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English Ivy (Hedera helix) Houseplant Care

English Ivy Basic Plant Care

English Ivy (Hedera helix) is a very common houseplant. The evergreen, woody-stemmed plants are often seen trailing across yards and gardens, climbing walls, or encouraged as climbers along a supporting pole inside homes for a beautiful and decorative houseplant accent. Basic care for English Ivy houseplants is relatively easy. The plants require an evenly moist and relatively humid environment, consistent temperature, and an occasional pruning.

English Ivy Care: Light Requirements

Native to light woodland areas, English Ivy houseplants thrive in an environment of bright filtered to low light. Ample light helps the leaves become more colorful but filter the light to prevent excessive heat which can lead to drying and poor performance.

English Ivy plants are not greatly affected by hot and cold temperature but fluctuating temperatures can stifle performance dramatically. Keep English Ivy in an atmosphere with a consistent temperature and away from drafts, open doors, or vents. Temperatures below 40oF will cause the leaves of the plants to take on a different shade. All-green ivies turn red or purple. Maroon streaks take over yellow-leaved cultivars. Marginally variegated ivies turn pink at the edges.

English Ivy Care: Water Requirements

English Ivy (Hedera helix) plants prefer an evenly moist environment. Water the plants freely during growth. Keep English Ivy houseplants moist in the winter. Spraying English Ivy with soft water weekly will help prevent spider mites from infesting the plants.

English Ivy Care: Fertilizer Requirements

English Ivy care requires the application of a balanced (20-20-20) liquid fertilizer monthly for enhanced plant performance. Another option often preferred is to apply a quarter strength fertilizer when watering.

English Ivy Care: Pests & Diseases

Pests and pathogen difficulties may occur with English Ivy. Plant care and maintenance helps reduce these problems. Common pests affecting English Ivy plants are spider mites, aphids, mealybugs and scale insects. Red spider mites are often difficult to see without a close inspection. However, white webs formed on the plant are usually indicative of a spider mite infestation. Remove the infested leaves and treat the plant with a pesticide or insecticidal soap.

Deer are an animal pest that may be problematic for English Ivy plants. However, in humans also, ingestion of any part of the plant will cause severe discomfort. Contact with the sap or airborne hairs may aggravate skin allergies or irritate skin. Typical pathogen (fungal and bacterial) problems affecting English Ivy houseplants are bacterial spot, stem rot and fungal leaf spots.

English Ivy Care: Propagation & Potting

Maintaining healthy soil during care for English Ivy is relatively easy. Grow the plants in soil-based or soilless potting mix that allows for ample water drainage and moisture retention. Your local nursery will be able to help you select the right soil.

Root cuttings are the preferred method of propagation. Root the 4-6 inch cuttings of young (not matured) growth during the spring to autumn. More mature cuttings (adult growth) of 7-9 inches will produce a bushy “tree-ivy” type of growth but root very slowly if at all.

English Ivy Care: Pruning

Winter growth of English Ivy plants tends to be very long without bearing many leaves. Trim areas like this with lots of woody growth but few leaves. For the plant to fill out properly during growth cut the stems down to strong growth areas.

Buy English Ivy plants from a local florist.