English ivy: Care, Types & Propagation

English ivy: Care, Types & Propagation

English Ivy - An Introduction


English Ivy or the Hedera helix is most commonly found growing outdoors on boundary walls and turning simple functional concrete walls into urban spots of green. The English Ivy is considered invasive in certain parts of the world due to its aggressive growth rate, but are excellent ways to introduce greenery in cramped up outdoor spaces. The Ivy growing on outdoor walls is not only decorative but also a great and natural way to modulate the indoor temperature, it helps keep it cool in summer and warm in winter.

This plant can be planted at a height and allowed to trail down or planted at ground level and allowed to either climb up with the help of its aerial roots or spread rapidly as ground cover. The ivy has yellow or green flowers that are insignificant in function or appearance and it is mainly grown as a foliage plant for its prong shaped thick waxy leaves growing on lithe stems that grow woody on maturity. There are majorly two types of Hedera helix - green and variegated and the both have the same care that we will explore in the following sections.


Common names: English ivy, common ivy, European ivy


Types of ivy plants indoor

There are two types of ivy plant that are grown indoors popularly in the trailing variety and one that grows like a shrub.

  1. Green English Ivy: It has the trademark pronged leaf shape and the waxy thick leaves are a beautiful forest green in colour. The veins form a subtle silver network on the leaves.
  2. Variegated English ivy: This variety, much like its other family members, has a pronged leaf shape with soft yellow-white edges and green body. They bear yellow flowers that resemble a min sunflower in shape but are insignificant in nature.
  3. Tree Ivy: A unique cross between species from different genera: Fatsia japonica (glossy-leaved paper plant) and Hedera helix (English ivy), it grows in shrub form with the famous pronged leaf shape of an English ivy. It has a mounding growth pattern with trailing stems that can be trained through pruning to grow as a tight shrub.

 English ivy plant

English Ivy (Hedera helix) plant care

 The English ivy plant is easy to grow in Indian climates and can add a beautiful bust of green to any home garden. While it may be considered to grow outdoors due to aggressive growth patterns, it is very easy and extremely rewarding to grow indoors in pots and planters. It is an excellent plant choice for even new gardeners and looks great when allowed to climb walls, window grills, moss poles or allowed to trail down from hanging planters. When grown in balconies and window boxes, the curtain of English ivy can filter out a lot of the dust and pollutants entering your home from outside.

Let’s take a look at the simple and easy to follow care tips to grow English ivy plants indoors and in Indian homes.

 

Light

The English ivy loves to grow in part shade to full shade where it gets indirect light through the day, making it one of the best choices to grow indoors or in north or east facing balconies and windows. Its love for shade also makes it a great choice to grow as ground cover under the shade of larger trees and is an excellent way to stop weeds from overtaking your garden.

If you are growing indoors in planters, give yur ivy bright indirect light and keep it out of the sweltering summer afternoon sun and if the winters in your area go below 12 to 15 degree Celsius, keep it out of cold drafts and give it a little bit of sunlight when possible.

 

Water

The ivy loves the soil to dry out between watering cycles. So always check the potting mix before watering and water only when the good top half of the soil is dry to touch or the planter feels lighter in weight signaling that all the water has been used up by the plant. Make sure to use a well-draining soil, as the ivy loves and evenly moist but not soggy soil.

While the roots of the plant love to dry out in between watering's, the leaves love medium to high humidity. Mist it regularly or use a humidifier for short periods. This love for humidity makes it a bad fit for hot summer sun and cold winter drafts.

ivy plant indoor

However, when watering your dried potting mix, water it in batches to ensure that the soil absorbs all the water and it just doesn’t run out of the planter. Water a little and then wait for a while for the soil to soak up the water before watering it again till it drains out of the drainage hole at the bottom of the planter.

 Soil

The evergreen and lush ivy loves a rich but extremely well-draining soil. Use a planter with good drainage holes and fill it up with a good mix of Ugaoo garden soil, Vermicompost, coco peat and perlite. If you want to avoid all the hassle of making your own mix then simply use the Ugaoo Potting Mix that can be used directly from the packet.

 Fertilisers

Use a well-balanced and generic houseplant fertiliser for your english ivy plant. They are not heavy feeders and do well with both root and foliar application every 15 days. Use a good quality fertiliser like the Ugaoo Plant Tonic for this. Using NPK is also a good idea. Dilute the fertiliser as instructed and apply directly to roots once in 15 days and put it in a misting spray and do a foliar application too once in 15 days. The foliar application guarantees bigger and showier leaves. However, don't overfeed the plant as it can lead to foliage burn.

 Pruning

The English ivy plant does not require any pruning as such. Pruning for the ivy plant comes into play in two instances; one is to remove dead foliage and the other is to manage the shape and growing pattern of the plant. When left to its own devices it will grow with abandon and become bushy and unmanageable in no time.  Simply use a sharp clean pruning shears or scissors to prune away stems at the required length, cut at an incline in between leaf nodes.

To remove dead or yellowing leaves, just pinch it away ensuring the leaf stalk is also removed from the main stem.

Propagating English Ivy

One of the easiest plants to propagate, the ivy can be propagated by anyone with a pair of scissors to take cuttings. Simply take 4 to 5 inch long cuttings of the plant, with at least 3 to 4 leaf nodes. Plant the cuttings in a moist potting mix or propagate in water. Keep the setup in a spot with bright indirect light till roots develop.ivy creeper

Problems with the English Ivy plant  and how to deal with them

Like many plants, the ivy creeper can be plagued by aphids and spider mites. In case of infestation, spray the plant with neem oil solution to get rid of the pests and as preventive measures. In case of heavy infestations, prune away the infested parts.

 

  

 

FAQs 

1. Why is my English ivy plant drooping?

Drooping of the ivy plant can be because of one of two reasons - overwatering or underwatering. Check the soil, if the soil is constantly moist or soggy with soft decaying stems then the cause is underwatering. If the soil is extremely dry with wrinkled leaves then the cause is overwatering.

2. How much sunlight does the plant require?

The English ivy plant loves growing in part or full shade. Although it will appreciate a couple of hours of morning or evening sun. keep it out of direct afternoon sun.

3. Why are the leaves curly and turning yellow?

Too much light or harsh sunlight can cause your ivy leaves to curl and turn yellow. Give your plant partial shade or bright indirect sunlight and keep it out of direct afternoon sun.

4. How much water does the plant need?

The English ivy plant loves to dry out in between watering's. So water only when the potting soil is dry to touch and use a well-draining potting mix.

5. Is English Ivy an indoor or outdoor plant?

The English ivy plant can be grown both indoors and outdoors with relative ease.

 

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