English ivy is a vigorously growing evergreen perennial plant used as climbers or ground cover throughout the US. They are natives of the European woodlands and require very little care.
English ivy needs bright light and well-drained soil. Feed them during the growing period and prune them often to keep the growth in check. Prevent temperature fluctuations and provide sufficient humidity. Do not keep your ivy in consistently moist soil as they like slightly drier soil.
To keep this plant flourishing, you must fulfill a few basic requirements. This article will discuss these care requirements which you must ensure to have a happy and healthy English ivy in your home.
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How do I keep my English ivy healthy?
English ivy plants do not demand a lot of care and are not fussy.
They can thrive indoors and outdoors if the bare requirements are met.
Here are 10 care tips to keep your English ivy happy and healthy.
1. Place the English ivy under bright light.
English ivy plants are popular because they are adaptable to various lighting conditions.
They adapt to almost every kind of light, from full shade to full sun.
However, its best growth is achieved in partial sunlight, where it receives 3-4 hours of direct sunlight in the morning and stays under shade or indirect light for the rest of the day.
In regions with harsh colds and winters, you must place your ivy in a spot with direct sunlight for at least a few hours daily.
Although English ivy is a cold-tolerant plant, you must protect it from hard winters, and it needs warmth to survive.
During scorching summers, keep your ivy under indirect sunlight.
The scorching heat can burn the gorgeous leaves of the ivy and result in sunburn leading to dry, crispy leaves and browning and yellowing.
Another important part you need to remember is that the variegated variants of the ivy need more light than the green ones to maintain the colors.
So ideally, the best spot for your English ivy indoors is an east-facing spot, where it will get early morning direct sunlight while at the same time remaining protected from the hot afternoon sun.
Try keeping it away from the hot afternoon sun by setting a curtain or placing it 5-10 feet away from the source.
If you grow your ivy outdoors, keep it under partial shade from a bigger tree, patio, or surrounding building.
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2. English ivy enjoys slightly drier soil.
I once made the mistake of keeping my English ivy in moist soil, which led to many problems.
English ivy does not like standing in wet soil.
Water the ivy when you notice the top layers of the potting mix have gone dry, and the soil is not sticking to your skin.
Ensure the soil of your ivy is a little dry at all times.
English ivy is prone to overwatering, so keeping the soil on the drier side is better than keeping it wet.
An overwatered English ivy has the chance of root rot, where the leaves turn brown and black at the edges.
The leaves and stems feel musky and limp when the roots stay in soggy soil for a long time.
These roots do not get the oxygen needed to function and thus get attacked by a rot-causing fungus that can kill your ivy if not checked.
So you must water the ivy only when the top 2 inches of the soil gets dry.
In case you are unsure, you can use a moisture meter to measure the moisture content of the soil.
Another vital part of understanding is that you must alter the watering pattern according to the season.
The plant will absorb more water in summers due to higher evaporation rates than in winters when the soil stays wet for longer days.
An important part is always to grow ivy in pots with drainage holes so the excess water runs off quickly.
3. Make sure the soil is light, airy, and well-draining.
Choosing the right soil is important for potted plants because they get all their energy and nutrients from the soil.
English ivy grows best in slightly loamy soil with excellent drainage and airflow.
If the soil has a high amount of clay, it will retain excess water unsuitable for ivy.
English ivy can tolerate a wide range of pH but grows best in pH around 6.5-7.
4. Feed the ivy in its growing period.
You must fertilize your ivy because the soil loses nutrients over time.
Fertilizers replenish the soil with the necessary nutrients by providing it with the required macro and micronutrients.
English ivy does not need heavy feeding but adding fertilizers boosts the plant’s growth and health.
Be careful not to overfertilize the ivy as that will damage the roots.
Fertilize the ivy during spring and summer with an NPK 20:20:20 liquid fertilizer.
Do not feed it during the winter months as its growth slows down during this period.
Water your ivy a day before fertilizing.
5. Maintain at least 40-50% humidity around the ivy.
While English ivy plants do not like too much moisture in the soil, they like having moist, humid air around them.
Ivies prefer moderate to slightly high humidity, and you must ensure at least 40-50% humidity around them.
Use a hygrometer to measure the humidity levels in your home.
- You can fill up a tray with pebbles and water. Now, keep the ivy pot on the layer of the pebbles. With the evaporating water, the humidity levels will also go up.
- A humidifier is an effective way to raise the humidity. It’s a device that increases humidity around plants and creates a cozy, humid location for humidity-loving plants.
- Another way to increase humidity is through misting. English ivies enjoy getting misted but remember to always mist only in the mornings. Avoid misting during the evening or night as it attracts bugs.
6. Keep the ivy in a 70-90°F temperature range.
English ivy plants do not like extremely hot or cold temperatures.
English ivies are natives to regions of Western Europe and eastern Asia where temperatures are slightly on the cooler side.
However, note that they hate the extreme cold and hard frost, and they suffer from cold injury if exposed to frost and harsh cold.
So, unlike many tropical plants grown as houseplants across the US, English ivies do not like warm temperatures.
Ideally, the ideal temperature range for English ivies is between 70-90°F.
English ivies are known as one of the cold tolerant plants and have been known to grow in the Northern regions where temperatures get extremely low.
But if you put your ivy in consistent harsh temperatures, the plant will show signs of stress which will hamper its growth.
If you are unsure about the temperature, use a thermometer or a hygrometer.
Keep the plant away from areas with temperature fluctuations like open doors and windows and shield them from very cold or hot winds.
Also, avoid keeping the ivy near heaters, air conditioners, vents, or drafts, as frequent fluctuations can put the ivy under stress.
7. Prune the ivy periodically.
Pruning is a vital part of the care routine for a plant that grows as vigorously and invasively as English ivies.
Pruning helps keep the ivy in shape and eliminates leggy and thin parts of the plant.
Ivies tend to grow leggy if it is not pruned often.
The leggy parts spoil the look of the plant and reduce its growth of the plant.
Pruning the yellow and dead parts of ivy also helps the plant focus on newer and healthier growth.
Here are a few tips for pruning your English ivy:
- Prune the plant before spring arrives.
- Do not prune more than 25% of the ivy plant at a time, or you can put the plant under stress.
- Remove the dead and yellow parts of the plant, but hard pruning must be done only during the growing season.
- Never use the pruners without sterilizing. Disinfect the pruner before and after use to prevent the spread of germs and pathogens.
- Before winters, prune the dead parts to help the ivy store energy and nutrients.
8. Repot your English ivy only when needed.
Repot the ivy to a larger pot when the plant outgrows the current pot.
When the plant grows too big, the following problems occur:
- The root system begins to absorb the soil, preventing it from getting the necessary nutrients.
- The roots begin to get entangled and grow in a circle along the sides of the pots because it lacks space for growth.
- Due to the lack of nutrient availability, the plant’s growth is compromised.
- When you water the ivy, it directly flows out of the drainage holes instead of being absorbed by the roots.
Repotting causes stress, so you must repot only during the growing season when the plant is most active.
Do not repot during the fall or winter when the conditions are unfavorable.
While repotting, get a pot no more than 2 inches larger than the existing one.
Since English ivies grow fast, you might need to repot it every one or two years, depending on the growth.
Always repot in fresh soil mix as the previous soil mix must have gotten infertile due to loss of nutrients.
9. Treat and prevent pests on your English ivy.
Pests are a nightmare for every plant grower.
English ivy is a hardy plant and repels many pests, but there are times when this plant undergoes a lot of damage from these bugs.
These bugs attach themselves to the plant and suck out the sap that contains all the nutrients.
Pest infestations mostly occur when the plant grows in unsuitable or incorrect growing conditions, including damp soil, excess humidity, poor light conditions, etc.
Most pests like mealybugs and scales like damp environments.
They infest plants that do not get too much light and have poor ventilation.
They spread very quickly and create havoc in your garden.
You need to treat them immediately without delay ad stop the destruction of your plant.
There are a few ways to treat pest attacks:
- Prune off the heavily infested areas.
- Wash the plant thoroughly with water.
- Keep it in a place with bright indirect sunlight and good airflow.
- Spray it with a mix of 1 tablespoon of Neem oil in 1 gallon of water.
- You can also make a solution of water, rubbing alcohol, and liquid soap and spray it on your ivy.
- Repeat 3-4 times until infestation is cleared
- If you still find bugs, use pesticides.
To prevent further pest attacks, you need to fix the environment the plant grows in:
- Keep your ivy in a well-aerated spot.
- Give the plant sufficient sunlight.
- Clean the leaves often.
- Do not leave the foliage wet after the evening. Pests like mealybugs attack leave when they are wet.
- Mist the plant always during the early morning so the water can evaporate.
- Spray the ivy with a Neem oil solution periodically.
- Refrain from overwatering. Damp soil is most often a leading cause of pest attacks. Water only when the top soil gets dry.
10. Use healthy English ivy cuttings for propagation.
Propagation is the method of getting more ivies from the cuttings you got during pruning.
English ivies are one of the easiest plants propagated from cuttings.
Propagate your English ivy in soil or water.
Let’s understand the propagation process of an English ivy:
- Get a healthy stem from the plant. Ensure the stem has no diseases or spots.
- Sterilize the pruner before use to prevent any spread of the pests or germs.
- Prune a stem that is at least 6 inches long. Make sure the cut is clean and not blunt.
- In case of water propagation, dip the cutting in a jar of clean filtered water.
- Change the water once every 2-3 days and keep it at a spot that receives bright indirect light.
- Plant the cutting in a light, moist potting mix if you want to propagate in soil.
- Rooting should start in 3-4 weeks. Wait until the roots are at least 2-3 inches long, then repot them in fresh soil.
English ivies are strong and hardy plants that will thrive if you provide the correct environment around the plant. Even when you try to provide the best conditions, your ivy might get stressed or sick. Don’t panic and try to fix the problem.
Provide proper light, appropriate soil mix, regular watering, and timely fertilization. Maintain the right temperatures and humidity levels. Prune the plant to keep it in shape and encourage new growth. Use the healthy cuttings to propagate your English ivy.