Hedera x helix ‘Goldheart’: Ivy Plant
Ivy is well known to everyone. Formerly it was cultivated as a plant requiring cool conditions in winter but nowadays it can also be used for modern room decoration because certain variegated cultivars need warmer conditions and tolerate a warm winter.
According to some authorities there are 7, according to others up to 15 species of ivy found chiefly in Europe and Asia, but they also occur in North Africa. All are shrubby plants that become woody and that climb with the aid of clinging rootlets; only very few forms are not climbers. The leaves, placed alternately on the stem, are leathery, rigid and generally deeply lobed. An interesting feature is the fact that the flowering branches of mature plants bear leaves of an entirely different shape, usually much larger and with an entire margin.
Most cultivated forms are derived from Hedera helix, the common ivy, found in every European park as well as growing wild in the forest. It is naturally also found in the Caucasus, the Balkans and Asia Minor. Its range of distribution is truly vast and affords a wide choice of shape as well as colour.
There are dozens of cultivars that either have interesting foliage (generally very thick with remarkably twisted leaves or with leaves arranged in an unusual pattern) or else variously variegated leaves. Best for centrally-heated homes are the dwarf forms with small, greatly variegated leaves that can not only be used to best advantage for room decoration but are generally also the most tender.
Ivy should be grown in loamy compost, rich in humus. It is readily propagated by cuttings inserted in peat and sand in a warm propagator.