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Source: Dat doris, ivy leaf, excerpt from Plantopedia, CC BY-SA 4.0

It is the crucial question for indoor gardeners: philodendron or ivy? The two tropical climbing plants look confusingly similar. We take the guesswork out and show 3 differences.

Differences at a glance

The two genera tree friend (Philodendron) and ivy (Epipremnum) inspire as opulent climbing plants for creative living space design. With rapid growth, furious foliage and an imposing silhouette, the two green plants compete for the favor of the indoor gardener. Of course, it is not clear at first glance which of the two is in the limelight. The two popular species Philodendron scandens and Epipremnum aureum are the primary causes of frowns among those new to hobby gardening. Even if both ornamental foliage plants are presented side by side, it takes a concentrated assessment to discover these 3 differences:

leaf shape

  • Philodendron scandens: heart-shaped leaves
  • Epipremnum aureum: ovate leaves

sheet size

  • Philodendron scandens: 20-40 cm long, later much larger
  • Epipremnum aureum: 10-15 cm long, later much larger

flower color

  • Philodendrons (all known species): cream-green spadix with light purple to dark purple bract (spatha)
  • Epipremnum aureum: 10-15 cm long, later much larger

Other differences are based on scientific and botanical aspects and cannot be seen from the appearance of the green rainforest beauties. This includes, among other things, the origin. Philodendrons are native to Central and South America. The habitats of Efeututes are mainly in Southeast Asia.

Notice: Baumfreund and Efeutute were the inspiration for numerous picturesque varieties with decoratively marked, variegated ornamental leaves. Prime examples are Philodendron 'Brasil' and Epipremnum 'Variegata', which lead even a practiced eye onto the slippery slope. For this reason the leaf color cannot be used as a reliable distinguishing criterion.

explanations of the differences

The leaf shape is the most important distinguishing feature between tree friend and ivy. Put it to the test and show the master gardener you trust just one leaf from both plants. The expert will make the right assignment like a shot from a gun. With regard to the leaf textures, both green plants pull together again with an elegant, shiny, leathery, firm texture.

The leaf size acts as a guide for differentiation only in young philodendrons and ivy. Depending on local conditions, Epipremnum catch up on the initial size difference within a few years. Adult specimens boast leaves that are up to 100 centimeters long and are therefore on a par with tree friends. After all, you can consult the different leaf sizes in order to be able to name young plants by their correct names when purchasing them from the seller.

Where philodendrons and ivy are in good hands, they bring the indoor gardener a fascinating splendor of flowers in the summertime. As is characteristic of all members of the Araceae family, the inflorescence consists of a distinctive, long spadix surrounded by a petal, the so-called spathe. The coloring of the bract reveals the genus affiliation. Philodendron scandens usually opts for the two-colored variant. Creamy white on the outside and purple near the butt. Efeututes with yellowish-green spathe love it more discreetly.

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