20+ Different Types of Ivy Plants

Whenever we see a beautiful wall or fence decked with long trailing green beauties, most of the time, those are ivies. Belonging to the Hedera genus of the Ginseng family, these magnificent plants are treasured for their long trailing stems, displaying solid or variegated leaves, adding to their beauty. While ivies are commonly grown for covering grounds or exterior walls, many types of this vigorous vine can also be grown indoors. 

Several types of ivies are widely cultivated primarily for easy maintenance and their ability to withstand a wide range of soils. They can also tolerate varied sunlight intensities, thriving well even in shaded areas. Thus, it makes these hardy vines a beloved choice for beginners too.

Can Ivy Plants be Harmful?

Ivies are mildly poisonous both for humans and pets. If ingested, it may cause mouth and stomach irritation, excessive drooling, foaming at the mouth, swelling of the mouth, tongue, and lips, vomiting, and diarrhea. So, it must be kept out of reach of children and pets. However, it is not toxic to birds or livestock.

Keeping this aside, there is also a plant called ‘poison ivy’, which shares the same climbing trait as the ivies, but does not belong to the genus Hedera. Instead, poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) belongs to the genus Toxicodendron, whose all members produce skin-irritating oil urushiol, which may cause severe allergic reactions. So, to tell apart poison ivy from other ivies, carefully observe the leaves. Unlike ivies, it has three separate waxy leaves, instead of typically three to five-lobed leaves of ivies.

How to Identify Between the Different Types

As mentioned, ivies belong to the Hedera genus, containing 12–15 species of evergreen climbing or ground-creeping woody plants. These different species of ivies are identified based on their exclusive leaf shapes. Generally, ivies have lobed leaves that grow alternately along the climbing or trailing vines. The size, shape, and color of the foliage depend on the variety of the ivy plant. Ivies are native to many countries in Europe, Africa, and Asia. Due to this, several ivies get their name from their native land.

Popular Varieties of Indoor and Outdoor Ivy Plants

1. English Ivy (Hedera helix)

English Ivy

Also known as common ivy or European ivy, these flowering, evergreen vines feature broad, large, dark-green leaves, which may grow up to 4 inches. Native to Europe, these popular ornamental plants thrive well even in shaded conditions, receiving indirect sunlight. These ivy variants start to bloom from late summer and keep flowering until late fall, displaying clusters of greenish-white flowers, followed by yellow-orange to black berries. These easy to grow, low-maintenance, fast-growing, perennial requires moist, fertile soil for optimum growth. English ivies do best in hanging baskets, but they can also be used as groundcovers.

Ideal for: Both indoor and outdoor

Height/Spread: 20-30 feet/3-15 feet

Sunlight Requirement: Partial sun to partial shade

USDA Zone: 5-11

i) Duckfoot Ivy (Hedera helix ‘Duckfoot’)

Duckfoot Ivy

This beautiful miniature, evergreen English ivy variety features lobed, dark-green foliages, resembling a duck’s foot. As it is a fast-growing vine, it is excellent for slope coverage, as well as to fill in expansive areas. It does best in fertile, humus-rich, moist but well-drained alkaline soil.

Ideal for: Indoor

Height/Spread: 1-2 feet/1-2 feet

ii) Needlepoint Ivy (Hedera helix ‘Needlepoint Ivy’)

Needlepoint Ivy

As the name suggests, it is identified by its leaves, having small sharply-pointed needle-like three to five lobes. The glossy leaves are dark emerald to jade green, with lighter veins, growing at regular intervals on the vines. It thrives well in most types of soil in shady areas. This type of English ivy looks great in hanging baskets, small containers, or as ground cover in the garden.

Ideal for: Outdoor

Height/Spread: 2-3 feet/2-3 feet

iii) Ivalace (Hedera helix ‘Ivalace’)

Ivalace

Another variety of English ivy, exhibiting curly, shiny green leaves that stretch up to one inch. Its leaves tend to have a cupped and lacy appearance. A unique feature of this plant is its curvy-edged leaves. It is fast-growing, making it an excellent houseplant, though it can also be used as a groundcover.

Ideal for: Outdoor

Height/Spread: 2-3 feet/3-4 feet

iv) Buttercup Ivy (Hedera helix ‘Buttercup’)

Buttercup Ivy

This trailing, evergreen variety boasts attractive lime-green variegated foliage if grown in the shade. However, it turns into brilliant golden butter yellow under full sun, thus getting the name. These glossy lobed leaves remain yellow throughout the winter. Though mostly it is planted in hanging baskets, it can be used as a groundcover as well.

Ideal for: Indoor

Height/Spread: 5-6 feet/1-2 inches

v) Shamrock Ivy (Hedera helix ‘Shamrock’)

Shamrock Ivy

This evergreen climbing ivy is popularly known as ‘miniature bird’s foot ivy’, as it small leaves resemble the shape of bird’s foot. It showcases three rounded-tips lobes on each leaf with two lateral lobes overlapping the central one.

Ideal for: Indoor

Height/Spread: 6-8 inches/1-2 feet

vi) Manda’s crested (Hedera helix ‘Manda’s Crested’)

Manda’s Crested Ivy

Also known as ‘Curly Locks’, this shrub type of climbing ivy displays dark green leaves with wavy edges. A unique feature that sets it apart from others is its color changing foliage. In winter, the curly edges of the leaves get a bronze or deep purple tinge.

Ideal for: Indoor

Height/Spread: 4-6 feet/4-6 feet

vii) Baltic Ivy (Hedera helix ‘Baltica’)

Baltic Ivy

Native to North America and the Baltic regions, this evergreen ivy variety exhibits magnificent dark green foliage, acting as a dense groundcover. Its small, glossy lobed leaves remain dark green throughout the winter. However, during summer, the leaves have white veins, which change to purplish-black in the winter. This fast-growing ivy can withstand even the harshest winter.

Ideal for: Both indoor and outdoor

Height/Spread: 6-8 inches/15-20 feet

viii) Gold Child Ivy (Hedera helix ‘Gold Child’)

Gold Child Ivy

This variegated English ivy displays small, lustrous, three-five lobed, gray-green leaves, growing up to 2-3 inches across. Its leaves are adorned with broad bright yellow or golden edges. When the temperature rises, its variegation can fade to butter yellow. Also, if grown in the shade, the intensity of foliage color fades, but the variegation remains prominent. The pale, straight veins of the leaves add a silvery finish to it, thus multiplying its beauty even more. This hardy, easy to grow, and adaptable variety can be used as a groundcover.

Ideal for: Both indoor and outdoor

Height/Spread: 2-3 feet/1-2 feet

ix) Bettina Ivy (Hedera helix ‘Bettina Ivy’)

Bettina Ivy

It is a compact, upright cultivar with just a hint of cream or white edging on its moss-colored green leaves. This is a great option to use in a hanging basket or ground cover as it is long growing and loves to spread out a lot.

Ideal for: Both indoor and outdoor

Height/Spread: 30-50 feet/2-3 feet

x) Golden Curl (Hedera helix ‘Golden Curl’)

Golden Curl

Also known as ‘English Curl’, it is one of the vibrant varieties of English ivy. As the name says, its leaves are curly at the edges. Moreover, the shape of the leaves may vary from almost pentagonal to more clearly defined lobes. However, the color of its foliage makes this variety stand out among others. Leaves are mostly painted with an eye-catching lemon yellow that covers most of the leaf, with some dark green patches towards the edges.

Ideal for: Both indoor and outdoor

Height: 30-40 feet

2. Algerian Ivy (Hedera algeriensis or Hedera canariensis)

Algerian Ivy

As this broad-leafed ivy plant is native to North Africa and the Canary Islands, it is also called North African ivy, Canary Island ivy, Canary ivy, or Madiera ivy. Typically it has large-lobed, dark green foliage, but variegated varieties can be found too. This evergreen perennial vine is exceptionally adaptable and can grow in any rich, moist, well-drained soil, whether it is clay, sandy, or even acidic. It grows so fast that it can become invasive too. Although this is a flowering ivy, its flowers and fruits are inconspicuous.

Ideal for: Outdoor

Height/Spread: 8-10 feet/2-3 feet

Sunlight Requirement: Full to partial sun

USDA Zone: 6-11

i) Gloire De Marengo (Algerian Ivy ‘Gloire De Marengo’)

Gloire De Marengo

It is a variegated Algerian ivy with large, heart-shaped, greenish-gray leaves with creamy white edges. This dramatic self-clinging, evergreen, climbing vine looks pretty well on walls, trellises, and slopes. It may lose its variegation due to inadequate light or seasonality.

Ideal for: Outdoor

Height/Spread: 15-20 feet/2-3feet

3. Persian Ivy (Hedera colchica)

Persian Ivy

It is one of the fast-growing, climbing ivies; with large shiny leaves. This variety is sometimes called “Bullock’s Heart” ivy, as its leaves resemble the shape of a bull’s heart. In fact, the Persian ivy produces some of the largest leaves from any of the ivy varieties, growing between 6 to 10 inches long. The leaves may either be of solid color or variegated. Though this plant can withstand drought to a certain extent, but it grows best in moist, well-drained, slightly acidic, loamy soil.

Ideal for: Both indoor and outdoor

Height/Spread: 30-70 feet/10-20 feet

Sunlight Requirement: Partial sun to shade

USDA Zone: 5a-9a

i) Sulphur Heart Ivy (Persian Ivy ‘Sulphur Heart Ivy’)

Sulphur Heart Ivy

It is a variegated Persian ivy variety, distinguished by its remarkably large, heart-shaped yellow and lime green leaves. This dense, multi-stemmed, evergreen, woody vine can be planted in hanging baskets, used as groundcover, or to cover any walls. Its attractive dark green foliage remains dark green throughout the winter.

Ideal for: Outdoor

Height/Spread: 20-30 feet/2-3 feet

4. Irish Ivy (Hedera hibernica)

Irish Ivy

The striking feature of this ivy is its dark green glossy leaves with light green veins. As it is an aggressive grower, it is considered invasive in some areas. So, it should always be planted outdoors and pruned regularly to check its growth. It provides ground cover or may climb up walls as well. The Irish Ivy is both low-maintenance and yet incredibly hardy.

Ideal for: Outdoor

Height/Spread:

Sunlight Requirement: Full sun/partial sun/partial shade/full shade

USDA Zone: 5-11

5. Himalayan Ivy (Hedera nepalensis)

Himalayan Ivy

Also known as Nepalese ivy, this climbing vine is native to Asia, growing at altitudes of up to 3,000 m. It bears elongated dark green triangular leaves with light-colored veins. While foliage of some Himalayan ivy may grow as long as 6 inches, some may produce very small leaves that can be as small as 1inch.This woody vine doesn’t provide as much cover as the other ivy varieties. It thrives well in most soil types but prefers slightly acidic soil.

Ideal for: Both indoor and outdoor

Height: 95-100 feet

Sunlight Requirement: Partial sun to full shade

USDA Zone: 7-10

6. Japanese Ivy (Hedera rhombea)

Japanese Ivy

Another Asia native, featuring fairly large dark green heart-shaped leaves with white veins running through them. Although this is a climber plant, it does not climb as tall as some other types of ivies. It is a flowering type of ivy, producing small umbrella-shaped blooms. Mostly they are cultivated as an ornamental plant rather than for their climbing ability or groundcover.

Ideal for: Outdoor

Height/Spread: 30-50 feet/5-10 feet

Sunlight Requirement: Partial sun

USDA Zone: 4-8

7. Cyprus ivy (Hedera cypria)

Cyprus Ivy

This perennial climber grows very tall, and is also suitable for ground cover. It boasts deep green, triangle-shaped, unlobed, gray-veined foliage displayed on red stems. This slow-growing, easy-to-care variety is counted as one of the rarest types of ivy.

Ideal for: Both indoor and outdoor

Sunlight Requirement: Partial sun

USDA Zone: 9b-11a

8. Russian ivy (Hedera pastuchovii)

Russian Ivy

Unlike other ivy varieties, the Russian ivy features thin light green leaves, often with wavy edges. It has long climbing stems and is commonly found in forests climbing up trees. During summer, this blooms into small white flowers.

Ideal for: Outdoor

Height/Spread: 90-100 feet/8-10 feet

Sunlight Requirement: Full sun to full shade

USDA Zone: 7-12

Ivy-like Plants

Some plants belonging to other families are commonly listed as ivy plants, due to their resemblance with them. Most of them are creeping or climbing vines, which leads to the misconception.

Here are two ivy-like plants, which do not have the characteristic features of ivy, hence not considered as ‘true ivy’.

9. Swedish Ivy (Plectranthus verticillatus)

Swedish Ivy

Native to northern Australia and the Pacific Islands, this plant is favored for its lovely trailing habit. It is also known as Swedish begonia and creeping Charlie. Many gardeners plant this ivy as an annual into containers or use it as a groundcover. The foliage of Swedish ivy is glossy with scalloped edges. It also produces mauve to white tubular blooms in spring and continues throughout summer. This fast-growing, easy to care, long trailing one makes an excellent hanging houseplant when planted indoors. For optimum growth, it should be planted in light and loamy, well-drained soil.

Ideal for: Both indoor and outdoor

Height/Spread: 2-3 feet/2-3 feet

Sunlight Requirement: Full to partial sun

USDA Zone: 10a-11

10. Boston Ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata)

Boston Ivy

Also known as Japanese Creeper or Woodbine, this flowering woody vine showcases fairly large, three-lobed, light green leaves. The foliage is 2 inches long and 8 inches wide. This climbing vine is commonly grown during summer to cover walls for shade. It is easy to grow and can tolerate a wide range of well-drained soils.

Ideal for: Both indoor and outdoor

Height/Spread: 3-5 feet/5-10 feet

Sunlight Requirement: Full sun to partial shade

USDA Zone: 4-8

A Few More Ivy Varieties Worth a Mention

  • Glacier Ivy
  • German Ivy
  • Pastukhov’s ivy
  • Moroccan ivy
  • Azores ivy

Best Ivy Plants to Pick Based on Your Needs

Best Ground Cover Ivy Plants: Baltic ivy, Persian ivy, Russian ivy

Best Flowering Ivy Plants: Virginia creeper, Bougainvillea, Honeysuckle

Best Variegated Ivy Types: Gold child ivy, Buttercup ivy, Algerian ivy

by | Updated : December 31, 2021



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