Botanical name: Hedera helix
Common names: English Ivy, Common Ivy, European Ivy
Hedera helix commonly called English Ivy, Common Ivy or European Ivy is a popular, easy-care plant for a hanging basket or as a climber which easily adapts to a wide range of growing conditions.
English Ivy grows slowly in the first 2 years of establishment. Once well established, it grows vigorously and can quickly cover walls, trellis, fences, trees and other places it can climb or trail.
Common Ivy is a hardy plant that is useful as screens on a trellis or in covering unattractive spots in the home or office.
European Ivy can also be used as ground covers under trees where grass cannot grow. It is also ideal for a hanging basket or a trellis.
The general form of English Ivy is the characteristically lobed leaves. There are many variations on the basic pattern. The leaf edges are smooth or ruffled and colors vary from simple green to complex mixtures of white, cream, grey and yellow.
According to the NASA Clean Air Study, Hedera helix was found to be a good indoor air cleaner where it gets rid of common VOCs like benzene, formaldehyde, xylene, toulene and trichloroethylene from indoor air.
Hedera helix is native to most of Europe and Western Asia. In its native habitat, it is a rampant clinging evergreen vine found in gardens, waste spaces, on walls, tree trunks and in wild areas.
One drawback of English Ivy is that it can be invasive in some regions.
Due to its aggressive nature, it can choke out some native species. Take caution when growing this plant and find out if it is acceptable in your region.
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English Ivy (Hedera helix) thrives in bright light away from direct sunlight, warm and humid conditions and moderately moist, fertile, well-drained soils coupled with monthly feeding during the growing season.
European Ivy requires regular pruning to keep it neat, to encourage a bushy growth as well as discourage pests infestation.
Repotting is necessary every two years or when it has become root-bound. Keep reading for more on these growing conditions and how to provide them.
English Ivy grows best in bright light away from direct sunlight as it may cause scorching of the leaves.
Rotate the pot regularly to ensure that the plant receives light on all sides for even growth.
Where natural lighting is not adequate you may use a grow lightgrow light to supplement it.
Water English Ivy thoroughly during the growing season while allowing the top 2 in. of soil to dry a little between waterings.
Decrease watering during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.
Do not allow the plant to sit in soggy soil as it can lead to root-rot disease and eventual death of the plant.
Therefore, always ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy.
The best temperature for growing English Ivy indoors is a cool temperature between 12-200C. Protect it from cold and hot draughts to avoid sudden drops in temperature.
Though Common Ivy can adapt a wide range of temperatures, constantly high temperatures can damage the plant and cause its death.
English Ivy has no need for high humidity. However, for lush growth and to reduce pest infestation, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier to raise humidity.
Occasionally clean the leaves under a stream of running water to get rid of dust and discourage pest and infestations.
Feed English Ivy monthly during the growing season with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer for a lush growth. Stop feeding during the cold season as growth is reduced at this time.
Repot English Ivy every two years during the growing period or when it has become root-bound. Use a pot that is 1 size larger than the current one.
Make sure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot disease.
The best soil for English Ivy should be rich in organic matter and free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy while providing the required nutrients. Most multi-purpose potting mixes are ideal for the European Ivy.
Pruning English Ivy involves removal of yellow and dead leaves to maintain the plant neat and tidy as well as discourage pest infestations.
To encourage a bushy and compact growth, pinch off the growing tips. The tips can be used to propagate new plants. Cut back leggy stems to rejuvenate growth.
English Ivy (Hedera helix) can be propagated at the beginning of the growing season from stem cuttings.
The stem cuttings root easily so there is no need for rooting hormone. Rooting of the cuttings can be done in 3 ways as follows.
Take stem cuttings of about 4-5 in. length from a healthy English Ivy. Insert the cuttings in moist rooting soil.
Ensure the rooting container has adequate drainage to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to rotting.
Place the set up in a warm, brightly lit place and maintain the soil moist until new growth emerges.
When substantial growth has been observed, transfer the new plants to individual pots and begin routine care.
For a fuller Common Ivy, transfer several cuttings into one pot.
Take cuttings of about 4-5 in. length from a healthy English Ivy plant. Place the cuttings in a jar of plain water and place in a well-lit spot.
Change the water every 5-7 days until when a good amount of roots have formed.
Transfer the rooted cuttings in moist potting soil. Ensure the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to rotting.
Position the set up in a warm, well-lit place and maintain the soil moist until new growth emerges.
Once substantial growth has been observed, transfer the new plants to individual pots and begin routine care.
For a fuller European Ivy, transfer several cuttings into one pot.
Spread the English Ivy stems on the soil surface while still attached to the mother plant. The stems will root at every point they come into contact with the soil.
Once rooted, sever the stems, dig them up and pot in moist soil in individual pots.
Place the new English Ivy plants in a warm, brightly-lit spot and maintain the soil moist until well established after which routine care can begin.
English Ivy (Hedera helix) problems indoors are caused by improper care and include leggy growth, brown leaf tips, loss of variegation, pests and diseases among others. Keep reading for more on these problems and how to fix them.
English Ivy bearing undersized leaves and showing leggy growth is receiving too little light.
Move the Common Ivy to a brighter spot where it will receive bright light away from direct sunlight or instal a grow light where natural light is not sufficient. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.
However, naturally, the mature leaves at the base will drop with age. Cut back the bare stems to rejuvenate growth.
English Ivy brown, dry leaf tips and edges and stunted growth is a sign of spider mites infestation as a result of too dry air.
Set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier to elevate humidity inorder to discourage pest infestation.
Also remove dead growth to discourage the pest infestation as dead growth acts as a breeding ground for pests.
Variegated English Ivy turning all green (loss of variegation) is due to two possible reasons. One possible reason is too little light.
Move the European Ivy to a brighter spot and ensure it is receiving bright light away from direct sunshine or instal a grow light if the natural light is not sufficient.
The second reason for loss of variegation in variegated English Ivy is inadequate growth space if the plant is pot-bound.
Repot the plant into a pot one size larger than the current one and ensure the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot disease and eventual death of the plant.
Common pests in English Ivy are spider mites and aphids. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to the other houseplants and treat it for the pests appropriately.
The common diseases in English Ivy are leaf spot and root-rot which are prevalent in overwet conditions. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to the other houseplants and treat it for the diseases appropriately.
English Ivy (Hedera helix) is toxic to both humans and pets as indicated by ASPCA. If ingested, it can cause vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pains. Keep it away from the reach of children and pets.
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