Botanical name: Senecio mikanioides
Synonym: Delairea odorata
Common names: German Ivy, Cape Ivy, Parlour Ivy
German Ivy (Senecio mikanioides) also called Cape Ivy or Parlour Ivy is not a True Ivy. It is more vigorous and is less affected by warm and dry conditions than a true ivy.
The leaf lobes in German Ivy are fleshier and generally more pointed and the leaves have several pointed lobes.
The stems of the German Ivy either trail like in a hanging basket or are trained up canes or trellis.
To control German Ivy's growth when grown indoors, regularly pinch the growing tips to encourage bushyness and to prevent it from becoming unruly.
Apart from being an ideal foliage houseplant, German Ivy also produces clusters of bright yellow daisy-like flowers through out the growing season.
German Ivy (Senecio mikanioides) is native to South Africa where it grows as a vine that climbs up trees and can reach a height of 5 m. in the wild.
German Ivy (Senecio mikanioides) grows from a hardy underground rhizomes which may be difficult to control. Due to this invasive nature, German Ivy is not recommended to be planted in the ground and given time, it will smoother trees.
To counter this invasive nature of German Ivy, always destroy the underground rhizomes before discarding as they easily resprout.
Buy beautiful and healthy German Ivy (Senecio mikanioides) from Etsy.
Photo Credit: Greater Wellington Regional Council
German Ivy (Senecio mikanioides) grows best in bright light or light shade conditions. However, keep your German Ivy away from direct sunlight as direct sunlight may cause scorching.
Regularly turn the pot to ensure that the plant receives light on all sides for uniform growth. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants
Water German Ivy thoroughly during the growing season and allow the top 2 in. of soil to dry out between waterings.
Reduce watering for your German Ivy during the cold period as growth is minimal at this time. Read more on how to water houseplants.
Ensure that the pot has a draiange hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot disease and eventual death of your plant.
German Ivy prefers average warmth with a minimum of 180C. A room temperature that is comfortable for you is ideal for your German Ivy.
Protect your plant from draughts to prevent sudden changes in temperatures. Check out this guide on understanding temperature for houseplants.
German Ivy has no need for high humidity. Average room humidity is adequate for your German Ivy.
Occasionally clean the leaves of your German Ivy under a stream of running water to get rid of dust and discourage pest infestation. Read more on how to clean houseplants.
Feed German Ivy every 2-3 weeks during the growing season with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer.
Withhold fertilizer your German Ivy during the cold season as growth is minimal. Read more on how to feed houseplants.
Repot German Ivy every 2-3 years during the growing period. Use a pot which is 1 size larger and loose free-draining soil.
Ensure the pot for your German Ivy has a drainage hole to avoid getting soggy soil as it can lead to root-rot.
Pruning German Ivy involves removal of yellow and dead leaves to maintain your plant neat and tidy.
To encourage a bushy and compact growth, pinch off the growing tips of your German Ivy. You may choose to use the tips propagate new plants.
Cut back leggy stems of your German Ivy to rejuvenate growth. Read more on how to prune houseplants.
German Ivy (Senecio mikanioides) is propagated at the beginning of the growing season from stem-tip cuttings. They root easily so there is no need for rooting hormone.
German Ivy propagation can be done in 3 ways. Read on for more on these propagation methods.
Take stem-tip cuttings of about 4-5 in. length from a healthy German Ivy (Senecio mikanioides). Ensure each cutting has 2-3 leaf nodes as this is where new growth will come from.
Fill your rooting container with free-draining rooting mix. Moisten the soil lightly.
With a pencil or similar object make a hole in the moist rooting mix.
Insert your German Ivy cutting in the previously made hole. Light cover the base of the cutting with the rooting mix.
Place the set up in warm shaded place and maintain the soil moist until new growth emerges and substantial growth has been observed.
Transfer the new German Ivy plants to individual pots and begin routine care. For a fuller plant plant several cuttings in one pot.
Take cuttings of about 4-5 in. length from your German Ivy. Ensure each cutting has 2-3 leaf nodes as this is where new growth will come from..
Place your German Ivy cuttings in a jar of plain water. Place in a well-lit spot. Change the water every 5-7 days.
When a good amount of roots have formed on your German Ivy cuttings, transfer the cuttings into moist potting soil.
Place the set up in a warm shaded place and maintain the soil moist until new growth has emerged and substantial growth has been observed.
Transfer the new German Ivy plants to individual pots and begin routine care. Several cuttings can be planted in one pot for a fuller plant.
Spread the stems on the soil surface while still attached to the mother plant. Press the stems lightly so that they touch the soil.
After some time, the German Ivy stems will root at every point that they are into contact with the soil.
Once rooted, sever the German Ivy stems from the mother plant. Dig them up and pot in moist soil in individual pots.
Place the new German Ivy plants in a shaded cool place and maintain the soil moist until they are well established.
Photo Credit: K&K Gardens
German Ivy (Senecio mikanioides) problems indoors are due to cultural faults. Poor maintenance practices like watering issues, improper lighting and others result in poor growth of your plant. Read on for the solutions and remedies to these problems.
Brown leaves and curled edges in German Ivy are caused by overwatering or too wet soil (soggy soil). Ensure the soil is free-draining and the pot has a drainage hole.
Water your German Ivy only when the top 2 in. of soil have dried out and reduce watering during the cold season to avoid ovewatering. Read more on how to water houseplants.
Drooping leaves in German Ivy are due to underwatering resulting in too little moisture in the soil. This means that the leaves loss more water to the air than they are getting from the soil which causes them to lose their turgidity (stiffness) and thus they droop.
Water the plant immediately it starts drooping and it should perk up. Do not allow the soil to dry out completely but only slightly before watering again.
Leggy growth and undersized leaves in German Ivy are caused by too little light. Move the plant to a brighter spot.
German Ivy grows best in bright light or light shade away from direct sunlight. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.
Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to other houseplants and treat it appropriately for the pests.
Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to other houseplants and treat it appropriately for the diseases.
To reduce disease infestation, ensure that there is good air circulation for your German Ivy at all times. Also ensure that the soil is free-draining and the pot has a drainage hole to prevent soggy soil.
German Ivy (Senecio mikanioides) is toxic to both humans and pets. If ingested, it can cause vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pains. Keep it away from the reach of children and pets.