Care of English Ivy

Overview

English Ivy, Latin name Hedera helix, is an evergreen vine grown most frequently as an outdoor ground cover, although it is also cultivated as an indoor container plant in cooler climates. English ivy thrives in USDA hardiness zones 4 through 9, as these areas have the cold winters and warm summers that the plant prefers. The plant's vines reach 6 to 8 inches in height and up to 50 feet in length. Fast-growing English ivy is considered invasive in some areas of the country and must be controlled to prevent taking over other areas of the yard and garden.

Step 1

Plant English ivy during early spring or fall in a location that receives partial shade throughout the day. Apply a 2-inch layer of peat moss to the planting site and use a garden tiller to work it into the soil to increase nutrients.

Step 2

Spread a 2-inch layer of mulch over the planting site surrounding English ivy to suppress competitive weeds, improve moisture retention and release additional nutrients into the soil. Add additional mulch as often as necessary to keep it 2 inches thick.

Step 3

Water once per week during the first year of growth to help the plant become established. Decrease the frequency of watering to once every 10 days for the remainder of the plant's life. Do not allow the soil to completely dry out at any time or the leaves may wilt.

Step 4

Fertilize English ivy only when the foliage begins to turn yellow, about once per year. Use a liquid fertilizer such as seaweed or fish emulsion. Apply following the instructions provided by the manufacturer for proper dosage and application.

Step 5

Prune once every three to four years to increase the density of the foliage and prevent the vines from growing rampant. Cut back each vine by several inches and new growth will replace it shortly after.

Tips and Warnings

  • English ivy is extremely invasive and must be trimmed and maintained to prevent spreading to undesired areas.

Things You'll Need

  • Peat moss
  • Garden tiller
  • Mulch
  • Fertilizer

References

  • Clemson University Extension: Ivy
  • Ohio State University: Hedera helix, English Ivy
  • "Mid-Atlantic Gardener's Guide"; André Viette, Mark Viette, Jacqueline Hériteau; 2003
Keywords: English ivy, Hedera helix, English ivy care

About this Author

Willow Sidhe is a freelance writer living in the beautiful Hot Springs, AR. She is a certified aromatherapist with a background in herbalism. She has extensive experience gardening, with a specialty in indoor plants and herbs. Sidhe's work has been published on numerous Web sites, including Gardenguides.com.