6 Different Types of Ivy Plants (with pictures)

ivy plants

Ivy plants have become a darling for home gardeners who want to adorn their brick walls with a climbing variegation or create a stunning houseplant in hanging pots with fall foliage and colorful flowers.

Most of the popular ivy varieties belong to the Hedera genus, particularly the Araliaceae family, also commonly known as the Ginseng family. Besides the variegated leaves, the genus’ other defining characteristics are ground creeping and climbing to whooping heights.

Having an ivy vine in your home garden can enhance your home’s aesthetic appeal, aid in air purification, control soil erosion, and significantly contribute to biodiversity. Besides, you don’t need unique soils or growing conditions to grow the popular types of ivy plants.

All you need is to understand the favorite types of ivy and the best for your needs.

Top 6 Types of Ivy Plants to Grow in Your Home Garden

1 – English Ivy

english ivy

The English Ivy is scientifically called the Hedera helix and is the most common type of ivy vine. It’s native to Europe and can reach a height of 100 feet, thanks to its aerial roots that enable it to scale walls and trees effortlessly.

English Ivy’s ability to climb and cascade makes it a versatile choice for a perfect ground cover or a vertical garden. It can also thrive best in hanging baskets.

The two popular English ivy variants are the Juvenile and the mature adult. The Juvenile variant is flowerless, has bright green leaves, and grows in lobed patterns. Contrastingly, the mature adult variant bears flowers and has dense greenish leaves that develop a tinge of white during fall.

You get the same growth height and common growing conditions in whatever variant you choose. English ivy thrives in a highly sunny environment, but some shade would come in handy, especially to avoid leaf scorching. It’s worth noting that English ivy has been classified as an invasive species in some jurisdictions, so be sure to check with your local extension office before you choose this ivy vine for outdoor growing.

2 – Irish Ivy

irish ivy vine

The Irish ivy (Hedera hibernica) is also called the Atlantic ivy and is adored for its vigorous growth and glossy, dark-green foliage. Home gardeners have used it extensively to create lush green screens and walls.

The Irish ivy is often confused with the English ivy due to the many identical traits such as the growing habits and the USDA hardiness. This ivy vine is also deemed noxious and invasive, so outdoor growth may not be allowed in some jurisdictions.

Nonetheless, the Irish ivy can do well anywhere in your garden, especially if you want an incredibly hardy variety that requires minimal maintenance and effectively controls soil erosion.

A mature 30+ feet long Atlantic ivy plant also produces nectar-rich flowers, adding to its aesthetic value and attracting pollinators, which, in turn, supports local ecosystems and promotes biodiversity.

3 – Cape Ivy

cape ivy

Cape ivy is scientifically called the Delairea odorata and is originally from South Africa. In its adult stage, this type of ivy can reach over 40 feet high, producing thin green leaves and cheerful yellow flowers.

Cape ivy is a relatively fast-growing vine that can quickly smother invasive plant species, making it ideal for habitat restoration. This characteristic also makes it invasive, but it can be controlled and utilized in eco-friendly landscaping practices.

The Delairea odorata can be confused with other similar types of ivy, like the climbing groundsel (Senecio angulatus), mainly due to their height and smothering nature. However, the latter has no pointed basal lobes, and their flower heads have conspicuous yellow ray florets.

Another close comparison is the English ivy mature adult variant, which, besides being as invasive, also does well in extremely sunny environments. But unlike the Cape ivy varieties, the English variant flowers are somewhat greenish, and the stem is woody.

Luckily, you can control invasive types of ivy plants by removing the root system or treating them with herbicide. Similarly, you can sever the base of climbing stems and leave them to dry out. Whatever the method you use, be sure to responsibly get rid of the stem piece to prevent them from developing roots.

4 – Persian Ivy

persian ivy

The Persian ivy (Hedera colchica) is native to the western Caucasus and Northern Turkey. It is the go-to option if you adore the types of ivy plants with large, glossy, and variegated leaves.

This ivy vine’s leaf size can reach 10 inches long and is probably the largest in ivy varieties. What’s more? The leaves have a stunning heart shape, making them an excellent choice for greening indoor spaces and urban settings.

Persian ivy is more tolerant of heat and pollution than other ivy varieties. Its dense foliage helps absorb pollutants from the air, so it could improve air quality around your living space.

With the best conditions, such as well-drained loamy soil, Hedera colchica can thrive fast, so be sure to check it regularly. Pruning is encouraged to avoid choking other plants in your garden.

Algerian Ivy

algerian ivy plant

Algerian ivy (Hedera canariensis), also called the Canary Island ivy, is another true ivy vine featuring large leathery leaves and a mature height beyond 40 feet. Its beautiful and luscious leaves form a heart shape like the Persian ivy varieties but add a creamy trim around them.

The Canary Island ivy can do well in trellises, walls, and slopes. However, they aren’t as cold-hardy as some ivy varieties but will do well in well-drained soil and tolerate full sun exposure.

Its dense foliage and rapid growth make the Algerian ivy an excellent choice for creating green barriers and privacy screens. It also forms shade and shelter for other species, not to mention effectively controlling soil erosion.

6 – Swedish Ivy

swedish ivy vine

While not commonly listed among the types of ivy plants, the Swedish ivy (Plectranthus verticillatus) is indeed not a true but shares somewhat similar characteristics. This ivy vine is a member of the mint family, so you should expect some fragrance.

Also known as the creeping Charlie and the Swedish begonia, Plectranthus verticillatus is adored for its ground creeping habits. It is an excellent solution for covering the ground, reducing erosion, or promoting moisture retention.

Homeowners grow it as a houseplant and prefer it for hanging baskets and container gardens due to its ease of propagation and aromatic leaves. In particular, the variegated Swedish ivy cultivar has glossy, bright green leaves edged in a creamy white.

Moreover, you can make these Swedish ivy varieties bushier and more compact by regularly pinching them to help them develop new branches. The practice should be hassle-free as the branches and leaves are very soft, making it easy to pinch and align.

The variegated Swedish ivy cultivar is more likely, than the species plant, to impress in a mixed planter due to its stunning contrast of green and white.

Grow your Ivy Vine Responsibly

Incorporating these types of ivy plants into your home garden will enhance its beauty and the overall health and sustainability of the local ecosystem.

By choosing any of these ivy varieties, you boost air purification, soil erosion control, and aesthetic appeal in your surroundings, creating a green sanctuary and benefiting the people and the planet. Let your chosen ivy vine symbolize your commitment to eco-friendly gardening practices and stewardship of the natural world. Be sure to provide the necessary conditions and proper maintenance, such as pruning and regular showers.