English Ivy or Hedera Helix are beautiful plants with bushy unique heart-shaped leaves that come in variegated and non-variegated colors. Growing them is easy when you know what kind of soil an English ivy prefers.
English ivy grows best in soil with good drainage. Loamy soil is ideal as it has fantastic drainage and retains the required moisture. English Ivy doesn’t like heavy soil and enjoys loose, airy soil with organic matter. A pH level of 6.5, which is mildly acidic, is best for these perennials.
The potting mix should be such that it can hold moisture and yet eliminate the excess water. Let us understand the necessary details about the right soil type for your English Ivy.
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Importance of the right soil for your English Ivy
Finding the right soil type for your houseplants is important.
A plant that grows in a container gets all its necessary food, nutrients, and energy from the soil.
Unlike plants in the wild, they do not have access to earth to get their food.
Hence giving the plant the ideal soil to grow is vital for its health.
English Ivy plants hate standing in wet clumpy soil and need light soil that will drain the excess moisture and retain enough to prevent it from getting bone dry.
Thus the ideal soil for your English Ivy must have excellent drainage, hold the necessary moisture, allow air circulation in the roots, and provide the necessary nutrients and energy.
What kind of potting soil does Ivy need?
The ideal potting soil for your English Ivy will provide all the necessary conditions for its growth.
Let’s understand the soil’s role through these points.
Drainage: A well-draining soil is an absolute necessity for your English Ivy.
Air circulation: Airflow allows oxygen to flow into the roots and prevents the chances of fungus growth.
Fertility: The English Ivy needs fertile, nutrient-rich soil.
For this, mix compost or manure with the soil.
After a few months of repotting, fertilize your plant periodically in the growing season.
Moisture retention: English Ivy needs moist soil that can hold moisture.
Mulching also helps to lock in moisture in the soil.
Maintain the correct pH level: English Ivy enjoys slightly acidic soil with a pH of around 6.5.
If the soil has an incorrect pH level, the plant will show signs of stress.
If the soil has a higher pH value than the required range, add some peat moss to lower it, and if the pH is higher, add some lime powder.
Soil mix recipes for English Ivy
Here are some ideal soil mixes to grow your English Ivy plant.
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- 3 parts potting soil
- 2 parts coco coir (helps the soil to have improved airflow and neutralizes the soil pH)
- 1 part perlite or pumice (helps drainage keep the soil light)
- 1 part compost (adds nutrients to the soil)
- 1 part sand or perlite (helps in drainage)
- 1 part peat moss (helps retain moisture)
- 1 part compost
- 1 part soil
Can you use succulent soil mix for your English Ivy?
Succulent soil is prepared with ingredients that provide excellent drainage to your succulents and cacti that grow in desert-like conditions.
You can use this for your English Ivy, but amend it with other ingredients.
The succulent soil mix is not sufficient to meet the needs of an English Ivy that requires some moisture and nutrients in the soil.
Does English Ivy like coffee grounds?
It is best to avoid using coffee grounds for your potted English Ivy.
Coffee grounds will work better on English Ivy growing in the garden.
Coffee grounds might fail to break down in the potting mix, leading to fungal growth and pest infestations.
Signs you are using the wrong potting mix for your English Ivy
It will be in danger if you grow your Ivy in the wrong potting mix.
Its growth will be affected, and you may lose your plant in some severe cases.
In such cases, the plants show signs of stress if they are suffocated in the wrong soil mix.
Let’s understand those signs so you can take rapid action.
Wilting leaves: Wilting leaves are a sign of a dehydrated plant.
If the potting mix fails to hold any moisture, the thirsty leaves begin to wilt because it helps reduce the surface area and further loss of moisture.
Brown leaves: Brown leaves can be a sign of insufficient drainage in the soil which keeps it wet for too long.
When the soil is too heavy and soggy for the plant, it retains too much moisture, leading to browning.
Wet soil will suffocate the roots and cause root rot if not cured.
Slow growth: The plant gets its nutrients from the soil, so if the soil is of poor quality and does not have sufficient minerals and nutrients, it will not be able to pass it on to the plant.
And in such situations, the soil will compromise the plant’s growth.
Foul smell from the soil: This happens in severe cases of root rot and can kill your plant.
When the soil holds too much moisture, it cuts the oxygen circulation, and the roots get clogged with the soggy soil.
This makes the roots begin to decay, turning black and mushy and rotting, emitting a foul smell.
Can English Ivy be grown in pots?
Many people are growing English Ivy plants in pots but keep a few factors in mind when choosing the pot.
A correct pot is essential if you want the plants to do well.
The right size: The pot should neither be too big nor too small for the plant.
An excessive big pot increases the chances of root rot and overwatering, and a compact pot will fail to give your plant sufficient nutrients and support.
The material: It is best to use clay pots because they are porous, allow airflow, and help the soil to dry off quickly.
A plastic pot holds moisture and keeps soil wet for a long time.
You can grow the Ivy in any material as long as you are not overwatering or dehydrating it.
Drainage: The most important factor to remember while choosing the pot is the drainage.
You must make sure there are drainage holes at the bottom of the pot to pass off the extra water.
How to know your English Ivy needs repotting?
When the plant grows too big for its present pot, it shows several signs of stress.
In such a situation, the plant will not grow properly and to the lack of space inside the pot.
Your English Ivy can get root bound every 2-3 years.
In that case, it needs to be repotted in a pot 2 inches bigger than the existing pot.
The various signs of a root-bound plant are:
- Frequent dehydration: The root-bound Ivy will get dehydrated frequently because the overgrown roots will fail to absorb the water. When you water, it will come out of the drainage hole quickly instead of reaching the roots.
- Roots coming out of the drainage holes: Another sign is that the roots will come out of the drainage holes in search of space.
- Roots showing on the surface of the soil: The roots come on top of the soil because they need more space to expand.
- Reduced growth: The plant’s growth will reduce because it will fail to get the space and nutrients.
- Discoloration of the leaves: The leaves will turn pale and sometimes wilt when the plant gets root-bound.
When you see the above signs in your plant, consider repotting.
Do not use a pot that is too small or big for the plant.
Always repot in the growing season from spring to summer.
This is because the plant is most active this time.
It finds it easier to overcome the stress of repotting.
Do not repot in fall or winter.
While repotting, prepare a fresh soil mix for the plant and replant it in the new pot.
Do not fertilize right after repotting as the soil mix already contains compost.
Wait for 3-4 months before fertilizing it again.
How to repot your English Ivy?
Now, you might be wondering about the right way to repot the plant, so it does not get damaged.
Repotting is stressful for every plant.
However, if done correctly, it will help the plant to overcome the shock.
Let us understand the right way you can repot your English Ivy.
- Water the plant a day before repotting: Water your English Ivy a day before you plan to do the repotting. The plant will easily come out of the pot if the soil is hydrated.
- Prune the damaged parts: Before beginning, prune all the damaged parts of the plant like the yellowed or brown leaves and branches.
- Choose the correct pot: As we have discussed, choosing the right pot is important. Ensure the pot has drainage holes at the bottom and the right size and material.
- Prepare the ideal soil mix for your Ivy: In the above article, I have discussed the importance of choosing the right soil and suggested some soil mixes for the English Ivy. Prepare a soil mix that is light, airy, has good drainage, and can retain moisture.
- Fill up the bottom 3-4 inches of the pot with soil: Fill the bottom inches with the fresh soil and tap the sides of the pot to eliminate the air gaps. You can also add a layer of pebbles at the bottom of the pot for improved drainage.
- Take the English Ivy out of its pot: Turn the pot upside down and tap the bottom slightly with your elbows. The plant should come out of the pot. But if the plant is rootbound, it may get stuck. In that case, you must carefully run a knife along the sides of the pot to loosen the soil.
- Examine the roots: Once the root ball is out, it is time to inspect the roots. If the roots seem tangled, loosen them carefully and shake off the extra soil. If you notice root rot, wash the root ball under running water and examine the root thoroughly for any signs of disease.
- Prune any damaged or rotten parts: Trim off all the parts of the roots that are mushy or black or damaged. Be careful not to disturb the healthy roots.
- Repot in the new pot: Place the plant in the center, pour soil from the sides, and gently tap the pot on the sides. Keep 2-3 inches of space on the top for watering, and your repotting is complete.
Once repotting is complete, water the plant thoroughly until you see water coming out of the drainage holes.
- Shift the plant to a spot that receives bright indirect light. A south-facing or an east-facing spot is ideal for your English Ivy.
- Do not disturb the plant too often and let it recover from the stress. The plant may appear droopy for a few days, but it will recover in some time.
- Water the plant only when the top soil is dry. Watch out for overwatering.
- Do not fertilize for 2-3 months as the fresh soil mix already contains food for the plant. Fertilize it with a balanced fertilizer in the growing months.
English Ivy plants largely forgive to the type of soil used to grow them, but if you grow it in poor soil, you will see a significant difference from one grown in suitable potting soil.
Use a light and nutrient-rich potting mix that allows proper air circulation and does not hold excess water but is capable of retaining moisture. You can use one of the recipes that I mentioned earlier in this article.
Repot the plant when it shows signs of a rootbound state correctly, as we have discussed.