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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Friday - May 25, 2007

From: Progreso, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Vines
Title: How to produce ivy with large, green leaves
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

How can I keep an Ivy green? When it was purchased it was green and had BIG leaves. How can I get the leaves to grow big again and get it green?

ANSWER:

There are any number of different plants that are referred to as ivy. Classically, ivy refers to a plant in the genus Hedera, such as Hedera helix, English Ivy. Among the species in other genera often referred to as ivy are Parthenocissus tricuspidata, Boston Ivy; Plectranthus spp., Swedish Ivy; Toxicodendron spp., Poison Ivy (which we seriously doubt you're asking about), Glechoma spp., Ground Ivy; and Epipremnum spp., Devil's Ivy or Pothos Ivy.

We are guessing that you are referring to Epipremnum pinnatum, Pothos Ivy - a common, non-native ornamental plant. Several factors are involved in the creation of extra-large leaves on plants. Pothos Ivy, more than most, responds to these factors by developing large leaves - sometimes spectacularly large leaves. In general, high temperatures, high humidity, high nutrient uptake, rapid growth and low light are involved in the development of large leaves. When any or all of those conditions are not present, newly developing leaves will be a more normal size. Regarding leaf color, several Pothos Ivy cultivars have been selected for their white or yellow leaf variegation. This coloration becomes more pronounced in high-light growing environments, while they will be more green-colored if grown in heavy shade - the same heavy shade that helps produce large leaves. Providing optimal growing conditions will result in lush growth on Pothos Ivy and most other plants.

 

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