Ivy - About, Care & Maintenance

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Ivy is a great indoor houseplant. There are over a hundred different varieties to choose from, both solid green and variegated. Some of our favorites include: Asterick, California, Kolibri, Algerian, Needlepoint, Eva, Tiger Eye, Gold Child, and Ideal. You can select an ivy to suit your individual needs. There are large leafed rapid growers and small leafed slow growers. Ivies come in a wide range of colors: solid green, leaves splashed with white, cream, gold, or yellow; or leaves edged with silver or gray green. They can be grown as hanging or table plants; be used at the base of trees that are somewhat bare at the bottom; or be trained to grow on a trellis or wire topiary (i.e. Christmas tree or wreath shaped). Talk about versatility.

LIGHT AND TEMPERATURE:  Ivies grow best in bright filtered light. Although they will survive in low to medium light, variegated ivies will lose their color and plant growth will be slower. Direct afternoon sun will burn their leaves.  Ivies can handle cool temperatures (even down to 45 degrees at night).

WATER:  Most people kill their ivies by over watering them. Carefully look at the plant. Allow the soil to dry out between watering, almost to the point where the stems and leaves are drooping. Crispy brown leaves are a sign of OVER not under watering. Make sure when you lift the plant it is light. The soil should turn a light brown to indicate it has dried out. When in doubt, do not water! Fertilize every two weeks when the plant is rapidly growing, and not at all when it is exceptionally hot or cold.  Although like most indoor plants, they like humidity; ivies will even do well in the dry air of an Arizona house. The soil should be a good commercial blend like Miracle Gro potting soil, and there must be drainage holes in the pot. If the soil cannot dry out, the plant will die from root rot.

PROPAGATION:  If ivy becomes thin and straggly, trim it back & it will quickly fill out. You can root these clippings in water to start a new plant. Make sure that when you plant your rooted cuttings the pot is quite small (4”). If you use a pot that is too large, the small roots will not be able to absorb the water; the soil will stay wet all of the time, and the roots will quickly rot.

PESTS:  Ivies are prone to quite a few pests: spider mites, mealy bugs, aphids, whiteflies, and scale. A combination of undiluted alcohol mixed with a few drops of ivory soap and a spoonful of mineral oil, heavily sprayed on both sides of the leaves, works well for getting rid of most of these annoying insects. You can also dip the foliage part of the plant into a bucket of water mixed with insecticidal soap.


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