Gardening with Allen: Simple-to-grow trailing home crops


Devil’s Ivy or Pothos is a brightly colored ivy with heart-shaped leaves. It is available in both yellow-green and white-green versions. Stems can be trimmed back to stimulate branching and a compact plant, or they can be several feet long and trained over the doors. The devil’s ivy often grows on an upright pole. It forms roots on stems that touch the ground. A new plant can be started by placing a stem or two on an empty pot next to an existing plant.

The heart-shaped philodendron is very similar to the devil’s ivy, except without the variation in the leaves. It looks best if the stem tips are pinched off to encourage branching.

Spider plant is the easiest to grow and most indestructible vine. The green-white variegated leaf variety is more attractive than the solid green one. The spider plant has long, narrow, pointed leaves and produces numerous offsets on wire-like branches, similar to strawberry plants. The small staggered plants look similar to spiders. Offsets form tiny roots like toes in the air and grow easily when they touch the ground. They hang over the side of the pot like a charm bracelet. The roots are so thick that plants need to be regularly moved into larger pots before they push out of the pot.

These are all plants that are fun to start new ones to give to friends. But be careful. If you start too many, they can take over your house.

Allen Wilson is a horticultural specialist based out of Vancouver.