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13 Different Types of Ivy Plants (+ Examples)

English ivy (Hedera helix) is one of the world’s most popular ivy plants, though it is considered an invasive species in some parts of the world. Ivy is an evergreen shrub best known for crawling onto other surfaces, such as tree bark, to optimize its growth.

It is also one of Mother Nature’s most aggressive growers, and ivy plants can grow almost completely out of control in the hands of an inexperienced gardener.

Still, ivy is one of the most popular features in gardens and homes all over the world. There were also different types of Ivy plants.

Ivy does not require much sunlight or water to grow well. The plant is highly adaptable to its circumstances and grows just as well in various conditions—including extremely hot or cold ones, where it might still flourish.

The ivy plant can climb. Gardeners can use this ability to their fullest extent by directing the plant’s growth along whatever they want.

Ivy is often used as a covering or crawling plant for this reason. If you like, you can also happily grow ivy plants in pots.

English ivy might be one of the most common species, but it’s not the only one.

There are approximately 15 species of pure ivy plants and several other ivy-like plants that share some of their characteristics, though they belong to other plant families.

It’s not as simple just to “Plant an ivy.”

Ivy facts, uses, problems, and dangers.

There are many ivy plants, including the English ivy (Hedera helix). Ivy is a popular evergreen shrub known for its aggressive growth and ability to crawl on other surfaces. It is also one of the most adaptable plants, thriving in a variety of conditions.

Gardeners can use ivy’s versatility by directing its growth along their chosen surface. Ivy is often used as a covering plant because it can climb. There are approximately 15 types of pure ivy plants, as well as several other ivy-like plants.

It’s not as simple as ” planting an ivy.” Before getting started, gardeners should be aware of the potential problems and dangers associated with growing ivy plants.

English ivy (Hedera helix) is one of the world’s most popular types of ivy plants, though it is considered an invasive species in some parts of the world.

This ivy is famous for its glossy, green leaves, which are thick with yellow or white veins. Usually confined to cold, low-light environments, it grows in North Africa, West Asia, North America, Canada, and Europe.

Which ones of these ivy plants will you pick?

Devil’s ivy, Fig ivy, and German ivy are just three more types spread throughout the world’s biomes. Each of these ivy varieties has special traits that set them apart – or make them perfect for what you might want to grow.

Many sites say that ivy plants are hard to grow, impossible to transplant, and tedious to care for. You’ll be glad to know that this is false! Ivy plants are easy to grow and maintain.

But only if you have chosen the best plant for your environment!

Let’s move to 11 different types of ivy plants.

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Most Popular Different Types of Ivy Plants

1. Boston ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata)

Boston Ivy

Boston ivy is a flowering plant in the grape family, which makes it technically not part of the true ivy family.

It is also known as Grape or Japanese ivy, thanks to the creeping plant characteristics it shares with true ivy plants.

Boston ivy prefers to grow in full sun with partial shade. When grown under the best conditions, it becomes vibrant, bright, and lush green trailing foliage.

Plants go dormant in winter but flourish in the spring and summer months.

Like most ivy plants, the Boston ivy prefers to anchor itself to its surroundings and can be trained alongside a wall or trellis.

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2. Cape ivy Senecio angulatus and Senecio tamoides

The Cape ivy plant is native to Southern Africa. It is another type of plant not considered a true ivy, though it is often grown as a general ivy variety in many gardens worldwide.

Technically, the Cape ivy is a type of vine plant.

The leaves of the Cape ivy are often described as tough and leather-like. This helps it to survive the extremes of its climate, which includes harsh winds and cold temperatures during some parts of the year.

Cape ivy can be grown anywhere conditions are favorable and close to its natural habitat.

Areas like California have plenty of Cape ivy, first brought to the area in the 1800s.

In some areas, it can be considered an invasive species, like California ivy.

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3. Kenilworth, Cymbalaria muralis

Kenilworth Ivy

The Kenilworth ivy is a hugely popular type of plant that does not fall under the small blanket of 15 true ivy plants but still can be found cultivated as a general ivy type all over the world.

The Kenilworth ivy plant is known by many names, including the Ivy-Leafed Toadflux, the Coliseum ivy, and the Oxford Ivy.

It’s also known as the Mother of Thousands, Ivywort, and Kentucky ivy—and those are just a few of the names for the same plant.

The Kenilworth “ivy” shares enough traits with the regular family of ivy plants. They can grow happily according to the same rules. Don’t overwater, don’t go underwater, watch for pests, and guide your plant with something to grow against. The same rules count.

Originally, the Kenilworth ivy plant was transported to other parts of the world as accidental growth found on marble statues. Today, it can be found in parts everywhere in the world.

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4. Devil’s ivy Epipremnum aureum

Devil's ivy

Devil’s ivy is a type of vine plant native to French Polynesia, though spread throughout the world and commonly grown as a non-true ivy variety.

It can thrive under harsh conditions, and it’s one of the easiest plants for gardeners to grow – some resources call this the plant that “thrives” on being ignored.

The devil’s ivy plant is also called the golden, pothos, and ivy arum plants.

The devil’s ivy plant is often also called an “impossible” plant to kill. Even in experiments where gardeners have tried to produce unhappy devil’s ivy, it doesn’t work! They thrive.

The devil’s ivy needs almost no sunlight or water and can remain greener than grass even when it’s grown in utter darkness.

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5. Fig ivy (or creeping fig or climbing fig) Ficus pumila

Another popular plant that is mistaken for ivy is the Fig ivy, which is actually a kind of general vine plant that isn’t part of the close-knit ivy family. It’s also known as the creeping fig plant or lurking ficus, and it’s usually cultivated as an indoor ivy plant.

The leaves of fig ivy plants are sometimes referred to as leathery and tough. This is due to the conditions in which these plants prefer to grow.

Creeping fig plants are not hard to grow and stick to most of the traits you would expect from any other vine or ivy plant. Guide them, ensure they have enough water, and closely monitor the nutrient level.

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6. Ground ivy Glechoma hederacea

Ground Ivy

Ground ivy is a common type of flowering plant that can grow under very harsh conditions. It prefers to stay close to the ground to protect itself against environmental danger—hence the name.

This type of “ivy” is not a true ivy at all, but a type of flower—and for humans, it is considered edible and sometimes used as a medicinal plant.

Sometimes, it’s also called by other names, like gill-over-the-ground, creeping-charlie, alehoof, and catsfoot.

Ground ivy plants grow happily in the same conditions; you can expect a true ivy plant to flourish. The ground ivy plant, however, can handle much more extreme winds and temperatures. That’s why it stays close to the ground when it grows – traditionally, it is not used as a climber but as a ground creeper.

Ground ivy doesn’t have the same toxicity level for animals, and most small mammals should be kept away from ground ivy.

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7. Ivy of Uruguay Cissus striata

The Ivy of Uruguay is native to South America but can be found as a popular type of crawling ivy houseplant worldwide.

This type of non-true ivy plant likes to grow in hanging baskets, alongside structures, or directly in pots – anywhere it has something to anchor to or grow against, preferably with some elevation.

Sometimes, it is also called the Miniature Grape Ivy.

It is known as a fast-growing plant that can handle harsh conditions but does not necessarily prefer them. Leaves are hard and leathery, made to protect them from the elements they would find in their natural habitat.

The miniature grape ivy plant is one of the easiest plants to grow as the first indoor ivy houseplant. It thrives with just enough sun and shade.

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8. Ivy tree Schefflera heptaphylla

Schefflera heptaphylla is perhaps better known as the ivy tree. However, it is not a creeping or crawling plant at all—instead, it is a climbing plant. Native to Asia, the tree is also sometimes called Fukanoki.

Many of these plants can be found in large parks such as the Hong Kong Wetland Park, but ivy trees flourish almost anywhere in the world under the right conditions.

This type of plant requires more full sun when it’s grown indoors than the average traditional ivy. The ivy tree does not like harsh conditions, and when grown outdoors, it should be protected against wind and weather as much as possible.

It is a type of evergreen with a climbing vine and can provide a great sight throughout the year.

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9. Parlour ivy Senecio mikanioides

The Parlor ivy is a type of plant, technically a vine, and not part of the 15 true ivy types you’ll find in the ivy family. It is an evergreen plant, best cultivated as an indoor plant that prefers to hang or anchor – though it can also be grown just as happily on the outside.

The parlor ivy prefers partial sun, though it will not prefer either too much or too little. An indoor parlor ivy should be moved to its most ideal spot, and you will notice quickly if the plant is not happy with its current conditions.

When indoors, parlor ivy can stay green and vibrant throughout the year with just a few minutes of care per day. It’s one of the best ivy varieties that you can grow indoors.

It’s also sometimes called the Sweetheart plant or the Heart-leaf philodendron plant.

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10. Poison ivy Toxicodendron radicans

Poison Ivy

Poison ivy is a heavily poisonous plant that can be found spread throughout any area where vine-like plant growth is considered ideal.

While native to Asia and Northern America, the poison ivy plant is extremely common in gardens and forests.

You’ll find poison ivy in most places where common ivy grows, but you must never mistake them for the other.

Poison ivy causes an immediate rash when touched and can trigger a severe and potentially fatal allergic reaction. A low-growing plant, it’s a common plant people accidentally step on or brush against.

Remove poison ivy anywhere it has been identified. Handle cuttings with extreme care, and contact a trusted third-party removal company familiar with poison ivy.

Always identify the type of ivy plant you are looking at.

Western poison ivy, or toxicodendron rydbergii, is another poisonous ivy plant to learn how to identify (and avoid).

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11. Purple ivy Rhododendron catawbiense

Purple Ivy

The Purple Ivy is one of the most gorgeous and unusual types of ivy-like flowering plants you can grow, known for its purple-shaded leaves that cluster together and can be guided just like any other regular ivy plant.

Purple ivy plants are also called red flame or purple waffle plants and flourish in most parts of the world without much effort to grow them.

Purple ivy is best known as a type of hanging plant. Many household gardeners prefer it because it can grow in a hanging pot or basket.

Allow the purple ivy access to enough sun, but also mix this with an area where it will get ample shade.

While some believe that purple ivy is one of the most difficult plants to grow, it can be easy to keep satisfied—and even grows happily from seeds.

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12. Russian Ivy, Hedera pastuchovii

Russian ivy is a type of ivy plant with green leaves growing in two opposing groups on bright red petioles. Its leaves are frequently set, sometimes in arching stems, an unusual habit for ivy. Russian ivy ends up in tiny blackberries in the middle.

Although many plants have leaf sizes within the golden ratio of proportions and a similar hue (Kelly green), Russian ivy is a very popular cultivar with short, rounded, dark green leaves that are slightly contrasting.

13. Algerian Ivy

Algerian ivy is one of the most well-known climbing ivy plants. It has large lobed leaves and is invasive. It is dark green with a wide variety of leaves. Algerian ivy can reach walls rapidly, and its vines can exceed 30 meters in height.

Algerian ivy grows in a sunny environment and needs moisture to avoid slowed growth.

Algerian ivy is found in North Africa and is the most well-known North African ivy.

Ivy Plant FAQ

Ivy Plant Creeping on a White Wall

The ivy plant is a popular sight in garden features and can even grow in pots (or be made to grow along a trellis, wall, or other construction). There are a lot of resources that will tell you how difficult ivy is to grow – but the facts say ivy is one of the easiest and best plants, even for new gardeners.

Here’s what you should know about the ivy plant and how it grows.

What is an ivy plant?

Ivy plants are evergreen, crawling, or creeping shrubs.

They can be identified by their shape. They grow much like plant-like snakes and often cling to their environment, with “feet” located alongside their woody spine.

Some ivy plants are poisonous to humans and animals, though others are not. This is why it’s very important to know the type of ivy you will plant before you plan anything.

How many types of ivy plants exist?

There are approximately 15 official ivy plant types. However, many other plants are ivy-like and share some of the characteristics (and commonly, also the appearance) of ivy plants.

Although ivy-like plants are not part of the ivy family, their shared traits mean many of these species can be grown in the same conditions as true ivy plants.

What conditions do ivy plants prefer to grow in?

Ivy is a versatile plant that can grow happily in many different climates. The average ivy plant prefers a mixture of sunlight and water, although it won’t like to get too much of either. A balance between shade and light is one of the most important things to grow a happy, flourishing ivy plant.

Ivy likes a fair amount of shade and is best grown with a guide or anchor, especially if you want your ivy plant to grow upwards.

Is ivy difficult to grow?

Ivy plants are not as hard to grow as some gardeners would let you believe. An ivy doesn’t need effort, just the right conditions and, ideally, a guide.

Can you move an ivy plant?

A very common gardener rumors that ivy plants are impossible to move and will inevitably die with attempts to transplant them. The good news is that this is false, but the slightly bad news is that it can be difficult in a rush.

Ivy plants are easy to move from one place to the next, but they require patience and care to avoid harming their delicate feet. Conditions in the transplanted area have to be right: the plant should not find it a sudden shock to find itself in new soil.

What do ivy plants need?

Ivy plants need the same things as any other flower or shrub a gardener might want to plant. Access to enough water and sunlight is important, but always remember that it’s possible to overwater an ivy plant—which is how new gardeners kill theirs in most cases.

Most ivy plants enjoy the sun but require at least partial shade to be happy.

This is a location issue for any gardener. Choose the ideal spot in your garden where your ivy plant can enjoy the perfect balance of these factors.

Why are my ivy plant’s leaves turning brown or yellow?

There are several reasons why an ivy plant’s leaves could turn brown or yellow.

The first reason is a lack of nutrients; an imbalance in nutrients within the soil is another. One component (e.g., nitrates) is sometimes lacking, combined with overwatering.

Test your conditions if you would like to know exactly why your ivy plant is unhappy. Adjust conditions slowly and see what can make a difference.

Can ivy plants grow from seeds?

Even though it is not one of the first choices for most gardeners, ivy plants grow quite happily from seeds and can germinate fast, too. Once the ivy has grown enough to anchor, it can be planted where you like.

Can ivy plants grow indoors?

Ivy plants are adaptable, and this means that they can be made to grow happily indoors, too.

As long as your ivy isn’t being over (or under) watered and gets access to enough sunlight to spark its continual growth, they are the perfect choice for indoor plant features.

Can ivy plants carry pests?

Ivy plants are not immune to pests and plant diseases. Though they are not difficult to grow and keep happy throughout their life cycle, they can be attacked by pests and diseases if you don’t keep a careful watch.

Mites are one of the biggest problems for ivy growth. They are usually visible on the leaves by the time they have become a problem. Plants can be treated easily against mites, though not if you’ve missed the problem for too long.

Watch indoor ivy plants for pests. If your ivy population has pests, this might be tracked to your other plants.

How do you treat ivy plants against pests?

Spider mites are among the most common pests flocking to your ivy plants. If they do, the good news is that mite problems are not difficult to control. A simple daily spray with cold water can make sure that spider mites are far less likely to make a nest in your plants.

Don’t use chemical pesticides. Instead, natural mixtures can do the same job.

How many different types of ivy plants are there?

There are about 15 types of different ivy plants: true and all of the ivy family.

Other plants might also be called ivy plants but aren’t part of the family. They share enough characteristics with the ivy plant to be perfect for the same conditions (and often, with the same results).

While there are only 15 true ivy species, many others are still referred to by the ivy name.

Is ivy poisonous to people or pets?

Three species of the ivy plant are officially considered poisonous to humans and animals. Any physical contact with these ivy varieties can be fatal – and if not fatal, can still be extremely painful. Avoid types of ivy that you cannot identify, and make sure you can tell exactly which types of ivy you are growing in your garden.
Let’s move to 11 different types of ivy plants.

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