How Long Does it Take for Ivy Plants to Die When Using Bleach?

Written by kay wagers
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How Long Does it Take for Ivy Plants to Die When Using Bleach?
Bleach helps you kill small amounts of ivy. (Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

When problem plants grow in your yard, getting rid of them is challenging. If unwanted ivy has sprouted around your home and you don't have plant or weed killer handy, household bleach helps you kill it.

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Liquid household bleach damages and destroys organic matter. Bleach contains chemical compounds called surfactants. Surfactants penetrate the protective outer layers of bacteria. They also deeply penetrate the cells of living things like plants. Once bleach gets inside the cells of a plant leaf, it damages them. Enough damaged cells causes the leaves to die, which in turn affects the health of the plant. Bleach also kills other plant tissues, such as stems and roots.


Pour undiluted bleach at the base of the ivy plant, and then spray its leaves with bleach. After the first application, the ivy's leaves discolour and turn yellow, looking as though they've been burnt. Reapply the bleach every three days or so for a couple weeks before the plant is so damaged that it dies. Large, extensive ivy plants could take another week to die, while smaller plants die faster.


Using bleach isn't a very effective choice for killing ivy. Bleach won't penetrate the ground deeply enough to kill all the plant's roots. Given time to recover, the ivy grows back. At the same time, any nearby plants spattered with bleach are damaged. They won't die, but thy will look less attractive as their leaves wither and spot.


Use bleach to spray the leaves every three days for a week. This damages and weakens the ivy. After a week, cut down the ivy plant and dig up the roots. Weakened by the bleach, it is unlikely that any lingering root fragments left behind will be strong enough to grow back. Because you haven't poured bleach on the soil, you can plant something else to replace the ivy right away.

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