The mere mention of English ivy indoors conjures up a multitude of visions, as this very versatile plant can be used as ground cover in larger pots housing upright plants, a hanging feature from a book shelf or pedestal planter or as a trained climber creating any number of different shapes.
Yes, ivy can get out of control if not correctly managed, especially outdoors, where it can cause structural damage to houses and buildings as it quietly goes about its invasive ways.
English ivy indoors however, just requires a little trimming from time to time, to keep it under control and looking smart.
Unlike many other indoor plants, English ivy prefers cooler temperatures which is ideal if you don’t have a lot of indoor light or only have a north facing window.
Like many other indoor plants however, such as Anthurium and African Violets, ivy does enjoy humidity.
You can choose from so many varieties including plants with small, dainty, finely cut leaves which can make a lovely contrast when combined with larger leafed plants.
If you can, give your ivy a holiday outdoors, especially in spring and fall, when the days and nights are cooler.
English ivy responds well indoors to marked differences between day and night temperatures and if properly cared for, will last indoors for many years, even more so if propagated from stem tips.
Warning; Some people can develop dermatitis from touching ivy sap and the leaves are poisonous if eaten by humans and pets.
English Ivy Indoors
Ivy enjoys moderate light in spring and summer. In fall and winter ivy does best in bright or fluorescent light. Avoid direct sunlight and variegated varieties will need a bit more light to avoid their leaves turning into a solid color.
Try for cooler room temperatures (50-70F / 10-21C) even though ivy can tolerate temperatures outside this range. Temperatures should be 10F / 6C cooler at night than during the day.
Water & Humidity
Keep the soil consistently moist (but not too wet and soggy) and let the surface of the soil dry between watering, but don’t let soil dry out completely.
Water less frequently in fall and winter and maintain humidity in drier environments with a pebble tray.
Any good, all-purpose potting mix that drains well.
Feed monthly all year round with a high-nitrogen foliage plant fertilizer
Every 1-2 years, in spring, when roots have filled the pot. Move to a slightly larger pot, but avoid very large containers which may lead to problems with root rot.
You can quite easily propagate English ivy by rooting stem tip cuttings in damp perlite or pure water.
Selecting English Ivy
English ivy is associated with over 500 named cultivars, which vary widely in leaf shape, size and variegation. Cultivars honored by the American Ivy Society include “Golden Ingot” and “Duck Foot”.
A variegated version of Algerian Ivy called “Floire de Marengo” is a better choice for warmer conditions.
Other English Ivy Indoor Care Tips
It’s interesting to know that if you over water ivy, counter intuitively, the leaves can dry out and turn brown.
Also, English ivy will need support when training to climb by pinning the stems as required.
In drier conditions, increase humidity by using a water filled pebble dish.
Trouble Shooting for English Ivy Indoors
PROBLEM: Leaves on variegated varieties are turning all green
CAUSE: Your plant isn’t getting enough light.
SOLUTION: In winter, move the plant closer to an east or west window or provide fluorescent light. Place outdoors for a few weeks in spring and fall, when temperatures are cool.
In summer, your plant will need moderate light conditions, avoiding direct sun light.
PROBLEM: Leaf tips or edges are turning brown
CAUSE: This can occur when your plant is too warm or dry
SOLUTION: Place the plant on a pebble tray and mist or move it to a cooler spot, especially if you have central heating or the weather is warm.
PROBLEM: Your plant is looking spindly
CAUSE: Either the plant is too warm or is not getting enough light
SOLUTION: Move to a cooler, brighter spot and cut off affected areas to encourage more bushy growth.
PROBLEM: White cottony deposits on stems.
CAUSE: This is most likely a result of mealybug.
SOLUTION: Wash your plant, then remove any mealy bugs that have hung on with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. Repeat after a week if problem persists.
I hope this article has encouraged you to consider growing English ivy indoors.
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