Posted in category: Miniature Plants.

Miniature Ivy

Update 2022: Sadly, it appears the company I dealt with is no longer on Amazon. I’m not entirely sure if the variety is the same – both are identified as Abundance and both have 3 lobes, but Hirt’s Garden does currently offer miniature ivy plants. I’ve updated the links to direct you to Hirt’s but please keep in mind, the conversation in this post about my prior purchase experience is about a different company.

It came in only 3 days. I finally got to buy miniature ivy to add to my tiny green gardens. It is one of those lovely miniature terrarium plants that I felt I absolutely had to have – it’s just so darn sweet!

I purchased my Hedera helix, Abundance, Miniature Ivy plant from Miniature Gardening on Amazon. Sadly, they are gone, but, thankfully, Hirt’s has some too.


Hedera Helix ‘Abundance’ is one of many cultivars of Hedera Helix ivy. There is apparently some debate over it being an Irish cultivar rather than a child of the more widely known English Ivy. (Ivyfile, Laurence C. Hatch) Who knew folks on both sides of the Atlantic are embroiled in just where these ivies came from and what they should be called?

Hatch identifies Abundance as a slow growing trailer that has variable leaves with 4, 5 and 7 lobes. Mine has three, making it what they call the “bird foot” type but maybe it is something other than “Abundance.” It is definitely a miniature and is definitely very cute and the perfect size for a terrarium plant.

About Ivy, in the Backyard

I learned a number of things about ivy plants, in general, from the King County, Washington Noxious Weeds Website. When ivy vines climb, they excrete a glue-like substance that helps them attach to a surface. When they reach maturity, they stop spreading and begin to produce berries.

For some birds, ivy berries are a favorite food. For others, it might prove to be deadly. Another article mentioned that ivy berries have saponin. Saponin causes birds to digest the berries more quickly and “spread” the seeds faster. European native birds like the English Sparrow and European Starling appear to not suffer any ill effects from the saponin. On the other hand, North American birds may have trouble if they ingest the berries. Hope our birdie friends are smart enough to know which group they belong to if the ivy in our backyard ever berries.

Hedera Helix ‘Abundance’

I couldn’t find a great deal online about the Abundance cultivar. With ivy, it generally likes evenly moist, but not wet soil. Another site mentioned waiting to water until the soil is slightly dry. Sigh, I guess this will be another trial and error situation like with my red stem pilea. Ivy likes medium to bright filtered light but will suffer in direct sunlight, especially in the summertime. Variegated varieties require more light to retain their pretty color.

One article on growing ivy indoors mentioned that ivy likes being misted with room temperature water and would benefit from being placed on a humidity tray. They also said the misting makes the ivy unattractive to spider mites. I wonder if misting would deter spider mites on other plants too.

The article further recommended propagating ivy through cuttings placed in water.

Miniature Ivy from Miniature Gardens – My Order

[Please be aware this section refers to my buying experience from Miniature Gardening, not Hirt’s. But, I thought the information I received from Kelly might be helpful. Since the to squish or not to squish saga has become such a part of the comments section; I’ve kept that part in too.]

ivy-plantThe plant came extremely well-wrapped. They had put transparent tape over the dirt and pot to help keep the soil from getting all over everywhere. Then the pot was somewhat snugly wrapped in paper. Then they wrapped it in a giant ball of paper and put the entire thing in a 2-day mailer box from the post office. The box had a big sticker – Live Plants – Please Treat with Love.

I expected a small plant – mine’s maybe 3 times larger than the one pictured on Amazon. I received a beautiful draping plant that looks almost bonsai-like. The stem is on the woody side and not at all like I expected. I guess I had assumed that it would be more bendy and drapey. It is more like a branch than a vine.

I’m going to have to make a new plan on what to do with it. Seems a shame to let that beautiful shape go to waste by treating it like a ground-covering vine.

spider-1While I was admiring my new miniature plant, a teeny black spider crawled out onto the paper. It just sorta sat there mocking me. It even let me take its picture. He was kinda cute, bright, shiny and black. Maybe an eighth of an inch long. Then he tried to make his escape. Squish.

Then I found one of those mummified exoskeleton things. No sign of life with that. Then a winged gnat-sized thing crawled out from under the tape. He was squished quickly. Couldn’t let him get loose in the house. More movement, another squish. Found a teeny bit of webbing too. I’ve purchased a lot of plants and know bugs sometime come with the territory, but, three different kinds?

Called Miniature Gardening and spoke to Kelly. At one point she said that they would have no control if a spider came down from the ceiling of the greenhouse. hmm. She further explained that they do not use insecticides but instead use beneficial insects to combat the nasty ones.  OK that explains the skeletal remains and maybe the flying one was one of the good guys – hard to tell after squishing it.

She continued to assure me that the plant was totally free of harmful insects and healthy. I mentioned that I was more worried about the house-full of other plants we already had than the new one.

Then she seemed a little more understanding and asked what I wanted. I couldn’t figure out how to explain that the excitement of getting a new plant was replaced with the worry that I had brought bugs into the house. It’s so exciting to open something you’ve ordered online and see what you’ve received – it’s a little like Christmas morning. That feeling was gone; I wanted it back. And, I didn’t want the worry that something would take up residence in our home.

But, the plant I received did seem healthy and is quite lovely. Only one leaf had broken off in transit and it was far bigger and prettier than I thought it would be.

mini-ivyShe mentioned that the plant I had received was actually quite old; they grow slowly and take a long time to get as large as mine.

I asked her about caring for the ivy and she said some sun and moist, not wet, soil and to maybe let it dry out some in between waterings. She also said that it wilts when it doesn’t get enough water.

I told her that this was the second plant that I had purchased online and the first one was a disappointment as well. It didn’t live very long and didn’t give much warning before dying. Sounds more promising that the ivy gives you a bit of warning. Losing the red stem pilea was probably my fault. But, my online tropical plant buying experience, so far, is either 0 for 2 or 1 for 2 depending upon how the ivy does and if I’ve seen the last of the bugs.

Kelly mentioned that they had quite a few of those pilea and offered to send me one. I thanked her and said I looked forward to receiving it. She seemed chagrined. Yes, I can be bought off. LOL. But, I’m not sure she understood that I wasn’t really looking for a freebie. What I wanted back was the excitement of opening my beautiful new ivy plant and not being greeted by several creepy crawlies. Sending me another plant can’t give me that back. However, what it can do is show me whether or not my first experience with buying plants from Miniature Gardening was unusual or the norm.

She knows I planned on blogging about my experience. I held back this post until I received the new plant to hopefully, keep everyone honest.

Update

new-growthI’ll show it off in another post, but, I received the apology plant yesterday. It is flowering (I didn’t know it flowered), lush and healthy. Best of all, nothing crawled out of the plant or the packaging.

The ivy has been here a little less than a week. No sign of any more uninvited guests. It even has some new green shoots! Sunlight is virtually non-existant – it’s rained for 8 or 9 days here. The new growth is a little pale – might be normal but, hopefully, it’s not due to the lack of sun. Will be putting it on my desk under the fluorescent today. Still don’t have a special pot or place for it but it seems quite happy in the pot it came in.

All in all, I would definitely buy plants from Miniature Gardening again. I might give them a thorough examination for uninvited guests but that is something that we should probably do with any plants we bring into our homes.

Where to Buy Miniature Ivy Plants

If you would like to give this pretty little plant a try, do check out Hirt’s. Do be mindful, that they do the shipping, charge extra for it and are not part of the Prime program.


6 Responses to Miniature Ivy

  1. Vanessa Q says:

    Hi, your site with all your trials and errors is being very helpful to me as I begin my own trials and errors making a mostly moss garden in a big glass bowl! I have ordered this ivy and a little “baby tears” to try them with the mosses. I’ll give the plants a good wash. I already have the mosses growing well in my office for a biology project I am involved with but there are surplus that I intend to pretty up. Thank you for the help!

    • Tiny Green Gardens aka Michele says:

      Hi Vanessa,

      You are most welcome!

      You might also want to consider investing in some of those mosquito bits. After fighting the gnat wars for over a month, they were gone in about a week after applying the granules.

      My ivy is doing quite well. Probably should post a follow-up on it. It seems very happy with the light/water combination I’m giving it.

      Thank you so much for stopping by and letting me know that you found my site helpful.

      Michele

      • Vanessa Q says:

        Oh, good to know about the mosquito bits! I already have some of the donut dunks I can crumble. My plants came yesterday and are so sweet in the bowl. Because of you, I asked them for particularly small plants and I am very happy with what they sent. I had a plastic lid that fit the top that I am putting on and taking off as it seems like it needs it. So far, so good!

  2. dhruva says:

    lovely writing 🙂

    Loved your narration 🙂 and the part about the spider.

  3. theresa says:

    hi
    do not know about the other insects you found, but i keep alive all spiders i spot. they take care of the others if they can catch them. spiders are part of the good guys.

    • Tiny Green Gardens aka Michele says:

      I tend to be cautious with insects in plants sent via the mail. Since they are coming directly from the grower, they may have critters that are not native to my area. Our beautiful area Hemlock trees have been utterly decimated by an imported aphid. Once you see acres upon acres of dead forest due to one tiny invader, you too might opt to squish rather than rescue. That said, we often rescue the many daddy long-legs that try to explore our home.

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