With its lush green heart-shaped leaves and trailing vines, Devil’s Ivy (Epipremnum aureum) is an ideal office plant. This popular houseplant is not only lovely to look at but also thrives in the low light conditions typical of many workspaces. What makes Devil’s Ivy truly stand out, however, is its unmatched ability to filter harmful pollutants from indoor air.
The allure of Devil’s Ivy
Devil’s Ivy is prized for being one of the easiest houseplants to grow. It adapts readily to a wide range of indoor conditions, including low natural light, low humidity, and irregular watering. The vines tolerate being pot-bound and can grow quite long, making them perfect for hanging planters. Minimal care is needed beyond the occasional pruning and dusting of the leaves.
Common and scientific names
Devil’s Ivy is also referred to by its scientific name, Epipremnum aureum. The common name refers to this plant’s tenacious ability to grow in the most inhospitable of indoor environments. Like its relative, the true ivy plant Hedera helix, Epipremnum aureum can adapt and spread prolifically under challenging conditions – hence earning names like Devil’s Ivy or Golden Pothos.
The species name “aureum” comes from the Latin word for “gold” and refers to the vibrant golden-yellow hues that can develop on mature leaves when exposed to bright light. So while Devil’s Ivy thrives in shade, placing it in a spot with some indirect sun will bring out the namesake golden tones in the foliage.
Devil’s Ivy is a popular houseplant known for its lush, heart-shaped leaves and vining stems that can trail many feet. As its common name suggests, it is quite resilient and able to withstand less-than-ideal conditions that would kill other plants.
Appearance and Growth Habits
Devil’s Ivy is an evergreen perennial vine native to the Solomon Islands. It has gorgeous, deep green leaves with light green or yellow variegation that can grow up to 10 inches long. The leaves emerge alternately along trailing or climbing stems that can reach up to 40 feet long. Small white rootlets emerge along the stems, helping anchor the plant as it climbs up trellises, poles, or other surfaces.
This versatile plant can also be grown in hanging baskets or as a trailing tabletop plant. It maintains a lush, full appearance even when kept trimmed back from its impressive maximum length.
One of the reasons Devil’s Ivy has remained such a popular houseplant is its ability to thrive in conditions that would kill off other plants. It tolerates low light, inconsistent watering, dry air, and neglect – helping explain both its common name and its prevalence in homes and offices.
In fact, Devil’s Ivy can survive in light conditions as low as artificial fluorescent lighting. This makes it perfect for brightening up dark corners or cubicles with no natural sunlight. It also removes toxins like benzene, formaldehyde, and carbon monoxide from indoor air, helping purify stale office environments.
Additionally, the plant requires little care or maintenance. As long as its basic needs are met, Devil’s Ivy will provide natural beauty without the fuss.
Optimal Care Guide
Devil’s Ivy prefers bright, indirect light. While it can tolerate low-light conditions found in many offices, providing some exposure to natural daylight or full spectrum bulbs will keep its leaves lush and vibrant. Position Devil’s Ivy near sunny windows, but avoid direct sun which can scorch its leaves. Rotate the plant occasionally so all sides get evenly lit. Supplement with grow lights if needed during dark winter months.
To maximize its light exposure in an office, place Devil’s Ivy on desks or shelves near windows if possible. Choose locations that receive consistent ambient light throughout the day. If the only spot is far from natural light, use desk lamps or overhead fixtures to shine light onto its leaves. Adjust blinds as needed to filter harsh afternoon sun. Consider investing in full spectrum bulbs to mimic natural daylight.
Water Devil’s Ivy thoroughly once the top inch of soil is dry to the touch. Take care not to overwater, as it is prone to root rot if left in soggy soil. The frequency of waterings depends on factors like light and temperature, but a good general guideline is to water every 7-10 days in an office setting. Water until it drains freely from the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot.
To avoid under or overwatering, check the soil moisture before adding more water. Insert your finger into the soil to gauge if it is still damp underneath. Also pay attention to visual cues from the plant itself – leaves that start to droop or wrinkle likely need more frequent waterings. Always empty any water that collects in the saucer beneath the pot after watering to prevent the roots sitting in excess moisture.
Temperature and Humidity
Devil’s Ivy grows best with room temperatures between 10-24°C. Maintain a relatively constant temperature range rather than allowing wide fluctuations. In terms of humidity, 40% to 50% humidity is ideal. These warm, humid conditions are reminiscent of Devil Ivy’s tropical origins.
To help Devil’s Ivy thrive in drier office environments, use a humidifier nearby to increase moisture levels. Place its pot on a pebble tray filled with water to create a localized humid microclimate around the plant itself. Keep Devil’s Ivy away from heating/cooling vents and drafts that can shock the plant. Move it to a warmer spot in colder months when offices tend to be chilly and dry.
Soil and Potting Tips
Use a well-draining potting mix for Devil’s Ivy, such as a peat-based soil amended with perlite or bark chips to improve aeration. Soilless mixes work well too. Avoid standard potting soil alone as it retains too much moisture. When repotting, choose a pot only slightly larger than the current roots, using one with drainage holes. Plastic pots are fine, just avoid glazed ceramic that keeps soil wet.
Repot young Devil’s Ivy annually to provide room for growth. More mature plants only need repotting every 2-3 years. To check if your plant needs more space, tip the pot to look for crowded roots circling the edges. Ease the root ball from its old pot, loosen tangled outer roots, then place into the new container. Fill around the roots with fresh potting mix, water well and let it establish for a week before resuming normal care.
Benefits in the Office
Devil’s Ivy is well-known for its ability to purify indoor air by removing pollutants like benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene. Studies have shown it to be exceptionally effective at improving air quality in office environments where VOC levels can be up to 5 times higher than outdoors. As employees spend most of their day inside offices, providing Devil’s Ivy can contribute to better health and wellbeing.
The large, heart-shaped leaves of Devil’s Ivy are perfect for absorbing airborne toxins. The plant breaks down VOCs through its leaves and soil microbes, releasing purified oxygen back into the surrounding environment. Just a few potted Devil’s Ivy plants dotted around an office can make a significant difference in removing xylene, ammonia and other harmful chemicals.
With its cascading vines and lush green foliage, Devil’s Ivy brings a tropical feel to office décor. Its ability to thrive in low light conditions means it can brighten up even poorly lit spaces. Strategically placed Devil’s Ivy transforms dull cubicles and makes breakout areas more inviting. The visual appeal and vibrancy alone are enough reason to add this plant to a workspace.
Research shows that having plants in offices lowers stress levels, increases creativity and improves moods. The presence of living plants has also been linked to higher productivity and job satisfaction. Since Devil’s Ivy is so easy to maintain, employees don’t have to worry about meticulous plant care and can simply enjoy its calming effects during hectic workdays.
Troubleshooting Common Issues
Devil’s Ivy is generally quite hardy and easy to care for, but even this resilient plant can run into problems now and then. By learning to recognize and address common issues, you can keep your office Devil’s Ivy thriving.
Addressing Overwatering and Underwatering
Getting the watering schedule right is crucial for Devil’s Ivy health. Overwatering can lead to root rot, while underwatering causes leaves to yellow and drop. To avoid problems:
- Check soil moisture before watering. Only water when the top inch is dry.
- Ensure the pot has drainage holes and well-draining soil to prevent soggy roots.
- Water thoroughly until it runs from the drainage holes, then empty the saucer.
- Leaves turning yellow or brown likely signals underwatering. Increase frequency.
- Wilting between waterings is normal. Leaves will perk up after watering.
Managing Pest Infestations
Spider mites and mealybugs are common Devil’s Ivy pests. Catch infestations early by regularly inspecting leaves. Address pests by:
- Wiping leaves gently with a damp cloth to remove bugs.
- Spraying plant safe insecticidal soap or neem oil.
- Isolating affected plants to prevent spreading.
- Increasing humidity as lower levels encourage pests.
- Cutting off heavily infested stems if pests persist.
By monitoring your Devil’s Ivy and quickly responding to issues, you can maintain a healthy, pest-free plant that enhances your office.
Fun Facts and Trivia
Devil’s Ivy has a long history of being used as a decorative houseplant. In Victorian England, its trailing vines and heart-shaped leaves made it popular in parlors and sitting rooms. Some stories say Devil’s Ivy got its common name from its ability to survive and thrive even when neglected – evidence of a “pact with the devil.”
In Chinese culture, Devil’s Ivy is believed to bring good luck and prosperity. Its evergreen vines and rapid growth are seen as signs of vitality and financial success. That’s why Devil’s Ivy remains a staple houseplant and gift during Chinese New Year festivities.
Devil’s Ivy is one of the rare houseplants that can filter and purify indoor air. As it grows, its large green leaves actively remove pollutants like benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene from the surrounding environment. This makes Devil’s Ivy an excellent choice for improving air quality in offices and homes.
Devil’s Ivy is also unusually adaptable to a wide range of indoor conditions. It can flourish in bright light or near-darkness, tolerate dry soil or constant moisture, and adjust to temperature shifts. As long as its basic needs are met, Devil’s Ivy finds a way to survive just about anywhere it’s placed indoors.
Call to Action
If you’re looking to bring some life and fresh air into your office, Devil’s Ivy is an excellent choice. As highlighted throughout this blog post, Devil’s Ivy offers a multitude of benefits that make it perfectly suited for office environments.
With its low maintenance needs, air purifying abilities, and visual appeal, Devil’s Ivy checks all the boxes for an easy-care office plant. Its versatility allows it to adapt to the various lighting conditions and climate control systems found in most offices. Whether placed on an employee’s desk, in a quiet corner, or cascading from a shelf, Devil’s Ivy enhances spaces with natural beauty.