Whether it’s growing up a wall, rambling on the ground, or dangling down the sides of an indoor pot, ivy is a lovely plant. Rich green foliage and the ability to climb or sprawl make ivy popular amongst plant lovers, and one of my favorites.
Like all plants though, ivy can show signs of stress that might have owners panicking. Why is my ivy dying, you ask? We’ve got you covered with four common issues and some simple tricks to solve them.
4 Common Reasons Why You Ivy Is Dying and How To Solve Them
1. Too Little Water, Or Too Much?
Everyone knows that plants need water to survive, but how much water does your ivy plant need? This will depend on where your plant is and what it is sitting in.
For outdoor plants, you should be watering once a week, but if like me, you live in a region with dry summers and periods of drought, you’re going to need to increase this to twice a week.
A good long soak is best, as it lets the water soak down into the soil where the roots are.
For indoor plants, the same applies; about once a week, but be mindful of where the pot is sitting.
Direct sun and wind through windows and dry air from air conditioners can make a plant dry out quickly, and things like steam from showers or baths can mean soil stays moister.
The general rule of thumb is that your soil should be dry on the surface but moist as you dig down further. Dry soil on top will appear lighter in color than the damp soil beneath it, so it’s easy to spot the difference.
If you’re noticing your soil is dry, increase your watering. If it’s always damp, ease off and let it dry out between waterings.
It’s also worth checking soil quality, which can impact how much water is getting to the roots.
If your soil is still dry after watering or rain, it may be hydrophobic or compacted, or your pot plant may be root bound. You can fix this by adding a good amount of organic matter, applying a wetting agent, or repotting your plant into a bigger container.
How do you tell if it’s overwatering or underwatering that is causing the problem?
An unhappy plant that just isn’t thriving, with wilting or brown crispy leaves and stems, could be suffering from underwatering.
A plant with drooping yellow leaves with brown spots or tips, and soil that has spider web-looking fungi or a strong smell to it might be suffering from overwatering.
2. Too Much Sun
Like us getting sunburnt, the direct summer sun can cause serious damage to the leaves of ivy.
Ivy has evolved as an understory climber that grows on larger trees in woodlands and forests. This means that it prefers dappled sunlight, not direct sun.
Sun damage looks like white or light brown spots on leaves or even presents as dead, brown, and crispy sections of your plant.
Once it’s happened, the damage is done, and the best thing you can do is cut it back and encourage new growth.
If an outdoor plant is sun-damaged, it may be from an unusually hot day. Consider if there have been any changes to surrounding shade trees or structures that might be letting in more sun than normal.
Good watering the day before a hot day can also help, as sun damage is often compounded when plants are drying out.
If your ivy is in a pot, then it’s much easier to just move it to somewhere with less sun, or place a screen, like a curtain, between the plant and the sun.
3. Pest and Disease
The most common pests I find on ivy plants are spider mites and aphids, and fungal infections like root rot, leaf spot, and downy mildew. A healthy plant can handle most pests and diseases on its own, but sometimes it might need some help.
Spider mites and aphids will be visible on your plants, and you can see the damage they cause when they eat the foliage.
Fungal infections can cause issues to the plant’s roots, leaves, and overall vigor. They generally present as brown spots and white mildew on leaves, and root rot in the soil.
Removing infected foliage can help stop the spread.
Giving your plants a good spray with a hose when watering can wash off any critters and fungal spores. You can also apply a pesticide if the issue gets out of control.
4. Poor Nutrient Availability
All living things need nutrients, and for plants, it’s all about Nitrogen, Potassium, and Phosphorus.
For ivy, nitrogen is most important as it promotes the growth of foliage and helps the plant grow.
To ensure your plant has access to enough nutrients, make sure you refresh your potting mix or blend organic compost through your garden bed. Be sure to add a slow-release or liquid fertilizer regularly.
Your ivy is a tough plant that can handle a lot, but there are some issues that they just don’t like.
So to keep on top of everything:
- Make sure you’re getting your plant the right amount of water. Soil should be dry on top but moist deeper down.
Look at soil improvements like repotting or adding a wetting agent.
- Be sure to keep your plant away from things like air-conditioners that can dry out the soil quicker.
- Too much sun is a no-no. Keep your ivy out of direct sunlight and place it in a location with dappled sun
- If you can’t relocate your plant, try adding some shade or a screen, and keep the moisture up to it on hot days.
- A healthy plant will be resilient to pests and diseases, but you can help by washing down your plant when watering ensuring your soil doesn’t stay damp, and by removing any infected foliage before the issue can spread. You can also apply pesticides if the problem is getting out of control.
Happy plants start with good soil, and good soil will have good nutrient levels. Make sure you’re regularly repotting your ivy to freshen up your potting mix and incorporate organic matter into your garden beds to keep your soil thriving. A good slow-release or liquid fertilizer can do wonders.
Comment below if you have an issue with your ivy that we haven’t mentioned!