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How to Grow English Ivy

By Cathy Conrad ; Updated September 21, 2017

Trailing vines of English Ivy are a pretty sight whether in the garden or in a container. English Ivy, however, is an invasive plant and will need strict control to prevent it from overtaking other plants in the garden. If properly cared for, it is a beautiful addition to any garden. English Ivy does best in containers, growing over arbors, trellises and along fences.

Plant in full to partial sun in well-drained soil. In Zones 4 through 7, plant ivy in partial sun to avoid winter burn in cold months. For more than one plant, space them 12 to 18 inches apart in the garden area. If you want the ivy to grow over an arbor, trellis or fence, plant the ivy as close to the structure as possible. Water the ivy well after planting. Ivy prefers moist soil for optimum growing conditions.

Prune new plants to 6 inches before or after planting. Do not fertilize ivy for the first three months. After that, fertilize monthly with a 10-10-10 all-purpose fertilizer during the growing season.

Trim ivy at least two to three times a year to promote new growth and to make the ivy grow fuller. Trim ivy anytime you see bare spots that you want filled in. If the ivy gets too big, pull any extra plants from the ground and replant them elsewhere.

Control aphids or spider mites with an organic pesticide or by submerging the container plant in a mild soap and water solution. In the garden, use a spray bottle on the tops and undersides of leaves.

Check the plants every two weeks for the presence of aphids or spider mites. Aphids resemble small fleas. Spider mites are only detected with a magnifying glass and look like white spots. Repeat the pesticide as necessary to control these pests.


Things You Will Need

  • Pruning shears
  • All purpose fertilizer
  • Pesticide


  • Place a cutting of ivy in water and leave it for one month. Once you see new roots, plant them in a container to start a new plant.

About the Author


Cathy Conrad has more than five years of newsprint experience as an assistant editor and is a professional writer. She has worked as a virtual assistant and email support specialist, and has more than 20 years of experience working in the medical field. Conrad is currently licensed as a Texas insurance representative and has many years in home improvement and gardening.