Growing English ivy Plant (Hedera helix) – A Full Guide

Introduction to growing English ivy plant (Hedera helix): English ivy plant can make a wonderful, bright light houseplant. Growing ivy plants indoors is easy as long as you know what makes an ivy plant happy. English ivy plant has very little care requirements. The plant prefers a position with some shade, and will even thrive in full shade. It is extremely low-maintenance, making it a brilliant plant for a variety of situations. It works well as a houseplant and is one of the most effective houseplants available at filtering toxins from the air. In this article we also discuss below topics;

  • English ivy plant growing conditions
  • Can you grow English ivy indoors
  • Causes for ivy dropping leaves
  • English ivy plant care
  • Reasons for English ivy plants brown leaves
  • How much light does English ivy need indoors

A step by step guide to growing English ivy plant

English ivy plant is a versatile houseplant that can be grown in different situations. English ivy plants can be grown in hanging baskets, at the base of other houseplants and in pots of their own.

Conditions for growing English ivy plants

Grow English ivy plants in well-drained soil. Although this plant will grow in poor soils and soils of a wide range of pH levels. English ivy needs a lot of steady light to put on new growth, particularly in winter. Avoid putting the plant near a window where it will get direct light as this can make the leaves burn and wilt.

English ivy has two forms they are juvenile and mature. Juvenile plants have leaves with 3 to 5 lobes and herbaceous stems or very thin woody stems. Mature plants have leaves with no lobes and thick woody stems, with a main supporting stem containing hairs similar to poison ivy. The supporting stem grows up trees. And most English ivy plants in landscapes are juvenile plants.

English ivy plant grows in fields, hedgerows, woodlands, forest edges, and upland areas. It does not thrive in wet or extremely moist areas but will grow in a wide range of soil pH levels. Ivy plants do well at cool to moderate room temperatures of 50 to 70°F during the day and about 5 to 10°F lower at night.

Conditions for growing English ivy.
Conditions for growing English ivy.

English ivy plant propagation is by rooting stem or tip cuttings. Most types of ivy plants will root easily in water. Repot ivies when the ivy plants become top-heavy or root bound or dry out too rapidly.

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When used in the home, the English ivy plant makes a great natural air purifier. Keep English ivy plant healthy by spraying the leaves with water once a week. Not only does this added moisture helps keep the plant leaves dust-free, but it also discourages spider mites.

Soil required for growing English ivy plant

Fertile, moist, but well-drained soil is ideal for the English ivy plant. In hotter, drier climates, the ground must be heavily mulched to keep it cool and moist. Indoors, English ivy plant likes loose, well-drained potting mix.

Container for growing English ivy plant

Plant the English ivy in a wide, shallow container. Select a container that has holes in the bottom for water drainage. The ivy plant becomes too big, and then you can cut it back and start new plants. Consider using plastic pots or clay pots, but keep in mind that clay pots won’t hold the moisture in the soil for as long.

English Ivy seed sowing

English Ivy seeds have little or no dormancy and can usually be sown without requiring lengthy pre-treatment. It is recommended to first place the seeds in a container and pour warm water over them and leave them to soak for between 12 to 24 hours and then drain away from the water. The seeds must have swelled up with water and should be ready to germinate. This usually takes between 3 to 4 weeks in temperatures of 20°C.

To do this mix the seeds with a small amount of 50/50 compost and sharp sand should be moist but not enough to be able to squeeze out water with your hand. Then, place the mixture of seeds and compost in a loosely tied freezer bag and place it in the fridge for 4 weeks. After this time the ivy seeds are ready for sowing.

Sow seed in pots or seed trays of good quality compost just below the surface. The seed usually germinates in less than 4 weeks at 20°C.

English ivy seed germination

Keep the English ivy seeds in the refrigerator for 30 to 60 days. This process is called stratification, prepares the seeds for germination.

Pour the ivy seeds in a bowl of room-temperature water and soak them overnight. This speeds up the seed germination process.

Then, fill a seed tray with high-quality potting soil to within 1/4 inch of the top in each section. Place an English ivy seed in the middle of each section in the seed tray. And gently push it slightly into the soil with the tip of your finger. Do not cover the seed with soil and water the seeds, but do not saturate the soil. Maintain the soil moist until the seedlings appear.

Plant English ivy seeds

  • Moisten a paper towel and place the ivy seeds in the paper towel and leave it in the refrigerator’s crisper drawer for 4 weeks. Do not keep any apples or bananas in the refrigerator during this time because they release ethylene gas which will render the seed nonviable.
  • Indoors, grow English ivy plant in pots with a stake or other vertical structure for climbing, or in hanging baskets where it can tumble over the edges. You can grow it in a pot with a shaped wireframe to create a topiary design. Variegated types are attractive when planted in this way.
  • Fill a small (4- to 6-inch) pot to within about 3/4 inch of its rim with moistened seed-starting soil. Place one English ivy seed in the center of the pot, roughly 1 inch apart. Press the ivy seeds gently into the soil with your finger to ensure good seed-to-soil contact.
  • Keep the pot outdoors in an area where it will receive indirect sunlight and check the soil’s moisture level at least once daily. If it begins to dry out, re-moisten it with a spray-bottle (pre-germination) or watering can (post-germination process).
  • Place the potted English ivy plant in a cold frame (placed in indirect sunlight) for its first winter. Re-pot mature potted ivy plant and move it to a spot where it will receive partial sunlight. It will no longer need cold framing in the winter season.
  • Some symptoms such as drying, browning, and dropping leaves are a plant’s cry for help. But many things can cause ivies to freak out and produce brown leaves. Plants can get too much of a good thing that is too much water, fertilizer, or sun. Or plants can get too little of a good thing that is too little water or humidity.
  • Remove damaged or diseased plant leaves. Because English ivy leaves won’t recover if insects begin to eat them, take clean scissors and cut off the damaged leaves. You should remove leaves that have fungus, holes, small black dots, or has shriveled leaves. Some plant leaves will dry and crumble off if they’re infected with a disease.

Water for English ivy plants

Water the English ivy plant once the soil is dry. Drag your finger in the soil at the base of the ivy plant to check the soil’s moisture level. If it’s dry, water the soil until it’s saturated and waits to water again until the soil dries out. You will probably have to water the plant 2 times a week. Avoid watering the ivy plant so much that water pools in the bottom of the container. Over-watering plants can cause root rot.

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Ivies don’t like to be overwatered – Try not to be overzealous when watering your ivy plant. Ivy plants don’t like wet soil. Wait to water until the top inch or the potting mix dries out. It is best to keep this houseplant a little too dry than a little too wet. Also, make sure that the pot the ivy plant is growing has drainage holes.

If you overwater your ivy plant, the leaves will turn brown and dry on the edges. This symptom seems like the ivy plant needs more water. The main reason for English ivy plant leaves turn brown is that the plant roots are too wet and are basically drowning. Overly wet roots can’t deliver nutrients or, oddly, water to the ivy plant. So, keep your ivy plant on the dry side.

Ivies don’t like to be under-watered – A too-dry plant is a stressed ivy plant. Winter is especially rough on ivy plants. Lower light levels and dry air from furnaces and fireplaces stress out ivy plants. These little suckers like both warm and dry conditions. And the mites themselves are tiny and black like little specs. They reproduce quickly so you could have an infestation before you know it. To get rid of spider mites, spray them off the plant leaves with water or apply Neem oil.

Increase the humidity if the plant’s leaves begin to wilt. Limp or yellow leaves can be a sign that plant needs higher humidity, especially if it’s winter. To increase moisture, place the ivy plant in a tray filled with pebbles. Then, pour water halfway up the side of the pebbles and this will increase the humidity of the air around the plant. If you prefer, move the plant to a room with higher humidity and see if the plant leaves improve after a few days. Additionally, keep a spray bottle of water near the plant so that you can mist plants often.

Pests and diseases affected by English ivy plants

Pests and pathogen difficulties occur with the English ivy plant. Ivy plant care and maintenance help to reduce these pest problems. Common pests affecting in English ivy plants are spider mites, aphids, mealybugs, and scale insects. Red spider mites are difficult to see without close inspection. Though, white webs formed on the plant are usually indicative of a spider mite infestation. Remove the infested plant leaves and treat the plant with a pesticide or insecticidal soap. Deer are an animal pest that can be problematic for English Ivy plants. Typical pathogens like fungal and bacterial problems affecting English Ivy houseplants are bacterial spots, stem rot, and fungal leaf spots.

Aphids are also called “plant lice,” which are soft-bodied, pear-shaped sucking insects about the size of the head of a pin. They sometimes cluster in large masses on tender new leaves and growing tips of the ivy plant. Their feeding retards plant growth, causing the plant leaves to curl and turn yellow. Ants, attracted by the aphids’ honeydew secretions, wander over the ivy plants and protect them from natural predators.

Frequently asked questions about growing English ivy

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Questions about English ivy.
Questions about English ivy.
Will English ivy grow on a trellis?

Unlike some climbing vines, ivy plant doesn’t need to be tied to the trellis. It climbs using aerial rootlets, such as English ivy, or adhesive discs, such as with Boston ivy, and secretes a sticky substance that helps it climb. Plant English ivy in its ideal growing conditions and it will rapidly climb a trellis.

How long does English ivy take to grow?

The English ivy will begin to grow quickly, but it will take about three months for the plant to become fully established. Remove the plant growth outward to stimulate upward growth toward the fence. After three months, fertilize the English ivy every two months.

How deep are English ivy roots?

English ivy root depth ranged from 1 to 4.13 inches (3.0 -10.5 cm) below the soil surface.

Will English ivy grow from cuttings?

English ivy plants can be propagated by stem cuttings. By using a sharp knife, cut off 4- to 5-inch-long shoots. Pinch off the plant leaves on the bottom portion of the cuttings.

How often should I water English ivy?

English ivy needs regular watering until the plant is established, which takes one growing season. The ivy plant benefits from about 1 inch of water every week, either through supplemental watering or natural rainfall. Keep the foliage as dry as possible when plant watering.

When should English ivy be cut back?

Severe pruning in the late winter or early spring allows you to see and remove the most aggressive vines and encourage new, controllable plant growth. Cut stems back to a more manageable size and then pull out the excess vines.

How quickly does English ivy grow?

Moisture- and shade-loving English ivy plant has evergreen leaves year-round and can grow to 80 feet.

Why are the leaves on my ivy plant turning yellow?

English ivy leaves may turn yellow if it is being over watered and has “root rot,” due to being in soggy soil. Ivy plants need to dry out between watering, and overwatering means the plant’s roots are continually wet.

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  1. Hi
    I require english ivy plants to cover my 200 feet long, 20 feet high brick wall. Where can I get these genuine plants in India ?

  2. Thanks for sharing this detailed guide on growing English Ivy – it’s definitely given me the confidence to try it out in my own garden!


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