I frequently get asked just how do I manage to keep my ivy looking so healthy and lush? I also ask myself the same question! However what I can do is share with you some of my top tips that I hope will help you and your indoor jungle.
Now I won’t pretend to be an expert. I’m still learning, and have most certainly made mistakes in the past, with some losses… but what I hope to do is share some insights into the world of the Hedera Helix!
So first things first, what conditions do they like?
- Indirect sunlight
- Don’t overwater
- Don’t underwater either!
Let’s go into these in more detail!
Give Me Light!
Indirect light is something I see whenever I’m looking up plant conditions online or in my plant books, and it’s never been 100% clear to me what this means. From my experience. it means a very bright room, but not placed directly in the sun rays all day.
Ivy plants do not like a dark room, so unless you want to slowly watch it wither away, I would most certainly pop it in a brighter room. I’ve made this mistake before, and they’ve either not grown AT ALL, or withered. Mistake number one!
From my experience, getting the balance right with the watering was one of the hardest lessons I had to learn when it comes to caring for ivy. I lost many the plant baby before I found the happy balance!
My biggest top tip is the poke test. By this, I mean when you go to water your ivy plant, literally poke the soil, and if it is dry to the touch about 1-2cm deep, it is ready for a watering. If it is still quite moist, give it a miss for a few days.
Ivy plants like to be on the drier side of the fence. I find watering them once a week, and checking with the poke test has ensured none of them are thirsty and none are watered before they should be.
Put Away The Watering Can Sharon!
To make things more difficult… Ivy also don’t like to be overwatered! Signs of an overwatered plant include brown and dry leaves, or leaves with dry edges. (Go figure?!)
If you stick to the poke test, you should be plain sailing! But if you prefer to be on the safe side, little and often works too.
Generally, my ivy plants have thrived when I water just once a week, when the poke test signals to me they need it. This tends to be less often in winter, and every week in summer. I don’t give them loads of water, so use your judgement. But as they are quite happy on the drier side, little and often is a good method.
Ahh The Humidity!!
To keep your ivy growing lush and green, another top tip is regular misting. I use a standard water spray bottle filled with tap water, and I spray both the tops, and more importantly the underneaths of the leaves.
Not only will misting your ivy help it grow, it will also work as a brilliant preventative measure to the dreaded spider mites! (More on these little suckers later) This is especially important in winter, when we have the heating on and generally houses have quite dry air.
Alternatively, another method to maintain the humidity is by laying pebbles on a saucer, then laying your ivy pot on top, so when the water evaporates, the plant can absorb the moisture. I haven’t tried this method myself, so if you do, let me know how this goes!
Help, I Have Spider Mites!
I have quite a few varieties of plants in my home, and so far the only pest issue I have faced is spider mites on ivy. These pests literally suck out all the nutrients in the leaves of your ivy, one by one, starting at the base of the plant.
Generally, these little suckers seem to crop up around winter time, just as the heating is coming on, and the air in the house becomes quite dry. My house is quite cold, with single glaze sash windows, so these conditions are best for spider mites, especially when the plant is placed somewhere draughty like on a fireplace.
So how do I know my plant has mites?
If you check the underneaths of the leaves, and see web-like structures and teeny tiny black dots, this is the start of a spider mite infestation. It’s okay, it’s not too late, we can tackle this!
If left a little longer, you’ll start seeing mottled leaves, as the nutrients get sucked right out of them, and eventually these leaves drop off. In some cases, the leaves look perfectly healthy, but the plant is quite weak and can’t maintain them, so they quite easily drop off too. This tends to be at the base of the plant, and will slowly work its way down the stems if we don’t intervene.
So how do we get rid of the little suckers?
Firstly, prevention is best: regular misting as part of the plant care routine is the way forward.
Failing that, if you suspect spider mites, I recommend quarantining the plant in the bathroom (humidity). Give it a bit of a clean where the plant was, just to be safe. Then, take a combination of 1 teaspoon of washing up liquid (non de-greasing kind), and fill a spray bottle with lukewarm water, and spray your plant ALL over in the bathtub, paying special attention to the underneaths of leaves. Keep it in the bathroom for a week, to keep it in the most humid environment. Then repeat the washing liquid spritz a week after its first sesh. Depending on the severity of the spider mites, you may want to quarantine it for a while longer, to be sure and to protect your other plants.
This is a tried and tested method, as I almost lost my favourite and largest ivy plant to spider mites last year, and look at him now all green and lush! New leaves every day!
So phew, that was a lot of information to take in, so let’s summarise it!
Locate in a bright room, out of direct sun rays
Water once a week, and use the poke test for balanced watering
Mist regularly, once or twice a week
Check for mites!
Hope this was useful guys! Let me know in the comments below!
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