Ivy Plant Care
Ivy is a very resistant and very fast-growing climber that can be used both to cover walls or walls, and to create a green carpet. It is very adaptable , and does not need frequent waterings to be able to stay precious.
It is a perfect plant for beginners, since one could say that it is practically taken care of alone. Therefore, ivy care is minimal .
Characteristics of the ivy
The ivy, which belongs to the botanic genus Hedera, is a perennifolia climber (that is, always green) from Europe, Africa and Asia of very rapid growth that does not have tendrils . It is formed by simple, lobed, alternate, coriaceous and bright leaves of dark green or variegated with a diameter of between 5 and 10 centimeters. These can be of two types: those of the non-floriferous branches are lobed, while those of the flowering branches lack lobes.
Its flowers are small, green and appear in simple globular umbels that form a corymb. Once they are pollinated, the fruit begins to mature, which is a black berry the size similar to that of the peas inside which we will find 2 to 5 seeds. You have to be very careful with this plant, since all its parts are toxic . It is not a matter of demonizing it, but simply to inform oneself and to avoid putting it in the gardens where there are children and pets.
It has a fairly fast growth rate , being able to grow about 10-20 centimeters per year, which is why it is a very interesting ground cover or cover.
Types of ivy
What care do you need?
If we want to have it outside it is highly recommended to put it in a bright area but without direct sunlight . If we live in an area with a mild climate or not too hot (with maximum temperatures of 30ºC) it can give direct sunlight a few hours in the morning or at dusk, but it will develop better in semi-shade.
Being one of the most adaptable climbers that exist, we can use them as an indoor plant by placing it in a room where a lot of natural light enters . We can have it as we have the potos ( Epipremnum aureum ), that is, in a pot climbed only by a tutor, or you can hook their stems for example on the frame of a door or on a wall.
Soil And substrate
It is not demanding. It grows well in neutral or slightly acidic soils or substrates (with a pH of 5 to 7). The only thing that we have to take into account is that it must be a well-drained soil or substrate, since it does not tolerate ponding well. You have more information on this topic here .
It is not necessary to be very frequent, especially if we have it on land. Two or three waterings a week during the hottest months and one or two per week for the rest of the year will suffice . You have to try to use water that is not too calcareous (pH of 7 at the most), because although it is not acidophilic , lime can accumulate on the surface of the leaves, which can cause problems by plugging the pores.
It is very important to pay for it, especially in spring and summer , with organic fertilizers . If we have it in the garden, we can go throwing the eggshells and banana, coffee grounds, tea bags, plus of course compost or manure . If instead we have it in a pot, I advise fertilizing it with liquid fertilizers, such as chemicals (Universal, Green Plants) sold in nurseries, or guano .
It can grow at a rate of 10-20 centimeters per year, so one of the care that should be provided is pruning. The stems must be trimmed with pruning shears previously disinfected with alcohol towards the end of winter or autumn , in order to keep the development of the plant under control. Also, we have to remove those stems that look sick, weak or dry.
Time of planting or transplant
The best time to plant it in the garden or pass it to a larger pot is in the spring , when the risk of frost has passed. In the case of having it in a container, we will have to transplant it every two years. By the way, a very simple trick so that the earth does not get out through the drainage holes is placing mesh of very small holes (like those with the anti-weed mesh). This type of fabric allows the water to pass, but not the substrate, so it is very useful ????.
Ivy is multiplied by seeds in spring and by cuttings in spring-summer. Let’s see how to proceed in each case:
If we want to sow the seeds we have to do the following :
- The first thing we have to do is peel the fruit to expose the seeds, having previously put on gloves.
- Next, we clean the seeds thoroughly with water.
- Then, fill a pot of about 10.5 cm in diameter with universal growing substrate and water.
- Now, we place a maximum of 3 seeds on the surface of the substrate, as far apart as possible.
- Then, we cover them with a layer of not very thick substrate (just enough so that they are not exposed directly to the sun).
- Finally, we spread copper or sulfur to prevent the appearance of fungi, and we water again.
The seeds will germinate in a maximum period of two months.
To multiply the ivy by cuttings we simply have to cut stems of about 40cm and introduce them into a glass of water that we will change daily. Another option is to impregnate the base with rooting hormones and plant them in a pot. They will take root after two or three weeks.
Although it does not usually have problems, it can sometimes be affected by:
- Red spider : are very small mites, less than 0.5cm, red color that are very reminiscent of spiders. They feed on the cells of plants. We can know what he has if we see cobwebs between the leaves. Fortunately, we can eliminate them with insecticides such as Chlorpyrifos, or with natural products such as neem oil or potassium soap .
- Mealybugs : can be several types: algson, or flat. If they are few, we can remove them with an ear swab dipped in pharmacy alcohol, but if there are many I recommend using diatomaceous earth (the dose is 30g per liter of water). .
- Aphids : are parasites less than 0.5 cm that, like the red spider, feed on the sap of leaves and stems. They can also be found in flowers. To combat them, the most effective are the yellow chromatic traps. These attract parasites, who get hooked to the trap. .
The diseases that can have are:
- Bacteriosis : they appear in the form of spots on the leaves and chancres on the stem. The most recommended treatment is to cut the affected parts with scissors previously disinfected with pharmacy alcohol.
- Anthracnose : known as canker or chancre is a disease caused by a fungus of the genus Colletotrichum or Gloeosporium. The symptoms in the ivy are brown spots on the leaves, around the nerves. The treatment consists of cutting the affected parts and applying copper-based fungicides 3 times at 7-day intervals.
- Oidio : is a fungus that mainly affects the leaves and fruits, where a kind of white powder will appear. It is treated with copper-based fungicides.
- Bold : usually appears as a result of the attack of woodlice. It is a fungus that affects any part of the plants, which it covers with a black powder. It is not very serious, but it is advisable to cut the affected parts with previously disinfected scissors and treat with fungicides.
It is a plant quite resistant to cold and frost of up to -4ºC . Even so, young specimens need a little protection during the first two years.
What uses does ivy have?
This is a plant that has several uses, which are:
- Ornamental : it is very decorative. Its green or variegated leaves look great in any corner, both indoors and outdoors. It can be used to cover floors, walls, lattices, trunks of dry trees, and even as a pendant.
- Medicinal : the leaves contain saponin, which is a substance with spasmolytic, expectorant and antitussive action. However, it can only be isolated in laboratories. Remember that this plant is toxic if consumed directly, and can produce from vomiting to coma.
Where to buy it and what price does it have?
If we intend to get a copy, just visit a nursery or gardening shop in the area. It is a very common plant that is sold almost anywhere ????. Its price will depend on the size, but for us to get an idea, one that is in a pot of about 10cm can leave us for 1 or 2 euros ; and another that is in a 20-25cm for about 20 euros.
I am Don Burke, one of the authors at My Garden Guide. I am a horticulturist that cultivates, grows, and cares for plants, ranging from shrubs and fruits to flowers. I do it in my own garden and in my nursery. I show you how to take care of your garden and how to perform garden landscaping in an easy way, step by step.I am originally from Sydney and I wrote in local magazines. Later on, I have decided, more than two decades ago, to create my own blog. My area of specialization is related to orchid care, succulent care, and the study of the substrate and the soil. Therefore, you will see many articles dedicated to these disciplines. I also provide advice about how to improve the landscape design of your garden.