My English Ivy has Spider Mites

amany(MI / 6)June 24, 2006


I have an English ivy at work. It has spider mites. I took it outside, sprayed it with soapy water and it's now sitting at one of the picnic tables. I plan to spray it every three days or so for a couple more weeks. I'll bring it back inside when the temps drop down to about 40 degrees. This time I'll keep it in the ladies restroom. There are no windows, but there is plenty fluorescent lighting. I hesitate to keep it where I had it before because there are other live plants there. I'm afraid that if it gets spider mites again, the other plants will be affected. I found out that it's a spider mite magnet.

This is the first English Ivy I've owned. It's a beautiful plant. Could you give me any tips on keeping it alive?

Here's a picture. It's not great, but you can tell how pretty it is.

Here is a link that might be useful:

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

English ivy IS a magnet for spider mites, especially when we bring them inside. If you are going to try to keep this plant, I strongly recommend that you forget about 'soapy water' and think in terms of commercial insecticidal soap. Much more effective!!! And be sure to spray the underside of the leaves as that is where the mites hang out.

I won't have English Ivy in my home for this very reason....but I sure do wish you well. It won't fare well in the ladies' room, by the way. The light situation is not acceptible for long term health and vigor. I suggest that you try to find a somewhat shady area for it outside. This is a plant that is VERY cold hardy, you know. It will thrive outside in zone 4 winter temperatures. 40 degrees is nothing for this plant. It can handle the full brunt of a zone 4 winter.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2006 at 11:10PM
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amany(MI / 6)

Thanks Rhizo.

Maybe I can work something out with the maintenance mangager that will allow me to keep it in a good spot outdoors over the winter. Just about everyone at work has fallen in love with it.

I had no idea it could survive winters that cold. I live in Zone 5, so it should be ok.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2006 at 11:34PM
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Amany, yes your EI is beautiful. I can see why you want to keep it alive.
Is there a cool spot anywhere in your house or work? If so, it should do fine there..Or even up against a window.
Ivy's can live in homes for yrs w/the correct and air circulation. I've tried growing English Ivy outside but it's died over winter..well, I should say, I had one that made it two yrs, but died the third..this was probably my fault though cause I didn't cover in fall.
I also don't blame you for not want it neighboring other plants, in case it attracts mites again. In fact, those plants it's been adjacent to, should be inspected now.
If it was my plant, I'd keep outside until Oct, then bring in during winter away from a heating vent. Mist daily, and don't keep soil muddy..Toni

    Bookmark   June 25, 2006 at 8:17AM
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My goodness, I couldn't agree more with Rhizo about the Ivy being a spider mite magnet. I don't have English Ivy - or any type of Ivy - in my home either for that reason. And like Rhizo, I will also suggest commercial insecticidal soap, which will be much more effective. You can repeat the application over a period of time and check your plant to make sure that there is no more mite presence. You will appreciate having used the insecticidal soap; it really works well with spider mites.

I have made a conscious choice not to have Ivy in my home anymore because I'm not in the mood to deal with mites but theyÂre such beautiful little plants that you canÂt blame one for wanting to own them. And it doesnÂt have to be a constant battle with mites. A friend of mine who loves those little plants has a whole collection of them and she hasnÂt had to deal with spider mites for ages. But she is very persistent about keeping the mites at bay...misting, rinsing the plants under her sink, maintaining humidity levels at healthy levels, etc, etc... She wants to have those plants in her home and will do whatever is necessary to keep them healthy and pest-free. I guess IÂm just not in the mood to put all that required effort or maybe I donÂt like Ivy enough to want to :) Maybe that's why mine in the past would get infested often...not enough effort!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2006 at 9:48AM
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stonesriver(6B Tennessee)

For years I wouldn't have ivies because of the spider mite battles. I am a horror at remembering to mist.

Then, a year or so ago, I found little misting bottles in Big Lots! that were 6" high. They are opaque and come in blue, pink, green, yellow and clear.

I thought "Aha! These are small enough to plant (pun intended) all around my shelves!"

Anyhow, I bought several nice ivies, filled a bottle and placed it on the kitchen window shelf. Every time I use the sink I pick up the bottle and mist the ivies. Knock wood, no spider mites, lush, happy ivies. . . even during the winter when we heat with a very drying wood stove.

This method requires very little work on my part as it's become a habit to pick up that bottle and spray away.

I would suggest this to anyone who wants lovely ivies but doesn't want to go to a ton of trouble to keep them that way.

Good luck,

BTW, placing these unobtrusive little bottles around your plants takes the chore out of misting. I just pick up a bottle and mist when I walk by my palms, philos, ficus, etc.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2006 at 3:45PM
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janetr(Ottawa USDA 4a)

Linda, your mind obviously works like mine. I have brooms and feather dusters for each level of the house.

Great tip! Thanks.

Janet's Garden

    Bookmark   June 26, 2006 at 12:38PM
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Linda, I do the same as you..LOL..I have a mister in any room plants are kept..this way after I straigten that room, I pick up the mister and spray away..another idea I came up w/it placing plants on the shelf above my sink. I've got 4 plants there now, including 2 bonsais. One azalia and a begonia..this way when they dry out I lift and hose. Don't even need to mist..So if anyone has room near their kitchen sink, place it above on the ledge..the problem is most ledges are too small to hold a bigger plant. In that case, If one can use that area and hang the ivy that would work too..Toni

    Bookmark   June 26, 2006 at 4:15PM
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As a commercial grower of english Ivy I have had most success with biological controls of Ivy. If you look around on the web you can find suppliers that might sell small quantities.

We generally recommend that the plant be dunked upside down in a bucket of water with a bit of dish soap as a wetting agent. This should be done every once in a while depending on how dry the house is. If you have a mite problem you should dunk the plant on 4 separate occasions approximtely 5 days apart. This way you will kill all successive emerging mites from however many eggs were on the plant.

Misting regularly is helpfull as well.

Another tip on pot sizes and watering. Never repot an Ivy into a pot that is more than 25% larger. Never repot in the spring through summer months. Repot in late summer or fall. Ivy roots need lots of air and repotting puts stress on the plant. Large pots tend to retain heat in the summer as they do not cool sufficiently at night - UNLESS the root system is sufficiently developed to extract the moisture from the soil. Its the water in the soil that holds the heat. Heat and too much moisture will cause root disease and lead to very sudden Ivy death ('Black Root').

Here is a link that might be useful: TJ Greenhouses

    Bookmark   July 17, 2007 at 7:20AM
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