English Ivy: A Stunning Houseplant for Every Home

English Ivy Hanging Plant

Owning an English ivy (Hedera helix) is like having a perpetual Valentine’s Day gift. The plant adorns itself with heart-shaped leaves in various shades of green, including captivating variegated forms. However, this beauty can be deceiving. English ivy is not only a charming houseplant but also an invasive species in certain regions due to its aggressive growth nature.

Raising Ivy Indoors: A Captivating Display

As a houseplant, English ivy requires proper lighting, watering, and care to reach its full potential. When provided with the right conditions, it flourishes both in containers and as a cascading display in hanging baskets.

One common concern among owners is brown leaves. Why does this happen? Well, ivies can become overwhelmed by different factors, resulting in their distress signal – browning and dropping leaves. These triggers can include excessive watering, over-fertilization, excessive sunlight exposure, or insufficient water and humidity.

Diagnosing the Needs of Your English Ivy

With countless possible causes for ivy’s distress, it can be challenging to pinpoint the underlying issue. The first step is understanding what your English ivy truly desires. Let’s explore five critical aspects of growing English ivy indoors – their preferences and dislikes.

Ivy in Diningroom

1: Medium and Bright Light – Perfect Match for Ivies

Ivies thrive in medium light conditions, although they can tolerate bright light as well. While they can survive in low light settings, they won’t flourish and will have a shortened lifespan. If you have an ivy variety with white variegation, they prefer indirect light compared to green-leafed varieties. Consider selecting varieties like ‘Ingrid Liz,’ ‘Little Hermann,’ and ‘Nena’ if your home has lower light levels. It’s important to note that variegated leaves are more susceptible to sun damage.

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2: Watering with Precision

Avoid overzealous watering of your ivy. Ivies dislike damp soil and prefer the top inch or so of the potting mix to dry out before being watered again. It’s better to keep this houseplant slightly drier rather than excessively wet, which is a general rule for most houseplants. Additionally, ensure that the pot your ivy resides in has proper drainage holes. Surprisingly, if you overwater your ivy, the leaves will turn brown and dry at the edges, misleadingly indicating that the plant requires more water. The truth is that overly wet roots hinder the delivery of nutrients and water to the plant. Therefore, aim to keep your ivy on the drier side.

3. Embrace the Moisture

While ivies dislike overly moist soil, they appreciate moisture in the air. Increase the humidity around your ivy by adding water-filled pebbles to a saucer and placing the plant on top. Through evaporation, the water will create a humid environment for your ivy to thrive in.

4: Strike a Balance

Ivies don’t appreciate being under-watered either, as it can leave them susceptible to pest infestations. A dry and stressed plant becomes an easy target for insects or diseases. Winter poses particular challenges for ivies due to lower light levels and dry air from heating sources. These conditions stress out the plants, attracting pests like spider mites that thrive in warm and dry environments. To combat spider mites, spray the leaves with water or apply Neem oil.

Ivy Porch

5: Cool and Comfy

Ivies have their origins in cooler climates, specifically central and northern Europe. Unlike tropical plants, ivies don’t appreciate high indoor temperatures. They thrive in cooler rooms, ideally between 50 to 70°F (10 to 21°C).

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Expand Your Knowledge of Ivy

If you’re captivated by English ivy, there’s so much more to discover. Explore creative ways to decorate with ivies, incorporate them into your holiday decor, or even start an ivy collection. Let the beauty and versatility of English ivy inspire you.

To learn more, visit the Ames Farm Center, where you can find a wide range of English ivy varieties and expert advice to keep your ivy thriving.