Persian Ivy (Hedera colchica) – Foliage Plants
Persian Ivy (Hedera colchica) is an evergreen woody vine or ground cover. It has attractive, large, slightly toothed, heart-shaped, deep green, thick, leathery leaves and curl at the edges giving a slightly wilted appearance. The leaves are alternate, they are of two types, with palmately five-lobed juvenile leaves on creeping and climbing stems. It produces small, greenish flowers in large numbers in umbels from late summer until late autumn. The fruits are berries, globular and black when ripe. There are one to five seeds in each berry, which are dispersed by the birds swallowing the berries. The flowers and fruits are important food source for birds, bees and other insects. Persian Ivy is a perfect plant to control soil erosion on slopes or hills and can be grown to cover a variety of vertical structures such as trellises or walls or topiary forms.
Species: H. colchica
Scientific Name: Hedera colchica
Common Name: Colchica Ivy, Persian Ivy
How To grow and care for Persian Ivy (Hedera colchica)
Most cultivars of ivy grow best in bright light, but not direct sun. They tolerate low to medium light, but growth is reduced and variegated forms may turn all green. To maintain the bright color of a variegated ivy, give it plenty of light. Ivies can be grown with artificial light, or near a north, east or west window.
It grows well in any well-drained, moist, humus-rich, preferably alkaline soil.
Water Persian Ivy thoroughly, then let the soil dry to the touch to a depth of ½ inch before watering again. Although ivies prefer moderate humidity, they will tolerate normal low home levels. Raise the humidity by setting the plants on a tray of wet pebbles or perlite. Do not allow ivies to stand in water. Ivies benefit from good air circulation, and they should not be crowded.
Fertilize Persian Ivy monthly while they are actively growing with a foliage houseplant fertilizer, according to the label directions. Do not use fertilizer when plants stop growing either in the heat of summer, or when temperatures are cool.
Propagation is by rooting stem or tip cuttings. Most types of ivy will root easily in water. Repot ivies when the plants become top-heavy or root bound or dry out too rapidly. The new pot should be no more than 1 inch larger in diameter than the pot it was originally grown in. Using too large a pot can cause the soil to stay wet too long and lead to root rot.
Pest and Diseases
Too much or too little water plus insects and mites are the main problems. Root rot usually results from a soil mix that does not drain quickly or overly frequent watering. Mealybugs, mites, aphids, whiteflies and scales are the most common insect pests of ivies grown as houseplants. If the area infested is limited you can prune out those parts of the plant.
Periodic washing can help prevent many pest problems. Wash plants by dunking the foliage upside down in a gallon of water to which insecticidal soap has been added. Hold the soil in the pot with a cover of foil or plastic.
Ingestion may cause severe discomfort, contact may irritate the skin. Wear gloves and other protective equipment when handling.