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Can English Ivy Grow In Water? (+How To?)

English ivy is a low-maintenance, easy-growing plant adaptable to various conditions. Many enthusiasts wonder whether they can grow their English ivy in water. Let’s find out.

You can grow English ivy in water by taking a healthy cutting of at least 4 inches long and dipping them in a glass container filled with water. In favorable conditions, you should see roots within 3-4 weeks, after which you can move the plant to soil or keep it in water.

This article will guide you through the entire process of growing your English ivy in water with all the care tips.


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How to grow English ivy in water?

Propagating English ivy cuttings in water is the simplest way and involves no mess.

Some steps increase the chances of successful propagation.

Before we understand those steps, here are the tools you will need: 

  • Mother plant: Choose a healthy ivy. The cuttings from a healthy plant have higher chances of rooting than a diseased plant. A healthy plant is a major key to successful propagation.
  • Pruners: You need a pair of sharp pruners to make a fine clean cut. If the pruner is blunt, the cuttings will get uneven, which will not give fruitful results.
  • Glass jars: Glass jars are ideal because, in them, you can check the progress of the roots and see when the water gets cloudy so that you can change it accordingly.
  • Alcohol pads/disinfectant: You need to ensure the pruners do not have bacteria on them, which you can risk passing onto your plant. So, before and after use, you need to sterilize your pruner.
  • Filtered or distilled water: Tap water contains minerals like chlorine, fluorine, etc., which can harm the new cutting. It is best to use filtered water to grow your cuttings. Change the water every 3-4 days whenever you see the water getting dirty.

Now, let’s discuss the steps.

1. Take a healthy cutting 

To take the cutting, use clean sterilized scissors or pruners.

Remember each cutting should be at least 4-6 inches long and have several leaves.

You can take multiple cuttings above the nodes.

Look for stems that are not woody and are in good shape because woody stems have lesser chances of rooting.

Ensure that the vines that you cut have some healthy nodes on them.

You will identify the nodes by the little bumps on the stems.

The new roots will emerge from these points. 

If there are no visible nodes, then you can create them too.

To do this, you need to remove the bottom-most leaves.

The spots from where you remove the leaves will become the nodes.

The nodes should remain submerged in water.  

2. Make a sharp cut

Ensure that you make sharp cuts.

Messy cuttings can lead to fungus growth. 

Sterilize the pruner before using and taking a healthy cutting. 

Snip off multiple 4-6 inches cuttings.

Remove the lower leaves and dip the end in the rooting hormone.

This is an optional step, but this increases the chances of rooting.

3. Place the cutting in water 

Once you have taken the cutting, place it in a glass or container of clean water.

Use filtered water if possible.

If you use tap water, fill the container a day before and let it sit overnight, this allows the minerals in the water to evaporate. 

Using a glass jar is best because you can check the root growth.

However, you can use any other container as well. 

The nodes should remain in the water, and the leaves should stay above the water line.


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4. Place it in a bright spot

Once it’s done, choose a spot for your cutting with bright indirect light.

Do not keep it under direct sunlight.

The young cutting is too sensitive.

So it might get harmed by direct sunlight, so a spot that gets bright light all day is ideal.

5. Maintain ideal temperature

The ideal temperature for your English ivy is between 70-90°F.

Prolonged exposure to the temperature outside this range can cause failure in rooting your cutting. 

6. Change the water as ad when needed

For water propagation, hygiene is an important part we often tend to overlook.

The water needs to be changed every 3-4 days.

Also, you must keep the container clean.

This prevents algae buildups, fungus growth, and dirt which cause the cuttings to rot.

Refill the container when you see the water has evaporated and the nodes are exposed. 

Things to keep in mind while placing English ivy cutting in water

  • Do not expose the cutting to direct sunlight.
  • The nodes should be submerged in water at all times.
  • Keep a check on the water. Change it frequently whenever you see any dirt, as that would lead the cutting to rot.
  • You can mix a pinch of rooting hormone in the water to help the cutting to root faster though it is optional.

How to take care of the English ivy in water?

English ivy plants do not need much care as they are very steady.

But there are certain basic requirements the plant needs to meet.

In below table we will mention them briefly:

Factor Care
Light Bright indirect light
Water Change the water every 3-4 days
Use filtered water
Temperature 70-90°F
Humidity 40-50%
Fertilizer No need to fertilize cuttings, but you can fertilize mature plants with liquid fertilizer.
Pruning Prune the dead or rotten parts
Repotting Repot to the soil once the roots are strong and mature enough 
This table demonstrates the basic care requirements of English Ivy.

Let’s understand these in detail.

1. Sunlight

English ivy can grow in full shade to full sun depending upon the temperature and region of growth.

Keep your ivy at a spot that receives bright indirect light for water propagation.

If your home has lower access to natural light, install artificial lights to give the plant the required warmth and energy.

If the light requirement is not met, the plant will not grow strong, and the rooting process may fail.

However, avoid direct sunlight as the cuttings are quite sensitive to direct sunlight that can scorch the leaves.

Once you move the plant to the soil, you can gradually increase its sun exposure. 

2. Water

For growth in water, you must change the water every 3-4 days or whenever you see any sign of dirt.

Avoid tap water as it is filled with minerals like chlorine and fluoride, which are harmful to the sensitive new cutting and can damage it.

If you use natural rainwater for the propagation, it is highly ideal.

However, since it is not always possible to collect and store rainwater, using distilled or filtered water works.

Once you shift the plant to the soil, watering correctly becomes more important.

Remember, English ivy enjoys slightly drier soil, so always check the soil before watering.

Letting the soil dry out in between watering is a good way to ensure you are not overwatering the plant.

Using a moisture meter to measure the moisture in the soil gives you authentic results, and you will not go wrong with watering.

3. Temperature

Growing a plant in the correct temperature range is vital for its growth.

The ideal temperature to grow English ivy is 70-90°F.

It is highly sensitive to strong cold wind or frost and very scorching hot summers.

Make sure you keep your ivy in a spot that is away from temperature fluctuations, vents, or drafts. 

Do not keep them near fireplaces, air conditioners, or heaters, as these tend to the moisture out of the plants. 

English ivy enjoys a steady, stable temperature and does not like frequent changes. 

Choose a spot likewise and do not disturb the plant too much as that will stress the plant more and delay rooting. 

4. Fertilizer

When you grow your plants in water, it does not receive as many nutrients as it gets from the soil.

However, when your cuttings are very young and growing in water, it is best to avoid fertilizing.

This is because young cuttings are too sensitive, and fertilizing them can burn them fast.

When the English ivy is mature, you can add a drop of liquid fertilizer to the water while changing it during the growing season.

Once you transplant it to the soil, you must feed it more often in the growing season with a balanced NPK 20-20-20 fertilizer.

You can also add compost or any slow-release fertilizer once in March and once in September. 



5. Humidity

Humidity is an important aspect that needs to be taken care of if you want your English ivy to grow lush and full.

It requires average humidity of 40%-50% around them, failing to show signs of stress like yellowing, drooping, etc.

The best thing about growing plants in water is that you need not worry much about providing humidity artificially.

This is because as the container water evaporates continuously, it increases humidity levels and keeps the area humid.

However, if you are still unsure about the humidity levels, invest in a hygrometer which is a device to measure the humidity levels and get the readings. 

If you find it low, misting is a great way to increase the humidity. 

You can also install a humidifier to keep the spot humid and comfortable for the plant. 

6. Pruning

English ivy is an aggressive, rapidly growing plant.

Pruning them periodically to keep their growth under check is necessary to prevent them from getting unruly and tangled up. 

Pruning will also make these plants bushy and full and prevent leggy growth by stimulating their growth hormones. 

How long does it take for English ivy cuttings to root in water?

English ivy plants are fast growing.

Rooting should occur fast if the cuttings are taken accurately and the procedures are properly followed.

The average time these plants take to root in water is around 3-4 weeks.

But you must wait a little longer to move it to the soil.

When moving it to the soil, use a light, well-draining soil mix with excellent drainage.

To get that, add perlite or sand to the soil and mix it with compost and crushed charcoal.

This would keep the soil light to allow airflow and well-draining.

Also, choose a pot that has a drain hole at the bottom. 

Keep the soil slightly damp until the roots are mature and water when the soil is dry. 

How long can English ivy grow in water?

English Ivy watering

English ivy plants are adaptable to multiple conditions.

They are equipped to grow and live in water.

However, if you want your ivy to flourish and thrive for a long time, it is best to move them into the soil.

Plants grown in water are deprived of many essential nutrients.

The plants grown in water seem less healthy and grow slower than the ones in soil, as the latter have access to much more energy and nutrients.

Therefore it is best to move them to the soil once the roots mature.

Mature roots adapt to the soil more easily than baby roots, so wait until the roots are 2-3 inches longer before shifting to the soil. 

What are the common problems of growing English ivy in water?

Growing your English ivy in water has a lot of advantages, but there are drawbacks as well.

  • When you grow your English ivy in water, it does not have access to minerals and nutrients essential for its growth and is in the soil. So its growth might be slower than the ones that grow in soil and are healthier and stronger.
  • Another problem that plant growers come across frequently in water growing is that the water begins to smell foul sometimes, which rots the plant and attracts fungus. You must keep an eye on the water and change it every few days. 
  • Sometimes the yellow dead leaves fall and rot in the water container, making the water prone to fungus. You should always check for that and not let leaves touch the water line. 

Keep the plant away from direct sunlight, exposing it to algae growth and harming the stem.

Keep them at a spot with indirect bright light and do not change their location often. 

Final words

English ivy is an attractive plant to grow in your house. You can multiply them easily through water as well as soil. Many plant owners prefer to grow their English ivy in water because of how easy it is.

If you follow the right procedure, you will see your cutting starting to root by 3-4 weeks, and by 6-7 weeks, it will be ready to be moved. You can either continue growing it in water or shift it to light, well-draining potting soil.


Reference: ResearchgateUniversity of TennesseeMississippi State UniversityCentral Florida Research and Education CenterU.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE.