Hedera (ivy) (Araliaceae)
All varieties make easy house plants, and most are hardy out-of-doors.
THE GREEN-LEAVED IVIES
Keep in a shady corner. During the growing season feed regularly with a good liquid, and keep moist. Allow almost to dry out between waterings in winter. All will tolerate a great deal of neglect or ill-treatment.
Hedera helix Chicago (English ivy) origin: Great Britain. One of the most popular house plants, mainly because of its vigorous growth and its tolerance of rough treatment. It can be grown either as a climber or as a trailer and benefits from restrictive pruning during the growing season. It has the typical small leaf.
H. h. cristata (ivy) origin: Europe, Asia, N. Africa. The leaves are almost round in shape with a heavily fringed edge similar to parsley. This variety, though unusual, is not highly decorative.
H.h. Green Ripple, origin: Europe, Asia, N. Africa. An increasingly popular variety, due to its remarkably pointed and dainty leaves.
H.h. Minima (smallest of all) origin: Europe. Mas a profusion of very small, thin leaves.
H.h. Nielson, origin: Europe, Asia, N. Africa. Similar to H.h. Chicago, but the leaves grow closer together on the stem and may be a little smaller and darker in colour. A prolific and vigorous variety.
H.h. Ravenholst, origin: Europe, Asia, N. Africa. Has attractive large, dark green glossy leaves, almost heart-shaped and slightly pointed.
H.h. Sagittaefolia (arrowhead ivy) origin: Turkey. A popular variety with arrow-shaped leaves, the central lobes being elongated and triangular.
THE VARIEGATED-LEAVED IVIES
Generally slightly less tolerant of neglect than the green-leaved varieties, although they may still be classified as easy house plants. Keep them away from any source of dry heat. As with most other variegated-leaved varieties, they prefer good light, particularly in winter, but not direct sunlight. Feed regularly during the growing season with a good liquid fertilizer and keep moist, but allow almost to dry out between waterings in winter. Over-watering at this season often causes the variegated section of the leaf to turn brown. Some variegated varieties revert to green growth during the winter, and in early spring produce thin, spindly growth. Prune this as soon as the plant is growing vigorously. Pruning improves the shape of the plant and encourages self-branching. Some variegated varieties are sufficiently hardy to survive the winter inif planted out early in the year.
A number of varieties originating in the Canary Islands, and known as Canary Island ivy or Canary ivy:
H.c.foliis variegatis. One of the showiest and most popular varieties. Its large, almost heart-shaped leaves have irregular markings of dark green and grey-green in the centre with a pale cream margin. A slow grower, which should not be over-watered or the leaves will turn brown.
H.c. Golden Leaf. The leaves are of similar size and shape to those of H.c. Foliis variegalis. The, despite the name, is not golden, but bright green in the centre with an irregular dark green margin. The stem and leaf stalks are red, a feature of great interest. A slow grower, which can, however, reach a height of 6 ft.
H.c. Maculata. Size and shape of leaves-similar to H.c. Foliis variegatis, the bright green being flecked with golden-yellow. The leaves become a darker green with age. Decorative as a large specimen, as it can be anything from 4 to 6 ft. tall.
H. helix Fantasia, origin: Europe. Suitable for climbing or trailing. The tiny leaves are bright green, flecked with creamy white.
H.h. Glacier, origin: Europe, Asia, N. Africa. The small leaves are an effective silver-grey with a cream margin. Makes a good trailer. Will withstand frost and is therefore a good subject for window boxes out-of-doors. If the plant becomes straggly in the autumn, let it dry out and stand it outside in a sheltered position for the winter. Bring back into the house early in March, and water sufficiently to start growth again. Increase watering as growth progresses. The woody stems that have hardened outside during the winter will produce masses of tiny new leaves along their whole length.
H.h. Little Diamond, origin: Europe. An unusual ivy with small leaves coloured grey-green in the centre with an ivory margin. Most leaves are almost Iance-shaped, but some are of a nearly conventional ivy shape.
H.h. Lutzii, origin: Europe, Asia, N. Africa. A small-leaved, bushy ivy. The basic colouring of the leaves varies from mid-green to a very light green, densely mottled with deeper green.
H.h. Marmorata (Irish marbled ivy) origin: Ireland. A slow growing but beautifully marked variety, with attractive pink leaf stems. The leaves are almost as large as those of canariensis varieties, and have a marbled effect with patches of dark green on mid-green, or of green on ivory.
H.h. Sagittaefolia variegata (variegated arrowhead ivy) origin: Turkey. Similar in shape and size to the green-leaved sagittaefolia. The leaves are mainly pale cream with green markings in spring and summer. In the autumn and winter months the leaves may become rather green, due to poor light. They grow rather close together on the stem, giving a dense bushy effect.
H.jubilee Golden Heart, origin: Europe, Asia, N. Africa. A fascinating ivy with small leaves, each with a golden centre surrounded by a dark green margin. Normally a slow-growing variety, it seems to grow more quickly under cool conditions and in full light, but growth will then be rather thin with a long section of stem between each leaf.