English Ivy - Variegated

sharbear50(6a Bella Vista)April 17, 2012

I bought a really pretty English Ivy (hedera helix variegated)a couple of months ago. It did fine on my screened porch with morning sun but now it is getting dried leaves near the base of the vines.

I am in the Orlando Florida area. Is it to hot? Should I bring it in? Now with the sun shining more on my porch (till about 1pm) is it getting too much sun? I have been letting it dry a little between watering. I am using a water soluble fertilizer in small amounts.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


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I don't have the same environment, but I would guess it's as you say - too much sun. This plant doesn't mind some direct sun, but it's also very happy in indirect bright light. I'd guess it's getting too hot where you have it.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 11:21AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

sharbear, you said letting it dry a little between watering. It may be too often or is not draining well. Is it still in the pot/soil it was in when you bought it, or repotted?

I would suspect a drainage/water issue over heat and too much sun, especially since it's morning sun. I have one that's been in a pot outside for 6 years that I know of. It was on the back porch when I moved in. Until this year, it was getting sun from about 12:30 pm until dusk, many 100+ degree days. I moved it to a more sunny spot about a month ago, on top of a stump, and it's doing well, we've almost hit 90 a few days already.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 12:00PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

While there are a good number of possible causes that match up with the symptoms, you'd do well to first eliminate or confirm spider mites as the possible cause any time the conversation contains the words 'English ivy' or Hedera. They're mite magnets.


    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 1:44PM
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Sharbear..The first thing that came to mind were Spider Mites.
Leaves feel/look dry when Mites attack.
Are leaves mottled or pale?
Check upper/lower foliage, and stems for tiny webbing. Mites are difficult if not impossible eying, but webbs are an easy target.

You said the porch gets hot..How high, and does it cool down at night?
What about air circulation? It's very, very important Ivy is in a room with good air circulation.

You said you fertilize in small amounts..How often do you fertilize?

When a plant isn't well, fertilizer should be withheld.
Here in IL, Ivy is slow-growing.
IMO, slow-growers need less fertilizer. Once a month at half strength is sufficient. Good luck, Toni

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 4:36PM
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sharbear50(6a Bella Vista)

Thank you all for the help. So if it is spider mites, how do I get rid of them? I don't like to use pesticides.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 7:49AM
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sharbear50(6a Bella Vista)

Oh by the way, the porch faces a large lake and is often windy so I don't think it is air circulation. It could be drainage, I have it in the pot it came in with the soil it came with. The soil seems to be peat and/or composted material that holds a lot of water. I was using a weak mix of water soluble fertilizer but have stopped that. I don't see any webbing from spider mites. I have moved it to a less sunny location on my porch to see if that helps.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 8:44AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Aha. I think that's the problem, the peat holds too much water. If you actually let it dry well like you should, it's impossible to get wet again. Terrible stuff.

If you do find spider mites on smooth-leaved plants, wiping them on both sides of the leaves, especially at the petiole junction, with a cotton ball that is damp with rubbing alcohol will remove them. I've only had plants get them bad enough to affect the plant's health inside, not outside.

If it were me, I would replace the peatish soil with something that drains better (plenty of discussions on here and container forum about that), then put it back into morning sun. Although it's got a reputation as a shade-loving ground cover, ivy wants to get to the top of the tree or the wall and bask in the sun.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 11:44AM
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Shar, I agree w/Purple..since soil holds water, it needs a better draining mix.

Like Al stated, Ivy are Mite magnets, still the problem could be a combo. Spider Mites and bad drainage.

If it were my plant, I'd first repot in fresh, well-draining soil.
Either clean the pot thoroughly or use a new container.

After potting, leaves would be sprayed with the hose on kitchen sink.

I mist plants daily, so have several sprayers handy. I'd keep one 16-20 oz sprayer filled w/water and 2-3 drops of liquid dish soap, then spray leaves, thoroughly.
Usually, a second or third application is needed.

Plants can be sprayed using soap as a preventative to mites; it won't harm plants..plus leaves will be dust-free.

Also, like Cactus said, Ivy does well in indirect, bright light. No need for direct sun.
Plus, the cooler the better.

Although Ivy, especially variegated Ivy is beautiful, it's a very difficult plant growing indoors.
My Canary looks awful. If it kicks the bucket, I give up. :)

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 1:47PM
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