Hedera Helix or English ivy is grown as both indoor and outdoor plants. Plant owners love them as they are easy to grow and require little maintenance. However, drying out is one common issue these plants face.
English Ivy can dry from underwatering, excessive sunlight, poor humidity, and improper fertilization. To treat a dehydrated English Ivy plant, you must provide it with sufficient watering, proper fertilization, adequate lighting, ideal temperatures, and enough humidity.
In this article, I will discuss all the reasons that cause your English Ivy to dry out and mention the corrective actions to prevent and solve this problem.
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What are the signs of drying the English ivy plant?
English ivies can dry out due to various reasons.
The dryness can make them weak, yellow, or brown.
A drying ivy is not difficult to revive if you have identified the cause in the initial stages.
The quick identification of the signs will help your ivy recover faster.
To determine the exact cause of dryness, you must study the signs.
Some common signs of English ivy drying are:
- Dry and crispy leaves
- Curly leaves with brown corners
- Yellow and brown leaves
- Dropping of leaves
- Wilted and droopy leaves
- Slow growth rate
- Dry and cracked soil
- The smaller size of new leaves
Let us now understand the reasons in detail.
Why is my English ivy so dry?
English ivies will dry out when dehydrated and stressed due to temperature changes, over-fertilization, or pest infestation.
Lack of humidity can also be a cause of their dryness.
1. Incorrect watering
Both overwatering and underwatering can make your English Ivy dry.
English ivies prefer to grow in slightly dry soil.
When you overwater your Ivy, the roots do not get a chance to dry out and constantly remain wet.
The roots fail to transfer water and nutrients, dehydrating the ivy and making the leaves dry.
Underwatering will result in a prolonged drought, due to which the plant suffers from dehydration and fails to carry out various life processes.
Subsequently, the leaves will turn dry, curly, crispy, and brown.
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2. Poor humidity
English ivies demand a minimum of 40-50% humidity to thrive.
Lack of humidity can cause your ivy to dehydrate and dry out.
In low-humid areas, the transpiration rate of the plant increases, which causes huge moisture loss through the leaves.
The leaves turn dry, droopy, crispy, and yellow.
3. Too much light
In their natural habitat, English ivies grow under the shade of large trees that protect them from the sun’s direct rays.
Due to this, ivy prefers to grow in medium to bright indirect light, and their leaves will turn dry if exposed to direct sunlight.
The excess heat will cause the plant to dehydrate due to the increased transpiration rate.
The huge moisture loss through the leaves will cause the plant to dry.
Direct sunlight can cause many other issues like scorched leaves, droopy leaves, yellow leaves, and brown spots on leaves.
4. Unfavorable temperatures
English ivies are originally from central and northern Europe, with moderate temperatures.
Therefore, they struggle to survive in very hot temperatures and extremely cold winters.
Ivy grows best when temperatures remain between 70-90°F.
High temperatures can dehydrate the plant, due to which the leaves can dry out.
On the other hand, ivy can experience stress in low temperatures, making it dry.
Also, if you frequently move your English Ivy to different places, it will stress out from sudden temperature changes.
The ivy might show its stress by drying out the leaves.
Fertilization is important for providing sufficient nutrients to the English ivy.
But it doesn’t mean you will overfertilize the plant.
Excessive fertilization will harm your ivy in many ways.
When you overfeed your ivy, the excess salts from the fertilizers accumulate in the soil and harm the root system.
The roots carry these salts along with water and nutrients to different parts of the plant.
The toxicity of the salts burns the cells, due to which the leaves dry out and turn brown.
6. Chemical sensitivity
The accumulation of salts in different parts of your English ivy is one common reason it can dry out.
Using regular tap water can be very toxic to your plant’s health.
Tap water contains minerals like Chloride and fluoride that can build up in the soil.
These minerals can burn the edges of your ivy, resulting in dry and crispy leaves.
7. Pest infestation
Pest infestation is another serious problem that can stress your English ivy.
Aphids, mites, mealybugs, whiteflies, and scales are some common bugs that attack the English ivy.
The bugs are mostly sap-sucking insects that damage the leaves and stems of the plant.
The pests suck out the plant’s sap, due to which it loses moisture and nutrients.
Therefore, the ivy dehydrates, and its leaves dry out.
Hence, checking your ivy for any pest infestation is very important.
A severe infestation can be the cause of your plant’s death.
How do you revive dried ivy?
Once you have found the cause behind the dry leaves on your English Ivy, you can take the necessary actions to fix and prevent it.
English ivies are hardy, so it is possible to revive them if you provide them with the correct growing conditions.
I will now discuss all the measures you must follow to revive your dried English ivy and prevent this problem.
1. Correct your watering practices
English ivy will grow best in soil that remains slightly dry most of the time.
If you find a problem understanding when to water your plant, put your index finger in the soil to check its moisture level.
If the soil feels moist and sticky, avoid watering.
Water your plant if it feels dry.
You can also use a moisture meter to check the moisture content of the soil.
Let us now look at some of the ways to resolve the problem of underwatering and overwatering.
In case of underwatering:
- If your English ivy is underwatered, prune the dry and yellow leaves so it can focus on new growth.
- Give your ivy a good drink by watering it thoroughly until the excess water starts flowing through the drainage holes.
- If the soil has turned compact, poke some holes into it with a chopstick. After that, water slowly until the excess water runs out.
- Another way to recover your dehydrated ivy is by soaking the pot in a water-filled bucket for 30-40 minutes.
In case of overwatering:
- If your English ivy is overwatered, stop watering it and wait for the soil to dry.
- Move it to the brightest and the most aerated spot of your house so that the excess water from the soil can evaporate fast.
- If the condition doesn’t improve, repot it in a new pot with fresh potting soil.
- Avoid fertilizing and watering the plant until it shows some recovery.
- Once your plant becomes healthy, water it after checking the soil’s moisture level.
- Avoid watering the plant during the winter season to prevent any situation of overwatering.
2. Adjust the humidity levels
English ivy requires humidity to grow healthy leaves.
If you live in an area with relatively low humidity, use artificial ways to increase the humidity.
Here are some methods to raise the humidity around your plant:
One simple method to raise the humidity in the English ivy is misting.
Take a spray bottle with distilled water and spray on the leaves every -3 days.
Misting is helpful on hot summer days when the plant loses moisture quickly through the leaves.
Group your plants
Grouping the English ivy with other moisture-loving houseplants is a common way of raising humidity around it.
All the plants will transpire and create a moist environment for each other.
A humidifier is the best technique for raising humidity for the English Ivy.
Fill the humidifier device with distilled water and keep it in the same room where your plant is placed.
Humidifiers help regulate moisture levels.
You can increase and decrease the humidity per the requirements.
A pebble tray is another common way of raising the humidity.
Take a tray and fill it with water and some stones.
Place your English ivy over the tray and ensure that the bottom of the pot doesn’t directly touch the water.
Otherwise, there can be a root rot problem.
The water will evaporate from the tray and add humidity to the plant.
Change the location of the plant.
You can move your plant to the most humid area of your house, like the bathroom, kitchen, or near the aquarium, where it can get a lot of moisture.
3. Keep away from direct sunlight
English ivy will get sunburned if exposed to direct sunlight.
Provide your ivy with bright, indirect light to prevent dried and scorched leaves.
However, reviving the dried leaves might not be possible, and you can trim them off.
Below are some measures you can follow to prevent your ivy from drying:
- Place your English ivy in a north-facing or east-facing window, as this window will provide the plant with the ideal light.
- Avoid placing the plant in a south-facing window to protect it from direct sunlight. However, if you want to keep the plant, cover the window with sheer curtains or window films to prevent the sun’s direct rays.
- You can also keep your plant outside under the shade of big trees.
4. Fix the temperature problem
English ivies are sensitive to extreme climates, so you should keep them away from too much heat or frost.
- Never keep your English ivy near fireplaces, heaters, radiators, etc., as it can cause the plant to dry up.
- Avoid frosts by keeping the plant away from leaking windowsills, open doors, frosty windows, etc. Also, keep the ivy away from cooling devices like air conditioners, coolers, or refrigerators.
- During winter, if your ivy is outside, bring it indoors and keep it in a warm place in your house.
- During the wintertime, provide your plant with 2-3 hours of morning sunlight to give it warmth.
- You can use a thermostat device to maintain the ideal temperature for the plant.
5. Do not overfertilize your English ivy
English ivies are light to medium feeders and are always at a risk of overfertilization.
Hence, it is important to know when and how to fertilize the plant.
A preferable time for fertilizing the English Ivy is the growing season, i.e., during the spring and summer months.
Fertilize the plant with a water-soluble fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 20-20-20.
Always dilute the fertilizer at half strength to prevent the risk of over-fertilization.
If your English Ivy is overfertilized, follow the steps given below to fix it.
- Scratch the top layers of the soil and add a new layer of fresh soil.
- Trim off the dead and damaged leaves and wash the soil 3- 4 times with running water to drain the excess salts from the soil.
- After washing the soil, keep your plant in a bright spot and wait for its recovery.
- However, if the condition of your ivy remains poor, repot it with fresh potting soil.
- Prepare a fresh soil mix by mixing 1 part perlite, 1 part peat moss, and 1 part soil, and repot your plant.
- Avoid fertilizing the plant for a few months until you find any recovery in their health.
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6. Avoid using tap water
If you use tap water for watering your English ivy, remember that it contains minerals and salts, which may deteriorate the condition of the plant.
Water your plant using distilled water or rainwater as it doesn’t contain minerals and is safe for the plant.
If you have no other option than tap water, allow it to sit overnight before you water the plant.
The mineral salts like chlorine and fluoride will evaporate, making the water suitable.
7. Save the plant from pests
- If your English ivy has pests, isolate it in one place to prevent the spread of the bugs to other houseplants.
- Give a deep wash to your ivy to remove the pests.
- Dip cotton swabs in isopropyl solution and apply them over the infected areas in the leaves to get rid of the remaining pests.
- Spray Neem oil on all the parts of your plant. Apply the spray for a few weeks until all the pest goes away.
- You can also use pesticides if the pest infestation is heavy.
Every plant can face the problem of drying leaves during its lifetime, so it is not something to worry about. If your English Ivy is drying out, do not panic and try to figure out the causes behind the dryness of the leaves.
To prevent your English ivy from drying, provide the ideal growing conditions. If you notice yellow or dry leaves in your plant, try to inspect it well to know its underlying cause. The leaves that are dried and turned brown will not revive again, so it would be better to prune them off.
Once you know the cause, take corrective actions to cure and prevent the problem in the future so that your Ivy continues to grow its beautiful, heart-shaped leaves.
Reference: Researchgate, University of Tennessee, Mississippi State University, Central Florida Research and Education Center, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE.
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