How to Care for English Ivy Beds


One of the most popularly grown ivies is the English ivy (Hedera helix), which is a climbing vine with attractive lobed leaves. English ivies have a wide range of landscape uses, trained to grow on walls, arbors, trellises, fences and railings. English ivies are also grown as trailing groundcovers in landscaping beds. English ivy plants can tolerate winter temperatures as cold as -20 degrees F, depending on the cultivated variety, and are generally more sensitive to heat stress and waterlogged soils than any other problems.

Step 1

Water your newly planted English ivy beds once or twice a week to provide 1 inch of water each week. Water established English ivy plants about once a week during times of drought or prolonged dry spells and in late fall before the first hard freeze.

Step 2

Feed your English ivies with 1 pound of a slow-release 12-4-8 or 15-5-15 NPK fertilizer per 1,200 square feet of bed in spring and again in early fall. Provide a third fertilizer application in summer during the first year after planting the ivies.

Step 3

Spread a 2- to 4-inch thick layer of organic mulch onto the soil in the bed around the English ivy plants after first planting them. The mulch will control weed growth, keep the soil cooler and retain soil moisture during the first year or two while the English ivies are growing to create a tight bed.

Step 4

Prune your English ivies while they're actively growing to keep them inside the bounds of the bed and to encourage healthy growth. Clip back the ivy vines and cut away upper layers of vines that are crowding lower layers. You can also pinch back the tips of vines in bare spots to train them to grow in the desired areas.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't plant an English ivy bed in full, direct sunlight where the plants can become heat-stressed or sun-scorched during summer. Instead, plant the English ivies in a location with partial to full shade and in well-draining soil. When creating the bed, plant the English ivies 1- to 2-inches deeper than they were planted in the nursery containers.

Things You'll Need

  • Slow-release 12-4-8 or 15-5-15 NPK fertilizer
  • Organic mulch
  • Pruning shears


  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: English Ivies to Know and Grow
  • Yardener: Caring for English Ivy
  • Backyard Gardener: Hedera helix (Pittsburgh English Ivy)
Keywords: English ivy bed, Hedera helix care, grow English ivies

About this Author

Sarah Terry brings 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters, and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.