English ivies are extensively grown outdoors for landscape gardens. They have shiny heart-shaped leaves that can be grown in diverse conditions. They get invasive while growing outdoors, so keeping the growth under control is important. While growing them outdoors, find the ideal place to plant them.
English ivies can grow in full sun to full shade depending on the region’s temperature. They are grown outdoors in USDA zones 4 through 13. The ideal placement for English ivy would be near the eastern window. Outdoors you can plant them under a tree where it gets enough light and shade.
In this article, we will find the best spot to plant your English ivy outdoors and the factors you need to keep in mind.
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Does English ivy like sun or shade?
English ivies are adaptable to diverse lighting conditions.
They can grow both in full sun and full shade.
But you have to tweak it as per the season.
For example, in summers, ivies cannot tolerate a full day of the scorching sun, while in winters, they require some direct sunlight.
English ivy hardiness zone
English ivies can be grown outdoors all across USDA hardiness zones 4 through 13.
However, in the northern areas, the ivies can survive winters for some time, but exposure to frost for a long time can damage its cells.
Where should English ivy be planted?
Plant your ivy in areas where you want to cover the ground.
You can grow them in semi-shaded or shaded spots where other trees will not grow.
Though the growth of the ivy will be slower in these areas, it will cover the ground quickly, increasing the aesthetic appeal of the place.
English ivies are also grown to cover fences, boundaries, and walls in any area.
However, prune the plant from time to time because they can get quite invasive and damage other structures.
Factors that determine the ideal planting spot for English ivy
As a ground cover, English ivy grows a few inches tall but covers a large area quickly.
They are often seen to be adorning fences and walls and bare grounds.
However, due to their aggressive growth, you must keep an eye on them.
While planting your English ivies outdoors, you must take care of some environmental factors that play important roles.
The primary factors that you need to keep in mind while choosing the site for your English ivy are:
Now let us understand these factors and their importance in more detail.
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The growth of a plant relies largely on the light it gets because it makes its food and gets its energy with the help of that light.
If ivies do not get the necessary amount of light, they will show signs of stress like:
- Slower growth
- Leggy growth
- Fungus and pest infestations
English ivies also do not like harsh direct sunlight.
Some signs that your ivy is getting too much harsh light are:
- Leaf burn
- Yellow and brown spots
- Leaves curling
- Frequent dehydration
- Crispy leaves
In regions where the temperatures are higher, and the summers are hot, you must grow the ivy in areas where hot scorching sunlight will not fall on the leaves directly.
Because, in such conditions, the higher intensity of the direct sunlight will burn the foliage of the plants.
Since ivies do not like extreme heat, you better plant them at spots where the ivy will receive some protection from the hot afternoon sunlight.
Do not plant them in areas where they will be under shade completely, as that can stress out the plant.
If you are living in areas where the temperatures are cooler, your ivy will thrive easily in full sunlight.
Another factor to remember while choosing the spot is that if your ivy is a green variant, you can grow it in the full shade.
However, if it has variegations, then it would need more sunlight.
Full shade can make the variegations turn pale.
If you are still confused about which spot would give your ivies the ideal sunlight, choose a spot where the morning sunlight of a few hours will fall on the plant, but the scorching afternoon sunlight will not disturb them.
Also read: What Kind Of Light Does English Ivy Need?
English ivy is hardy and can grow even in poor soil, but that will not guarantee healthy growth.
A poor soil mix will give rise to the following problems:
- Droopy plant
- Leaves dropping
- Dry, cracked soil
- Stunted growth
Light, loose, loamy soil with excellent drainage is ideal for English ivy.
In the case of potted plants, you mix ingredients like compost, sand, etc., to enrich the soil.
However, in the case of landscape gardening, when you are directly planting the ivy in the ground, the procedure is slightly different.
To get good soil mix to your plant, you must dig up the soil to at least 8-12 inches.
In nature, ivies are natives to western European regions where temperatures are slightly cooler.
Therefore, they enjoy climates where the summers are not too harsh.
The best temperature to grow your English ivies is between 70-90°F.
Though they are hardy, frequent fluctuations in temperature can damage them.
Though the plant can tolerate temperature outside this range for a short time, if you expose it for a prolonged period, it will undergo various issues.
You must plant the ivy at a spot where it will have some form of protection from extreme cold and heat and winds.
English ivies need an average of 40-50% humidity to thrive.
While growing plants indoors, adjusting the humidity levels is easier.
But for those growing outdoors, it is a little tricky to maintain the ideal humidity levels.
For outdoor ivies, the best way to give the plant the required humidity is by misting the plant regularly during the warmer seasons.
Remember that you must only mist during the daytime so that the water gets evaporated by evening.
Wet leaves are a prime cause of pest infestations on ivies.
Refrain from misting during the winters as that can be harmful due to the already cold temperatures.
Before planting the English ivy, observe the spot for a few days to find out whether any big building or tree is blocking the sunlight.
If the plant does not get the required amount of light, its variegations will begin to fade, and the plant will get leggy and lose its vigor.
Your ivy will grow best in 3-4 hours of morning sunlight and shade from the afternoon sun so ensure the chosen place will be able to fulfill the light requirement of the plant.
How do you plant English ivy?
Plant the English ivy in the ground after winter during spring when temperatures start to warm up, and the ground loses all the signs of frost and snow.
Plant it during the late afternoon or an overcast day so that the direct sunlight does not fall on the plant immediately.
This is because the new plant might be sensitive and prone to damage quickly, so direct sunlight can immediately scorch the leaves.
Select the planting site, keeping in mind the above-discussed factors.
- Dig up the spot and clear all debris and weeds in the area.
- Loosen the soil up to 1 foot with a shovel.
- Amend the soil by adding organic components.
- Now dig up holes about 4-6 inches deep and a little more than the root ball.
- Do not dig up too close to each other as that prevents sound airflow.
- Plant them, keeping a 6-12 inches gap between each plant. Once the plants are fully grown, they will form a thick cluster of ground cover.
- While planting them, remove the lower leaves of the stem and place them in the holes.
- Planting deep helps to reduce the damage by frost.
- Once done, tap gently at the base and fill the space in the hole with soil.
- Water the ivies and keep the soil slightly moist all through the growing season.
- Feed it during the growing season.
English ivy outdoor care
After you have found the best spot for your ivy and planted it, it’s time to understand how to take care of it.
English ivies can thrive in full shade or sun, depending on the region’s temperature.
But if you plant your ivy where it gets the ideal lighting condition, your plant will be happier.
Ensure it gets mild morning sunlight and protection from the intense light during the afternoon.
The soil should drain water quickly and not hold excess water as English ivies hate standing in wet soil.
They perform best in soil that is slightly loamy and has a pH between 6.0-6.5.
You can test the soil to ensure that the pH is ideal for English ivies.
The soil should let go of excess water but retain slight moisture.
If the soil is too clayey in your garden, you need to add ingredients that improve the drainage.
Water the English ivy every few days in summer, and it will thrive.
Provide 1-inch of water every week.
Do not overwater the plant or keep the soil wet.
These plants are prone to root rot and fungal diseases so letting them dry out slightly in between watering help prevent the growth of pathogens.
When the ivy reduces its growth in winters, you need to cut down on watering.
Since it rests during this period, it needs less water and nutrients than during the growing seasons.
The ideal temperatures for ivies should be between 70-90°F.
If the temperature drops below 50°F, you must protect the plant.
As ivies do not like harsh colds and frost, take precautions to protect them during winters and help them survive.
Here is what you can do in winter:
- Prune the English ivy 1/3rd of its height around the end of autumn. Do not prune more than half of the plant as there needs to be foliage to continue photosynthesis for the plant.
- Water the ivy before frost hits the ground. Wet soil acts as an insulator, so water right after the fall. Do not water if there is snow on the ground.
- Make sure you do not water the leaves and keep them dry.
- Soak the soil thoroughly, so the extra water helps the ivy survive the winters.
- Apply a thick layer of around 2-3 inches of mulch during late fall or early winter once the temperature goes below 40°F. Mulching helps to keep plants warm and prevents the loss of moisture. Mulching also protects the soil from the damage that is caused by frost. Mulch using chopped woods, dried leaves, and other organic compounds.
- Spray the English ivy with anti-transpirant spray during the early winters because it prevents moisture loss from the leaves and does not let the foliage dry. The dry air in winters absorbs the plants’ extra moisture, making them dehydrated and weak.
Maintain average humidity of around 40% and mist the ivy in summers to provide sufficient humidity.
While planting more than one ivies in the ground, have at least 6-10 inches of gaps between each plant to keep it neat.
Once the plants grow, they will cover the entire space.
English ivies are not high feeders, so they do not need very frequent or high fertilization.
Feed the plant with a slow-release fertilizer during spring, around March and September.
In the growing season, you can also feed the plant with a well-balanced liquid 20:20:20 NPK fertilizer.
Experts suggest that ivies growing in the landscape need to be pruned regularly.
This is because these plants are very aggressive growers and spread quickly.
It can even destroy bigger plants around and also properties.
Thus pruning is a necessity if your plant is grown in your garden.
Prune your English ivy 3-4 times a year to maintain its shape and prevent it from spreading, and before the onset of winters, prune back the plant to 1/3rd of the height.
Clip around the English ivy’s edges if the plant is outgrowing its designated boundaries.
Ivies pose a serious threat to nearby vegetation and areas as the woody vines can cover a structure of 50-100 feet tall and spread on the grounds.
So experts suggest it be grown in pots to restrict its movement.
However, if you are growing it in the ground, keep an eye on its growth.