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How to Have a Healthy Ivy Plant in the Home

By M.H. Dyer ; Updated September 21, 2017

Ivy is a versatile, all-around houseplant. Ivy can be planted in a pot alone, it can be combined with other indoor plants, it can trail over the sides of a hanging container, it can twine around a trellis, or it can be pruned into a whimsical indoor topiary. Keeping an ivy plant healthy and at its leafy best isn't difficult, but there are a few simple requirements.

Put ivy in bright light, but avoid putting it in direct sun. A window that faces east will provide moderate light that ivy requires in order to be healthy. Ivy will also do well under a grow light.

Keep ivy in moderate room temperatures. Daytime temperatures to maintain a healthy ivy plant should be between 50 and 70 degrees F. Nighttime temperatures should be 5 to 10 degrees lower.

Allow the top one-half inch of soil to dry before you water ivy, then water it well and let the excess water drain through the hole in the bottom of the planting container. Never let the container sit in water, because one of the most common causes of unhealthy ivy is rot.

Feed ivy with a good quality liquid houseplant fertilizer during periods of active growth. Don't fertilize ivy when growth slows, which often happens in the hottest part of summer, or when temperatures are cooler during the winter.

Be sure ivy has good air circulation. If ivy is planted with other plants, don't allow the plants to become crowded.

Repot the ivy plant as needed, but never repot indoor plants unnecessarily. If the growth has slowed substantially, if you see roots growing through the drainage hole, or if the soil is so compacted that water runs straight through without being absorbed, the ivy probably needs to be repotted. Repot ivy to a container only one size large, filled with commercial potting mixture. Be sure the container has a drainage hole in the bottom.

Keep the ivy foliage clean by wiping it occasionally with a damp cloth, or misting it lightly a spray bottle. This will help to prevent pests such as mealybugs or spider mites. If you notice spider mites or mealybugs on the leaves, pick them off with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol, but be careful not to get rubbing alcohol on the leaves. If necessary, use an insecticide formulated especially for indoor plants, and use it only as directed.


Things You Will Need

  • Grow light (optional)
  • Liquid houseplant fertilizer
  • Container with drainage hole for repotting
  • Commercial potting mixture
  • Rubbing alcohol (if necessary)
  • Insecticide for indoor plants (if necessary)

About the Author


M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.