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Can English Ivy Get Too Much Sun? (Sunburn)

English ivy (Hedera Helix) is a popular houseplant that can grow under different conditions with minimum care. It is loved for its dark green, waxy leaves, but it is very disturbing to find them sunburned.

English ivies prefer to grow in bright indirect light, and too much sunlight can cause sunburn and curly and crispy leaves. English ivy needs to be protected from the intense afternoon sun. To fix a sunburned English ivy, move them to a shadier spot and prune all the affected leaves. 

In this article, I will explain the effects of sunburn on your English Ivy, how to revive it, and to protect it from sunburn. So, keep reading.


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Can English ivy tolerate full sun?

English ivies are woodland climbers coming from European regions that have moderate climates.

Therefore, they will not react well to too much light or cold winters.

The plant thrives best in the shade, partial sun, or dappled light.

Since English ivy is accustomed to shade, it will get sunburned if you expose it to excessive light or high temperatures.

The leaves will get scorched if the plant is habituated to growing under low light conditions and suddenly exposed to direct light.

They are hardy plants and can tolerate some direct light, but the leaves will get sunburned if exposed for a prolonged period.

Hence, keeping the ivy away from direct sunlight is always recommended.

What happens if ivy gets too much sun?

The English ivy will show signs if it is exposed to direct sunlight or too much sun.

Let us now understand the signs in detail.

Yellow leaves

English Ivy turning yellow

One of the most initial signs of sunburn in your English ivy plant is yellow leaves.

The direct rays of the sun destroy the formation of chlorophyll, a compound required for the green color of the leaves.

Without chlorophyll, the leaves will start to turn yellow. 

Brown leaves

Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight will cause the yellow leaves to turn brown in the later stages.

Many times, the edges and the corners of the leaves turn brown.

Dry leaves

Another sign of a sunburned plant is the change in the texture of its leaves.

Direct sunlight will cause the leaves to turn dry, curly, and crispy. 

When the ivy receives too much sun, it transpires at an increased rate and starts losing moisture through the leaves.

Lack of moisture causes dehydration, resulting in dry, curly, and crispy leaves.


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Droopy leaves

Direct sunlight can cause the entire ivy to show signs of sunburn.

It will start wilting and drooping if it is a sunburn victim.

The excessive heat will cause too much moisture loss from the leaves, due to which the plant will lose its turgidity and droop.

Falling leaves

The plant will start losing leaves if you ignore the sunburn in your English ivy.

Both older and younger leaves will fall if you don’t bring your plant to a shadier spot.

How to revive a sunburned English ivy?

Once you have identified the signs of sunburn on your English Ivy, it’s time to take some corrective measures to revive the plant and make it healthy again.

I have listed some ways with which you can fix your plant. 

1. Move the ivy to the right location

The first and the most important step for reviving your sunburned English ivy is to move it to a shadier place in your house where it can receive diffused light.

Make sure the area doesn’t receive direct sunlight.

However, don’t move the plant to a spot with no light at all.

2. Prune the affected leaves

Once you change the plant’s location, reduce some stress by pruning the affected leaves, which won’t be healthy again.

Prune the affected leaves carefully without harming the healthy ones.

Don’t prune more than 25-50% of the plant.

Otherwise, it will get even more stressed. 

3. Reduce watering 

You should avoid watering your ivy if its leaves fall due to sunburn.

Since the plant becomes weak with fewer leaves, it doesn’t need as much water as before. 

Reduce the frequency of watering till the time your plant recovers.

Always water the plant slowly and steadily until the excess moisture starts to drain out of the drainage holes.

Once the sunburned plant shows new growth, increase the watering frequency according to the requirements. 

4. Avoid fertilizing 

A sunburned English ivy already remains under much stress.

You can put your sunburned ivy into more trouble by fertilizing it.

Fertilizing an already damaged plant will make it weaker.

Hence, you should avoid fertilizing the plant until its health improves.

How to protect English ivy from sunburn?

We know that prevention is better than cure.

Therefore, you can prevent the risk of sunburn by providing Your English ivy with a healthy growing environment.

Here are some ways that you can follow to prevent sun damage to your plant.

1. Choose the right spot for your ivy

You should figure out the right spot for your English ivy to save it from too much or direct sun.

Move your English ivy to an east-facing or north-facing window, as this spot will provide the plant with the ideal light.

Avoid keeping it on a south-facing window so it doesn’t get exposed to direct sunlight.

However, if you want to keep the plant in a south-facing window, take some precautionary measures before that.

You can prevent the direct light by covering the window with curtains or films or keeping the plant 5-8 feet away from the window.

2. Put a cover on your ivy if it is outdoors.

You can put a cover on your English ivy if it is outdoors.

It is easy to control the light requirements indoors, but if you have placed your plant outside, it becomes much more difficult to prevent direct sunlight.

However, you can make some arrangements by putting a cover with a cloth or an umbrella over the plant or placing it under the shade of tall trees. 

3. Protect the young plants

The young English ivy plants are more sensitive to direct sunlight, so you should be more careful while placing them.

You can cover the young plants, place them in a shady spot and use antitranspirant sprays over the leaves.

4. Mist the ivy leaves

You can frequently mist the leaves of your English ivy on hot summer days.

Misting is a great way to prevent transpiration and raise the humidity levels around the plant.

You can mist the leaves with a spray bottle every 2-3 days during the hot summer.

Care tips for growing healthy English ivy

The English Ivy will thrive if you provide proper growing conditions and care.

I have mentioned some basic care tips for your English ivy.



Light

Keep your English ivy where it can receive a medium to bright indirect light.

You can provide the plant with a few hours of soft morning sunlight but avoid exposing it to the afternoon sun.

Also, never place your ivy in a dark place where light levels are too low for growth.

Use artificial lights to meet the plant’s light requirements in low light conditions.

Water

The English ivy will require watering every 10-14 days during the growing season.

The plant likes to grow in slightly dry soil, so you should always check the soil before watering it.

You can check the soil’s moisture using your index finger or a moisture meter.

Water the ivy only when the top 2-3 inches of the soil feels dry, and avoid watering if the soil feels moist. 

Temperature

Try to maintain temperatures between 70-90°F for your English ivy.

Choose a location where the plant receives moderate temperatures that is neither too hot nor too cold.

Keep the plant away from cold or hot drafts as it might get stressed. 

Avoid keeping it near devices like heaters, chimneys, radiators, air conditioners, and refrigerators.

Humidity

English ivy enjoys a fair share of humidity and will thrive when the humidity level is above 40-50%.

You can increase the humidity by grouping the ivy with other houseplants, regular misting, placing it over a pebble tray, or using a humidifier.

Avoid keeping the English ivy near devices that emit cold or dry air as it will reduce the humidity.

Soil

English ivy prefers to grow in a well-drained, well aerated, and rich potting soil that can support retention and drainage.

The pH of the potting mix should have a pH balance between 6.0 to 7.5.

You can prepare the ideal potting soil by mixing 1 part peat moss, 1 part perlite, and 1 part soil.

Fertilizer

Fertilize your English ivy every month during spring and summer, and avoid fertilizing the plant in winter.

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 problem of over-fertilization.

Pruning

The English ivy should be pruned whenever it becomes leggy and heavy.  

You should prune the dead, damaged, or infected leaves and parts regularly to encourage the healthy and fast growth of the plant.

Use sharp and sterilized pruners for making clean and clear cuts.

Repotting

English ivy should be repotted whenever it becomes root bound or if the roots outgrow its pot.

Always choose a pot that is 1-2 inches larger than the previous pot.

You should repot your English ivy during spring as it is its active growing season, and it will easily recover from repotting stress.

After repotting, water the plant thoroughly to settle in the new potting mix and pot.

Final thoughts

English ivy is a hardy plant that will thrive if you provide it with the right care. One major requirement is providing the plant with the correct lighting. The plant will thrive in medium to bright light, and exposure to too much sunlight can cause sunburn.

I have discussed how too much light or direct sunlight can harm your English ivy in this article. If you have a sunburned plant, take necessary actions to protect it from further damage.

Shift the ivy to a shadier spot, prune the damaged leaves, and provide enough humidity to restore its health. Once your ivy recovers, never expose it to direct sunlight for too long to prevent sunburn.


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