While English Ivy is certainly appreciated as a houseplant, many outdoor gardening enthusiasts dislike it for its invasive nature.
When grown as a houseplant, however, this characteristic of the English Ivy is nothing to worry about.
Now without furder ado, le’ts have a close look on how to deal with this evergreen climbing vine.
- 1 English Ivy Plant Care Basics
- 2 Pruning your English Ivy
- 3 English Ivy: Winter Dormancy
- 4 English Ivy Problems
- 5 Propagating English Ivy
- 6 6 Key Care Tips For Hedera Helix
- 7 English Ivy Care FAQ
English Ivy Plant Care Basics
When it comes to the right soil, Hedera Helix shows itself very forgiving. Any good potting soil will do. The single most important factor as far as soil goes, is that you choose well-draining soil.
For best results, soil pH should be between 6 and 8.
If you are looking for a good soil mix for houseplants, have a look at our soil mix guide.
Some plants thrive well when blessed with the same amount of sunlight throughout the whole year. As far as the English ivy is concerned, during growing season (spring and summer), you should keep it a spot that grants your plant with moderate light.
In fall and winter, bright, indirect sunlight is what your Hedera helix is craving for.
If you are new to the hobby of collecting and growing houseplants, our article on light levels might come in handy at this point.
If you are struggling to provide your plant with an adequate amount of sunlight, be it because your apartment does not offer your plant optimal conditions as far as sunlight goes or maybe just because you only have a few (small) windows, you could also very well use grow lights to grow your Hedera Helix.
The English Ivy is known to grow just as well under fluorescent light as under regular sunlight.
If you are going for fluorescent light, a good light meter is recommended, as it will help you to determine how much light is necessary/provided.
The unit for measuring light for growing plants is “foot candles.”
During growing season, water your Hedera helix thoroughly. Between waterings, let the top layer of the soil dry out (not completely but almost).
A bulletproof method to make sure your plant gets the right amount of water is to simply stick your finger inside of the soil (about an inch deep) and see if it is dry there. If it is indeed dry, bless your English ivy with a little drink.
Also, make sure your pot has a drainage hole. The English ivy does not like wet feet. A drainage hole will help prevent this from happening.
Fertilizing houseplants is a somewhat controversial topic. Many hobby indoor gardeners actually don’t fertilize their houseplants at all, yet they still seem to produce good results with that.
Others, on the other hand, they feel that fertilizing their houseplants is an essential aspect of houseplant care.
So we leave it up to you if you fertilize your English ivy or not.
If you would like to fertilize your plant, during growing season, feed your plant about once a month with a balanced liquid fertilizer. (strength = full strength).
In winter, fertilizing your Hedera helix won’t be necessary.
Also, when repotting your Hedera helix, fertilizing won’t become necessary until the second year of cultivation.
If you are not very familiar with the topic of fertilizing plants, please take a gander at our fertilizing guide.
The English ivy likes it rather cool. During the day, aim for temperatures between 11 to 22 degrees (52 to 71 Fahrenheit). During the night, Hedera helix prefers colder temperatures.
The English ivy likes a good deal of humidity but also does fine in average room humidity.
Regular misting of the plant is encouraged, as it both increases the humidity and also makes spider mites infestations (the biggest threat to the English ivy in terms of plant pests) less likely.
Repotting of your English ivy is best done in spring. When repotting, look for a pot that is about an inch taller than the actual pot.
If the pot is a little bit bigger, it’s still not a big problem, as the English ivy is a pretty hardy plant and is also known to be a vigorous grower.
Repotting the plant every 1-2 years is usually sufficient.
Repotting becomes necessary when the plant has outgrown its pot (when the roots have actually filled the pot).
Propagation of Hedera helix is an easy task. The easiest way to propagate Hedera helix is through stem tip cuttings. For a detailed guide on how to propagate Hedera helix, see below.
Pruning your English Ivy
At some point or another, you might be forced to prune your English Ivy. After all, we are dealing with a very aggressive creeping vine here.
Pruning Hedera helix is, however, an easy task and can be done at any time of the year.
So, to make sure your creeping plant keeps in good shape & form, it is a good idea to trim it once or twice a year at least.
With the help of sharp scissors, simply cut off unhealthy vines.
If your Hedera helix does not get well-distributed sunlight, you might find that certain parts of the plant develop much better than others.
If that should be the case, simply cut off the deficient parts and move your plant to a location where the whole plant gets blessed with the same amount of sunlight.
Pruning your Hedera helix can also simply be done for aesthetic purposes, as it will encourage a more bushy growth of the plant.
English Ivy: Winter Dormancy
When grown as a houseplant, a winter rest for the English is actually recommended. Ideally, your plant will be able to rest from November all the way up to February.
The ideal location for your Hedera helix to enjoy this period of dormancy will be a cool room that is not all too dark. The average temperature in that room should be around 9 to 11 degrees.
During this period of dormancy, reduce watering to an absolute minimum and don’t fertilize it at all.
English Ivy Problems
Just as with about any houseplant, there are certain things that can go wrong when caring for your plant.
That said, it needs to be pointed out that the English ivy is a rather hardy plant that is pretty forgiving when neglected or cared for all too much.
Still, there are a few things that can go wrong with your creeping vine. Here are some of the problems:
Hedera Helix Problems: Drooping Leaves
If your plant has a lot of drooping leaves, this might be due to overwatering. To solve the problem, simply water less (frequently).
Hedera Helix Problems: Spider Mites
Another problem you might have to deal with as a plant parent of Hedera helix is spider mites. Unfortunately, these pesky plant pests are common guests on English Ivys.
To prevent a spider mites infestation in the first place, regular misting of the plant can definitely help, as spider mites thrive in warm, dry climates.
If you were not all that lucky and are already dealing with these pests, here’s what you can do to get rid off them:
- Isolate your English ivy from other plants (you don’t want these creepy arachnids on your other houseplants as well!)
- Trim any highly infected areas that can’t be saved anymore (get rid of those trimmings right away if you can!)
- Wash your plant with insecticidal soap or mild dish detergent (wash your plant once or twice a week for about month)
Brown leaf tips
Brown leaf tips are yet another common problem with English Ivy plants and actually many many other houseplants.
If your Hedera helix is featuring numerous leaves with brown leaf tips, this could be due to either air that is too warm or air that is too dry. Please remember that the English ivy likes colder temperatures. Also, don’t forget to regularly mist the plant, so that it can benefit from a humidity-boost here and there.
Hedera helix problems: Variegation loss
If you do have a variegated Hedera helix (multi-colored, not just green leaves) and its leaves are losing the coloration, then the problem is most likely that your plant is not getting enough sunlight. Variegated houseplants generally need more sunlight than their classic counterparts.
Propagating English Ivy
English Ivy propagation is very easy and straightforward.
To propagate the English Ivy through stem tip cuttings, do this:
- Take a 10 cm long cutting from any of the mature, healthy stems (your cutting should have at least 2-3 leaves!)
- Make sure to do the cut directly below a leaf node
- Remove the lower leaves of your cutting before proceeding
- Root your cuttings in a glass container with plain water (you can also root your cuttings in damp perlite instead)
- As soon as your cutting formed some roots (roots should be around 2 to 3 cm long), you can put the cuttings in a fresh pot with fresh soil.
Note: When propagating your Hedera helix, you should make sure that the propagation takes place in a bright location. Also, average room temperature is a requirement during the propagation time.
6 Key Care Tips For Hedera Helix
1. English Ivy does very well under fluorescent light. If you are struggling to provide your plant with the right amount and intensity of sunlight, consider growing your plant under grow lights.
2. Regular misting of the leaves is a good measure to prevent spider mites infestations of your Hedera Helix.
3. English ivy is very invasive when grown as an outdoor plant. Keep that in mind.
4. English ivy is mildly poisonous. Keep the plant away from both cats & dogs. If you are looking for cat-safe houseplants, take a gander at our article: 18 cat-safe houseplants your kitties will surely enjoy.
5. When pruning the English ivy (or touching the plant on any other occasion), it is recommended that you wear protective gloves, as the English ivy contains toxic substances that can cause dermatitis.
6. Protect your English ivy from draughts and heating vents. The plant does not tolerate this all too well.
English Ivy Care FAQ
What are some good display options for Hedera Helix?
Hedera Helix looks great in various settings. The plant works very well in hanging baskets, looks great in pots and is also an eye-catcher when used as a groundcover in containers that feature an upright plant as the main plant.
Is Hedera Helix poisonous to cats and dogs?
Hedera Helix is poisonous to both cats & dogs. So, make sure to place this plant out of reach of your pets.
Does the English Ivy thrive well outdoors?
Absolutely. Especially in spring and summer, the English Ivy makes for a great outdoor plant. Because of its invasive nature, Hedera Helix needs to be watched closely when grown outdoors.
What nicknames does Hedera helix have?
Hedera helix is commonly known as “English Ivy”, “European Ivy”, “Common Ivy” or even just “Ivy.”
How old can get the English ivy get?
The English Ivy is one of these plants that can get really old. English Ivy in outdoor areas sometimes survives for more than 2 or 3 centuries!
What’s the best temperature for the English ivy?
While many houseplants thrive in warmer temperatures, English ivy actually prefers colder temperatures (11 to 20 degrees). It is, therefore, best to put it in a colder room.
How much light does my variegated English ivy need?
English ivy can thrive in various locations with various levels of sunlight. They generally tolerate both low and medium light but also thrive in bright light (but no direct sunlight!). The general rule of thumb for variegated houseplants is that they need more light than their non-variegated, green friends. That said, it is best to keep your variegated English ivy in a bright location. If the location is not bright enough, the leaves of your variegated Hedera helix will likely turn all green.
Is the English Ivy an invasive plant species?
Yes, the English ivy is aggressive and invasive. When grown as a houseplant, this is obviously not an issue. When grown outdoors, the vigorous growth and aggressive nature of the plant can become a serious problem.