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~DEVIL'S IVY HOUSE PLANT~ Devil's Ivy or Golden Pothos As you might already know from my previous review, I love live plants in the house. They are beautiful and make my house look lively. For the benefit of those who didn't have a chance to read my last review on house plants, in the simplest form, scientifically plants are good for air circulation even in our homes; they absorb carbon dioxide and other gases from the environment. Plants use carbon dioxide for photosynthesis and release oxygen which we need for respiration as a by-product. Plants are therefore vital to facilitate the process of respiration in humans and animals. This process also regulates the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and in our homes. It is therefore important to appreciate the role of plants in our lives. Generally in addition to water plants also need supplementary feeding through "plant food". In-door plants also need some degree of natural light. Some plants are more sensitive to the light requirement than others but generally plants meant for indoors will adjust to low light intensity. In addition to the Lucky Bamboo plants, I also have the Devil's Ivy which is located in the Lounge in a corner adjacent to my patio glass doors. I acquired this plant in 2005 and it has survived two house moves. ~Description~ Devil's Ivy (Scientific name: Epipremnum Aureum) is generally a climber with large, glossy heart shaped leaves. New leaves are first green and later become variegated, a mix of green with yellow or white. The plant produces aerial roots out of the stem (stolons) and these roots are for support so they cling to the support provided for the plant which is usually moss pole or just a firm wooden pole. Misting the moss pole occasionally with water or nutrient solution will also give a much healthier plant as the aerial roots can also get some water and nutrients. The plant has trailing stems and this makes it attractive as a plant for a hanging basket or as a climber. It maintains its vegetative growth throughout, i.e. does not bloom to produce any flowers (at least I haven't seen any on mine). ~Availability, Presentation and Price~ The Devil's Ivy is sold as small-medium potted plants and you can get plants at various stages of growth, mine was ~ 1 metre when I bought it. Devil's Ivy is available from most outlets which sale in-door plants including outlets like Homebase, Garden Centres and even from Amazon.com. I bought mine from Homebase six years ago for £16.00 and has grown it into a climber and pruned it down to being bushy a few times now but it is still surviving. The price currently ranges from around £24.00 to £37.00. Generally the bigger the plant the more you pay for it. ~Handling and Care~ The Devil's Ivy is a relatively easy plant to take care of. The care instructions come with the plant and the instructions are so simple and easy to follow. In addition to water, it requires supplementary plant food once a month during active growth, spring/summer. The plant food should contain the essential nutrients, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Watering should be moderate with some periods in between of slight drying of the soil surface. This is good for the roots to breathe as well and not to remain water logged. Keeping f the roots waterlogged may result in problems like root rot, a disease which will also affect the general growth of the plant and depending on the size the plant might actually die. Too much water will also cause leaves to turn yellow and fall off. Remove the leaves which fall in the pot before they rot as these may get diseased and may spread the disease to healthy leaves. If the plant is kept too wet, the leaves will also tend to ooze out drops of water like tear drops especially in humid conditions. You should ensure that the pot has a drainage hole beneath to allow drainage of excess water and needless to say, obviously you will need to place the potted plant in another container to catch the excess water, otherwise your carpet floor will be wet. This plant can also survive lower light intensity although if placed in too much shade the variegation will fade and the plant will predominantly have only green leaves. The long, trailing stems can grow up to more than 2 metres. You can train the plant to adopt the growth habit you want. The plant can become bushy and have full body by cutting the stems back twice or three times a year. This can be done simply by pinching off the growing tips and this will encourage the stem to branch out, resulting in a bushy plant. The new branches also need to be trained to avoid them just flopping to the ground. Mine started off as bushy but I have started training it again to being a climber and it is already up to roof level in my lounge. I do not really want it to go any further than that so I will be pinching off the apical buds so that it can have fuller growth from the bottom and become bushy all the way up. The Devils Ivy looks beautiful and grows well when placed in a corner away from too much traffic. **Warning: Do not place the plant too close to the walls though because as it grows up, especially as a climber, the aerial roots can also attach themselves to the walls for support. They can be fairly difficult to detach but worse still they leave greenish/brown stain marks which look horrible when the plant is eventually removed. I find that for all my plants rotating the plants at least every fortnight helps to ensure that all parts of the plants get a fair distribution of light. This can however be a bit hard if the plant is being trained to be a climber as some of the long braches may break off. ~Propagation~ The Devil's Ivy is easy to reproduce through cuttings. Stem tip cuttings root easily in water. It is so easy, just place the shoot in a glass jar with clean water and leave the jar where is a bit of natural light. I usually place mine on my kitchen window seal. Roots usually start to form within a three - four weeks whilst the shoot is just living on water. Once the roots have formed, I transfer the shoots into a pot with plant potting mix and just water it lightly until I start to see new leaves. This tells me that the plant has adjusted well to the new environment and then I can start feeding it with liquid plant food (see pictures). Cuttings from young shoots tend to form root much faster. ~Additional Information ~ -Type of plant: Houseplant. -Colour of leaves: Green. -Rate of growth: Average. -Habit: Mostly climbing -Features: Variegated leaves. -Height: Can be more than 2 metres -Light: Low to bright light -Water: Allow soil to dry slightly between watering. It will not tolerate soggy soil. -Humidity: Average room humidity. -Temperature: Average to warm 16-27°C -Soil: Any good potting mix that drains well. -Fertilizer: Feed every 2 weeks spring through autumn with a balanced liquid fertilizer. In winter, feed monthly. Propagation: Stem tip cuttings root easily in water or moist perlite or vermiculite. It takes about 4 weeks. **Warning: this plant is toxic if eaten so keep out of the reach of children and pets. It can irritate the skin and eyes in some people. ~Other Interesting Bits~ Devil's Ivy is an excellent air cleansing plant and is listed in the top 10 of Magical Air Cleaning plants http://www.toptipspot.com/tips/health/howto/air-cleaning-plants.php This plant has been proven by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to filter the air of many nasty chemicals including formaldehyde, benzene and carbon monoxide. It is one of the best plants for removing formaldehyde from carpet and other materials in our homes. ~Summary~ The decorative marbled leaves and easy maintenance make the Devil's Ivy very popular amongst indoor plants. It is great for those low light areas in the home where most plants would not grow well. For those who have fallen in love with this plant based on my review but feel they have no green fingers, you can be accommodated as well. Artificial plants which look almost real are also available and those I have seen range from £20.00. ~Conclusion~ When I bought this plant I was determined to tame "this devil" and I have succeeded as the plant is responding very well to my nurturing and training. In my opinion Devil's Ivy is a "misnomer" for this plant as I think it deserves a better name than this. The name would put off a few people especially those who are a bit superstitious. I do not see the devil aspect of this plant at all and I love it dearly for beautifying my home. I wish the other name Golden Pothos would be more popular instead. I give this plant a rating of 5 stars for being so adaptable and for its beauty which attracted me. Well, hope you enjoyed the reading and thank you for rating. ©hildah11 October 2011 This review may be published on other sites.