English ivy needs about 8 hours of indirect light daily. If planted outside, it needs to be under a shade that allows the reflection of sun rays but never direct sunlight. If grown indoors, it needs a brightly lit space. A good position would be close to a window with sheer curtains.
In this article, we will look at this question in more detail, addressing the exact sunlight requirement of English ivy.
English Ivy Sunlight Requirements
English ivy can adapt to any range of sunlight, from full glare to shade. It can thrive both indoors and outdoors, though you must ensure it gets the right light balance. However, the best light condition for English ivy is partial to full shade.
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The plant must have exposure to sunlight but indirectly. Note that too much sunlight will scorch the foliage and hamper the plant’s growth. Direct exposure causes the leaves to burn (not literally burn up but have burn marks) and also makes its habitat too hot for healthy growth.
The English ivy may withstand a bit of morning sunlight, but that’s about all it can endure. Plant your ivy in a shaded area outdoors that’s not in the direct path of strong winds.
Can English Ivy Grow Without Sunlight?
English ivy can grow without direct sunlight but you need to do is ensure it is in the vicinity of light. You can place fluorescent or grow lights above the topmost leaves of the plant.
Another hack is to put mirrors beside the plant or behind it. This will help to reflect light onto the plant. And though this wouldn’t serve as the level of sunlight needed, it is a great substitute.
You also do not have to worry about it during winter because it can withstand cold weather.
It’s important to state here that too much shade (placing the plant too far away from light) can also hamper its growth. The ivy would produce stringy stems and leaves because the plant would keep reaching for light (source).
How To Grow English Ivy
The ivy can be grown in various ways indoors. It can also be grown outdoors. Because of its stem’s clinging (trailing) ability, it can grow perfectly in hanging vases. You can place these vases in front of a window or shelf, just make sure the window doesn’t get direct sunlight.
If you want to plant English ivy outdoors, note that it adapts to almost any well-drained soil. This includes soil that’s compacted and within different pH levels. However, this plant would thrive best in slightly alkaline soil with pH levels of between 6.0 and 7.8.
To plant the English ivy correctly:
- Dig your preferred spot to a depth of about 8 to 12 inches (20.32-30.48 cm).
- Apply a good quantity of organic matter. This could be compost, peat, moss, manure, or bark.
- Place your plant cutting in the hole and properly cover up the roots.
How To Care for English Ivy
Now that you have planted your English ivy, here are a few tips for its general care:
Growing English Ivy Indoors
You can grow English ivy indoors, but bear in mind the following tips:
- Water the plant adequately. Do not allow it to dry out completely. Additionally, do not allow it to be wet for long periods. If you leave it wet for a long time, the roots will die and rot away. Check the plant regularly to ensure that the soil has a good moisture level.
- Prevent pests. Spider mites love English ivy. However, you can keep your plant free from them by cultivating it in a place with above-average humidity or cool temperatures below 70°F (21.11°C) .
- Ensure the plant is not in a drafty spot– English ivy doesn’t like exposure to cold or hot drafts. This is because exposure to either type of draft would cause the leaves to turn brown and dry out prematurely. For this reason, keep it away from HVAC vents and old doors and windows that are not well-fitted (source).
Growing English Ivy Outdoors
English Ivy can also thrive outdoors so long as you are mindful of the following:
- Apply fertilizer twice a year. This should be done around spring and mid-summer. There are great fertilizer products that you can use. These products also come with instructions on how to use them.
- Trim lightly 2 or 3 times a year. You can always use heavy garden shears to create beautiful designs (the art of topiary). Ensure that you give your English ivy a serious pruning every 3 to 4 years, so it doesn’t overrun everything within reach.
- Pest control. Ensure that you are constantly looking out for any pest that might threaten your plant’s health. The English ivy is generally pest resistant, but when you see signs of any pests on it, a simple Espoma Insecticidal Soap Spray (link to Amazon) should be applied.
One crucial factor to bear in mind is that this plant is toxic to pets and humans. Ingestion of any part of the plant can cause stomach issues for both humans and pets (source). Therefore it is best to plant it well out of the reach of children and pets.
Furthermore, you should always wear long-sleeved clothes and proper gardening gloves whenever you want to handle the plant. This is because the sap causes skin rashes that can last up to five days before clearing.
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