Devil’s Ivy – Care Guide
Devil’s Ivy is a popular indoor plant as it is easy to care for, fits nicely into interior design concepts, and is a brightly coloured addition to the space. Its presence also lessens harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde (a probable carcinogen). In aquariums and water displays, Devil’s Ivy absorbs excess nitrogen in the water, allowing the water system to flourish and the ivy to grow healthily. It is a hardy plant, and while it can grow extremely efficiently in some forests, it will not overrun your living room!
Origin: Mo’ore’a (Northwest of Tahiti)
Life Cycle: Evergreen Vine
Light: Devil’s Ivy will grow quickly in deep shade (like the forest floor) but will do well in moving, partial shade (such as from a tree canopy or a good spot indoors). This will also help improve the colour! They should be kept out of full sun to avoid burning or bleaching. If the leaves lose some of their yellow spots (variegation), the plant needs a little more light!
Water: Devil’s Ivy doesn’t like to be kept in very wet soil, so an easy way to check if it needs water is if the top 3-6cm of soil are dry. If that is the case, you can water! It’s also best not to put a tray underneath the pot, but make sure if there is a tray, it doesn’t fill up with water.
Fertiliser: In warmer months, especially Spring, Devil’s Ivy can be fertilised every few weeks. Fertilise rarely or not at all in Winter, as it will not need the extra nutrients.
Fruit/ Flowers: Indoors, Devil’s Ivy will rarely flower, but the leaves are its main attraction.
Pests & Problems: Devil’s Ivy is sensitive to over-watering, and the leaves will yellow and fall if it is too wet. Overwatering can also cause bacterial and fungal problems, which will be noticeable from the leaves (white spots, drooping). Mealybugs and mites can also affect these plants, which can be quickly sorted out through special insecticides available at local nurseries.
Growth: These vines can grow up to 20m in length, using aerial roots to adhere to large trees. Stems are around 4cm, and leaves can be up to 100 x 45cm (mature). Juvenile (and potted) Devil’s Ivy vines are smaller, with leaves being around 20 x 15cm. The vines can still grow a metre or two in a small hanging pot!
Repotting/ Propagation: You can repot Devil’s Ivy in Spring, either into a larger pot, or the same. You can also trim some stems and some longer roots to maintain the size and stop the plant from being too squished. This may result in a few leaves being lost, but the plant will bounce back quickly.
It is easier to propagate a new shoot from the plant than an old, established stem. You can create a new shoot by chopping off a stem and waiting for it to grow again. When it does, you can cut the new shoot off when it’s around 10cm, dip it in rooting hormone, and use that for propagation.
Written by Margaret Dunleavy