How to Trim English Ivy


English ivy is a quick-growing vine. Primarily prized for its heart-shaped leaves and lush foliage, English ivy thrives in shaded and partially shaded areas of the garden. It grows quickly up trellises and walls, cloaking the surface in deep green leaves. It is also grown as a ground cover, particularly in shaded areas where grass doesn't grow as well. Proper trimming helps control English ivy and prevents it from overtaking the garden. A regular trim also prevents disease as unhealthy portions of the ivy are removed and disposed of.

Step 1

Trim out dead vines and leaves in spring as the plant begins actively growing again. Use pruning shears to cut damaged or dead vines down to the nearest healthiest portion. Remove the entire vine at soil level if it is dead or severely damaged. Cut off individual dead and damaged leaves flush with the vine.

Step 2

Prune overgrown vines back to the main stem to maintain the overall desired shape of the ivy. Cut the vine flush with the main stem; otherwise, the overgrown vine will quickly grow back.

Step 3

Cut off the top 1 to 5 inches from the top of each vertical vine once it reaches the desired height. Topping the ivy encourages lateral branching, leading to fuller appearance.

Step 4

Cut back ground-cover English ivy every two to three years. Cut each vine down to 4 inches tall, leaving at least one leave on each stem. This prevents the ivy from becoming too thick and harboring disease and insects.

Tips and Warnings

  • English ivy is considered an invasive species in some areas. Check with your county extension office before planting it or plant it in containers to help control its spread.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears


  • University of Florida Extension: English Ivies to Know and Grow
  • Texas A&M Extension: Follow Proper Pruning Techniques
Keywords: trimming English ivy, pruning ivy vines, English ivy care

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.