As an evergreen ornamental leaf plant, indoor ivy leaves nothing to be desired. With its magnificent, uni-green and variegated foliage, the opulent climbing plant adorns even niches with little light, cleans the air of pollutants and enriches the air we breathe with clean oxygen. Thanks to strong adhesive organs, Hedera helix decorates shapely climbing aids or its opulent tendrils dangle elegantly from a traffic light. Anyone who now expects extensive work to do with professional cultivation will be pleasantly surprised. Browse here through tried and tested care tips for a lush and vital ivy as a houseplant.


  • Pflanzenfamilie: Araliengewächse (Araliaceae)
  • Genus: Ivy (Hedera)
  • Most common type as a houseplant: common ivy (Hedera helix)
  • Native to Europe and the Mediterranean
  • Evergreen foliage plant, climbing thanks to adhesive roots
  • Climbing ability in room culture up to 300 cm and higher
  • Herbaceous when young, later woody
  • Decorative, multilobed leaves, plain to variegated
  • Perennial and hardy
  • Toxic in all parts

With a life expectancy of up to 500 years, houseplant ivy will provide you with a lifelong partnership, provided its few cultural needs are taken care of.

Location tips

The choice of location determines the successful course of caring for carpenter’s ivy. Benefit from the overwhelming variety of varieties to filter out the ideal specimen for the local light conditions. Make your decision based on the following criteria:

  • A light to semi-shady location is ideal for green-leaved varieties
  • Luminous efficiency of at least 20 percent is desirable, such as on a north or east window
  • Variegated ivy requires a sunny location with 2-3 hours of sunshine a day
  • Luminous efficiency of at least 40 percent to a maximum of 75 percent should be given, as with the west window
  • Protection from the blazing midday sun is important for every indoor ivy

The darker the leaves, the more shady the chosen spot can be. If, on the other hand, there is a permanent lack of light, the climbing plant threatens to wither because the shoots longingly stretch out towards the sun. These unfavorable conditions occur when the light intensity does not approach 20 percent.

Note: If the blazing midday sun is softened by a curtain, variegated ivy thrives vigorously and luxuriantly as a houseplant, even on south-facing windows. Alternatively, place the vine behind sun-tolerant plants that cast a shadow on the tendrils.

temperature conditions

In comparison to the divergent demands on the light conditions, the diverse ivy species and varieties are largely in agreement with regard to temperatures. This is how the climbing plants feel in good hands in the room:

  • From March to October, the mercury column ideally oscillates between 15 and 18 degrees Celsius
  • Temperatures that go beyond this are tolerated with a correspondingly high level of humidity
  • From November to February there are cool conditions of 10 to 15 degrees

Since rising temperatures are difficult to control in the winter garden or in the living room without air conditioning in summer, you can use simple means to increase the humidity in proportion to the heat at this time of year. If the 20-degree mark is exceeded, spray the ornamental foliage plant with soft water every day. Common air humidifiers keep the local microclimate constantly slightly humid without your intervention, which is particularly useful for the professional hobby gardener.

Note: If the table ivy saucer is filled with pebbles and water, evaporating moisture rises in summer to protect the tendrils from external damage caused by drought. It is important to note that the bowl should be filled up daily in the morning or in the evening.


If you keep the ivy’s water balance at a balanced level, this circumspection will benefit a lively growth potential and willingness to climb. Check the substrate every 2-3 days with a thumb test to water immediately if it is dry. Although ivy likes a constantly moist soil, it does not like to be bothered with waterlogging. You should therefore empty a coaster after a quarter of an hour at the latest. To prevent excess lime in the soil, we recommend using lime-free irrigation water. This can be collected rainwater or stagnant tap water. Experienced hobby gardeners hang a cotton sack filled with peat in a 10-liter watering can filled with normal water in order to carry out decalcification naturally within 3-5 days.

If you treat ivy as a houseplant to a winter break at 10 to 15 degrees Celsius, the water requirement is reduced accordingly. The cooler the location, the less often you water the foliage plant. Continue to spray the tendrils with lime-free water every few days to prevent pest infestation.

Tip: If the root ball dries out during your brief absence, immerse the root ball in water until no more air bubbles rise. In exceptional cases, carpenter’s ivy survives drought stress in this way without any after-effects.


Freshly potted, indoor ivy initially has a sufficient supply of nutrients in the substrate for 4-6 weeks. Since there is no natural replenishment in the limited volume of the planter, as in the bed, the gardener is responsible for the further supply. In this aspect of care, ivy is particularly undemanding as a houseplant. How to handle the topic correctly:

  • Fertilize liquid every 14 days from March to September
  • Never apply the preparation to a dried substrate
  • If in doubt, pour a little with soft water beforehand

As a decorative leaf plant, Hedera helix requires a nitrogen-rich preparation that is applied in a diluted concentration. Overfeeding regularly causes masty growth at the expense of a compact, densely leafed silhouette.

Tip: Where the smell doesn’t bother you, nettle manure acts as an ideal organic fertilizer for ivy – without the risk of overdosing.

To cut

Last but not least, it is the frugal pruning tolerance that catapults ivy to the top of the ranking of the most popular indoor plants every year. On the one hand, the lively growth fulfills creative greening plans in no time. On the other hand, the girth never gets out of control, as tendrils that are too long are cut off without further ado. How to cut carpentry ivy professionally:

  • The best time for pruning is early spring
  • Start the cut just above an outward leaf knot
  • Pruning dry and stunted branches at the base

Minor corrections with scissors can be made at any time during the year without any problems. Only use freshly sharpened and meticulously disinfected tools. On young specimens, encourage bushy and compact growth by regularly breaking out the shoot tips. This measure makes particular sense for varieties that naturally do not branch as profusely as others. Don’t forget to wear gloves to protect yourself from the toxic components of ivy.


While ivy keeps numerous diseases at bay with its toxic ingredients, some pests don’t care. An overview of the most common pests on Hedera helix in indoor culture with tips on how to combat them:

spider mites

At the top of the list of animal enemies of house ivy are spider mites. The tiny insects primarily use dry heating air to suck the juice out of the leaves. As a symptom of an infestation, you can see light speckles on the upper side of the leaves. As the foliage progresses, it turns yellow and brown to fall off. If you take a look at the underside of the leaves, you can see the typical white webs that give the pests their name in the early stages. How to deal with the plague:

  • From now on, spray indoor ivy daily with lime-free water
  • Repeatedly shower the infested plant upside down
  • Put them in a plastic bag with the pot to deprive the spider mites of oxygen

Since it is frowned upon to use chemical insecticides in living spaces, environmentally and health-conscious hobby gardeners resort to the classic soft soap solution. You finish off the pests with a mix of 1 liter of rainwater and 1 tablespoon each of pure soft soap or liquid curd soap and alcohol. Add a splash of dish soap to mix the ingredients well. Sprayed on the upper and lower sides of the leaves every 2-3 days, there is a good chance of success, at least in the early stages.


The magnificent ornamental leaves of carpenter’s ivy sometimes attract hordes of aphids. Since the sucking insects first settle on the underside of the leaves, the plant should be inspected there regularly. The lice are 2-3 mm small and come in different colors like brown, yellow, green or black. If shoots and leaves turn yellow, there is an urgent need for action. The sooner you counteract an explosive multiplication of the parasites, the faster the lice are history. Using insecticide has been proven to be less efficient than one of the following home remedies:

  • Dissolve 50 g of curd soap in 1 l of hot water, allow to cool and spray the plant repeatedly
  • Alternatively, dip all tendrils upside down in the soapy solution and rinse off with clear water
  • Add 100 ml fresh milk (no UHT milk) to 200 ml rainwater and apply to the leaves

In addition, baking soda has proven to be an effective aphid control agent because the leavening agent changes the pH in the insect’s body with lethal results. Dissolve 1 heaping spoonful of baking powder in 1 liter of rainwater and add a drop of dishwashing liquid as an emulsifier. Filled into a hand sprayer, apply the household remedy until the aphids are gone.

Variety recommendations for indoor ivy

Chicago (Hedera helix ‘Chicago’)
A classic for indoor culture from the 1960s. The variety features green and pink stems and three-lobed leaves in a pretty heart shape. In addition, the variety offers a Variegata variant with white-edged foliage.

  • Internodal distance: 2-4 cm
  • For partially shaded to shaded locations

Gold ivy (Hedera helix ‘Goldheart’)
This variegated yellow ivy attracts attention with its triangular leaves, the middle of which appears decorated with golden yellow. With an annual increase of 15-35 cm, the urge to spread is manageable.

  • Growth height 400 cm
  • For the sunny location without blazing midday sun

Harlekijn (Hedera helix ‘Harlekijn’)
With brightly mottled foliage on a dark green background, this magnificent variety draws attention to itself in traffic lights and window boxes. The 2004 breed has a natural profuse branching ability.

  • Growth height 250-350 cm
  • Very hardy, therefore also suitable for the cool greenhouse

Glacier (Hedera helix ‘Glacier’)
With its white-green ornamental leaves covered with a silvery, shimmering hue, this variety is the ideal houseplant. If you are looking for an ivy with long, sparsely branched tendrils, you will find what you are looking for at Glacier for a sunny to partially shaded location.

  • Growth height 300 cm
  • Thanks to its good winter hardiness, it is also suitable for the balcony

Variegated Caucasian Ivy (Hedera colchica ‘Dentata Variegata’)
It doesn’t always have to be Hedera helix to cultivate ivy as a houseplant. This premium strain convinces with a slow growth rate and beautiful creamy white and green leaves. The ideal variety for the large conservatory. If the industrious climber can’t be colorful enough for you, choose the variety ‘Ravenholst’, which also produces red shoots.

  • Growth height 400-600 cm
  • Ideal for the partially shaded west or east window

Curly Variegated (Hedera helix curly)
With intensely wavy leaf edges, this ivy variety creates additional fullness in appearance. The brand new variety is still considered an insider tip among creative hobby gardeners who prefer cream-green leaves on house ivy.

  • Growth height 250-300 cm
  • Does not tolerate temperatures below 0 degrees Celsius

With carpenter’s ivy, creative hobby gardeners create an evergreen refuge in living rooms and the conservatory. First and foremost, Hedera helix functions as decorative and undemanding greenery on the tasteful climbing aid, in the elegant flower pot or the eye-catching hanging basket. In order for the creative leaf decoration to thrive vitally and healthily for many years, there are no gardening challenges to be mastered that exceed the beginner’s level.

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