Types Of Ivy – Explanation + Visual Guide

Have ever asked yourself “what are the different types of ivy plants”? I know! I have too and I was surprised to know that there are several species of ivy!

Hedera, commonly called ivy, is a genus of 12–15 species of evergreen climbing or ground-creeping woody plants in the family Araliaceae, native to western, central and southern Europe, Macaronesia, northwestern Africa and across central-southern Asia east to Japan and Taiwan.


There are ivy plants that you can place inside your house on shelves and those that you can plant outside to grow on walls or sidings. Did you know? You can’t just plant them in the ground. Ivy has to cling to something to support itself as it grows!

Algerian Ivy

Algerian Ivy Plant.
Algerian Ivy Plant

Hedera algeriensis is also known as the Algerian ivy. Its a species of evergreen ivy belonging to the North African coast, including the coastal mountains in Algeria (hence the name). 

This variety of ivy is characterized by leathery, lobed, dark-green leaves that have hardy stems with red tints in them.

Algerian ivy vines can quickly grow up to 40 feet (12 m.) long. They climb up walls or spread over the ground with aerial roots.

Algerian ivy thrives in a variety of soil types. It can in clay, sandy, loam or chalky, acidic soil. However, this species of ivy grows best in a sheltered location away from drying winds. When you plant them in deeply shaded areas, the leaves revert to all green.

Gloire de Marengo

Gloire de Marengo - a variety of the Algerian Ivy plant.
Gloire de Marengo

Gloire de Marengo is a variety of the Algerian ivy plant. However, this ivy plant grows up to 20-feet in length and has large heart-shaped leaves that spread 4 to 5 inches wide.

It’s a fast-growing, multi-stemmed, plant that’s more than capable of clinging to and growing on anything in its path (if left unattended). However, it can also serve as a groundcover.

English Ivy

English Ivy growing on a fence.
English Ivy Plant.

The most common of all the ivy plant types is the English ivy. It’s an ivy plant that either has lobed, dark-green leaves that has stems with no flowers (infancy) or dark-green, unlobed leaves and stems that have small greenish-white flowers in the fall and yellow-orange flowers with dark berries after fall (mature plant).

Hedera helix, the common ivy, English ivy, European ivy, or just ivy, is a species of flowering plant in the family Araliaceae, native to most of Europe and western Asia


English ivy vines can grow up to 50 feet long or more. However, during the first year of growth, they grow slowly. They pick up speed (in growth) during the second year and grow at a faster rate during the third year of growth.

Goldchild Ivy

Goldchild Ivy pant. A variety of the English ivy.
Goldchild Ivy Plant

These types of ivy are a variety of the English ivy and it goes by many names: English Ivy ‘Goldchild’, ‘Goldchild’ English Ivy, Ivy ‘Goldchild’, Ivy ‘Gold Child’, Ivy ‘Gold Baby’.

The defining characteristic of this ivy plant is the bright gold highlights that surround the green leaves. It grows up to 3-feet tall and its leaves can spread up to 3-inches wide.

The Goldchild ivy is a very popular ivy plant and has won several international plants and flower awards including ivy of the year (2008).

Irish Ivy

An example of the Irish Ivy vine.
Irish Ivy.

Hedera hibernica, also known by its common name Atlantic ivy or Irish ivy, is a woody vine native to the Atlantic coast of Europe. It’s often misidentified as the English ivy but,

Irish ivy, Hedera hibernica, is normally larger than English ivy, Hedera helix, in both its leaves and petioles. The Irish ivy leaf is wider than long, with a broad terminal lobe and the leaves are shiny with greenish, not white veins. Also English ivy has a musty odor, while Irish ivy’s is sweet-ish.

Suzanne Pierot, President of the American Ivy Society


English Ivy ‘Ivalace‘, Common Ivy ‘Ivalace‘, European Ivy ‘Ivalace‘, Ivy ‘Ivalace‘ all refer to this variety of the English ivy plant that grows up to 3 feet tall and has 5-lobed leaves that broad, dark, and shiny.

The leaves grow up to an inch wide and have a cupped/curved inward look due to their curly edges.

Ivalace Ivy.
Ivalace Ivy.

Boston Ivy

This plant is fast-growing and can cover a lot of ground in a short period of time. It does not require a support system and grow freely on the open ground. The leaves change from green to green-purple tint in the autumn.

Parthenocissus tricuspidata is a flowering plant in the grape family native to eastern Asia in Korea, Japan, and northern and eastern China. Although unrelated to true ivy, it is commonly known as Boston ivy, grape ivy, and Japanese ivy, and also as Japanese creeper, and by the name Woodbine. 

Boston Ivy plant.
Boston Ivy.

Needlepoint Ivy

Needlepoint Ivy plants are great lawn alternatives because they grow slower than the English ivy. It is an evergreen ground cover that is good at controlling soil erosion and it is drought and salt tolerant.

Needlepoint Ivy plant.
Needlepoint Ivy.

Hedra helix or Needlepoint does not grow over 12 inches tall and is mostly low maintenance. The leaves are and have pointed lobes.

Nepalese Ivy

Also known as the Himalayan ivy, this type of ivy thrives in moist soil and semi-shaded areas. It has narrow green leaves that extend out to a long central point. The leaf is overlain with a silvery grey venation that gives the entire plant a silver cast.

Hedera nepalensis is a species of perennial Ivy native to Nepal and Bhutan, as well as Afghanistan, India, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam, at altitudes of about 1000–3000 m. Plants grow up to 30 m in height, with simple leaves ranging from 2–15 cm long, and yellow flowers.

Nepalese Ivy,
Nepalese Ivy.

Persian Ivy

Persian ivy usually grows on tree trunks and old walls. The leaves of this type of ivy plant are limp, drooping, slightly inwardly curled and this can give off the impression that the plant is unhealthy or dying even though they are in a healthy state.

Hedera colchica is a species of ivy which is native to Near and Middle East. It is commonly called Persian ivy or colchis ivy. It is an evergreen climbing plant, growing to 30 m high where suitable surfaces are available, and also growing as ground cover where there are no vertical surfaces.


Russian Ivy

Russian Ivy or Hedera pastuchovii, is an evergreen woody vine with long climbing stems, growing in mixed forests to 20–30 m high where suitable trees, are available, does not grow well as a groundcover plant. It climbs by means of aerial rootlets that cling to the trunk of trees.

This is one of the ivy plant types that are poisonous if ingested and it can cause skin irritations if you handle it from prolonged periods of time.

Russian Ivy or Hedera pastuchovii.
Russian Ivy or Hedera pastuchovii

Swedish Ivy

Plectranthus australis, commonly called Swedish ivy is a fast-growing, evergreen perennial that is native to northern Australia and the Pacific Islands. It typically grows to 2-3′ tall on erect stems that trail and spread as they mature.