Hedera Helix Care

Written by reannan raine
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Hedera Helix Care
English ivy can be aggressive. (Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images)

English ivy, botanical name Hedera helix, is commonly thought of as a vine but is actually a high climbing shrub. Most varieties spend part of their life climbing and part of it not climbing. Hedera helix "Arborescens" never climbs. English ivy can be grown as a houseplant or planted outside and grown as a hardy perennial vine. This is a versatile, resilient, easy-to-grow plant when it is cared for properly.

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Container Growing

Plant English ivy in a container with drain holes in the bottom. The container may be clay, plastic or ceramic. Hanging containers work very well for this plant. It is often planted in a container with other plants and allowed to drape down the sides of the pot. Make sure the other plant has similar requirements before planting English ivy in the same pot.

English ivy grows well in sphagnum moss lined wire baskets.
English ivy grows well in sphagnum moss lined wire baskets. (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)


Container grown English ivy should be planted in a good-quality commercial potting mix that does not contain soil. The potting mix must drain quickly. Many commercial mixes contain perlite, sand or vermiculite to improve drainage. Perlite can be added to the potting mix to improve drainage if necessary. Outside English ivy prefers organically rich loamy soil but will grow in most types of soil as long as it drains well. It is not particular about soil pH.


Indoor English ivy needs bright, indirect sunlight. It responds well to fluorescent grow lights in situations where natural sunlight is insufficient. Variegated ivy varieties will revert back to solid green when the plant does not receive enough light. Outdoor English ivy will thrive in partial or full shade. It grows well beneath trees and shrubs as a ground cover.


Keep indoor English ivy consistently moist in the spring, summer and fall. Water it with room-temperature water until it drains from the bottom of the container. Give the plant a high nitrogen liquid fertiliser every four weeks. Allow the top of the potting mix to begin to dry slightly between waterings in the winter and do not give it fertiliser. Mist the plant in the morning if the air is dry. A humidity tray made by placing a layer of pebbles in the bottom of a shallow dish or pie pan with an inch or two of water can also be used to provide extra moisture. Set the tray beneath the plant. Do not place the plant container directly into the water. Outdoor English ivy should also be kept consistently moist. Consistent moisture will produce better foliage colour.

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