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English Ivy- Plant Bio: Podcast Ep#71

English Ivy is truly a classic houseplant. But did you know there are hundreds of cultivars in different sizes and colors? Traditionally grown as a trailing plant, English Ivy can adapt and be trained to grow on any structure, or into any shape, you want!

Botanical Name: Hedera helix

Common Names: English Ivy, Common Ivy,

In working with and seeing English Ivy at garden centers, they rarely have the cultivar or variety name on them. There are few common color variations I see but their cultivar names can vary. The colors are dark green with smaller leaves, dark green with larger leaves, white variegated, frosty white variegated and yellow variegated. Clemson University had a wonderful article (linked here) about English Ivy and if you scroll down to the Cultivars section you will see a very long list of names and descriptions.

Sun Requirements:

English Ivy do their best in bright light but can handle low to medium lights for less variegated varieties. The more variegation in the plant, the more light they may need to hold their variegation. It is best to avoid direct sunlight to prevent any burning.

Keep in mind, if you keep your plant in low to medium light, it may grow a bit slower and won't be as dense but it will survive and continue to grow in lower light.

Water Requirement

The best watering habit for Ivy would be to water when the top half of the soil is dry. Avoid letting the plant sit in water and avoid letting it completely dry out to where the leaves start to drop. If you aren't quite sure if you are providing too little or too much water, I would highly recommend trying a Moisture Meter Reader. It is a great tool to measure the moisture until you understand the watering cadence needed for your conditions.

These plants also thrive with in medium humidity if you have the capability to provide this. If you don't, these plants can still survive without lots of extra humidity. In my experience, my Ivy benefitted from an occasional misting as well.


As I always say, there are LOTS of ways to fertilize plants. Unless you are extremely over-fertilizing your plant, there isn't necessarily a wrong way to do this. I currently use Fox Farm's Grow Big Liquid Fertilizer and I normally fertilize every 2 weeks when I water my plants, starting around the end of February through October. I honestly probably only fertilize once or twice in winter because the plant isn't as active! I use about 1/2 to 3/4 the recommended amount of fertilizer because I would rather under-fertilize than over-fertilize my plants.

In this case, you don't need to fertilize the houseplant as much to be successful. Here are a couple other recommendations:

The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual: "Feed monthly year-round with a high-nitrogen foliage plant fertilizer"

There are MANY ways to fertilize and it is completely up to you! There are tons of products out there you can try but an overall rule of thumb for houseplants is that it is best to under-fertilize, rather than over-fertilize. Always use the recommended amount, or less, when applying your fertilizer to houseplants.


English Ivy is easy to root by taking stem cuttings and placing them in water, soil or any medium you prefer (like perlite, leca, moss, etc.).

Other Facts

  • All part of the Araliaceae family

  • Native to parts of Europe and Asia.

  • English Ivy can survive in slightly cooler climates and is more comfortable in about 50-70 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • According to "The healing power of plants" by Fran Bailey English Ivy is "an excellent candidate for purifying the air around us. It is not only effective in filtering out formaldehyde and xylene (found in cleaning products) but also traps airborne particulates such as mold, smoke, and dust which may affect allergy sufferers."

  • This plant can grow very fast if given the correct environment and can be trained into almost any shape or topiary.

  • The mature size of the plant depends on how you grow the plant. You can keep the plant smaller, trail down several feet or you could create a tree shaped topiary if you wanted to!

  • They are toxic to pets. If you are interested in learning about more pet friendly plants, check out Podcast Ep#31 for more info or the corresponding blog post!



Go to Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, and more! Search for Houseplant Homebody to hear this episode and MANY more! You can also listen directly on my website under the Podcast page!


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Always written with extreme plant passion!

Love, Holly (Owner & Creator of Houseplant Homebody LLC)


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