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English Ivy leaf

How to take care of an English Ivy

The English Ivy is a divisive plant: you either hate it and see it as a plant that you just can't get rid of, or you love it and how green it makes your garden or home look. It's not just a plant that takes over your garden quite quickly, it also needs special care when you're trimming it back to make it more manageable.

If you love this plant, you're not alone! I love this plant, because it grows in even the toughest places in your garden. This seemingly indestructible plant does need quite specific growing environments, because even the toughest plant has its limits. In this plant care guide, we're going to explore how to take care of your English Ivy. These are the topics we're going to look at in this plant care guide:

  1. Watering your English Ivy
  2. Sunlight for your English Ivy
  3. The perfect soil for your English Ivy
  4. Fertilizing your English Ivy
  5. Is your English Ivy toxic for pets?

Let's get started and figure out how we can set up our English Ivy for success and give it the best chance to make our garden a little greener. We'll also make sure to highlight what to avoid when you're taking care of an English Ivy.

This plant needs little to no attention if you're growing it outdoors, but does need quite a bit of attention if you're growing it in your home.

Watering your English Ivy

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English Ivy in Soil

Watering your (house)plants is often the most important thing to get right to keep your plants healthy. Since you can grow your English Ivy indoors and outdoors, we'll look at how you can best water your English Ivy when it's planted indoors and when it's planted outdoors.

Your English Ivy loves moisture, but doesn't like to sit in a puddle of water. Further in this plant care guide, we'll look at the right soil you'll need to keep your Ivy healthy. For now, we'll look at how you can best water your English Ivy when it's growing indoors.

Watering your English Ivy indoors

When you've planted your English Ivy in a pot indoors, and you want to keep your Ivy healthy, it's important to keep the soil moist at all times. It's important to realize there is a difference between moist soil and wet soil.

  • When your soil is moist, it means that your soil has soaked up all the moisture it can hold, but there is no puddle of water at the bottom of the pot.
  • Wet soil has soaked up so much moisture that it's dripping the excess water to the bottom of the pot. This puddle of water at the bottom of the pot is the most common cause of root rot, so it's best to avoid it altogether.

The easiest way to properly water your Ivy is to use a pot with drainage holes. When you water your plant and the soil can no longer hold the water, it'll sink to the bottom of the pot. The drainage hole helps to get rid of this excess water. This helps to prevent root rot and keeps your Ivy healthy in the long term.

The best time to water your Ivy indoors is when the soil is dry to the touch, but not completely dry yet. On average, this means you should water your English Ivy once per week.

Watering your English Ivy outdoors

We already know that the English Ivy loves to grow in soil that's moist all the time. This is important for houseplants, but also if you grow your Ivy outdoors. If Ivy's naturally grow in your home country, you won't have to pay too much attention to watering your English Ivy, because the rain will automatically water your plant properly. The only thing you'll have to think about is droughts. If it hasn't rained in a 5-7 days, it's good to water your Ivy yourself. This will keep your plant healthy and happy during the dry days.

Watering your English Ivy in the winter

In the winter, when your English Ivy goes dormant, you won't have to water your plant as often as you did in the spring and summer.

In the winter, your plant is dormant and it's recovering from the growing season. It won't need as many nutrients and won't grow, so you should water your Ivy less often. On average, you should water your English Ivy half as much as you did in the spring and summer. For outdoor plants, this means you won't have to water your Ivy at all and for your Ivy that's growing indoors, you'll only have to water it once every 14 days.

Sunlight for your English Ivy

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English Ivy Growing on a Tree Trunk

The second most important thing for your plant is sunlight exposure. When you place your English Ivy in a spot that has the perfect sunlight exposure for your plant, you'll see your plant become happier and healthier.

Your English Ivy grows best in a spot that has indirect sunlight exposure. Indirect sunlight means that your plant doesn't get any direct sunlight on its leaves, whether this is outdoors or through a window. Direct sunlight will leave burn marks on your plant or make its environment too warm for it to be happy.

The perfect place for your English Ivy that's growing indoors is a spot in the middle of a room with a south or west facing window. If you're looking for the best place for your Ivy outdoors, choose a spot that's in the shade most of the day. A little bit of sunlight is no problem, but it doesn't do well in a spot that's in bright sunlight all day long.

If you have a spot outdoors that's in the shade most of the day and also out of the wind, you found the perfect spot for your Ivy. The plant can easily survive freezing temperatures, but it doesn't do well in strong winter winds.

Sunlight exposure for your English Ivy in the winter

In the winter, the sun isn't as strong and lower in the sky during the day. There is less sunlight coming in through the windows and your house is darker during the day.

To help your Ivy indoors, you should move your it closer to windows to give it some extra sunlight exposure. During the growing season this sunlight is often too harsh, but it's fine during the winter. If you're growing your Ivy outdoors, there is nothing you need to do.

The perfect soil for your English Ivy

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English Ivy's in plant store

We've already learned a lot about watering and sunlight exposure, so lets move onto the next most important thing about taking care of your English Ivy: Soil.

Earlier in this plant care guide, we've discovered that your English Ivy likes the soil to become dry to the touch, but stay moist most of the time. So we'll need soil that can hold onto moisture for a few days and also doesn't compact over time. Soil that gets watered a lot, like the soil of your English Ivy, will want to compact over time. But we can add stuff to the soil to keep the structure intact and help the oxygen to flow to your Ivy's roots freely. This helps to prevent root rot and keeps your plant healthy.

The best type of soil would be a mix of potting soil to hold onto moisture for a few days, but also perlite/pumic/rocks. These rocks will help to prevent the soil from compacting and also improves drainage quite a bit. Smart Gravel is also a great option to add to your soil, because it'll improve drainage and get rid of any of the excess water quickly.

You can mix these ingredients into the soil and also add a small layer of rocks at the bottom of the pot. This helps to drain excess moisture quickly and prevents your plant from sitting in a puddle of water.

Fertilizing your English Ivy

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You English Ivy is a fast-growing plant and needs a lot of nutrients to stay healthy while growing this fast. Your Ivy gets these nutrients from the soil. However, you'll also need to supplement the nutrients in the soil with fertilizer.

You should fertilize your English Ivy once every 14 days in the spring and summer to help promote growth and keep the plant happy. The easiest way to fertilize your plant is to add liquid fertilizer to the water you're watering your plant with. This fertilizer gets absorbed more quickly than any other fertilizer.

If you want a more hands-off approach, you can also use slow-release fertilizers like fertilizing sticks. You can read more about which fertilizer is best in "What is the best type of fertilizer for houseplants?".

Fertilizing your English Ivy in the winter

In the winter, when your English Ivy is asleep and it's not growing (as quickly), you shouldn't fertilize it at all. Your English Ivy won't use the fertilizer and it'll stay behind in the pot or in the ground This will make the soil salty and that will make it a tough place for your plant to grow.

Is your English Ivy toxic for pets?

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If you have pets or children, you need to think about whether the plants you buy can be harmful to your loved ones. Unfortunately, the English Ivy is very toxic for pets, but also to yourself. The sap will cause rashes on your skin on contact and will cause stomach issues when ingested (both people and pets). That's why it's also very important you cover your skin when you're pruning this plant, as it's very easy to get the sap on you.

If you couldn't tell, I'm speaking from personal experience here. It takes about 3-5 days for the rashes to go away again, so it's best to wear a long-sleeve shirt and gardening gloves when handling this plant.

Conclusion

In this plant care guide, we've looked at how you can take care of your English Ivy. We've looked at how you can water your English Ivy, the best sunlight exposure for your English Ivy, the best soil for your English Ivy, how to properly feed your English Ivy, and whether your English Ivy is safe for your pets and kids.

Thank you for reading this post! I hope it helps you to keep your plants healthy and beautiful! If you're looking for more guides on specific plants, you can always request a plant guide to get a guide for the plant you have trouble with.

Tags: outdoors, low-light, frost-proof

Posted on: Mar 26, 2022 Last updated on: Apr 8, 2022

Other common names for this plant

  • Hedera Helix

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Frequently asked questions

How often should you water the English Ivy?
The best time to water your Ivy indoors is when the soil is dry to the touch, but not completely dry yet. On average, this means you should water your English Ivy once every 7 days.
How much sunlight does the English Ivy need?
The English Ivy loves indirect sunlight. You shouldn't put it in a spot where it gets direct sunlight as this might cause sunburns to show up on the English Ivy.
What is the best soil for the English Ivy?
The soil for your English Ivy should hold onto moisture for a few days and then dry up completely. Your English Ivy loves to the soil to dry out completely before being watered again, so the soil should drain the excess water.
How often should you fertilize the English Ivy?
Your English Ivy is a fast-growing plant that needs a lot of energy to grow this quickly. You should fertilize your English Ivy once per month in the spring and summer to help it stay healthy.
Is the English Ivy toxic for pets?
The English Ivy is toxic to your pets and should unfortunately be kept out of reach for them. If you notice your pet has chewed on your English Ivy be sure to call your veterinarian right away.

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