Many plant lovers enjoy English ivy because of its hardiness and low maintenance. It offers beautiful green foliage to brighten a room or cover the ground in a garden. While it is hardy, you may wonder how long it can go without water.
English ivy has medium water requirements. Its soil should never go dry between waterings or become saturated with the roots soaking in water. The ivy needs water no more than once weekly. Well-draining soil that retains moisture will help ensure the plant gets the proper amount of water.
This article will explain the proper way to water an English ivy plant and the risks associated with over and underwatering. It will also explain the other essential care elements to maintain a healthy, vibrant plant. Finally, I will highlight the potential hazards of raising this plant outdoors.
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How Often Should You Water English Ivy?
You should water English ivy once every 7 days. This should be enough to moisten the soil without over saturating it. Though the plant has medium water requirements, it should never dry out.
While considered a hardy plant, English ivy has strict water requirements. As a result, it does not do well with too much water or too little water.
It can be confusing to determine whether your plant is suffering from overwatering or underwatering, as the signs are similar for both conditions.
Let’s explore how much water is suitable for English ivy.
How Much Water English Ivy Requires
As mentioned, your English ivy should never dry out completely. When caring for it, you should water it thoroughly, ensuring the soil becomes completely moistened but not overly saturated.
You want to provide enough water to allow the plant continuous moisture, not soggy roots. On average, it will need water no more than once a week (source).
This plant also has an advantage over other plants because its root system is not deep. It has what is referred to as adventitious roots, which sprout out from locations other than the root system.
For the English ivy, these roots are aerial, as they do not bury themselves in the dirt. They still collect water but have a thick, waxy layer of protection that traditional roots do not, so they are protected from dehydration (source).
How To Tell When English Ivy Needs Water
The best way to tell whether your English ivy needs water is to check the soil physically. The top half inch (1.27 cm) of soil should be dry before applying more water. This will prevent overwatering. The plant should never be allowed to sit in standing water, which could lead to severe root problems.
The English ivy plant prefers a humid environment, which can be harder to recreate in the home. According to Clemson University’s Home and Garden Information Center, you can increase the humidity the plant receives by placing it on a tray of wet pebbles (source).
Risks of Overwatering English Ivy
Too much water can lead to a condition known as root rot. This results from watering more often than the English ivy likes and not allowing the soil to drain properly. Ultimately, the roots stand in excess water long enough that they begin breaking down (source).
Overwatering in plants can appear very similar to underwatering. The roots become waterlogged, preventing essential oxygen from reaching them.
This, in turn, hampers the transfer of nutrients to the rest of the plant, resulting in yellowing leaves or leaf scorch. You may also notice a marked reduction in growth (source).
This condition is called root rot and can be fatal to the plant (source).
Risks of Underwatering English Ivy
As noted, underwatering English ivy can be easily confused with overwatering since it also results in the yellowing or browning of the leaves. Plant growth also becomes severely stunted. If the plant is severely wilted, the roots can become heavily affected by drought, and the plant will be nearing death.
Ivies are considered relatively drought-resistant due to their medium water requirements. However, they are like any other plant and will eventually die without enough moisture intake.
Watering is not the only requirement for maintaining a healthy English ivy though. We’re going to look at other essential care elements next.
Proper Care Requirements for English Ivy
In addition to proper watering, the English ivy requires several other care elements to remain healthy and vibrant. While this plant is relatively low maintenance, it does require proper soil, sunlight, and fertilizing to grow exceptionally well.
The Type of Soil English Ivy Requires
English ivy requires well-draining soil that retains enough moisture to keep the plant comfortable but not so much that the plant sits in excess water. The pH needs to be adjusted to 6.0. This adjustment is made by adding dolomite, which adds calcium and magnesium to the potting mix (source).
English Ivy Sunlight Requirements
For the English ivy to flower, it requires a significant amount of direct sunlight in the fall. While it will continue to increase heavily in dense shade, you will not see any flower buds without sunlight (source).
Additionally, excessive deep shade can result in a loss of variegation. Fortunately, relocating the plant to a sunny location can help restore the colors that have faded out, so this is not considered a severe problem (source).
Fertilizing English Ivy
You should fertilize English ivy no more than once a month during the growing season. When growing the plant indoors, use fertilizer designed for indoor plants. Fertilization should be stopped during the heat of the summer and in colder months to prevent damage to the plant (source).
Growing English Ivy Outdoors
Native to Europe and Western Asia, English ivy is considered an invasive species in North America. It can proliferate if left unchecked. Its most common use outdoors is as ground cover, and it has been known to choke native species.
Because of this, you must take care when planting English ivy outside. Throwing clippings away can result in the plant taking root, as the roots simply need to touch the ground to take hold. Thus, you need to consider how this plant grows before you decide to add it to your garden (source).
English ivy is a hardy, easy-to-care-for plant. Its water requirements are also moderate. By providing well-draining soil that retains moisture, you will help ensure that your plant receives the right amount of water at all times.
Watering no more than once weekly will keep your plant from overwatering while checking for signs of dry soil will prevent it from being underwater.
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