Botanical Name: Plectranthus species
Swedish ivy house plants are ideal for beginners. Nearly foolproof, this is one of the easiest types of ivy to grow indoors. In fact, it needs little attention to thrive.
This bushy plant has thick stems that grow upright at first, then trail over the sides of a container. Put it in a hanging basket to show off its thickly leaved cascading stems.
Swedish ivy has rounded leaves that are deeply veined with scalloped edges. P. australis is a variety with solid green foliage. The variegated types are more commonly grown as house plants.
You can expect pale lavender or white flowers to appear in spring or summer, but they're not nearly as showy as the foliage.
Keep it moist, not soggy. This plant grows best with evenly moist soil during the growing season. Take care not to allow the soil to become soggy, which can cause root rot. If your plant wilts despite regular watering, it is probably suffering from root rot. If this happens, take a few stem cuttings from the healthiest stems and propagate them. Get rid of the parent plant -- it won't recover. Cut back on water in the winter, when growth has slowed. But don't allow it to dry out completely.
Pinch and prune. This vigorous grower needs regular pruning to keep it in shape. After the flowers fade, snip off stem tips to encourage branching. You'll get a fuller, bushier plant this way. Propagate the stem tips, if you like. They root easily and you'll have new plants. You can prune your plant back by as much as half at a time -- you won't hurt this robust plant at all.
This plant is neither native to Sweden, nor is it a true ivy. It's actually in the Labiatae family, along with mint (Menthe) and is fast-spreading when planted in the garden. Many varieties are available. Choose the one you like -- they're all easy to grow. The variegated types of ivy plants are most popular as house plants. 'Marginatus' has leaves broadly edged with creamy white. 'Variegata' is another type with white variegation.
Origin: Northern Australia, Pacific Islands
Height: To 3 ft (90 cm)
Light: Bright, indirect light. Some morning sun is fine. Plants that don't get enough light will have leggy stems with wide gaps between leaves. Move your ivy to a brighter spot, but keep it out of harsh, direct sunlight.
Water: Keep soil moist spring through fall when plant is actively growing. Water sparingly in winter.
Humidity: Moderate humidity. This plant loves to be misted with room-temperature water.
Temperature: Average room temperatures (60-75°F/16-24°C) year-round. This tropical plant doesn't like the cold, so keep it at a minimum of 60°F/16°C.
Soil: Peat moss-based potting mix.
Fertilizer: Feed monthly spring through fall with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted by half. Do not feed in winter.
Propagation: Take stem cuttings in spring or summer. They'll root easily in water or moist potting mix.