How to Take Care of Ivy Plants


Ivy plants are perennial green plants that produce climbing vines. Depending on the species of ivy, the leaves are smooth, glossy and tear drop-shaped (such as the pothos ivy), or dull with scalloped edges (such as English ivy). All ivies have small rootlets that enable them to spread along the ground or anchor themselves to vertical surfaces to climb upward. Ivies require specific care in order to ensure their health.

Step 1

Provide adequate soil for your ivy plant. Ivies prefer soil that is rich and well drained. Amend clay soil in the garden with gardening sand at a ratio of 1:1 to give the plant proper drainage. Ivies cannot tolerate wet roots and die if planted in water-logged soil.

Step 2

Place the ivy in an area of the yard that is partially shaded. Ivy plants become sunburned and eventually die if they are exposed to direct sunlight. Indoors, ivies grow well in rooms that are brightly lit, as long as they are placed away from brightly lit window sills.

Step 3

Water ivy plants when the top inch or 2 of soil feels dry to the touch. Ivies are very finicky, and wilt when they are overwatered or under-watered. Ivy prefers that its roots remain moist--but not wet--at all times.

Step 4

Give the ivy its space. Crowding ivies on shelves or window sills with other plants gives the ivy's natural enemies (white flies and gnats) the opportunity to invade. Ivies require adequate ventilation in order to grow properly and resist pests.

Step 5

Give ivy the humidity it craves. Outdoors, this is usually not an issue. If the ivy is grown indoors, air conditioning and heat sap indoor air of humidity. Spray the plants using a spray bottle filled with filtered water in order to keep the ivy happy with indoor growing conditions.

Step 6

Fertilize ivy plants with a 3:1:2 or 3:1:3 fertilizer. Follow the directions on your bottle of fertilizer to ensure that the plant is not over- or under-fertilized.

Step 7

Prune your ivy plant to a shape that you like. Ivies grown in hanging basket or on shelves will grow fuller and taller when long runners are clipped and tamed. Use small gardening snips or scissors to cut unruly growths from the ivy plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Flower pot (optional)
  • Potting mix (optional)
  • Plant fertilizer
  • Gardening sand (optional)
  • Gardening shears or scissors


  • Samia Rose Topiary: Caring for Indoor Ivy
  • LubbockOnline: Ivy--Versatile Choice for Containers
  • University of Florida: English Ivies to Know and Grow

Who Can Help

  • University of North Dakota: Questions on Ivy
Keywords: care of ivy plants, care for ivy plants, caring for ivy plants

About this Author

Cyn Vela is a freelance writer and professional blogger. Her work has been published on dozens of websites, as well as in local print publications. Vela's articles usually focus on where her passions lie: writing, web development, blogging, parenting, gardening, and health and wellness. She studied English literature at Del Mar College, and at the University of Texas at San Antonio.