When choosing a houseplant an ivy may not be the first thing that comes to mind, but these underestimated plants are not just for the garden, they have their uses indoors as well.
Ivies have come a long way in terms of variety since our Victorian ancestors grew the plain green-leaved forms in their parlours and conservatories. We can now enjoy varieties with beautifully marked foliage which can have cream, white or yellow variegations in them. The reasons that the Victorians were so successful with their green-leaved ivies is that they do not require a lot of light or heat to grow well, two points in their favour in respect of Victorian houses.
Back to the present and we have lots of variegated ivies to enjoy. These will still require a cool spot in the house or porch but unlike the plain green forms, they will need plenty of light to retain their variegation. If you find a lot of green leaves starting to develop on a variegated variety, chances are that it has not got enough light.
Ideally ivies need to be in an un-heated bright spot over winter as centrally heated conditions will soon result in a very unhappy plant. If you must have it in a warm room then ensure that you mist-spray the foliage regularly to counteract the adverse effects of hot dry air.
Most ivy varieties are natural climbers and will have aerial roots on their stems. which will cling to walls or trellis. One or two of the larger-leaved forms don’t have these roots and will require some sort of framework to grow through. Alternatively place the plant on a high shelf and allow it to trail. For this reason ivies do very well in hanging baskets.
Don’t forget the versatility of ivies for use in planted containers. Small bushy ones can be added to the front of mixed arrangements or add height to the back of a container if trained up a cane.
Indoors or outdoors, the decision is yours with this very versatile plant.