How to Start English Ivy

Overview

English ivy is a cinch to grow and even easier to propagate, even for beginning or novice gardeners. A versatile evergreen perennial, English ivy can be planted outdoors where it will develop into a lush, leafy carpet that will remain green year round, or as an indoor plant with graceful, cascading vines that will add interest to the home environment.

Step 1

Fill a pot with commercial potting soil or a mixture of half sand and half peat moss. Any pot with at least one drainage hole in the bottom will work.

Step 2

Cut a four-inch to six-inch stem from the tip of a healthy English ivy plant. Use pruners with sharp, clean blades to make the cut just above a pair of leaves.

Step 3

Remove the leaves from the bottom half to two-thirds of the English ivy stem. Dip the bottom inch of the stem in liquid or powdered rooting hormone.

Step 4

Plant the English ivy stem in the potting soil with the bare, lower section of the stem in the soil and the leaves above. Water the potting soil lightly to settle the soil around the stem, but don't water so much that the soil is soggy. Several stems can be planted in the same pot as long as the leaves don't touch.

Step 5

Put a clear plastic bag over the pot and close the bag securely with a rubber band. If necessary, place a few drinking straws or wooden sticks in the pot to keep the bag from touching the English ivy leaves.

Step 6

Place the pot in indirect sunlight. Bright light in a sunny window can be hot enough to scorch the English ivy stems.

Step 7

Check the potting soil every day and don't allow the soil to dry out. If the soil feels dry to the touch, add water until the potting soil is lightly damp.

Step 8

Leave the pot in the plastic bag until the stems display new growth, which indicates that the stems have rooted. To be sure, tug lightly on a stem. If the stem has rooted, you will feel a slight resistance.

Step 9

Remove the pot from the plastic bag. Move the pot into bright sunlight and continue to keep the potting mixture damp. If you have planted more than one stem in the pot, plant each English ivy stem in an individual container. Maintain the English ivy as a houseplant, or transplant the ivy outdoors in spring after all danger of frost has passed.

Tips and Warnings

  • Before you plant English ivy outdoors, keep in mind that although English ivy is lovely, it can become invasive. English ivy is especially problematic in the Pacific Northwest, where it has grown out of control, growing over anything in its path and choking out native growth. Closely monitor the growth of the English ivy to keep the growth in check, or grow the plant as an indoor plant only.

Things You'll Need

  • Pot with drainage hole
  • Commercial potting soil or sand and peat moss
  • Pruners
  • Liquid or powdered rooting hormone
  • Clear plastic bag
  • Rubber band
  • Drinking straws or wooden sticks
  • Individual pots (optional)

References

  • NC State University: Plant Propagation by Leaf, Cane and Root Cuttings: Instructions for the Home Gardener
  • Oregon State University: English Ivy is an Invasive Weed in Pacific Northwest
Keywords: english ivy, start english ivy, propagate english ivy

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.