Swedish Ivy Plant

About

A Swedish Ivy, Plectranthus australis, did not originate in Sweden, nor is it a type of ivy plant. It did, however, originally become popular as a houseplant in Sweden, and these do have long cascading stems like a regular ivy plant. Swedish Ivies are part of the Plectranthus genus, and a member of the Lamiaceae family. It is a close relative of the mint plant. Other names for a Swedish Ivy are “Creeping Charlie” and “Swedish Begonia.” This easy-care houseplant, native to South Africa, can also be grown as a hardy, perennial, outdoor plant in areas where the temperature stays above 50°F.

Description of Swedish Ivy

Swedish Ivies are lush, almost succulentLearn the definition of a succulent plant and why they are called a "fat plant." – like plants with long, trailing, thick stems. The 1”-1.5” leaves are rounded with scalloped edges. The thick, bright green leaves are shaped more like a coleus leaf than an ivy leaf. When given enough bright lightVery few houseplants should be placed in direct sun. High light refers only to bright indirect light since direct sun often burns the leaves of indoor houseplants. An area that is too hot and dry encourages Spider Mites and causes blooms to quickly fade. A northern exposure really doesn't provide enough light for high light plants. These plants need to be placed directly in front of an east-facing window, within 1-3 feet of a west-facing window, and within 5 ft. of a south facing window. A high light area has over 300 ft. candles of light., a Swedish Ivy produces delicate, white, lavender, or purple tubular-shaped flowers throughout the year. Some varieties even have a special aroma when touched.

Swedish Ivy Varieties

White-Edged Swedish Ivy (Plectranthus coleoides “variegatea”) has dark green leaves with white scalloped edges, and grows about 10”-12” tall and 15”-20” wide.

Purple Swedish Ivy (Plectranthus Purpuratus) when placed in bright lightVery few houseplants should be placed in direct sun. High light refers only to bright indirect light since direct sun often burns the leaves of indoor houseplants. An area that is too hot and dry encourages Spider Mites and causes blooms to quickly fade. A northern exposure really doesn't provide enough light for high light plants. These plants need to be placed directly in front of an east-facing window, within 1-3 feet of a west-facing window, and within 5 ft. of a south facing window. A high light area has over 300 ft. candles of light., has deeply veined, richly colored greenish purple leaves with purple undersides and tall stalks of small flowers in white, pink, purple, and bluish purple.

Emerald Lace Swedish Ivy (Plectranthus oertendahlii) is a compact plant that has green leaves with silver-colored veins and scalloped edges. The underside of the leaf is purple, and the small flowers are lilac in color.

Plectranthus “Mona Lavender” Swedish Ivy (Plectranthus ecklonii) has 2” dark green leaves with purple undersides. It produces long spikes of showy lavender blossoms from fall into spring.

Vick’s Plant (Plectranthus tomentosus) is commonly known as a “Vicks Plant” because the small, dark green, fuzzy, velvety leaves smell like Vick’s Vap-O-Rub when rubbed. The showy flowers are usually mauve, purple, or white.

     

Purple Swedish Ivy      “Emerald Lace”       White edged”Variegated”     Swedish Ivy Flowers

Quick Care Tips for a Swedish Ivy

Wait until leaves get a little soft and flexible before watering

bright indirect lightVery few houseplants should be placed in direct sun. High light refers only to bright indirect light since direct sun often burns the leaves of indoor houseplants. An area that is too hot and dry encourages Spider Mites and causes blooms to quickly fade. A northern exposure really doesn't provide enough light for high light plants. These plants need to be placed directly in front of an east-facing window, within 1-3 feet of a west-facing window, and within 5 ft. of a south facing window. A high light area has over 300 ft. candles of light. but no direct sun

Easily propagated using stem tip cuttings in spring or summer

Use a fertilizerPlants need fertilizer only when they are actively growing. Slow growing plants in low light require very little plant food. Too much fertilizer is worse than not enough. Most plants prefer a water soluble plant food at 1/2 the recommended strength. Plants that are in bloom or dormant should not be fertilized. Houseplant food contains nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). A fertilizer containing these elements in equal proportion is considered a balanced plant food. Nitrogen helps in photosynthesis and encourages the growth of leaves and stems. Potassium and phosphorus also help in photosynthesis and aid in root and flower development. Most fertilizers have trace elements of other minerals that are lacking in the soil but are necessary for good plant growth. Fertilizers have a high salt content. If a plant is not producing new leaves and doesn’t absorb the fertilizer, salts build up in the soil. These salts can burn the roots, discolor the leaves, and cause new growth to be small. high in nitrogen

Conclusion

A Swedish Ivy makes a wonderful houseplant, growing quickly even for new plant enthusiasts. It’s best displayed in a hanging basket where its long vines, sometimes 2-3ft in length and covered in colorful tubular flowers, can be enjoyed. This is a non-toxic plant and safe to have around small children, dogs, cats, and other pets.

FAQ

Why Do Swedish Ivies Get Thin and Leggy Looking?

The main reason Swedish Ivy indoor plants get thin and leggy is not enough light. Prune the tips of the stems of your Swedish Ivy, move it to brighter light, and watch how bushy it becomes.

Should I Keep the Flowers on My Swedish Ivy or Cut Them Off?

I always cut the flowers off of my Swedish Ivy plants. When the flowers are left on the plant, it slows down leaf production.

Why Are the Leaves on My Swedish Ivy Soft and Droopy?

The leaves on a Swedish Ivy are usually soft and droopy when the plant needs more water. Another reason could be that the plant is in a location that is too hot. If the soil is damp and the room not too hot, you may have over-watered your Swedish Ivy and caused root rot. In that case, take some leaf tip cuttings and propagate a new plant before the old one dies.