English Ivy (Hedera helix): Stunning indoor air purifying plant and health benefits

 English Ivy

English ivy scientifically known as Hedera helix also known as European ivy or only ivy, is a native to Europe. This plant is an evergreen climbing ornamental vine and grown in gardens houses and on the fences. English ivy helps in reducing indoor air pollution and certain allergens from the house like molds and other fungus growth. Therefore its dual importance of improving the environment along with its beautiful ornamental looks makes this plant one of the most desirable indoor air purifying plant.

Types of air pollutants which are absorbed by English Ivy

1. Benzene

Benzene is a colorless organic compound with gasoline-like the smell. The main source of benzene are vehicle exhaust, wood burning , furniture paints and wax, cigarettes smoke and attached garage. Benzene is carcinogenic in nature may alter the gene and causes s leukemia in adults. Special precaution should be taken by pregnant and children as benzene causes more harms to these people.

2. Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde mainly emits from pains, wooden polished furnitures, automobile engines, cooking, and biofuels. It is known as one of the most first and oldest detected indoor air pollutant (1). Health hazards of formaldehyde includes irritation of the nose and upper respiratory tract and eyes. Studies done on animal models also proves the carcinogenic nature of this gas. Proper ventilation is necessary to reduce the formaldehyde concentration and to avoid sick building syndrome. Planting indoor plants also helps in reduction of formaldehyde. English ivy thus helps in absorption of formaldehyde from the indoor environment and thus cleans and improves the indoor air quality.

3. Xylene

Paints, tobacco smoke, rubbers, vehicle exhaust causes emission of air pollutants like xylene. A major cause of xylene pollution is poor ventilation in the buildings. Planting ivy in offices where printers are there will helps in controlling the level of xylene.

4. Toluene

Toluene is a colourless liquid having a sweet pungent smell. It is one of the most found indoor air pollutant in many households. The major source of toluene is building materials, lubricant, grease, running automobile gas from an attached garage, polish, lubricants and tobacco smoke etc. Toluene causes irritation of nose and eyes, dizziness. Long-term exposure of toluene may cause neurological an visual disorders. According to NASA studies on indoor air purifying plants, English ivy helps in reduction of toluene concentration from the houses.

Propagation of English Ivy

Propagation of English ivy is mainly via stem cutting. For propagation young stems having 4 to 6 nodes and 5 to 6 leaves are used. To develop root plant them in the container having sand or potting mixture or perlite deep up to 4 nodes. Water the plant regularly under shade warm condition.

How to care English ivy plant?

Ivy plants need an appropriate amount of water not much more and not much less. Regular irrigation after slight dryness of the topsoil is necessary. Spraying with water monthly or every 15 days keeps the plant healthy. Nourishment of soil with liquid fertilizer is also important.


Leaves and sap of English ivy plants are poisonous. The plant contains some secondary metabolites like saponine, therefore, should keep away pets and children. Wearing gloves is important before handling the plant as the sap and the leaves cause itchiness and other allergic reactions.


  1. https://www.witpress.com/Secure/elibrary/papers/AIR10/AIR10026FU1.pdf


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