Different Types Of Ivy To Grow Indoors And Outdoors

Ivy is the perfect plant if you are looking for something elegant yet easy to grow. There’s no need to put too much effort into this resilient and easy-going plant to have a green space in your house and garden.

And as a gardener, you might want to distinguish indoor and outdoor ivy types and learn about their essential traits and needs for growth.

Some popular indoor ivy plants are Goldchild, Duckfoot, Buttercup, Ivalace, and Manda’s Crested. Popular outdoor varieties are Irish, Persian, Himalayan, or Russian ivy.

Different Types Of Ivy To Grow Indoors And Outdoors

What Is Ivy?

Ivy, scientifically classified as the genus Hedera, is a group of evergreen climbing plant species native to many parts of the world.

How To Identify Ivy Types

The first thing you can do is juxtapose the pictures provided in this article with the actual plants and make a comparison. The most distinguishable traits lie in the shapes and colours of their leaves.

However, there are ivy plant types that share numerous similarities, like the English and Irish ivies. In that case, you have to consider the overall appearance, the habitats, and the growing ability to identify different ivy plants.

What Are The Benefits Of Growing Ivy?

Regardless of the types, ivy is known for its hardiness. They can thrive on various surfaces and climate conditions.

If you are new to gardening but cannot wait to cover your garden in luscious green, ivy can give you both the beauty and the ease to maintain.

Additionally, having indoor ivy plant types also helps filter out toxins like benzene, formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene from the air. This purifying function is especially beneficial to people suffering from asthma or bronchitis.

Are All Ivies Poisonous?

Ivy is a poisonous plant. It contains toxic chemicals that can cause skin irritation, diarrhoea, vomiting, convulsions, and severe respiratory problems.

It is advisable to keep ivy out of the reach of children and pets, especially during the berries season, to avoid accidental consumption.

Does Ivy Damage Wall?

Ivy does not damage walls per se, meaning if the masonry is in good condition, having an evergreen climber up the wall poses no problem.

The presence of ivy reduces damaging effects from frost, salt, and pollution. There is also evidence that ivy helps buffer extreme temperatures at the surface of the building, making the inner building warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.

However, ivy can widen cracks in the structure if there are any. To avoid the thick covering of ivy from hiding such issues, annual trimming of the ivy after flowering is necessary.

You can cut the stems as close to the roots as possible. Additionally, you can use your hand to pull young plants thoroughly out of the ground to prevent further growth.

Does Ivy Harm Trees?

Ivy does not harm trees directly since it is not a parasite.

However, it indirectly affects the development of trees by interfering with the trees’ photosynthesis process to produce nutrients, light, and water. The problem is more prevalent in areas where no natural enemies exist to curb the ivy’s growth.

Therefore, it is technically ok to have ivy climbing the trees in your garden as long as you can control its vigorous development. If your trees are prone to pests and diseases, they are better off not having ivy climbing around.

Growing Ivy Indoors – How to Do It

Different Types Of Ivy For Indoor Garden

English Ivy

  • Botanical name: Hedera helix
  • Native: Europe, Scandinavia
  • Light: partial to full shade
  • Hardiness zone: 4-9

English ivy is the most common perennial vine in general and belongs to the genus Hedera in particular. Although native to the European and Scandinavian regions, it has been introduced worldwide and even considered invasive in many areas.

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There are some popular English ivy varieties:


Goldchild is the most sought-after variety of English ivy. It is distinguishable from other types by the yellow leaf edge.

It is one of the popular indoor ivy plant types for having a slow growth rate, thus remaining compact.

Bettina Ivy

Bettina looks very much like Goldchild Ivy, except for the white-edge leaves.

This variant is an excellent plant for your indoor garden since it has a medium growth rate. You can have it in a hanging basket, trailing wall, or as ground cover.

Bettina prefers average moisture, so make sure that you remember to water it frequently. Additionally, since the plant cannot tolerate cold weather very well, we recommend additional mulching in the winter.

In its favourable conditions, this type of ivy can live up to 30 years.


This type of ivy gets its name from the duck’s feet-shaped leaves. It has red stems, small leaves and can thrive in pots and containers.

For a miniature size, Duckfoot is hardy. It is ideal for growing in cold weather and can survive at a temperature of minus 20 Fahrenheit.


This ivy type features yellowish-green leaves. The more sunlight exposure they receive, the golden they become.

When grown in full shade, the leaves turn to a lime green colour.

Manda’s Crested

Manda Crested has five-lobed leaves with wavy margins. The green leaves have tinges of bronze in the winter.

The plant needs good covering from cold drying wind. It can reach up to 5 feet in height and 2 feet in spread.


Needlepoint has a highly decorative look for having very close-together lobes. It could make spectacular hanging baskets.

This type of ivy cannot tolerate frost, so remember to provide enough shelter for it during winter and keep it well moist.


The shiny, curly leaves of Ivalace create an ornamental look for the plant. This type of ivy is easy to look after and can be grown both as a houseplant and outdoor climber.

Caroline Crinkle

Each leaf of Caroline Crinkle has 5 lobes, and each lobe has 3 jagged fingers. As reflected by the name, the leaf is crinkled.

This type of ivy can endure low temperatures but cannot thrive in hot climates. Although needing some support to grow, this plant is loved for its decorative look.

Golden Curl

Golden Curl and Goldchild can look identical from afar.

On a closer look, Golden Curl has variegated and curled leaves. The 3-zoned colour may give the impression that the plant is unhealthy, but it is incredibly rigorous.

They can brighten up the corner of your garden if grown there.

Swedish Ivy

  • Botanical name: Plectranthus verticillatus
  • Native: Southern Africa
  • Light: Partial shade
  • Hardiness zone: 10-11
  • Size: 3 feet in height and 3 feet in spread

Despite the name, Swedish Ivy is not related to the genus Hedera but belongs to the mint and safe family. It does not cling to vertical surfaces employing aerial rootlets.

Since Swedish ivy cannot reach over 3 feet, it is best suited for hanging baskets or garden bedding.

The plant prefers moist, well-draining soil and indirect sunlight. It produces white and purple flowers in spring and late autumn, followed by brown and wrinkled nuts.

Japanese Ivy

  • Botanical name: Hedera rhombea
  • Native: Japan, Korea, mainland China, Taiwan
  • Light: Partial shade to full shade
  • Hardiness zone: 8-9
  • Size: 30 feet tall

The foliage of Japanese ivy has a medium to deep green colour with white veins running crisscross. The rhombus, or diamond shape, of the leaves has earned it the name “rhombea”.

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Different Types Of Ivy To Grow Indoors And Outdoors
“Japanese Ivy” by mrrobertwade (wadey) is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

In nature, this type of ivy often grows along rocky slopes or tree trunks. If there are no vertical surfaces in your garden, this ivy will grow as ground cover.

Japanese ivy bears small yellowish-green flowers, which later turn into purple berries in the fall.

Algerian Ivy

  • Botanical name: Hedera algeriensis
  • Native: North Africa coast, Algeria
  • Light: Bright, indirect light
  • Hardiness zone: 6-11
  • Size: 40 feet tall

Algerian ivy is a very hardy plant known for being adaptive to various soil and weather conditions. Due to its salt tolerance, it is used to control erosion in coastal California.

As a native to North Africa, Algerian ivy prefers warmer climates to cold weather. The tree thrives best in moist soil, although it is highly drought-tolerant.

With dramatic-looking leaves of alternating colours, Algerian ivy is the beloved ornamental plant in many households. It is also trained into sculptural shape for decoration during festive occasions.

Tips To Care For Indoor Ivy

  • Bright, indirect light
  • Have pot drainage to avoid overwatering
  • Ivies with smaller leaves grow slower and can be kept in small pots/containers.
  • Wash leaves once in a while to remove dust and keep leaves looking healthy
  • Keep pets and children away from the plant

Different Types Of Ivy For Outdoor Garden

Boston Ivy

  • Botanical name: Parthenocissus tricuspidata
  • Native: Korea, Japan, China
  • Light: Full sun to partial shade
  • Hardiness zone: 4-8
  • Size: 50 feet tall

Parthenocissus tricuspidate, Boston ivy, Japanese creeper, or woodbine, is another type of ivy that is not a true ivy plant. It is a flowering plant of the grape family.

Boston ivy is not an evergreen perennial but a deciduous plant. Therefore, in the fall, the green leaves will turn bright red and purple, making elegant and colourful foliage.

You often see Boston ivy outside masonry structures. Its presence greatly reduces the cooling costs for the summer months.

However, once the plant trailed up the wall, it is hard to remove it. If you do not want to deal with Boston ivy’s aggressive behaviour, you can grow it in a container far from a wall structure.

Trailing Boston ivy up a trellis is an excellent idea for you to try to enhance an open yard’s privacy.

Canarian Ivy

  • Botanical name: Hedera canariensis
  • Native: Canary Islands, North Africa
  • Light: Full sun to partial shade
  • Hardiness zone: 6-10
  • Size: 100 feet tall

If your wish is to earn your garden the look of a forest, then Canarian ivy should be your number one choice. It can produce a large and dense cover and make an excellent bedding plant for flower arrangement.

Canarian ivy is a low-maintenance plant. It is incredibly tolerant of sun, frost, salt, and poor soil.

Due to its adaptiveness and rapid development, Canarian ivy requires considerable pruning not to become too pervasive.

Moroccan Ivy

  • Botanical name: Hedera maroccana
  • Native: Atlantic coast in Northern Africa
  • Light: Full sun to partial shade
  • Hardiness zone: 6-10
  • Size: 100 feet tall

Like its fellow Canary Islands Canarian ivy, Moroccan ivy is pretty sturdy and does not require human assistance. It commonly grows on rock surfaces and tree trunks.

It climbs using aerial rootlets, but it can also make good ground cover if there are no vertical surfaces around.

Irish Ivy

  • Botanical name: Hedera hibernica
  • Native: Atlantic coast of Europe
  • Light: Full to partial shade
  • Hardiness zone: 5-11
  • Size: 100 feet tall

Irish ivy is another common type used in gardening, sharing many similarities with English ivy. It can climb to an impressive height in favourable conditions and grow as ground cover if there are no vertical surfaces.

Irish ivy has glossy emerald leaves, tiny yellow flowers, and blue-black berries. The berries are a source of winter food for many insects and birds.

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The plant and the berries are toxic, so be careful if you have children or pets.

Irish, like English ivy, is a vigorous grower. You should check with the local authorities before growing to check if the plant can grow in your place.

Persian Ivy

  • Botanical name: Hedera colchica
  • Native: Western Caucasus, Northern Turkey
  • Light: Full sun to full shade
  • Hardiness zone: 6-9
  • Size: 50 feet in height and 20 feet in spread

If you want to turn your garden into a lush green paradise, Persian ivy can do that with its impressive large leaves.

It has the most giant leaves among ivies, ranging from 6 to 10 inches. The heart-shaped leaves also provide an exotic, stunning appearance.

There are 2 types of leaves: the juvenile ones are five-lobed while the adult ones are unlobed.

Persian ivy is heat and drought-tolerant. Yet when grown in cold regions, it requires extra mulching to grow better.

German Ivy

  • Botanical name: Delairea odorata
  • Native: South Africa
  • Light: Full sun to partial shade
  • Hardiness zone: 9-12
  • Size: 25 feet in height, 15 feet in spread

German ivy, also called cape ivy, is commonly found in the wetland areas on the California coast.

Its invasive nature has become a severe problem in many parts of the United States. Authorities have come up with management programs to prevent the growth of the plant.

As a garden plant, German ivy requires constant watering since the dry condition can kill it. You can consider keeping it in a pot with drainage holes to contain its growth.

Himalayan/Nepalese Ivy

  • Botanical name: Hedera nepalensis
  • Native: Asia
  • Light: Partial shade
  • Hardiness zone: 7-10
  • Size: 10 feet in height, 10 feet in spread

Being native to the Bhutan region, Himalayan ivy can survive at altitudes up to 10,000 feet.

Thanks to beautiful leaves with glossy colour and light green veins, this type of ivy can make a nice wall, fence, or ground cover. However, it does not provide dense coverage as English and Irish Ivy due to the thin spread of the leaves.

One caution when growing the plant is that it contains saponins. This poisonous substance can cause dermatitis problems and breathing difficulties.

Russian Ivy

  • Botanical name: Hedera pastuchovii
  • Native: Russian, Armenia, Iran
  • Light: Sun to partial shade
  • Hardiness zone: 7-12
  • Size: 100 feet in height,10 feet in spread

This vigorous climber has dark green leaves, dangling white flowers, and black-coloured berries. The flowers can cause allergies and skin irritations.

Russian ivy excels in climbing up trees and walls but cannot thrive as ground cover. With enough support, the ivy can reach up to 100 feet vertically.

Tips To Care For Outdoor Ivy

  • Ivies with large leaves are fast-growing plants and can be kept in hanging baskets or used as bedding, ground cover, or walls and fences trailing.
  • Well-drained soil.
  • Prune regularly to keep the plant’s expansion under control and encourage healthy growth.
  • Too much direct sunlight can cause the colouring of the leaves to fade.


Ivy is a highly versatile species, for they can be used both as decorative houseplants and beautiful foliage outdoors.

Hope you find all the information you need on types of ivy and how to plant them for indoor and outdoor gardens.

Regardless of the variety of ivy, remember these two things while growing them: the plants contain toxic chemicals and are invasive species. As long as you are not neglecting, ivy is the easiest plant to grow and maintain.

Different Types Of Ivy To Grow Indoors And Outdoors
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Jill Sandy

I am a sustainable focus gardener. I love decorating my home backyard with beautiful landscape design and creative garden care techniques I develop myself.

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