English Ivy Guide: How to Care for Your English Ivy

English Ivy Guide: How to Care for Your English Ivy Indoors & Out

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English ivy’s long-lived popularity with plant enthusiasts and beginner gardeners is no mystery: it’s a readily growing, evergreen, sunshine- and shade-loving creeper that thrives in outdoor beds as well as indoor pots. The foliage is interesting in shape and color variation, and in the right climate, it hardly needs any attention to run amok. We’ve rounded up the best info and care tips for growing English ivy indoors and outdoors, including light, water, and fertilizer needs; how to propagate, divide, and prune; and the best places to buy the ivy of your cottagecore dreams.

English Ivy Details

Hedera helix
Light: Indirect, bright
Water: Frequently, maintain moist soil
Temperature range: 60° – 65° F during the day, 50° F during the night
Height: 6 to 8 inches, trails indefinitely
Pests: spider mites, aphids
Diseases: root rot, bacterial leaf spot
Toxicity: mildly toxic for both people and pets

Benefits of English Ivy

english ivy climbing plant outdoor brick wall

Known for being one of the most aggressive woody vines, the English ivy is the kind of plant that has lots of tricks up its sleeve. First of all, the plant was part of NASA’s Clean Air Study and has proven to be efficient in cleansing indoor air against harmful VOCs, including toluene, xylene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and benzene. But that’s not all the English ivy is good for.

While it can be grown indoors, it is a very popular outdoor plant because its vines are used to decorate external walls or fences. People that grow English Ivy indoors often prefer to place the plant in hanging baskets so that the leaves may fall graciously downwards, making for an amazing decorative plant.

As for those who own gardens, English Ivy is a popular and dense ground-cover in areas where turfgrass is missing. When outdoor, English ivy can grow as much as 100 feet, which is nothing short of impressive.

Varieties of English Ivy

There are hundreds of English ivy cultivars, most of which are very similar in shape and habit. The variation typically comes in leaf coloration and variegation, with varieties like Gold ChildGreen CaliforniaBaltic, and others available through retailers like Amazon. Some exceptions to this are the upright shrubbing varieties like Arborescens, while others have increased hardiness in higher and lower temperature zones.

    4 Different English Ivy Plants

Buy 4 Different English Ivy plants at Amazon
    Four varieties of English Ivy. Live plants in 4-inch grower pots with soil. Ivy are popular houseplants and will do great indoors. A free care guide is included with every order to help you take care of your plants.

Caring for Your Ivy Plants

The proper care methods for English Ivy will depend on whether you want to grow the plant outdoors or indoors. It is very important to note that growing this type of ivy isn’t permitted everywhere (such as the Pacific Northwest) because it can choke out native species. That means that you should consult with local nurseries to find out more about what it means to grow English Ivy outdoors in the area where you live.

Care basics

colorful clay planter hanging in rope macrame with english ivy indoorsEver since it became a common houseplant, people have become more and more interested in how to grow this plant, even if growing it indoors is more complicated than having it outside. The thing with growing English Ivy indoors is that it doesn’t tolerate artificial conditions very well (like indoor warmth or dry air). If you are a grave plant enthusiast and still want to know more about what it means to grow this plant, here are some care tips and instructions.

Light for your Ivy

Throughout the entire year, English Ivy is a fan of bright light. However, you need to keep it away from direct sunlight during the summer. In winter, you can allow the plant to bask in sunlight, but it’s still best if you choose to place it in south-facing windows.

Soil requirements

You want to offer your English Ivy plant soil that is moist and fertile, but also well-drained at the same time. If you grow the plant outside in warm climates, you want to make sure that the soil has plenty of mulch to prevent it from drying up and getting too warm. If you’re growing English Ivy indoors, you can provide it with a well-drained potting mix.

Water schedule

As for the plant’s water requirements, English Ivy loves humidity but doesn’t like soggy soil. You should never let the plant’s soil completely dry out before watering, and you should always make sure it’s evenly moist. If you do, the plant’s foliage will have a beautiful red shade in the fall.

Temperature and humidity

If you grow English Ivy outdoors, you want it to stay in a spot with moderate temperature and humidity conditions. You don’t want it exposed to super hot summers or freezing cold winters. High humidity can also cause the roots of the plant to rot. If you grow the plant indoors, you want to provide cooler night temperatures (below 60 degrees Fahrenheit). During the summer, you want to mist the plant frequently if the air inside the house is too dry.

Fertilizer

English Ivy doesn’t require a lot of feeding. Feed it early in spring and you should be ready. If all the other conditions for the plant to thrive are met, even that spring feeding won’t be necessary. Weak liquid fertilizer applied two times per week or controlled-release fertilizer will do the job during growing season.

Pest control

English Ivy can attract a few pests and diseases. The most common pests are spider mites and aphids, but they can easily be countered with pesticidal soaps or chemical insecticides.

Common diseases

As far as diseases are concerned, the plant can end up having root rot or bacterial leaf spot. The latter can be identified through black or brown spots that appear on the leaves. If this disease gets out of control, it can leave to twisted and distorted stems. If you notice that there are parts of the plant destroyed by bacterial leaf spot, have those parts remove completely and then spray the rest of the plant with a mixture made from one part vinegar and 10 parts water. Root rot, on the other hand, is caused by really high humidity levels, including soil that’s overwatered. When this happens, your English Ivy is likely to wilt and die. You will need to remove the diseased plants completely and treat the healthy ones with triflumizole-based fungicide.

outdoors english ivy carpet plant care guide

Propagation of English Ivy Varieties

English Ivy can propagate through stem cuttings. Like other trailing plants, this one also requires regular trimming, and you can use those trimmings to get the stem cutting needed for plant propagation.

You will need cuttings that are about four or five inches long. Put them in water until you notice some root development. Then, you can plant the cuttings in potting soil.

Pruning Ivy and Keeping English Ivy Under Control

If you want your English Ivy plant to be compact and bushy, you will have to cut the growing tips. A larger cutting is required every three or four years, as this will help keep the plant healthy and growing even further.

If you’re growing English Ivy outdoors, you want to trim it in the spring, before new growth appears. If you’re growing the plant indoors, you can just simply snip the vine above the leaf with a pair of sharp scissors. This will prevent the plant from overgrowing.

Purchasing 

If you’re interested in buying your own English Ivy plants, Amazon is a common source. We’ve linked to a few varieties above.

Alternatively, you can also purchase this plant from a series of other specialty stores or home improvement stores, including Lowe’s or Garden Goods. A wide variety of sizes and cultivars are available at House Plant Shop, and a giftable potted version in a hanging planter is sold at Plants.com.

Common Questions

How fast does English ivy grow indoors?

English Ivy is a plant that’s more difficult to grow indoors than outside. Even inside, the plant can reach a height of up to nine feet every year, but it will take about two years before you notice any significant growth.

How can I make my ivy grow faster?

Compared to other plants, English ivy grows very quickly, but this will always depend on the conditions you provide it with. If you want your Ivy to grow faster, you will need to make sure that the soil it’s planted in is moist and well-drained.

healthy small potted ivy in child's hands indoors

Can I eradicate English ivy?

If you have English Ivy growing outdoors that you didn’t plant yourself and want to get rid of—especially if it is invasive in your local environment—know that this process is difficult but not impossible. The plant has a tenacious growth rate outdoors, but over time, pulling up creeping vines when you see them will prevent its spread. Then, proceed to cut off whatever is left at the base of the trees to kill the upper vines. This will also help take them down easier. Alternatively, you can use an herbicidal spray to get rid of English ivy.

Is English Ivy toxic for pets?

While a beautiful decorative plant, English ivy can be something of a threat to pets. When ingested, the plant can trigger ill effects on our four-legged friends. The plant contains saponins, which are chemical compounds that can irritate the mouth and the gastrointestinal tract.

When should I repot English Ivy?

If you have small ivy plants, you can repot them every year. You can repot every two years if you have larger plants. If you have mature plants, you can repot them in the same container with a fresh batch of soil.

Conclusion

While English ivy is certainly easier to take care of when it’s outdoors—where its care is extremely hands-off except for pruning—it can and does thrive indoors with the right care. Its easy propagation and unfussy nature mean you can have English ivy around for decades to come.

We hope you found this guide useful! If there’s another plant or topic you’d like us to write a guide for, let us know in the comments.

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