What is Devil's Ivy?

Pamela Pleasant

Devil’s ivy is a leafy plant also known as epipremnun aureum. It is considered hardy and it is able to survive with minimal care. This is probably why it is used as a very common house plant but it can also be grown successfully outdoors. The devil’s ivy plant grows upward and produces long hanging vines. When planted outdoors, these vines can attach themselves to the side of a home or to a nearby tree.

Man mowing the grass
Man mowing the grass

The devil’s ivy is a perennial plant that can reach up to a foot in height (30 cm). It requires a warmer climate and will probably not survive in temperatures that go below zero degrees Fahrenheit (1.7 degrees Celsius). There are many types of plants that have features similar to the devil’s ivy but it does have one distinctive characteristic. White or yellowish spots appear on the dark green, heart-shaped leaves. There is no specific pattern for these spots and they can appear anywhere on the leaf.

In early to mid-summer the devil’s ivy sometimes produces blooms. These tiny flowers are a white to off-white color. This plant does not produce seeds but cuttings can be taken and placed in water. Most plants that are cut require a root growth hormone application but devil’s ivy does not. The cuttings and root system can be placed in water and when clear roots are present it can then be placed in soil.

This plant can be invasive, which means that it can take over other types of plants, especially if they are smaller than the devil’s ivy. It can also steal nutrients as well as water from neighboring plants. The longer vines stretch out and the plant itself can span 15 inches (38 cm) wide. To avoid structural attachment, they should be placed in their own area a full five feet (152 cm) away from the home or other plants.

Calcium oxalates are found in the devil’s ivy plant, making it poisonous. These plants should not be kept around house pets because if animals consume any part of the plant it can seriously burn the mouth or tongue. This plant can also cause these same symptoms in children, if they consume any part of the plant. Skin allergies resulting from touching this plant can also occur, producing a rash and reddened and hot skin. Precautionary garden gloves should be used while handling this plant.

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