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

english ivy health benefits and air purification

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 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 plants.

Types of air pollutants which are absorbed by English Ivy

1. Benzene

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

2. Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde mainly emits from pains, wooden polished furniture, automobile engines, cooking, and biofuels. It is known as one of the most first and oldest detected indoor air pollutants (1). Health hazards of formaldehyde include 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 help in the reduction of formaldehyde. English ivy thus helps in the 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 the 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 help in controlling the level of xylene.

4. Toluene

Toluene is a colorless liquid having a sweet pungent smell. It is one of the most found indoor air pollutants 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 the nose and eyes, dizziness. Long-term exposure to toluene may cause neurological and visual disorders. According to NASA studies on indoor air purifying plants, English ivy helps in the 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 a potting mixture or perlite deep up to 4 nodes. Water the plant regularly under shade warm condition.

How to care for English ivy plants?

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. The 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 saponins, 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.


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