When you picture different types of ivy, you most likely picture evergreen vines that climb up walls and houses, and they offer a gorgeous addition to your yard or garden. Depending on what you want from your plant and your climate, you have many types of ivy to choose from. They come in different colors, shapes, and sizes, and this makes it easy to mix and match them until you create a virtual wonderland of climbing vines that create living walls or vines that spill over the edges of your planters. Whatever you’re imaging, you can find a type of ivy to fill in the gaps.
Since this is typically a very low-maintenance plant, it’s a good pick for beginner gardeners or people who don’t have the time to spend babying a plant along. Most types of ivy tend to grow very rapidly and spread out, and this gives you very fast results for anyone who is trying to transform their yard, garden, or landscaping plan in a very short amount of time. I’m going to showcase several different types of ivy that you can grow indoors or outdoors below, and you can pick out the types that will work best for your climate.
1. Japanese Ivy
This type of ivy can grow to an impressive 30 feet long under the correct conditions, and it has eye-catching purple stems that add welcome color to your yard. It does best when you plant it in zones eight or nine, and it likes partial shade. Too much sun can damage the leaves. You’ll want to put it in a well-draining soil, but you should also try to keep the soil moist at all times. It’s native to East Asia, and you’ll usually find it climbing up tree trunks. The foliage has a glossy look to it in a mid-green shade, and the leaves have a rhombus shape. It’ll develop small flowers in a yellow-green hue that fade to blue-black berries in the late summer.
2. English Ivy
English Ivy is one type of ivy that grows very well in water, and it can easily survive in a host of different soil types, including sandy or ones lacking in nutrients. It can grow up to 100 feet high if you plant it in zones 5 to 11, and it likes partial shade to full sun. It’ll need average moisture, and it’s fantastic for helping filter the air and clean out the toxins. You’ll get glossy dark green foliage, and it has a very fast climbing habit when you put it up against walls. This is also a trailing plant that does well in baskets, and it works well as a groundcover. It can tolerate heat, snow, and frost, and this makes it great for colder climates.
3. Boston Ivy
This type of ivy can grow up to 50 feet tall when you plant it in zones four to eight in well-draining soil. It needs partial shade to full sun, and this is one type of ivy that doesn’t need a lot of water. It’s native to the eastern portion of Asia, and it’s part of the grape family. The foliage goes from green to purple and bright red in the fall months before it drops them. You’ll see clusters of light green flowers before they turn to dark blue grapes in the later summer months. It’s easy to propagate by cuttings.
4. Russian Ivy
If you want a type of ivy that comes with attractive leaves in heart shapes, try this species. It’s native to Iran, Russia, and Armenia, and this is an evergreen climbing plant that would do very well in a climbing garden because it can get up to 100 feet high with the proper support. Plant it in full sun to partial shade in well-draining soil that you can keep slightly damp, and it does best in zones 7 to 12. It won’t work well as a groundcover, and it can grow as an annual in colder climates. It’s a mid-green color for the foliage.
5. Persian Ivy
The next type of ivy on the list is the Persian Ivy. This is a slightly smaller species that grows up to 40 feet tall when you plant it in zones six to nine. It likes full shade to partial sun, and it’s slightly drought-tolerant. You’ll get very large leaves in the shape of a heart that are 4 to 10 inches long, and they can have solid colors or look variegated. It’s tolerant of heat, but it prefers to be in the shade with slightly moist soil that drains very well between watering sessions. If you leave it to grow without checking it, it can quickly take over an are and kill the surrounding plants.
6. Nepalese Ivy
Native to Nepal, this type of ivy grows best in hardiness zones 7 to 10. It can get up to 100 feet long if you plant it in an area that is at least partial shade with a well-draining soil. It does best when you grow it in higher altitudes, and it’ll form a leathery, dark green foliage that has a deep sheen to it. The leaves are lobe-shaped, and they come in a range of sizes. The yellow flowers will start to bloom in October and go through April to add pops of colors. It’s very sensitive to heat, but it can tolerate lower temperatures and frost without damage. It’s a more challenging type to grow.
7. Irish Ivy
This is another type of ivy that can grow in an impressive 100 feet high if you put it in the correct environment. It’ll need to be in zones 5 to 11 in full or partial shade, and the soil should drain very well. The soil should also stay partially damp. This is a very close relation to English Ivy, and it can be challenging to tell them apart. THe leaves have five lobes, and you’ll get a deep green glossy foliage with white veins. You can find it growing wild in France, Spain, Germany, and Ireland, and it can do very well in almost any lighting conditions. You’ll get small yellow flowers in September in October that turn to black berries.
8. Canarian Ivy
Growing in zones 6 to 10, this type of ivy loves to be in areas around your yard that get partial sun. You should try to keep the soil very moist but it should also drain well. It’s native to the Canary Islands and North Africa, and it’s very tolerant of colder conditions, poor soil, frost, wint, sun, pollution, and salt. This makes it a low-maintenance plant that is hard to kill but easy to maintain. The glossy green leaves can measure up to eight-inches long, and it will spread or climb with aerial roots very quickly. It can suffer if you don’t keep the soil wet enough.
9. Swedish Ivy
This is another small type of ivy that is great for hanging baskets because it only gets up to three feet long so it won’t grow out of control. It does well in zones 10 and 11 if you plant it outside, and it has to be in partial shade. The soil should be very rich, well-draining, and it should stay slightly moist. It’s native to South Africa, and it is a nice groundcover. They have glossy green leaves with eye-catching purple and white flowers that bloom periodically throughout the year. You can also use it as a bedding plant and have it sprawl over the ground as it won’t climb.
This type of ivy will produce very dark green foliage that only gets an inch across, and they have a deep sheen to them. The leaves curve around the edges to create a unique look, and it can grow up to four feet wide and three feet tall, making it an excellent choice to drape over your patio or outdoor bench. This ivy grows very fast, and it makes a gorgeous houseplant. You have to put it in a spot that is sheltered from the winds and cold, and it likes full sun to partial shade. You should also put it in wet but well-drained soil that are slightly rich and don’t forget to water it.
Needlepoint is a type of ivy that has a very ornamental look to it due to the dark green foliage and lobes that are set very close together. It has smaller leaves, and it can get up to three feet high. You should plant it in an area that gets partial sun with slightly moist soil, and it does very well in containers or hanging baskets because it has such an eye-catching look to it. It is a clinging vine that will spread up and over stone walls or fixtures in your yard if you let it grow, and you want to shelter it from the cold.
12. Golden Child Ivy
This type of ivy does best in zones 6 to 10 as it can’t tolerate the cold very well without sustaining damage. It is the recipient of several flower and international plant awards. You get grey-green leaves with bright gold streaks that makes it very eye-catching. You’ll have the best luck planting this ivy indoors as a houseplant, but you can plant it outside as a groundcover. It can grow to be three feet tall, and the leaves can get between two and three inches wide. Plant it in a place that gets partial sun with a rich but well-draining soil. Get it on a watering schedule if it’s indoors so it doesn’t dry out.
13. Gloire de Marengo
This dramatic type of ivy will grow up to 20 feet tall and 3 feet wide under the correct conditions, and you get deep green leaves that come in a heart shape. The leaves can get between four and five inches wide, and they have white trim. It works well for trellises, walls, and slopes, and it’s won several different awards. This ivy loves full sun to partial shade, and it should have a rich soil medium that drains very well when you water it. Try to keep the soil slightly wet, and keep it out of the colder winds to help it look nice longer.
14. German Ivy
Better known as Cape Ivy, this type of ivy is one you’ll find growing wild across the California coast. They do well in wetlands and forests, and they like a lot of water in the soil with partial shade to full sun conditions. They won’t grow well if it gets too dry, but you can receive them by putting them by your pond and keeping them constantly moist. They have bright green foliage on very slender stems, and you can encourage new growth through cuttings. The stems are a slightly deeper purple color that helps offset the foliage coloring and create an ornamental look.
15. Bullock’s Heart Ivy
Anyone who is searching for a type of ivy that produces different flower varieties and comes in a host of colors should look at Bullock’s Heart Ivy. This plant can grow up to 40 feet tall when you plant them outdoors in zones six to nine. It’s a very low-maintenance plant that doesn’t need a lot of care to do well as long as you plant it in a place that gets partial shade and has soil that drains well. It likes to climb, so you may want to put it by a wall or other structure that will support it as it grows.
16. Buttercup Ivy
This type of ivy will grow pale green leaves if you plant it in a spot that is full to partial shade, but the leaves will turn a pretty golden yellow color when you expose them to the sunlight. So, you can grow it in either full sun or full shade without hurting it. It’s a woody vine that grows best in average to moist soil conditions as long as the soil drains well. You should never let it dry out, and it likes a neutral pH with a rich soil content. It can handle environmental salt too.
17. Adam Ivy
If you’re looking for an eye-catching type of ivy to put in your hanging baskets, try Adam Ivy. This is an evergreen houseplant that has variegated medium-green leaves, and the edges of the leaves have a much lighter green hue to them. They produce arrow-shaped leaves with silver and white tones, and they’ll hang gracefully from your planter. They like rich but well-draining soils that are slightly moist, and this type of ivy loves partial sunlight. Inside, it should be indirect sunlight by a window, and you don’t want them to dry out. To propagate them, take a small cutting and start it in water.
18. Anne Marie Ivy
This type of ivy falls into the English Ivy category, and it has a very classic look. The leaves have a smooth appearance with small gaps between the lobes, and they have very delicate veins. This plant has a deep green center that fades to white on the edges, and it grows best in zones 5 to 10. It can get three to four feet tall and wide, and it likes full sun, full shade, or partial sun. The soil should be rich but drain well, and it should always be lightly most. This makes it good for self-watering pots to help reduce the overall maintenance you have to do to keep it healthy.
19. Tripod Ivy
This type of ivy produces leaves that have three pointed lobes instead of five, and they have a very rich and deep green coloring with a highly glossy texture. They have light green veins, and it grows very thick. It works well in Mediterranean or tropical gardens, and it grows best in zones 5 to 11. It can get up to 13 feet high and wide at full maturity, and you should plant it in partial or full shade. It needs rich, well-drained soil that stays slightly moist. However, the sap from this plant is an irritant if you get it on your skin, and the fruit and leaves are toxic if someone ingests them, so keep it away from your pets and kids.
20. Golden Curl Ivy
The Golden Curl Ivy is a very energetic and vibrant type of ivy that produces leaves that curl slightly along the edges, and the shape can vary. The foliage is a vibrant yellow color that makes it stand out, and it can have green patches by the tips. It is a thick variety that likes to climb walls, and it does well in zones five to nine. It can get 30 to 40 feet tall at full maturity, and it needs partial shade or full sun. You can take cuttings in the summer to propagate this plant. However, every part of the plant is poisonous if you should ingest it, so be careful where you plant it if you have kids or pets.
Growing Ivy Indoors
If you choose to grow your types of ivy indoors, you can set them up to climb up small trellises. They can cascade from hanging baskets, and you can also train them to grow into different formations to create small topiaries throughout your home. If you don’t take care to cut back your ivy and train them, they can grow out of control, extend in all different directions, and they can even get tangled. This is why you’ll have to prune and trim them to keep them looking neat and tidy. You can do this once or twice a year.
The types of ivy that have smaller leaves are generally much slower growing, and this makes them an excellent contender to put in baskets or small containers. The types of ivy that have bigger leaves tend to grow much faster, and they do best in big hanging baskets spread throughout your home by windows so they get a lot of indirect lighting.
Ivies also form very small rootlets, and this makes them adhere to whatever surface you set them on. These rootlets help the plant cling to wood, concrete, and stone. If you decide to let your ivy trail, they’ll start growing rootlets right in the soil that will help to keep the vines contained for a decent period of time.
How to Propagate Types of Ivy
Luckily, ivy is very forgiving and relatively easy to propagate, no matter which type of ivy you grow. To start, you want to cut a length of your ivy plant up to four feet long. You should get a clean pair of garden scissors or a sharp knife to make a clean cut. You should make your cut directly above the leaf on the plant, and you want to trim the stem below the leaf until it’s roughly an inch long.
If you plant to propagate your ivy in soil, you’ll need a rooting hormone powder. Fill your planter with a sand and soil mix, or you can use straight sand and poke holes in it to plant your new shoot. Stick each powdered stem into one of your holes and gently backfill the sand in around it. Water it thoroughly, and put the entire planter in a plastic bag to help lock in moisture. You should make a point to open the bag once a week and water it. This will help keep everything moist, and you should see your plants starting to sprout after a week or two. Leave them be for six to eight weeks until you replant them in their new permanent spot.
Another option you have is to root your ivy plants in water. To do this, start by trimming off any bottom leaves. Put your cutting in a jar full of water, and place your jar in a window sill that gets a lot of light. Keep the water levels up and watch for new roots to form. You should see them start in two to four weeks. Once they root, you can remove them from the water and transplant them into the soil.
This is an easy method, but you have a better chance of your plants surviving if you root them in a solid planting medium like potting soil.
The 20 different types of ivy I introduced to you in this post will give you a good starting point if you’re ready to add this low-maintenance plant to your home or yard. It’s easy to mix and match species to get a variety of colors and leaf shapes, and they’re all relatively easy to grow once you get them started. I also told you how to propagate them when you’re ready to start new cuttings, and how to grow them indoors. You can take this information and use it to grow beautiful types of ivy indoors all year-round.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.