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How Fast Does English Ivy Grow? (English Ivy Growth Rate+11 Factors)

English ivy plants are loved for their bushy heart-shaped leaves that grow as excellent ground covers and climbers. If you are growing one, you might be curious about how fast these grow. Let’s find out.

In the wild, English ivy can reach 90-100 feet; however, when grown indoors, English ivy plants can grow up to 9 feet annually as their growth becomes restricted in containers. Factors like light, watering, fertilization, and temperature range affect their growth rate.

This article will discuss all the external and internal factors impacting ivy’s growth and some interesting tips to help you get lush green English ivy. 


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How fast will English ivy grow?

English ivy is a fast-growing plant.

Several factors determine how fast your English ivy would grow.

Along with each plant’s natural growth, these external factors also impact the plant’s growth.

The growth rate is faster and more aggressive in suitable conditions, but the plant’s growth reduces in poor or unsuitable conditions.

When English ivy grows in the wild, it gets much bigger and stronger than those in a pot.

In the wild, the plants get direct nutrients and energy from the earth, but in pots, they depend on the owners to feed them and give them proper light, water, humidity, etc.

Conditions like correct lighting, watering pattern, feeding, amount of humidity it receives, and various other factors directly impact the growth.

Also read: 8 Reasons Your English Ivy Is Not Growing

How long does it take for English ivy?

English ivy grows fast as long as it gets favorable conditions.

We can divide their growth into two stages.

Initial stage Adult stage
4-inches long leaves and dark green leaves Rouder leaves
Woody vining branches Whitish flowers
No fruits or flowers Bluish-black fruits
This table demonstrates the two growth stages of the English Ivy.

Factors determining the growth of English ivy

We will discuss each factor and explain its role in determining the growth of English ivy. 


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1. Light

Light is among the most vital elements a plant needs to make its food and energy through photosynthesis.

The plants cannot grow or live without light because it is their primary requirement.

When a plant gets enough light required for growth, it flourishes because it can photosynthesize faster.

In low light conditions, the plant will not be able to make that food, and as a result, its growth will be hampered.

English Ivy plants are native to the woodlands of Europe, where they grow in plenty of light.

The green variants of English ivy need indirect or dappled light, but the varieties of these plants with yellow and white leaves will need bright indirect sunlight, or they will start losing their variegation.

Exposing them to direct sunlight will lead to sunburn.

Many keep their English ivy plants in medium or low light areas.

Though these plants can survive such conditions, their growth will be slower.

The plant will become leggy, gradually bend, and grow towards the light source.

Installing artificial lights is a great option for those who do not have access to sufficient natural light.

Choose an east-facing or south-facing spot for your English ivy to give it the best exposure to natural light.

You can change the lighting setting depending on the seasons.

Season Lighting
Summers Bright indirect light
Winters Full or partial sunlight
This table demonstrates the lighting changes you should make based on the season.

2. Temperature

Temperature also plays a role in determining the growth of your ivy.

If the temperature is suitable for the plant, it will show its happiness by producing a lot of growth.

But if it is unfavorable, it will show signs of stress.

English ivy plant grows best in temperatures within 70-90°F.

Wild English ivy can survive winters outdoors, but if your region experiences frost or harsh winters, it is best to bring your plant indoors.

An unsuitable temperature range can affect its growth and health.

In scorching summers, keep the plant in a cool spot away from the extreme heat.

Do not keep your plant at a spot with drastic temperature fluctuations because it stresses out the plant.

3. Season

English ivy plants grow actively during the spring and early summers when temperatures are warmer. 

The low light intensity and the cold temperatures are not favorable to these plants, so their growth decreases during the summer months.

You need not worry about it as it is a natural process.

Once the temperature rises and warmer spring approaches, the plant starts to push out more growth.

Here are some tips to help your English ivy survive the winters:

  • Cut down on watering in winters. Remember, the soil stays wet for long hours with the cooler temperatures and low light.
  • Give your English ivy a few hours of direct morning sunlight to keep it warm.
  • Protect the plant from frost. Do not leave it outside in frost, as that can kill your plant. It is recommended to bring your ivy indoors in case your region experiences frost or extreme cold.
  • Do not fertilize your ivy in winters. Due to the slower growth, the fertilizers remain unused in the soil giving rise to chances of root burn.
Summer Winter
Shield from harsh sunlight  Protect from frost
Reduce watering 
Do not fertilize
This table demonstrates the changes you need to make in the care of your English ivy based on the season.

4. Humidity

Depending on the origin of the plants, their demand for humidity varies.

English ivy cannot thrive in too dry air.

So try to maintain 40-50% humidity around your plant. 

If your home has dry conditions, there are multiple ways to increase humidity artificially like:

  • Pebble trays
  • Misting
  • Humidifier
  • Relocation to humid areas
  • Grouping humidity-loving plants together 

Do not keep your ivy in front of air conditioners, near vents, coolers, and fireplaces because they tend to suck up the moisture from the plant. 

5. Size of the pot

When you grow your English ivy in a pot that is too small, the roots begin to suffocate because there is no space for them to expand.

The air circulation in the soil also reduces, and roots do not get sufficient nutrients from the soil.

On the other hand, when you grow your ivy in a pot that is too big for it, the roots get too much space to spread.

As a result, it invests a lot of energy growing its roots, and the growth of foliage decreases.

Another problem associated with big pots is the high risk of overwatering.

The soil holds a lot of water which increases the risk of fungus growth.

The ideal pot for your English ivy should be no bigger than 2 inches bigger than the existing pot.

The roots get the required space to grow at this size and are not too big for the plant.

6. Fertilization

Indoor plant fertilizer

When you grow plants in pots, they have access to limited soil and nutrients, unlike the plants that grow in the wild, where they extract the nutrients from the earth.

With regular watering, the nutrients in the soil begin to wash out gradually over time.

The fertility of the soil gradually reduces with the erosion of the nutrients.

Due to this, the growth of the plant reduces after a while.

It gets weaker, its growth rate reduces, it begins to get leggy, and the size of the leaves gets smaller.

Feed your English ivy with a slow-release fertilizer or compost once during early spring and once during September.

Give it a light diluted dose or a half-strength of a 20:20:20 NPK liquid fertilizer once every month during the growing season.

Be careful not to over-fertilize your plants again, and do not fertilize in winter.

7. Soil

Wild plants grown on earth have access to plenty of nutrients and are stronger and more self-sufficient.

But indoor potted plants do not have that access.

They are exposed to the soil in the container with limited nutrients.

If you plant your English ivy in heavy or unsuitable soil, its growth will get affected. 

This kind of soil leads to overwatering, and English ivy does not survive in soggy soil.

The ideal soil type is light, airy soil that will not hold excess water but retain the required moisture.

Adding organic elements like compost, bark, leaves, twigs, or crushed charcoal, help in improving the soil structure and make it airier and well-draining.



8. Pruning

Pruning is mainly done to keep your plant in shape and prevent it from getting unruly.

However, there are other advantages of pruning too.

Pruning helps the plant get rid of unwanted parts that do not help its growth but use energy by keeping themselves attached to the plants. 

Pruning off dead, yellow, or dried parts of the plant helps the plant use its energy to push out healthy new growth.

It also encourages the plants to branch out more because it stimulates the growth hormones.

English ivy requires pruning as it tends to grow unruly and leggy.

Pruning them helps the plant to stay in a compact, bushy shape that adds to its aesthetics.

Tips for pruning:

  • Always sterilize the pruning shears before and after use, as you do not want germs to spread from one plant to another.
  • Start by pruning the yellow or dried leaves and branches first, then proceed to the leggy ivy parts.
  • Always prune in the growing season only as it helps to recover fast.
  • Wear gloves to protect your skin from the plant’s sap which might irritate sensitive skin.
  • After pruning, keep the plant in a bright, comfortable space and give it time to recover.
  • Do not prune more than 25% of the plant at a time.

9. Pest infestation

Pest infestations on plants are a problem that harasses plant parents like you and me.

It can be treated if we notice it in the initial stages.

Sometimes, they are overlooked, and it gets too late to save the plant.

These nasty pests attach themselves to the plants and suck their nutrients and energy, rendering them feeble and gradually dying.

Common pests are mealybugs, scales, spider mites, thrips, etc.

Common causes of pest infestations are low light conditions, excessive humidity, soggy soil, and wet leaves.

Let us discuss the ways to prevent pest infestations.

How do I get rid of pests?

  • When you notice a pest infestation, first and foremost, separate the plants from the others.
  • Handpick the pests if they are lesser in number
  • Take the plant under the shower and wash the foliage thoroughly, focusing on the undersides.
  • Move the ivy to a bright area.
  • Prune off the leaves with pests.
  • Spray neem oil diluted with water thoroughly all over the plant. Do not wash it off. 
  • Repeat the spray 2-3 times until the pests are cleared. 
  • If the pest refuses to spray chemical pesticides, follow the instructions in the manual. 
  • Water the plant only when the soil is dry and mists them only in the morning so that the water gets evaporated.

10. Watering

Watering plants correctly is perhaps where we most often go wrong.

English ivy plants hate standing in soggy wet soil.

Constantly wet soil suffocates the roots by cutting off oxygen supply which attracts fungus in the soil leading to root rot.

Once root rot begins, saving your gorgeous plant is difficult.

On the other hand, if you keep underwatering your plants, the plant begins to get dehydrated and weak, and their health suffers.

How to water English ivy correctly?

Let us discuss a few tips for watering your English ivy correctly:

  • Many of us make the mistake of following the same watering pattern all year long. But we should never do that. 
  • In summers, when the temperatures are high, and the sunlight is intense, your plant will need more water than in winters when the evaporation rates are lower.
  • The right way to water your English ivy is when you notice that the top 2 inches of the soil are dry. So always check the topsoil before watering.
  • If you find it difficult to understand when you should water the plant, use a moisture meter to find the moisture content of the soil and water it accordingly.
  • Always empty the cache or the plates under the pot where the excess water accumulates. 
  • Cut down the watering in the colder months.
  • Make sure the soil mix for your plant is very well-draining. Add sand, perlite, or vermiculite to the mix to improve the soil’s drainage.

11. Adaptability

Just like humans, plants, too, need time to adjust to the new environment after a change in the conditions.

Sometimes, after a repotting or a change in its location, you may notice that your plant looks droopy and does not seem to grow.

You need not fret because this is a natural process.

The growth of the plant reduces during the time of stress.

As it adjusts and adapts to the change, it will gradually return to its natural growth rate.

Final words

English ivy is a fast-growing plant often used as groundcovers and grown on walls. If you have gone through the above information, you know that factors like light, soil, temperature, humidity, etc., can affect the growth of your ivy.

If you want your English ivy to grow at the optimum level or even fast, try to provide the ideal conditions and keep checking the plant from time to time so you can fix any problem that pops up. Prune the plant from time to time so you can remove the unwanted parts and help it grow faster.


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