Learn How to Care For English Ivy With Our Easy To Follow Illustrated Guide

By: Matt Slaymaker
February 7, 2024
English Ivy Care
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English ivy is a climbing and hanging plant, which looks gorgeous in both outdoor and indoor spaces. To ensure that your English ivy is healthy, it’s important to understand its needs and establish a good care routine. Besides giving it the right conditions, such as the correct sunlight, appropriate watering and feeding schedule, and the right temperature and humidity, you should also pamper it with a little TLC.

So, if you’re struggling with getting your plant to thrive and don’t know how to care for an English ivy, this comprehensive guide will help you. You’ll learn everything that there is to know about English ivy care, including troubleshooting tips on resolving common issues with this popular houseplant. Let's dive straight in!

About Ivy Plants

About English Ivy

The English ivy, or Hedera Helix, is a beautiful evergreen plant that can elevate any interior space with its charming presence. Everything, from to its trailing stems to its dark-green or variegated leaves, oozes grace. It beautifully climbs up walls and frames or overflows down from hanging planters. Furthermore, its shiny leaves add a touch of magic for a look straight out of a European novel. No wonder that this classic vine and easy-going indoor plant is so popular. 

Originally from Europe and Western Asia, the ivy grows well in the cool and bright parts of the world. There are many different ivy varieties out there to give your green space a refined look.

Some of the most popular ivy plant varieties include:

  • Glacier - flaunting variegated leaves with cream-colored markings, you can train it along doorframes and bookshelves to liven up your interior;
  • Needlepoint - a naturally shade-loving ivy variety that tolerates low-light conditions with slender, pointed leaves; 
  • Green Ripple - a robust ivy with shiny lush leaves that cascade and spill over hanging baskets.

Is It OK to Grow English Ivy Indoors?

It’s always a good idea to grow the English ivy inside the house, as it’s an adaptable plant that can green up darker rooms and transform unexciting interior spaces. While it thrives outdoors in mild climates as a climbing vine or ground cover, it grows quite well indoors, adjusting quickly to various conditions. 

An English ivy flowing down from shelves and counters or trailing out of hanging planters creates a beautiful design accent. But you should ensure sufficient indirect light and moderate humidity so that it remains healthy inside the house for years to come.

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How to Care for Your English Ivy: Everything You Need to Know

How to Care for Your English Ivy

The English ivy isn’t a demanding plant. Growing it indoors or outdoors is straightforward if you understand its needs. Your ivy will thrive if you know how to care for it and meet its proper water, light, temperature, and humidity requirements.

How Often Do You Water an English Ivy? 

Watering your English ivy about twice a week should be enough to prevent underwatering issues. Keep checking the top inch or two of the soil to ensure that the plant is thirsty. The trick is to allow the soil to dry between waterings and to avoid standing water in the tray that can lead to root rot. Also, mist the plant 1-2 times a week, especially if the weather is dry.

Does English Ivy like to Be Wet?

The English ivy enjoys moderately moist soil and environment. But the potting mix shouldn’t be waterlogged. If the top inch or two of the soil is moist, it indicates that your ivy is sufficiently hydrated. In addition, make sure that the pot has enough drainage holes to prevent soggy soil and problems that can arise from overwatering the plant. 

English Ivy: Temperature, Humidity & Light Requirements 

The steps to care for an English ivy include providing the right growing conditions and paying attention to the temperature, humidity, and sunlight. 

What Temperature Does English Ivy Like? 

The English ivy thrives in temperatures between 45°F and 60°F. While it can handle a little drop in temperature, it prefers 40 degrees and above and won’t survive below 23 °F. If you live in a hot region, it can tolerate warmer temperatures of around 70°F - 90°F  

English Ivy: Humidity Requirements

The popular ivy plant enjoys average humidity levels of 60%-70%. Make sure it doesn’t go below 40%. You can boost humidity levels by misting your green companion or by using a pebble tray. If you want to use a humidifier, set it at 40%-60%. Beware that excessive humidity can encourage pests and diseases. 

How Much Light Does an English Ivy Need Indoors? 

An English ivy does best in bright, indirect light indoors. A few hours of bright light in the morning or evening can be helpful, but make sure not to scorch the leaves in the afternoon sun. Filtering the light through curtains can help. 

At the same time, it may fail to grow properly and turn leggy in darker conditions. Rotating and adjusting the plant position seasonally can meet its sunlight needs..

How to Propagate an English Ivy 

If you want to grow new baby plants, you can do so by propagating your English ivy plant in your home. All you need is a cutting. Start by using sharp shears to cut a 4”-5” piece of the ivy vine. Ensure that the cutting has at least 3-4 leaf nodes. 

Dip the cut end into rooting hormone powder and plant it in the potting mix. Root the ivy cuttings in a sandy soil mix. You can also propagate your ivy in water. 

Best Soil & Fertilizer for an English Ivy 

The English ivy loves rich and loamy soil that retains moisture but drains well with a pH level of 5.5-6.0. Use a grow mix with peat moss or compost in a pot with drainage holes. 

Outdoors, their beds can be prepared by amending heavy clay or sandy soils with compost. Applying a 2”-4” layer of organic mulch around the plant bed helps conserve moisture. 

During the growing season, spring and summer, feed your ivy every 4 weeks with liquid fertilizer. Dilute a 20-20-20 NPK fertilizer to half the strength before using it. 

When to Repot an English Ivy

If you want to repot your English ivy, the best time to do it is in spring and summer when the plant is actively growing. During these seasons, the plant will better establish and strengthen its roots. You only need to repot your ivy every 2-3 years. The new pot should be 1”-2” bigger than the current pot. Remember to be gentle when you pull the plant out of its old container. Loosen its root ball and transfer it to its new planter, filled  with a quality indoor plant potting mix. Then, water sufficiently your freshly transplanted English ivy.  

Trimming and Cleaning an English Ivy

English ivy indoor care involves some pruning to keep your plant thriving and prevent leggy growth. It will be happy if you just prune it in the spring. You need to pinch or trim the stems above a leaf node. 

You should use clean, sterilized shears or scissors. Still, if you want to remove unwanted vine stems and yellow, crispy leaves, you can snap them gently with your fingers. For outdoor plants, remove vines by cutting them at the base instead of ripping them away.   

Common English Ivy Problems & Solutions

Common English Ivy Problems
Source: Reddit

The English ivy is prone to problems, such as pests, diseases, and environmental stress. Identifying the symptoms and offering care are crucial for maintaining its health and vitality. 

See below some of the most common issues you can have when growing an English ivy at home:

  1. Brown, crispy patches on the leaves could be due to dry conditions and overexposure to direct sunlight. Water the plant consistently and protect it from the strong sun rays. 
  2. Curled, yellowing leaves may signal aphids that suck on the sap of the plant. Check new shoots and leaf undersides for insect clusters. Knock them off with water spray and apply insecticidal soap.
  3. Leaves with yellow dots or red spots often indicate spider mites feeding on the plant juices. You can remove them again by spraying them with water or use a miticide.
  4. Small bumps on the stems and leaves are a sign of scale insects that extract sap and excrete sticky honeydew. Horticultural oil spray can destroy adult pests and their eggs.
  5. White cottony tufts on the plant are a sign of mealybugs that leave honeydew and cause stunted growth. Wash them off with water or use insecticidal soap.
  6. Leaf spots or powdery gray coating point at fungal disease issues. Improve the airflow, reduce moisture in the environment and avoid overwatering the plant. You can also apply a sulfur fungicide. 
  7. Cankers or swollen dead areas on the stems indicate fungus or bacteria. Prune the plant below the affected areas and remove any debris buildup.

Is English Ivy Poisonous to Dogs and Cats?

Is English Ivy Poisonous to Pets

The certain chemical compounds in the English ivy plant can cause vomiting, stomach pain, increased drooling, and diarrhea in dogs and cats. So, if you suspect that your pet has ingested the plant, contact your veterinarian or poison control for assistance. To ensure the safety of your pet:

  • Keep both indoor and outdoor plants out of reach from pets by placing them in inaccessible areas or hanging baskets.
  • Train your curious pets to avoid the English ivy by distracting them when they show interest in the plant.
  • Prevent access to the plant by using fencing or wire guards.
  • If you have pets with the habit of nibbling on plants, consider growing pet-safe alternatives.

English Ivy Care: FAQs

Q: Can English ivy grow in full shade?

A: Yes, English ivy can survive and grow in full shade. But it thrives best in partial shade with filtered sunlight, which prevents leggy or stunted growth. 

Q: Does English ivy purify the air?

A: Yes, the English ivy is an air-purifying plant that can enhance indoor air quality. It can remove toxic substances, such as benzene, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, toluene, trichloroethylene, xylene, etc.

Q: How hot is too hot for an English ivy?

A: If you live in a hot and humid region, your English ivy can grow well when the temperature is below 90°F. If the temperature rises too high and exceeds 110°F , the ivy’s health will deteriorate.

Q: How do you make English ivy bushy?

A: Pruning your English ivy can make it bushy. You can try pinching or snapping long stems and clipping off leggy vines. Also, allow it to grow in bright and indirect sunlight to enhance its appearance and achieve a fuller look.

Q: Is the English ivy a parasite plant?

A: No, the English ivy is technically not a parasite plant. But as it’s a climbing vine that often clings to wooden structures, trees, and stone walls outdoors, it can be destructive and cause damage to your property and outside plants.

Conclusion 

With proper care and love, you can grow a gorgeous and vibrant English ivy plant, full of vitality and charm. Whether indoors or outside in your garden, this resilient houseplant will add aesthetic appeal to any interior or recreational space. 

Also, did you know that plants, like the Golden Pothos and or a variety of ferns, can be the perfect companions for your English ivy? So, consider growing these low-maintenance green beauties to enhance your home or office interior!