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What Is Heart Ivy?

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  • Written By: Misty Amber Brighton
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 02 December 2014
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Heart ivy, or Philodendron scandens, is a type of vine that typically has leaves that are heart-shaped. It can be used as both a trailing and a climbing plant. It can also be grown indoors or outdoors, as long as temperatures remain fairly warm and constant.

This plant is characterized by dark green leaves that are usually thick and shiny. They may have a somewhat leathery feel to them. The foliage is typically around five inches (12.7 cm) long in the center of the plant. These leaves are normally in the shape of a heart, which is why the vine got its name.

A heart ivy plant can grow up to 30 feet (9.15 m) in length. The vine can be trained to climb a trellis, fence, or side of a building if desired. It can also be planted in a hanging basket so the foliage can cascade downward. The plant may need to be trimmed from time to time, if it gets too long for the area it is placed in.

Although they can grow to a great length, these plants can also spread from side to side. Some heart ivy vines have been known to grow as much as two to three feet (.61 to .92 m) wide. This might mean that potted plants can need to be transplanted from time to time, usually annually or bi-annually.

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The stems of this creeper are usually very thick, and light or dark green in color. They may bend in more than one direction. They are also generally smooth, but can occasionally have a rough, bud-like point protruding from them.

Sometimes this plant produces a small, pale green flower that is around six inches (15.24 cm) long. These are usually noticed in vines growing in the wild. The blossoms may appear in late fall or early winter in these instances.

Heart ivy is thought to have originated in Central or South America. It is now grown in many parts of the United States as well. It is not known how this plant was introduced into the U.S.

Although it is sometimes a fast-growing plant, heart ivy is not usually considered to be an invasive species. Even so, care should be taken to see that it does not smother smaller plants in a garden. Confining this vine to a flower pot or barrel can often eliminate this worry, leaving gardeners free to enjoy the colorful trailing leaves of this ornamental variety.

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