For many, the thought of ivy immediately conjures images of musty old English castles or stone cathedrals cloaked in thick green vines. Yes, ivy plants are typically grown to climb structures or creep along the ground to provide cover. Still, these stunning, hardy plants also make excellent houseplants, providing lush, trailing foliage to accent your decor.
Ivy plants grow as well indoors as they do outside, and there are many different types to consider if you’re contemplating adding one (or two) to your houseplant collection. With so many to pick from, this list covers a couple dozen attractive and perhaps unusual ivy plants to consider.
Interesting Ivy Plants to Grow Indoors
Aloma ivy is a show-stopper with its dark green, glossy foliage, yellow-green clusters of flowers, and dark berries in black. The finely divided leaves are edged in silvery white variegation. Plants grow well as both evergreen climbers and ground-creeping woody plants. Keep your Aloma ivy close to a sunny window but out of direct sunlight.
‘Bettina’ is an English ivy that makes a fantastic choice for hanging baskets indoors. When properly cared for, the long trailing vines can spread across an impressive fifty feet! The green leaves are edged in white, and plants can survive outside down to the USDA hardiness zone 3.
3. ‘Big Shot’
Big Shot has a serious visual impact with its broad, leathery leaves mottled with white and bleached light yellow to gold. The foliage is barely lobed and darkens to a rich, deep shade of green as it matures. When grown indoors, plants rarely grow more than nine-inches tall.
‘Buttercup’ ivy is a fantastic option for homeowners with a range of light exposure in their house. Plants will grow up to six feet long in conditions from full sun to shade. In shady locations, the leaves on a ‘Buttercup” ivy take on creamy golden colors and will remain yellowish even when growth slows during winter.
Chicago ivy is a compact, self-clinging plant that grows and climbs quickly. Glossy dark-blue green leaves are rounded to triangular with three lobes. As the foliage matures, it twists and curls to add a delicate touch to the plant’s appearance. The medium-sized foliage is also accented with soft, light green veins.
6. ‘Conglomerata Erecta’
One of the more unique plants on the list, ‘Conglomerate Erecta,” grows upright instead of in a vining habit and isn’t overly aggressive like other English ivies. When grown indoors, the small dense plants resemble shrubs, growing no more than three feet high by two feet wide. Dark green leaves are accented with creamy white along the veins.
7. ‘Curly Locks’
‘Curly Locks’ ivy has glossy lobed leaves with just a bit of a wave or ruffle along the leaf margin, similar to loose curly locks of hair. The dark green foliage is accented with light green veins and stays dark green even during the shorter winter days. Mature plants are about 12” tall with a 12’ spread.
8. ‘Dark Pittsburgh’
The ‘Dark Pittsburg’ ivy is alluring with its incredibly dark green foliage that twists and curls along the edges. Plants grow at a medium to rapid rate with medium-sized leaves. Plants make a fantastic accent on light-colored tabletops or trailing down bright living room or bedroom walls.
Not surprisingly, the leaves on ‘Duckfoot” ivy have a distinctive duck-foot-like shape and three lobes. They also have bright yellow along the veins to add extra appeal with added color and texture. When grown indoors in containers, ‘Duckfoot’ maxes out at eighteen inches tall and will trail as far as you let it.
10. ‘Fluffy Ruffles’
Another unusual ivy variety, ‘Fluffy Ruffles’, will wow you with its gorgeous foliage. Dense green leaves are wavy and ruffled, giving them an elegant appearance, and new growth is accented with pink as it erupts from sturdy stems. Plants make great choices in hanging baskets or cascading from the top of a bookshelf.
The broad, multi-lobed, dark green leaves on ‘Francis’ ivy complement every home decor style. Unlike other ivy types, the five-lobed foliage tends to grow upward and then creep outward, giving plants a bushy appearance. Plants span ten to fifteen feet and have slight coloration along the leaf veins.
‘Glacier’ ivy leaves bear a rich, almost emerald-green coloration topped with a contrasting creamy-whitish margin. This soft-colored foliage makes plants perfect for paired with bright, vivid flowering plants or other dark foliage houseplants. Plants grow outward if allowed to creep but only reach three to six inches tall.
13. ‘Gold Child’
The ‘Gold Child’ ivy displays medium-sized grey-green leaves with stunning golden markings. The unique variegation is temperature dependent—becoming more intense in warmer conditions, but fading in hot weather—and has a bright golden margin surrounding a green grey to greenish center. Plants prefer lots of dappled or filtered sunlight and moist soil and will reward you with their show-stopping coloration with proper care.
14. ‘Gold Dust’
Every leaf on the ‘Gold Dust’ ivy has different variegation, making it a one-of-a-kind plant. Its small, dark green leaves are heavily marbled and splashed with beautiful touches of golden yellow. Plants need bright filtered direct light or indirect sun. When grown outdoors, the stems freely root into the ground as the vines creep.
Even in shady locations, the foliage on ‘Hermania” ivy stays dark green compared to other types that the foliage lightens without sun. The long, narrow dark green leaves branch off slender stems and have a slightly different texture than other ivy types. The dark coloration and narrow leaves give ‘Hermania’ a unique look.
The long, narrow leaves on ‘Hester’ ivy are lighter in color than many types, taking on a mid-green hue with little to no variegation. They display a slightly lighter coloration along the leaf veins when given medium amounts of bright, filtered sunlight.
17. ‘Itsy Bitsy’
‘Itsy Bitsy’ ivy plants are perfect for terrariums and fairy gardens as they grow in smaller, bushy mounds with tiny, pointed-edge dark green leaves. Leaves grow no bigger than a dime, have three lobes, and are grouped tightly together on the stems. Light-colored lines trace up the mid-vein of the leaves to the pointy end.
Adorned with cup-shaped, curly leaves, ‘Ivalace” stands apart from other ivies with its lace-look appearance. Plants prefer partial shade to full or partial sun, so they thrive in indirect indoor light. Their broad, dark, 5-lobed leaves are shiny, giving them a varnished look. In 2011, ‘Ivalace’ was selected by the American Ivy Society as the ivy of the year.
Jubilee is an excellent choice if you want a compact ivy to add to your collection. Small light green leaves have rich variegation in cream or silver, and the leaf margins take on a pink tinge during winter months. Plants like a little more water than most ivies—give them a drink just as the top of the soil starts to dry.
20. ‘King’s Choice’
‘King’s Choice’ ivy is adorned with narrow leaves that give it a delicate yet fun spidery look. It stays smaller in height—reaching 6” tall at its maximum—so it works beautifully as a border plant or situated in front of taller houseplants.
21. ‘Little Hermann’
One of the newer ivy varieties, ‘Little Hermann,’ is a smaller-growing plant with sharply-pointed asymmetrical leaves—a stark yet stunning contrast from the stereotypical lobed ivy leaves that are as wide as they are long. The long, narrow foliage is a soft shade of grayish-green decorated with silvery leaf margins and very subtle variegation.
22. ‘Manda’s Crested’
‘Manda’s Crested’ is a medium-sized climbing type ivy with five-lobed, broad, dark green foliage. In the cooler winter months, when days are shorter, the foliage takes on a bronze tinge at the leaf edges. It sometimes produces tiny yellow flowers that develop into little black berries.
23. ‘Mint Kolibri’
Deep green foliage on ‘Mint Kolibri’ is offset with spectacular creamy-white artistic variegation and various shades of green. The curly leaves stay relatively small with three to five lobes, making ‘Mint Kolibri’ a perfect choice for indoor containers. Plants grow no more than 4-6” tall but will span 20’ if left to sprawl.
24. ‘My Heart’
Not surprisingly, ‘My Heart’ ivy is adorned with large, heart-shaped leaves that give it a luxurious, refined appearance. The dark green foliage is unlobed, slightly puckered, and leathery, growing three to five inches across. This plant is a brilliant accent plant for brighter colored or flowering houseplants.
The relatively fine texture of ‘Needlepoint’ ivy gives it a refined, elegant appearance. Dark green leaves are accentuated with 3 or 5 slender, pointed lobes making it one of the more ornamental types. The multi-stemmed plants grow with a twining or trailing habit, so they look beautiful in containers or hanging baskets.
26. ‘Pixie Dixie’
Another miniature ivy type, ‘Pixie Dixie,’ has five to seven finely divided leaves. Plants have a medium growth rate and do best when they receive plenty of bright, indirect light to keep their medium-green coloration from fading.
The leaves on ‘Primadonna’ ivies are deep, dark green patterned with contrasting bright white blotches that create stunning visual interest. To maintain the coloration, prune off stems that consistently develop solid green foliage. This premium variety is a vigorous grower that needs abundant bright, indirect light.
28. ‘Royal Tee’
Rich green, three-lobed leaves on the ‘Royal Tee’ ivy divide an interesting pattern to give the foliage a unique T-shape. Plants have no variegation but may develop slight coloration along the veins. ‘Royal Tee’ is a vigorous grower, and its deep color pair lovely with brightly colored containers or flowering houseplants.
Also known as “miniature bird’s foot ivy,” the ‘Shamrock’ type grows in mound shapes with pointed leaves that look like tiny bird feet. Surprisingly, this plant doesn’t come from Ireland but is named after a hotel in Texas. Many consider ‘Shamrock’ a smaller, house-friendly version of the common ivy growing wild on old abandoned structures.
A relatively rare houseplant compared to many others on this list, the long, narrow leaves on ‘Spearpoint’ ivy set it apart from the rest. Plants do best in abundant sunlight, preferring to be less than three feet from a bright window, and need regular watering to thrive.
The ‘Starling’ ivy is another one that is easy to see where it gets its name from. Long slender lobes on the yellowish-green leaves look like bird footprints in the sand. This type of ivy likes full sun to part shade, so it prefers bright, indirect light indoors and prefers to stay on the drier side.
Common Ivy Species
We are familiar with many ivy varieties of Hedera helix, commonly known as “English Ivy.” But the Hedera genus contains about fifteen different species. Most types of ivy take their name from the country of origin to help make classification easier. The most common are English, Irish, Japanese, Algerian, Persian, Nepalese, and Russian.
English ivies are the most popular ivy species. All types are climbing plants that can reach up to 100 feet tall (or long) in the right conditions. They can grow well in full sun and part shade but prefer bright, indirect sunlight when grown indoors. Native to Europe, these woody perennials are fast-growing and typically display three to five lobes per leaf.
Irish ivy (Hedera hibernica) is very similar to English types and quite popular because it is easy to maintain. It grows incredibly fast and is often considered a nuisance plant, especially in cities where the dark green glossy leaves cover any surface they touch. In some places, city authorities take steps to remove Irish ivy to keep it from becoming too invasive.
Japanese ivies don’t climb as tall as some of the other types—maxing out at vines of 10 meters long—but their large heart-shaped leaves patterned with white veins set them apart for their beauty. Native to Japan, Hedera rhombea is commonly found growing up tree trunks or along rocky slopes in its natural habitat.
Of all of the common ivy types, Algerian ivy (Hedera algeriensis) is the more tolerant to direct light. Plants do well in containers and can climb walls fairly quickly until vines span an astonishing 40 feet in length. Algerian ivy has large lobed leaves attached to reddish stems. Most plants have solid green leaves and rarely produce flowers.
Persian ivy (Hedera colchica) is one of the fastest-growing types of ivies, with leaves growing between six and ten inches long. The leaves are solid dark green and glossy, accented with creamy-white leaf margins. This type is sometimes called the “Bullock’s Heart” ivy. In autumn, the plants produce spherical greenish yellow or whitish flowers.
Commonly called Himalayan ivy, Nepalese ivy (Hedera nepalensis) has diamond-shaped, or elliptical, dark green glossy leaves with distinctive white markings. These elongated, angular leaves grow anywhere from 1” long to up to 6” in length. Native to Asia, these ivies thrive at altitudes up to an astounding 3,000 meters above sea level.
Also known as Iranian ivy, the Russian ivy (Hedera pastuchovii) types grow better as climbing vines than a ground cover. Plants have thin, light-green rounded leaves adored with wavy leaf margins to give them a ruffled appearance. Russian ivy is native to Eastern Transcaucasus, thrives in shady locations, and displays small white or cream flowers.
Identifying Ivy Plants
Ivy plants are typically identified based on their distinctive leaf shape. All ivies generally have lobed leaves growing alternately along training or climbing vines. The specific shape, size, color, and variegation depend on the particular ivy plant. Leaves of various sizes are shades of green, variegated or two-toned, and are heart-shaped, fan-shaped, curled, or ruffled.
Caring for Indoor Ivy
When caring for indoor ivies, sun exposure and proper watering are the two most essential components. Plants prefer plenty of bright, indirect light. Direct sunlight can bleach leaves, and too little light can cause the variegation to fade. Most ivies like the top layer of soil to dry out before watering them again as they don’t like soggy roots.
Beyond that, fertilize once a month during the active growing season, stopping when growth slows down during the winter.