Even if you didn’t know it, I can almost promise that you’ve seen English ivy before. You can find this plant growing in gardens, climbing fences or buildings, or slowly taking over an abandoned lot!
English ivy loves to GROW and grow quickly! It’s a climbing vine that can grow up to 90 feet long if properly supported on a fence, wall, or trellis. It does this with the use of aerial roots in addition to normal soil roots that grow at intervals along the climbing stems. The plant can even change shape to anchor to the scaffolding as well. How cool is that?
Europeans introduced English ivy the states as an ornamental plant, but they quickly learned how invasive this plant can be when left unchecked! Ivy can crowd out other plant species and even kill trees.
However, it can’t get into much trouble when confined to an indoor pot. This plant is hardy and determined to survive and grow, and these qualities can make it a great houseplant if you trim it back so it doesn’t take over your house. It’s also great for purifying the air in your home!
Note: This plant (and the dark purple fruit it produces) is mildly poisonous, so it might not be the best choice if you have curious little ones or pets around! Consumption isn’t fatal, but it can potentially cause breathing difficulties, fever, and even hallucinations if overconsumed. Best to be safe!
How to Care for English Ivy:
Potting and Soil
English ivy doesn’t grow deep roots, so plant in a wide, shallow container with drainage holes and use regular indoor potting mix.
English ivy likes medium to bright light, so bright, indirect light is best. Try a south or east-facing window.
Humidity is very important for ivy. If left too dry, English ivy can become susceptible to disease and insects, so it’s important to keep the humidity up. If you live in a dry climate, you might want to set up a humidifier in your home or mist the ivy a few times a week. If your leaves wilt or turn yellow, you might need more humidity.
Go easy on the water. Water thoroughly when the soil is dry. English ivy doesn’t like to sit in wet soil.
English ivy is native to north and central Europe, so it prefers a cooler climate. 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal, so keep that air conditioner on during the summer! Leaving a plant indoors without AC while you’re away on summer vacation is a recipe for disaster.
Fertilize once per month during the growing season (spring, summer, and fall) or just hit the easy button and mix a little Indoor Plant Food into your watering can each time you water. Simple!
If your ivy outgrows its container, simply cut it back with pruning shears.
Use a clean tool to cut right below a spot where a leaf attaches to a stem (this is called a node). You can even propagate the cuttings! To do this, just take a stem that’s at least 5 inches long, remove the leaves, and put the end in a cup of water. When the roots grow to a few inches long, plant it in potting mix!
Other Care Notes
The leaves can get dusty, so clean them off with a clean, damp cloth every once in a while. Not only does dust look bad on plants, it can actually interfere with respiration and photosynthesis, so it’s important to keep your plants clean.
Check your ivy regularly for pests, and especially if you notice holes in the leaves or wilting. Remove any damaged leaves, because they won’t heal and can harm the overall health of your plant.
English ivy is a stunning houseplant when you keep it under control! It adds a gorgeous pop of dark green to any space and promotes healthy air in your home. Give it a try!