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How to Grow English Ivy as a House Plant or Ground Cover

Hedera Helix

European colonists brought English Ivy to the U.S. in 1700's. This versatile, low maintenance plant looks good in a wide variety of settings. While you may think that English Ivy originated in England, it is native to Europe, northern Africa, and Asia..

English Ivy is a good plant selection in a wide variety of settings. It is a great, evergreen ground cover. Its' thick, aggressive nature chokes out most weeds. Give it something, almost anything to climb on, and it can grow to 50 feet or more. It is very popular as an indoor house plant, either in a flower pot, or cascading over a hanging basket. Speaking of hanging baskets, English Ivy is quite popular in hanging baskets on patios, decks and balconies.  

Did You Know? The U.S. National Park Service considers English Ivy an aggressive weed. Left unchecked, it can take over forest floors and open areas.

Vine Length: Some varieties can grow to 100 ft.

Propagating English Ivy Plants:

English Ivy plants are grown from cuttings. For use as a houseplant, take a cutting and root the cutting in water.

Outdoors, the plants will root themselves, as they spread across an empty area. For planting in new areas, plant cuttings in the spring.

How to Grow English Ivy Vines:

English Ivy is very easy to grow indoors, or out.

Temperature: 45 to 80 ° F. Plants will survive winters in most areas.

Ph levels: English Ivy is an acid loving plant. The ideal Ph is 5.5 - 6.5

Soil: The plants will grow in a wide range of soils. If grown in heavy clay soil, add plenty of compost prior to planting.

Light / Sunlight: The plants grow well in full sun to full shade. In full shade, they will grow more slowly.

Water: Plants are somewhat drought tolerant. Keep soil moist, not wet. Plants need about 1/2" to 1" of water a week. Water outdoors, only during periods of drought. Indoors : allow the top of the soil to dry between watering. Mist indoor plants frequently.

Fertilizer Regimen:  English Ivy vines are acid loving plants. Outdoor plants do not need much additional fertilizer in most soils. Add a general purpose fertilizer once or twice a year -  spring and early to mid summer. For indoor plants, add a light solution of liquid fertilizer every 3-4 weeks. Or, use slow release indoor fertilizer spikes

Pruning: Prune plants when they reach the end of the space allowed, by snipping off growing tips. For ivy used as ground cover, in the spring you can use a trimmer or shears to trim them back. New growth will appear and be more vibrant. Prune indoor plants and those grown in hanging baskets, as desired to maintain a full and shapely appearance.

Plant Problems:

Full sunlight can burn leaves, in hot, dry summer weather.

A variety of insects can occasionally infest the plants. These include aphids, mealy bugs, and red spider mites. Outdoors, use a general purpose insecticide. For indoor plants, use an insecticidal soap specific and safe for indoor use.

Rodents can also be a problem. This can a variety of rodents, including mice and chipmunks, to name a few.  More on Pest Control.

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