What Would Eat Off the Ivy Leaves From My Houseplant?

Written by julie christensen
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What Would Eat Off the Ivy Leaves From My Houseplant?
Plant ivy in a pot with adequate drainage to avoid pest problems. (Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

Most houseplant pests don't actually eat ivy leaves, but suck the juice from the leaves. Plants infested with these pests usually have yellowed, distorted or streaked leaves. Most of these insects are small and difficult to see. Insects that eat holes in the leaves usually come from outdoors and are larger and easier to identify. Treat them quickly because their voracious feeding can kill an ivy plant within a few days.


Many beetles may feed on ivy, chewing holes in the leaves or destroying the leaves entirely. Beetles enter the home on plants that summered outdoors, or may enter the home through cracks in windows and doors in the fall. Look under the leaves for beetles. Pick them off and drop them in soapy water to destroy them.


Moths and butterflies may lay their eggs on ivy leaves during the summer outdoors. The eggs hatch when the ivy is brought indoors and the emerging caterpillars begin feeding on the ivy leaves. Look under the leaves for green, grey or white caterpillars, as well as black specks on the leaves, which are caterpillar excrement. Remove the caterpillars and eggs and drop them into a bucket of soapy water.

Sucking Insects

Spider mites and aphids don't actually eat the leaves, but they suck the juices, causing leaves to yellow and wilt. Spider mites -- related to spiders -- are tiny, green or yellow pests that spread from plant to plant via webbing. Aphids are usually green, yellow, red or brown and are usually wingless. Both pests hide on the undersides of leaves. Aphids produce a sticky substance known as honeydew. Treat spider mites and aphids with insecticidal soaps, neem oil or bifenthrin.


Inspect ivy carefully before you purchase it for signs of insect infestation, such as webs on the undersides of the leaves or honeydew. Wash ivy leaves frequently by misting them with a spray bottle filled with water. Another option is to cover the soil with aluminium foil and dip the plants in tepid water. Grow ivies in filtered sunlight and water them to keep the soil evenly moist. Proper growing conditions encourage strong growth, allowing ivy to withstand insect infestations more readily. Use sterilised potting soil and inspect the plants frequently for signs of insect pests, especially after placing them outdoors.

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