As such, persistence is possibly the most important factor in determining the success of your treatments. It has been suggested that an acre of English ivy dominated forest requires more than 300 man-hours for an initial clearing and continued maintenance to restore a site. So restoration efforts should plant their work accordingly

The first step is to choose an area, that can receive repeated control efforts. Prioritize your site. Choose a portion of your management area that is of highest priority, or work from a relatively intact area, and slowly expand your treatments systematically outward. Look at the concentration and location of the ivy, the landscape, soil moisture, abundance of native plants in the area as well as the number and skill of workers assisting. Before handling English ivy be sure to wear long sleeves, long pants, and gloves to protect yourself from potential dermatitis. Utilize tools such as shovels, rakes, mattocks, and weed wrenches to assist in the removal of the roots. Saws, loppers, and hand clippers can be used to cut vines.

In locations where native plants are abundant, the preferred practice is hand removal. Vines growing on trees should be targeted first to prevent flowering and seed set and to preserve canopy trees on site. Vines on trees should be cut using a saw, loppers or hand clippers around the entire base of the tree and also at a comfortable arm reach then removed from the tree. Leave the remaining ivy above the cut line to dry out and fall down on its own. All ivy should be removed within, a minimum of 3 feet around the trunk to better protect the tree. Flowering or seeding plants should be removed to prevent seeding or regeneration. For ground ivy control should focus on one location, pulling every vine and root up within reaching distance, before moving to a new location. Working systematically from a core area. Manual control of English ivy is best done in the fall and winter when the ground is soft and plants are not seeding.

When few native plants reside on the property and there are sufficient workers, English ivy can be removed in large mats using a technique called the ‘Log Roll’. This technique relies upon first defining a treatment area. The perimeter of the area is cut and a line of workers pull the edge of the mat, rolling vines and roots of the ivy on top of itself. It is important to shake the roots to remove soil. The roll should then be mulched in place to prevent resprouting. Workers should also follow up in the cleared site to remove any missed roots. This practice can be done on both flat ground and on hillsides. Soils with higher water content allow for an easier pull.

Additional tips to reduce erosion and minimize damage to native plants:

  • Remove as much of the root system as possible by pulling the vine directly where the root comes out of the ground
  • Minimize trampling and churning of the soil
  • Protect native plants that are present through careful and conscientious pulling and walking
  • Be thorough, by completely clearing an area before moving on

Mechanical:

English ivy can be mowed or cut but this is generally not recommended due to its ability to regenerate following cutting.

Cultural:

Grazing has been used to defoliate large infestations of English ivy. Goats and sheep will graze the ivy leaves, but plants will readily resprout following grazing. As such, grazing animals must be rotated repeatedly back onsite to suppress regrowth. English ivy is generally not favored by grazing animals, so co-occurring native plants are usually grazed more strongly than the ivy itself. As such, grazing is generally considered to be ineffective, or of limited use. Mature ivy plants are also generally found growing above the browse line, so manual removal of tree ivy is required in conjunction with any grazing strategy.

English ivy is fire resistant and doesn’t carry a fire well. The repeated torching of ivy plants will cause cellular damage and dieback. With persistence, this method will exhaust nutrients as the English ivy resprouts, but it is generally inefficient compared to other methods. As such this method is generally not recommended.

Chemical:

Effective chemical control of English ivy is dependent on a few variables including timing, sensible application, and the proper mixture of chemicals. The timing is important to limit damage to native plants. Herbicide application during dry and sunny periods in late winter can be an effective chemical control on English ivy. The ivy is still alive and may still be growing in the winter while most native plants are dormant and protected. Herbicide has shown to be successful when applied directly to cut stems specifically around a tree trunk.

Foliar application of herbicides is deterred by the waxy coating on the leaves. This is especially true for older/mature leaves and application during the growing season. This leads to runoff of herbicide onto nearby native plants. A fatty acid can be applied before or with the herbicide application to increase absorption into the leaves.

Widespread chemical control of English ivy is not suggested and should only to be considered in areas completely dominated by ivy or on difficult sites were manual control methods may be impractical or dangerous.

Before you Start:

  • Before purchasing any herbicide product it is important to read the label. The label is the Law. Carefully review all parts of the label even if you have used the product before. Select a product that is most appropriate for your site. If you have questions, ask your vendor before purchasing a product.
  • When selecting herbicides always use a product appropriately labeled for your site. Follow label recommendations and restrictions at all times. If any information provided here contradicts the label, the label takes precedence. Always follow the label!
  • Protect yourself. Always wear the recommended protective clothing identified on your label and shower after use.
  • When applying herbicides use spot spray techniques whenever possible to avoid harming non-target plants.
  • Do not apply during windy or breezy conditions that may result in drift to non-target plants
  • Avoid spraying near water. Hand-pull in these areas, to protect aquatic and riparian plants and wildlife.
  • Avoid exposure to pets, pollinators, and wildlife. Remove animals from treatment areas to avoid exposure to herbicides. Follow the reentry instructions on your herbicide label and keep pets out of the area until the herbicides have dried and it is safe to return. Avoid spraying when insects and animals are active. Avoid spraying blooming plants to minimize any effects on bees and other pollinators.
  • Be sure to store any chemicals out of the reach of children and pets to keep your family safe.
  • Product labels and formulations change regularly. Check the Pacific Northwest Weed Management Handbook and the label for current control recommendations.

Herbicides:

The mention of any brand name product is not, and should not be construed as an endorsement for that product. They are included here only for educational purposes. Suggested rates are generalized by active ingredient. Specific rates will vary between products. Be sure to review the label before application and use the recommended label rate at all times.

Active Ingredients

  • Glyphosate
  • Triclopyr
  • Picloram
  • Imazapyr
  • Glyphosate + Triclopyr

Time: Apply when actively growing in late summer early fall. An application can also be made on sunny winter days to avoid harming co-occurring natives. Cut stump applications should be made directly after cutting and during the dormant season for best results.

Comments: Wait four months after foliar treatment before cutting again. For cut stump application, cut stems horizontally or at ground level. Apply the solution directly after the cut. Treatment controls most resprouts. Glyphosate is not selective and will harm grasses. Use care when working around desirable plants to avoid damage. Leaves should be sprayed until wet but not dripping to achieve good control.

Product Names: Garlon 3A, Garlon 4 Ultra (triclopyr ester), Pathfinder II

Time: Apply post emergence in late summer to early fall, (August – October) when plants are growing rapidly. Cut stump applications should be made directly after a cut and during the dormant season for best results.

Comments: For cut stem treatment, follow the application description in Glyphosate. Triclopyr is selective and will harm desirable broad-leaf plants, trees, and shrubs. Use care when working around desirable plants to avoid damage. Leaves should be sprayed until wet but not dripping to achieve good control. Triclopyr ester formulations may volatilize under warm temperatures.

Product Names: Tordon 22K

Rate:
Broadcast: 3-4 pints/acre (0.75 to 1 lb a.e/acre) plus .25 to .5% v/v surfactant

Time: Apply postemergence in late summer to early fall, (August – October) when plants are growing rapidly at or beyond early to full bloom stage.

Comments: Picloram can have long-term soil activity and has shown to move with groundwater. It should not be used around trees because of root uptake. Use care when working around desirable plants to avoid damage. Leaves should be sprayed until wet but not dripping to achieve good control. Restricted herbicide.

Product Names: Arsenal, Habitat, Stalker, Chopper, Polaris

Time: Apply post emergence in late summer to early fall when the plant is growing rapidly.

Comments: Imazapyr exhibits some residual effects in the soil and may result in bare ground around plants after treatment. Care should be taken when replanting. Cut stump applications should be made directly after cutting and during the dormant season for best results.

Product Names: Tank Mixed

Rate:
Spot treat: 4% v/v Glyphosate solution + 2% v/v Triclopyr solution, with 1-2% non-ionic surfactant v/v in water.

Time: Apply in late summer with a late fall follow up.

Comments: Treat when temperatures are above 65 F when no rain is expected for 2-3 days.

Biological:

There are no effective biological control agents available for English ivy.

Disposal:

There are many ways to dispose of English ivy when clearing your property. For small infestations, bagging up pulled plants is the best practice if possible. For larger infestations, pile up the debris and let it dry out. Placing a tarp under the pile will help prevent resprouting. Piles can also be covered to speed up drying and decompositions. Large debris piles can create dead spots, so placement of piles should be placed to minimize the impact to desirable vegetation. Under dry conditions, plants can be chopped into a mulch and spread over the area for ground cover and nutrients, but be careful with this method as covering the ground will reduce the visibility of missed/live roots.

Follow-Up:

Diligence is the most important aspect of controlling English Ivy. Ivy plants will readily resprout from any roots left remaining, so repeated follow-up is required. An herbicide application in summer has shown to be the most effective after treatment. Re-treatment may be required to achieve effective control. The seed may persist in the soil for years following treatment or arrive on-site from adjacent and nearby infestations.

Best Management Practices:

Monoculture Infestations:

  • Consider the land use practices on site. Identify, any site-specific considerations that should be taken into account before initiating control.
  • Be sure you can properly identify English ivy. If you are unsure about your weed bring a sample to the Conservation District, and we can help to identify your particular weed.
  • Identify any native or desirable plants nearby, and take precautions to minimize any negative impact on them.
  • Herbicide application is often the best approach with respect to cost, time, and erosion protection for large ivy infestations with few desirable plants.
  • Winter applications have shown to be effective while minimizing the impact to native, but spray only during when winter weather is above 55 F, and no precipitation is expected for at least three days. Otherwise, plan treatments for late summer.
  • Follow-up treatments 6-12 months afterward can be as re-treatment of herbicide, spot spray herbicide application or spot manual removal.
  • Replant site with site-appropriate native vegetation as soon as possible. Grass seed can be spread to stabilize soil in between removal and plantings.
  • Continue to monitor the site for regrowth and treat any new infestations.

Small Infestations within native or desirable vegetation:

  • Consider the land use practices on site. Identify, any site-specific considerations that should be taken into account before initiating control.
  • Be sure you can properly identify English ivy. If you are unsure about your weed bring a sample to the Conservation District, and we can help to identify your particular weed.
  • Identify any native or desirable plants nearby, and take precautions to minimize any negative impact on them.
  • A manual approach is best with a limited spot spray application of herbicide in dense patches within native vegetation.
  • Pull plants in winter and spring when the soil is moist and the ivy is prominent.
  • Replanting is not as necessary in small infestations within native vegetation because the natives will expand into open areas. If large gaps are present, additional plantings may be beneficial.
  • Continue to monitor the site for regrowth and treat any new infestations as they occur.

Fun Facts:

  • Juvenile plants can climb as much as 30 ft per year.
  • Leaves and berries have been eaten as an expectorant.
  • A leaf reduction can be used to restore dark fabrics or dye hair and twigs can create yellow and brown dye.
  • Medicinally used since ancient times to treat rheumatism, toothache, bronchitis, and many skin problems including burns, infections, and cellulite.
  • Ivy has been long used in England as decorations during the Christmas season.

Gallery:

English ivy Tree ivy infestation English Ivy English ivy flowers English ivy berries English Ivy seedling English ivy in trees Massive English Ivy Stem English ivy after treatment

Additional Information:

Plant Finder

Irish Ivy foliage

Irish Ivy foliage

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

* This is a “special order” plant – contact store for details

Height: 10 feet

Spread: 10 inches

Sunlight:

Hardiness Zone: 4b

Other Names: Atlantic Ivy

Description:

Useful and vigorous ground cover ivy with dark green leaves that are slightly folded upward; ivasive in milder climates because birds spread seeds; must be maintained to avoid spreading

Ornamental Features

Irish Ivy features dainty panicles of white flowers along the branches in early summer. It has dark green foliage which emerges light green in spring. The glossy lobed leaves remain dark green throughout the winter. It produces navy blue berries in late summer.

Landscape Attributes

Irish Ivy is a multi-stemmed evergreen woody vine with a twining and trailing habit of growth. Its average texture blends into the landscape, but can be balanced by one or two finer or coarser trees or shrubs for an effective composition.

This is a high maintenance woody vine that will require regular care and upkeep, and can be pruned at anytime. It is a good choice for attracting birds to your yard. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration;

  • Spreading
  • Invasive

Irish Ivy is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • General Garden Use
  • Groundcover
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Irish Ivy will grow to be about 10 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 10 inches. As a climbing vine, it tends to be leggy near the base and should be underplanted with low-growing facer plants. It should be planted near a fence, trellis or other landscape structure where it can be trained to grow upwards on it, or allowed to trail off a retaining wall or slope. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 30 years.

This woody vine performs well in both full sun and full shade. It prefers to grow in average to moist conditions, and shouldn’t be allowed to dry out. It is not particular as to soil pH, but grows best in rich soils, and is able to handle environmental salt. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments, and will benefit from being planted in a relatively sheltered location. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in winter to protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates. This is a selected variety of a species not originally from North America, and parts of it are known to be toxic to humans and animals, so care should be exercised in planting it around children and pets.

Irish Ivy makes a fine choice for the outdoor landscape, but it is also well-suited for use in outdoor pots and containers. Because of its spreading habit of growth, it is ideally suited for use as a ‘spiller’ in the ‘spiller-thriller-filler’ container combination; plant it near the edges where it can spill gracefully over the pot. Note that when grown in a container, it may not perform exactly as indicated on the tag – this is to be expected. Also note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

* This is a “special order” plant – contact store for details

Irish Wildflowers Irish Wild Plants Irish Wild Flora Wildflowers of Ireland

This is an evergreen climber which clings by means of tiny stem roots to masonry, trees, cliffs and rocks and which carpets the ground in dense shade and under hedges. The early leaves are three or five-lobed, shiny dark green with pale veins and the more mature leaves are often heart-shaped. The leaves remain on the plant throughout the year and from September to November they are joined by little yellow-green flowers (8–10 mm across). These have five pointed lobes and five prominent stamens, are borne in umbels. In the following spring, the berries develop, ripening purple-black. These are poisonous if eaten in quantity and it might be useful to know that the sap contains an irritant to the skin which can induce dermatitis. This is a native plant and it belongs to the Araliaceae family. Also found less commonly in Ireland is Hedera helix, with some small differences but best differentiated from Hedera hibernica by having whitish rather than light brown hairs on growing tips. Some of the little hairs on the leaves project from the leaf-surface in Hibernica helix, whereas they lie flat to it in Hedera hibernica.

I first recorded this plant in Dalkey, Co Dublin in 1976 and I photographed it in Gibletstown, Co Wexford in 2009.

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Ivy Houseplants – Information On Caring For Ivy Plants

Ivy can make a wonderful, bright light houseplant. It can grow long and lush and bring a bit of the outdoors inside. Growing ivy indoors is easy as long as you know what makes an ivy plant happy. Let’s learn a little bit more about ivy and proper ivy plant care.

About Ivy Houseplants

Ivy houseplants can actually be one of several different varieties. These include:

  • English ivy (Hedera helix)
  • Irish ivy (Hedera hibernica)
  • Japanese ivy (Hedera rhombea)
  • Algerian ivy (Hedera canariensis)
  • Persian ivy (Hedera colchica)
  • Nepal ivy (Hedera nepalensis)
  • Russian ivy (Hedera pastuchovii)

English ivy cultivars are the most common type of ivy grown in the home, but all can be found if you look hard enough. Each of the varieties of inside ivy plants also come in several different cultivars. This means that there is a dizzying array of ivies that you can choose for your home, depending on your preference for color (all shades of green or variegated with white, yellow, gray, black and cream), leaf shape and growth habits.

Growing Ivy Indoors

Growing ivy indoors isn’t difficult as long as you provide what the plant needs. The most important part of indoor ivy plant care is light. All true ivies need bright light. Variegated cultivars can take medium light, but be aware that their variegation will become less pronounced in less light. Without enough light, inside ivy plants will become leggy and sickly looking. They will also be more prone to pests.

Indoor Ivy Plant Care

When watering your ivy, always check the soil before adding water. Ivies prefer to be kept slightly on the dry side, so let the soil dry out some (dry to the touch on top) before you water your ivy plant again. Also, make sure that your plant has excellent drainage, as ivy does not like to be in standing water or overly wet soil.

Caring for ivy plants should also include regular fertilizing. Fertilize your ivy about once a month in the spring, summer and fall with a water soluble, nitrogen-rich fertilizer. Do not fertilize in the winter, as this is the ivy’s dormant period and the fertilizer may do more harm than good at this time.

Ivy houseplants benefit from periodic washing to remove dust and pests from their leaves. To wash your ivy plant, simply place the plant in the shower and allow the water to run over the plant for a few minutes. If you find the plant has a serious pest infestation, you may need to bring the spray closer to the plant to help knock off all the pests.

Caring for ivy plants is easy and rewarding. You will enjoy not only growing ivy indoors, but will also have fun with the wide selection of ivy plants available to do so.

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