Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How to Propagate Boston Ivy

Boston ivy is a climbing vine that adorns the exteriors of buildings in many parts of the world. Boston ivy is a fast grower. It can grow as much as 10 feet in a single growing season. The new leaves open up in spring a glossy bronze color, and then change to a medium green and then to a dark green. Depending on the variety, Boston ivy displays brilliant fall color in tones of yellow, orange, scarlet, crimson or wine. You can increase your supply by taking tip cuttings and rooting them in water; this is the fastest and easiest way to propagate a large number of ivy cuttings.

Take cuttings of Boston ivy in early spring, as soon as they have leafed out and the vines are putting on tender new growth.

Cut from the tips of the vines. Take cuttings that are about 6- to 8-inches long. Make the cut just below a leaf node. This is the point on the stem from which a leaf grows. Roots will form there as well. Remove the bottom two leaves on each cutting.

Fill a quart-size jar halfway with filtered, distilled or bottled water. Use clean, potable water that does not contain chlorine, because chlorine can inhibit the formation of roots.

Put 1 tsp. of granulated charcoal into the jar. It will sink to the bottom. The charcoal keeps the water “sweet” and will inhibit the growth of undesirable bacteria in the water.

Put the tip cuttings of Boston ivy into the water. Add water as needed to ensure that the denuded leaf nodes are under water. Make sure that the remaining leaves on the cuttings are above the level of the water to keep them from decaying and contaminating the rooting process.

Set the jar of cuttings on a sunny, south-facing windowsill, right next to the windowpane. Check the jar daily and add water as necessary to keep the level above the leaf nodes, but below the level of the leaves on the cuttings. Roots will form in three to six weeks.

Transplant the individual cuttings into the garden when the roots are about 3-inches long. Leaving them in water to grow longer may cause the roots of the cuttings in the jar to entangle and tear when you try to separate them.

Garden Guides