Types of ivy plants are popular in outdoor and indoor gardening setups because they’re usually easy to grow in the right conditions.

Types of Ivy for a Lovely Outdoor

However, some of them are severely toxic to animals and humans, so you might want to avoid them.

Our gardening team will tell you about 11 kinds of ivy that you might encounter or want to grow. 

Ivy Plant Species To Identify and Grow

1. English Ivy

Evergreen English Ivy Vine

Distinguishing characteristics
  • English ivy has dull-green lobed leaves with some prominent veins. They turn into a deeper shade of green when the plant matures. It grows greenish-yellow flowers that bloom in the fall, but they’re not showy. 
  • Most homeowners grow the English ivy as a cover because it spreads fast. However, it’s also grown as a climbing plant, which can easily cover a structure in no time. 
  • It has aerial roots that allow it to climb to be around 80 feet high. Some homeowners will also grow it in hanging baskets.
  • English ivy is pretty easy to take care of, which is why it might be considered invasive in some areas. 
  • The Hedera helix grows in different types of soil but thrives in well-draining soil, which should be kept slightly dry. 
  • Thrives in partial to full shade, making it an excellent indoor plant. 
  • It’s mildly toxic to humans but very toxic to cats, dogs, and horses. 
  • It’s considered invasive in many areas and can cause damage to nearby trees and structures. So, you should contact the local authorities before attempting to grow it in your garden. 
  • The most potent way to eliminate this plant is to hand-pull and uproot the area. 
  • Using a hand rake will help you eliminate all the roots. 

Hedera helix, or English ivy, is one of the most popular types of ivy. It’s considered a foliage plant, although it grows insignificant greenish flowers in the fall.

Also called common ivy, this plant has delicate needle-like leaves and requires more care. Goldchild ivy, manda’s crested ivy, needlepoint ivy, and ivalace ivy are popular cultivars. 

2. Irish Ivy

Hardy Irish Ivy Species

Distinguishing characteristics
  • It’s native to the coasts of Europe and thrives in USDA zones 5 to 11. It has dark green, ovate leaves and usually spreads as a cover or climbing plant when nearby structures support it. 
  • Without support, this plant can reach a height of 3 feet, providing a winter interest to your garden. In the fall, the Irish ivy plant grows brown-green flowers. 
  • This fast-growing ivy will fill ample space in your garden. You can also grow it as an indoor plant with sunlight access. 
  • This plant is usually grown for its foliage and thrives in various soil types. It’s more tolerant of drought than overwatering and will grow best in full sun. 
  • Leaving a space between 20 and 30 inches will allow this plant to spread. 
  • The Hedera hibernica is prone to aphid and red spider mite infestations.
  • It’s a slow grower compared to other ivy plants, reaching its mature height within five to ten years. 
  • It’s not the most toxic ivy, but it can cause skin rashes when touched if you have sensitive skin. 
  • It’s best to remove this ivy during the cold season when the growth is slower. 
  • When the soil is moist, pull out the plants by hand. Yet, you might have to do this for a long time to ensure that the new plants won’t reappear. 
  • To remove tree ivy, cut the vines around the tree trunk and then pull them to the ground. 

Also known as Atlantic ivy, this evergreen climber thrives in coastal conditions. It has larger leaves than other ivy kinds and can be used for erosion control. It produces blue-black berries that provide food to wildlife. 

3. Boston Ivy

Striking Boston Ivy Vine

Distinguishing characteristics
  • Boston ivy is one of the easiest plants to grow as a climbing vine or trailing cover. 
  • This ivy has three-lobed deep green leaves that turn to brilliant shades of red, burgundy, pink, and wine in the fall. 
  • It grows white-green flowers in the spring, but the foliage usually hides them. 
  • This ivy thrives in loamy, well-draining soil and has average watering needs. However, it needs deep watering in its first year until the roots establish. 
  • It grows in full sun but can tolerate partial shade. 
  • It’s tolerant of various growing conditions, so it can grow where other plants struggle. As a matter of fact, it’s less problematic than English ivy, so it can be a good alternative. 
  • This plant is usually grown as a ground cover. If you don’t want it to grow as a climbing vine, you should plant it at least 15 feet away from nearby structures. 
  • In hot and dry areas, spider mites will feed on this plant. Japanese beetles can also destroy foliage in the spring. 
  • Although not as problematic, homeowners choose to remove Boston ivy because it can quickly cover structures. Trimming and pruning the leaves usually works as it controls the plant’s growth. 
  • The safest way to eliminate this plant is to use white vinegar. But be careful because it will also kill any plants it gets in contact with. 

The Parthenocissus tricuspidata is a deciduous woody vine. It’s less aggressive than common ivy but can still damage nearby structures.

The new foliage is red, turns to green in the summer, and then becomes red one more time in the fall. 

4. Persian Ivy

Robust Persian Ivy Vine

Distinguishing characteristics
  • This plant has attractive heart-shaped leaves, making it look close to sulfur heart ivy. It’s an evergreen climbing plant with nectar-rich blooms that attract pollinators and birds to your garden. 
  • Compared to other ivy varieties, this one has the largest leaves, like the Hedera pastuchovii. The flowers attract pollinators and beneficial bugs, so you can grow this ivy if you want to practice organic pest control in your garden. The flowers then turn into dark berries that various birds and animals feed on. 
  • People grow Persian ivy because of its attractive foliage. But, unlike other ivy plants, this one has pretty flowers that add beauty to your garden. 
  • This is an excellent plant to grow in shady areas and can reach a height of 30 feet tall. It will grow fast in the right conditions but requires some maintenance. 
  • It grows in neutral or slightly alkaline soil and becomes drought-tolerant once established. 
  • This ivy doesn’t tolerate extremely cold weather, and the leaves might wilt. 
  • If deprived of sunlight, the leaves will become dry and unhealthy. 
  • It can be damaged by leaf spot disease or the attacks of snails and slugs. 
  • To get rid of this plant when it’s covering structures, cut through the stems with sharp pruners or a saw and dig the roots out. Wait until the stems die and remove them. 
  • In the ground, use a spade to dig out the roots and dispose of them away from your garden. Repeat the process until new plants stop reappearing. 

The Hedera colchica or colchica ivy is native to the Middle East but will grow in your garden in the right conditions. The leaves can be 10 inches long, and the sturdy plant’s structure makes it a good choice for topiary as it can be trimmed into different shapes. It can also grow as a houseplant cascading from a hanging basket. 

5. Algerian Ivy

Fast-Growing Algerian Ivy Vine

Distinguishing characteristics
  • This evergreen ivy is a popular choice for homeowners because there are variegated and solid green varieties. However, variegated ivy cultivars are more common and widespread in landscape designs. 
  • The plant grows glossy green leaves with cream, white, and pale green markings. Marengo ivy is a variegated cultivar. 
  • This plant is a good choice for coastal landscapes because it’s tolerant of salt. You can pair it with other salt-tolerant varieties like Hedera cypria or Cyprus ivy vines
  • In the right conditions, Algerian ivy will grow to reach a height of 30 or 40 feet tall. It’s drought tolerant but should be watered occasionally in hotter climates, especially if you keep it in the sun. 
  • Due to the versatility of this plant, it can be grown attached to a trellis or fence or as a ground cover under a tree. 
  • Since it appreciates the shade, this will be a good companion for massive trees, where it’s challenging to grow other ground covers. 
  • This plant is prone to several pests that ruin the foliage look. Aphids, loopers, mites, and mealybugs will attack it regularly.
  •  It’s also prone to several diseases, like powdery mildew and stem rot. 
  • Cut the stems and then apply glyphosate to the cut stems and leaves. Make sure that it doesn’t touch any other nearby plants. 
  • Manual removal also works, as you remove the roots gently from walls to prevent permanent damage. Cut the stems and wait until they die to easily remove them. 

The Hedera algeriensis is a hardy shade-loving plant that you can grow where other plants will struggle.

You can quickly identify it by the widely spaced leaves compared to other ivy species. It’s less cold hardy, so it’s a good choice if you live in a warmer climate. 

6. Japanese Ivy

Charming Japanese Ivy Species

Distinguishing characteristics
  • The Hedera rhombea has aerial roots that allow it to attach itself to various structures. It also grows as a cover. 
  • The Japanese ivy vine can have solid green or variegated leaves and is prized for its red stems. It grows fast, and the leaves have a coarse texture. 
  • In the summer and fall, it grows non-showy greenish-white flowers that turn into dark berries.
  • This outdoor ivy thrives in a small hardiness zone in USDA zones 8 and 9. It grows in dry and salty soil and thrives in full sun and partial shade. It’s drought-tolerant and doesn’t handle overwatering. 
  • This ivy is a good choice for slopes and rocky areas. It’s an excellent choice for your rock or coastal garden. 
  • You can grow this plant with other kinds, like Boston and Russian ivy. It can also grow with Virginia creeper and Chinese Virginia creeper. 
  • The fruits are toxic to humans and pets. 
  • This plant will wither and die in the shade and cold temperatures. 
  • Getting rid of this ivy can be a little bit challenging because it’s more resistant. 
  • The most efficient way to remove it is to cut the plant to ground level in the spring and then apply glyphosate to kill the roots. 

Native to Asia, this plant is also known as the Japanese creeper, and it will spread in your garden if you provide it with the right growing conditions.

Despite being toxic, many homeowners grow it to cover structures as it has a cooling effect. 

7. Swedish Ivy

Decorative Swedish Ivy Plant

Distinguishing characteristics
  • Also known as creeping Charlie, this plant has thick and erect stems, so it will grow upward before it cascades from a hanging basket or a container.
  • It has variegated round leaves with scalloped edges. 
  • It can live for three to five years, whether you grow it in your indoor or outdoor garden. In the late spring, it grows pale lavender flowers like ground ivy
  • This plant doesn’t require much care or maintenance, so it’s a good choice for novice gardeners. 
  • This ivy grows at room temperature and humidity levels, and regular pruning won’t damage the plant. 
  • Swedish ivy is an excellent choice for decks, patios, and balconies. Some people also transfer it outside during the summer to keep it healthy. You can pair it with other kinds like Russian ivy, Algerian ivy, or Iberian ivy, known as Hedera iberica
  • It’s subject to mealybug attacks, but they can be manually removed. 
  • This ivy plant survives in different soil types, but adding peat moss is essential. However, you should avoid overwintering in winter to prevent growth issues. 
  • Since it’s usually grown as a houseplant, pruning the leaves of this ivy will keep it under control. 
  • If you want to remove this plant permanently, you can cut the stems and leaves to the ground and dig out the roots. Watch out for any new growth. 

The Plectranthus australis or Swedish ivy is a good choice if you want indoor ivy houseplants, along with the duckfoot ivy.

Unlike other types, this ivy isn’t toxic to pets. It grows like a trailing plant but can’t climb walls like a true ivy. 

8. Canarian Ivy 

Vibrant Canarian Ivy Vine

Distinguishing characteristics
  • This evergreen perennial is a climbing plant that grows as a cover or woody shrub, like Cape ivy or Delairea odorata
  • It has glossy, leathery green leaves and is widely used in flower arrangements, along with a North African ivy known as Moroccan ivy or Hedera maroccana
  • It has green-brown stems that turn red-purple as the plant grows. When mature, the stems will be gray-brown. It can be one of the highest climbing plants, reaching more than 150 feet when attached to the proper structure. 
  • This vine will thrive in fertile soil but can tolerate poor soil conditions. 
  • It tolerates full sun, but it grows best in partial shade. 
  • Compared to other ivy species, this one is highly toxic.
  • It needs regular pruning or will become invasive in your garden. 
  • To successfully remove it, you must cut off vines and pull them away from trees before using a herbicide to kill the plant. 
  • Reapply a chemical herbicide three times a year to kill all the roots of ground plants, and then encourage the growth of native plants to prevent the reappearance of this ivy. 

The Hedera canariensis is also known as the Madeira ivy or Canary Island ivy. It’s banned in many areas, as it affects the growth of native plants.

In residential areas, the dense mats of this plant can house rodents and affect native wildlife. 

9. Poison Ivy

Notorious Poison Ivy Plant

Distinguishing characteristics
  • This ivy variety has reddish or orange leaves while young. The plant matures to reach two feet tall, and the leaves turn into a bright shade of green. 
  • It grows non-showy flower clusters. The white blooms have orange centers, but they’re hardly noticed and later turn into yellow berries. 
  • Along with Azores ivy or Hedera azorica, these two plants are usually treated as weeds, not ornamental plants. 
  • This climbing ivy has aerial roots that can attach to different structures, including stone walls. 
  • It’s highly adaptable and can survive in moist soil and dry locations. 
  • This ivy thrives in full sun but withstands partial shade. 
  • Due to this ivy’s poisonous traits and its ability to stunt the growth of nearby trees and plants, most homeowners will try to remove it from their gardens.
  • Touching any plant part can cause skin rashes, blisters, and severe itching. 
  • Digging out the plant while wearing protective gloves can work. But you shouldn’t burn the removed plants as the irritant chemical can travel in the smoke for miles. 
  • Some gardeners also use herbicides to get rid of this ivy. You can also use boiling water or apply a mixture of salt, soap, and water to kill it. 

The Toxicodendron radicans is considered an undesirable weed in urban areas. It contains high levels of urushiol, a clear liquid in the plant’s sap, and it causes skin inflammation upon contact.

Despite its name, it’s not a true ivy, as it belongs to the family of pistachio and cashew. 

10. Himalayan Ivy

Glossy Himalayan Ivy Species

Distinguishing characteristics
  • Native to Nepal, this plant usually grows at high altitudes where it can tolerate colder weather. 
  • It has glossy green leaves with a lighter underneath and grows yellow flowers in the fall. The flowers stay in bloom until April, providing an all-year-long interest. 
  • The flowers turn into red-orange berries in winter. 
  • Himalayan ivy prefers cold temperatures and can tolerate lower humidity levels. 
  • It grows best in well-draining fertile soil but can tolerate poor soil. It prefers slightly acidic soil that should be kept moist, but you should avoid over-watering as it can lead to root rot. Providing this plant with at least 6 hours of indirect sunlight will keep it in shape. 
  • Regular pruning will help the plant maintain its shape. Cutting the shoots in the spring is best, especially if the plant is too long. 
  • If this plant attaches to nearby trees, use sterilized pruners to cut it at the base. It has strong aerial roots allow it to attach itself to the bark, and pulling it might harm your trees. 
  • All this plant’s parts are toxic when touched or ingested. 
  • Regular pruning is usually enough to control this plant’s growth. 
  • If it’s attached to a tree, cut the vines at ground level and then at the highest point you can reach. Peel the cut vines and remove the roots gently to avoid damaging the bark. 

The Hedera nepalensis is usually grown as a trailing plant or climbing vine. It’s a good choice for a shade garden and will thrive in moist soil.

The flowers stay in bloom from October to April, adding interest to your fall and winter garden. 

11. Buttercup Ivy

Colorful Buttercup Ivy Vine

Distinguishing characteristics
  • This is a hardy and problem-free English ivy cultivar that most homeowners and gardeners prefer to grow for its beautiful variegated or yellow foliage. 
  • It has yellow-green leaves, but some types have solid green ones, which work as great shade or indoor ivy plants. The plant grows yellow flowers that give it its distinctive name. 
  • This English ivy cultivar is grown as a cover or trailing plant due to its ability to spread in the right conditions. It shouldn’t be allowed to attach itself to trees because the aerial roots can cause permanent damage to the bark. 
  • This frost-hardy plant is a good choice for novice gardeners because it requires minimal plant care
  • It tolerates various soil conditions but will grow best in well-draining, fertile soil. 
  • Full sun is essential for this plant, and the foliage will become pale green in the shade. 
  • Just like other ivy varieties, this one is prone to several plant diseases and pests like leaf spot and soft scale diseases that ruin the leaves. 
  • Aphids, spider mites, black vine weevils, and red spider mites can also attack this plant. 
  • The best time to eliminate this plant is right before or after it blooms. 
  • Digging out the roots by hand usually works best. You can also apply boiling water where the plant grows. 

This is an English ivy or Hedera helix variety. It has an average texture, making it a good choice for landscape designs as it blends easily with nearby plants and trees. It’s also a good choice for your container garden. 


Ivy types can grow in sunny and shady locations in your garden.

They can also be grown as indoor plants in the right conditions. 

  • There are several types of English ivy, and they can be easily identified according to the leaves’ color and shape.
  • Most variegated plants, like Algerian ivy and Persian ivy, will thrive in the shade.
  • Some ivy kinds, like Poison ivy, should be removed carefully from your land.
  • Some plants, like Irish ivy, grow flowers that attract pollinators.

You can grow several ivy kinds in your outdoor or indoor garden with these different choices. So, which one will you pick?

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