How to Grow and Care for English Ivy (Hedera helix) Indoors


English Ivy, Hedera helix

Botanical name: Hedera helix
Family: Araliaceae
Common names: English Ivy, Common Ivy, European Ivy

Description

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.

Varieties

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.

Air Purifying

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.

Origin

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.

Invasiveness

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.

Where to Buy

If you are looking to add this plant to your collection, European Ivy is readily available online at Etsy. Buy beautiful and healthy English Ivy (Hedera helix) from Etsy.

English Ivy, Hedera helix

Photo Credit: The Home Depot

Hedera helix Care Indoors

English Ivy (Hedera helix) care indoors is easy when the right growing conditions are provided. Common Ivy 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.

Light Requirements

English Ivy grows best in bright light away from direct sunlight as it may cause scorching of the leaves. Turn 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 light to supplement it.

Watering

Water English Ivy thoroughly during the growing season while allowing the top 2 in. of soil to dry a little between waterings.

Reduce watering during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time. Read more on how to water houseplants.

Avoid soggy soil as it can lead to root-rot disease and eventual death of the plant. Ensure the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy.


Temperature

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 drop in temperature.

Though Common Ivy can adapt a wide range of temperatures, constantly high temperatures can damage the plant.

Humidity

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.

Regularly clean the leaves under a stream of running water to get rid of dust and discourage pest infestation.

Fertilizer (Feeding)

Feed English Ivy monthly during the growing season with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer. Withhold feeding during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time.

Repotting

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.

Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot disease.

Soil

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

Pruning English Ivy involves removal of yellow and dead leaves to maintain the plant neat and tidy as well as discourage pest infestation.

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.

Propagation

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.

How to propagate English Ivy from stem cuttings in soil

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.

How to propage English Ivy from stem cuttings in water

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.

Place 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.

How to propagate English Ivy by spreading the stems on the soil

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

Photo Credit: The Home Depot

Hedera helix Problems Indoors

English Ivy (Hedera helix) problems indoors are caused by improper care. These problems 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.

Undersized leaves and leggy growth

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.

Brown, dry leaf tips and edges

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 raise humidity inorder to discourage pest infestation. Read more on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

Also remove dead growth to reduce the pest infestation as dead growth acts as a breeding ground for pests.

Loss of variegation

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. 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.

Pests

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.

Diseases

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.

Is English Ivy toxic?

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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