Ivies are popular houseplants that grow on a vine, making them ideal for hanging baskets, topiaries and trailing plants. German ivy, English ivy and Swedish ivy are the most popular varieties for inside growing. These hardy plants are relatively pest-free, tolerant of a range of light and require minimal care. Healing a sick ivy plant involves identifying the problem and taking measures to correct it.
Inspect the plant for signs of spider mite infestation. Tiny holes in leaves near the stem indicate spider mites. As infestation progresses, leaves turn yellow, die and shrivel. Tiny white webs cover the leaves. Treat by washing the foliage in a basin of tepid water with a few drops of dish detergent. Repeat every five to seven days for three weeks.
Examine the underside of leaves and along the stem for rounded grayish or white mounds that look like miniature clam shells clinging to the surface of the plant. These are an insect called scale that can damage the plant, causing leaves to yellow and drop. Treat by saturating a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and applying directly to the scales. Rinse with cool water.
Check the soil for signs of mold or fungus growth. This generally appears on the surface of the soil and may be green, gray or whitish-gray. Mold and fungal infections are often caused by over-watering or dead and decaying plant debris. Remove the ivy from the pot and remove as much soil as possible from the roots. Re-pot in fresh soil.
Examine the roots for signs of a root-bound plant. Overgrown roots that extend through the drainage holes or coil inside the bottom of the pot cannot provide the nutrients the growing plant needs. Re-pot root-bound ivies in fresh potting soil and larger pots that allow roots to spread and grow. Fill the pot half to three-fourths full with fresh soil and position the plant in the center. Spread roots out over the soil and fill in around the roots with fresh soil.
Look for indications of over- or under-watering. Water ivy when soil is dry, but do not let the ivy sit in soggy soil. Waterlogged soil chokes out oxygen and prevents roots from absorbing nutrients. Provide adequate drainage and water ivies thoroughly when dry. Deep watering once a week (or whenever the soil dries) is preferred to frequent light watering.
Watch for signs of inadequate light. Plants that do not get enough light develop long vines with large space between leaves. Leaves may be reduced in size and lack rich green color. Move the plant to an area that receives more light.
Cut back ivies to promote new growth and rejuvenate a sickly plant. Trim vines back to 4 to 6 inches. New growth appears quickly, forming a compact plant with lush new growth.