What Is Pia Tree Ivy?

Pia tree ivy is a type of ivy species which grows naturally in tropical regions of South America, Africa and Asia. It is native to Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. It belongs to the family Apocynaceae (Apotophytic or Poisonous Plants). Its scientific name is Aristolochia speciosa. The genus name Aristolochia means “tree-like” in Greek. The Latin name speciosa means “to grow”. The common names are pia, poppies, poppy, and Indian gooseberry.

The leaves of the pia tree are opposite with dark green color. They have three leaflets each measuring 1/4 inch long and 2 inches wide. These leaflets are arranged in two pairs at the top of the leaflet. There is one leaflet per stem segment up to 4 inches long. The stems of the pia tree are usually smooth, but sometimes they may be hairy.

Leaves of the pia tree are edible when eaten raw or cooked. They contain oxalic acid which is used in dyeing wool and paper.

How To Grow A Tree Ivy Houseplant?

Growing a pia tree ivy houseplant requires proper light conditions and temperature. A pia tree can thrive well under florescent lights. The light should be changed every 6 to 8 hours to promote leaf growth. They need temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and about 10 to 15 degrees colder at night.

These houseplants are heavy feeders and require feeding monthly with a balanced fertilizer. It is better to avoid high nitrogen formulas as leaves will get dark green and lush, but lack the showy red veins that are so attractive. The soil should be loose and rich. These houseplants can be grown in containers of rich, peat moss based potting mix or in a open bed of the same with the addition of manure or compost. When growing a pia tree ivy houseplant in a container, a clay pot is preferred as it permits good drainage.

A single mature plant can be transplanted into a 5 gallon container.

How To Take Care Of A Tree Ivy?

Pia tree ivy plants should be watered thoroughly when the soil is dry about an inch deep. During hot, dry spells, the plants should be watered every 7 to 10 days, even if the soil doesn’t seem dry. Allow the soil to dry out some between waterings. Yellow leaves are a sign of Over watering. Fertilize three times during the warmer months with a good quality fertilizer for houseplants diluted to one-half the strength recommended on the label.

Pruning pia tree ivy is only necessary if you are trying to create a specific shape. This can be easily done with tip pruners. Pinching the stem tips will encourage side shoots and more branching. It is also important to pinch off the flower buds as these divert the plants energy to the flowers and away from the production of foliage.

Pests or diseases are rarely a problem with a pia tree. Watch for mealy bugs, scale or spider mites and treat accordingly.

Good to know:

Aristolochia tomentosa or the Dutchman’s Pipe is a flowering vine native to the southern United States. The flowers of this vine look remarkably like the Dutchman’s pipe. The flowers are closed and used to be braided by Native Americans. The pipe gets its name from the Dutch settlers in the 17th century. They thought it looked like the pipes their soldiers smoked.

Pia tree ivy is a wonderful, attractive plant that requires very little attention. They can even be grown outdoors in mild climates. These plants are drought tolerant once established and don’t need much fertilizer. They do require humidity and will thrive in bathrooms or greenhouses.

Tree Ivy Plant Care – How To Grow A Tree Ivy Houseplant - Picture

Pia tree ivy is always green. The small leaves are glossy and thick. They can add splashes of green to indoor plantings or offices with little light. They also make a wonderful edition to your home or office regardless of how much light they receive.

Sources & references used in this article:

Removal of benzene by the indoor plant/substrate microcosm and implications for air quality by RL Orwell, RL Wood, J Tarran, F Torpy… – Water, air, and soil …, 2004 – Springer

Plant dermatitis: possible culprits go far beyond poison ivy by G Juckett – Postgraduate medicine, 1996 – Taylor & Francis

Greatly Enhanced Removal of Volatile Organic Carcinogens by a Genetically Modified Houseplant, Pothos Ivy (Epipremnum aureum) Expressing the Mammalian Cytochrome … by L Zhang, R Routsong, SE Strand – Environmental science & …, 2018 – ACS Publications

High incidence of sensitization to ornamental plants in allergic rhinitis by V Mahillon, S Saussez, O Michel – Allergy, 2006 – Wiley Online Library

Development of a Plant Care Guide for the Veterans Hospital Horticultural Therapy Program by BC Wolverton – 2020 – Spring

English Ivy (Hedera helix L.) by J Schneider – 2016 – digitalcommons.esf.edu

Consumer Horticulture by R Westbrooks – gri.msstate.edu

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