Variegated English Ivy: Ultimate Plant Care Guide

Variegated English Ivy is an evergreen vine that is prized for its clinging ability and beautiful foliage. It’s a versatile plant grown as a groundcover, climber, or trailer.

Ivy has long been a favorite of gardeners because of its rapid growth and ability to thrive in difficult conditions. It is also a popular choice for indoor plants because it can improve air quality.

variegated english ivy

In this guide, we’ll provide you with everything you need to know about growing and caring for variegated English ivy.

Overview

Botanical nameHedera helix ‘Variegata’
Other namesCommon Ivy, Ivy, Glacier ivy
Mature height3-8ft annually
Mature width

4-6ft annually

Growth rate

Moderate

Flowering season

Fall

Need for pruning

Yes. At the start of spring

Soil type

Loam soil

Water needs

2-3 times a week

Sun exposure

Full but indirect sun

Need fertilizing

Yes. Use high-nitrogen fertilizer at least once a year

U.S.D.A hardiness zone

4-10

Foliage color

Green, or gray-green with creamy white, gold, or silver markings

What Is Variegated English Ivy, and Where Does It Come from?

Variegated English Ivy is evergreen and vigorous woody vine native to Europe, Northern Africa, and Western Asia.

It was introduced to the United States in the 1800s and has become an invasive species in many parts of the country.

The ornamental vine grows quickly, making it a popular choice for covering fences and walls. There are many types of ivy, but Variegated English ivy is the most popular.

Variegated English ivy has dark green leaves with deep lobes that give the plant a fine-textured appearance.

The leaves have white, silver, or gold markings and are alternately attached to the stem, meaning that one leaf is attached to the stem at every point along with it.

This gives ivy a distinctive look, especially when the vine is in its best shape and vigor.

CAUTION: The leaves of Variegated English ivy contain toxic chemicals that can cause skin irritation, nausea, and more serious health problems. This plant should be kept away from kids and pets.

The Common Variegated English Ivy Varieties

There are two main varieties of the Variegated English Ivy plant: Glacier English ivy and Needlepoint English ivy.

Glacier English Ivy

The Glacier English ivy is the most common type of Variegated English ivy. It’s characterized by three-prong gray-green leaves with silvery or white edges.

Needlepoint English Ivy

Needlepoint ivy is a hardy, evergreen climber with elegant, dark green leaves with three to five sharply pointed lobes.

Although not as common as the Glacier English ivy, the Needlepoint English ivy is also a great evergreen vine to grow.

Bonus variety: Variegated Algerian Ivy, which is closely related to the Variegated English ivy.

This ivy variety produces three-prong leaves with white edges. The ivy prefers warmer conditions but is also great to grow as a landscaping vine.

Why Variegated English Ivy?

Here are the top reasons why you might consider growing Variegated English ivy in your home:

  • Variegated English ivy is one of the most versatile vines for landscaping you can have in your home.
  • This Ivy variety grows quickly, attaches itself to almost any surface, and is relatively easy to care for.
  • The vine also does well as a groundcover and will add a splash of color to any garden.
  • Ivy also has the added bonus of being an evergreen vine, so it provides color and interest all year long.

Planting Variegated English Ivy

The Variegated English ivy is a great choice for gardeners who want a versatile vine that can be trained to grow in various ways.

This evergreen vine is ideal for hanging baskets and mixed containers where the foliage can trail over the sides.

English ivy also does well when grown on a trellis or arbor. It will quickly cover the structure with its dense foliage, providing privacy and shade.

Growth/Care Practices for Variegated English Ivy

Pruning

Gardeners prune variegated English ivy to control its growth and maintain its shape. Pruning also removes dead or damaged stems and keeps the plant from becoming too dense.

The best time to prune English ivy is when new growth is just starting in the spring, but it can be done at other times during the year as needed.

Tip: Use a weed trimmer if you need to trim variegated English ivy along sidewalks. For trailing or trained variegated English ivy, use clippers as they’re best suited for the task.

Watering

Variegated English ivy is a vine that can grow rapidly, so it’s important to water it regularly.

If the weather is hot and dry, you may need to water it every day. If it’s cooler or wetter, you can wait two or three days between waterings.

Note: Water variegated English ivy taking into consideration the climate. For example, if you live in a dry climate and the ivy grows in direct sunlight, it will need to be watered more often.

Conversely, if you live in a humid climate or the ivy is shaded, it will not need water as often.

Fertilizing

Fertilizing variegated English ivy is best done only once a year. It’s, of course, possible to fertilize your variegated English ivy plant according to its condition. But even so, you’re recommended to fertilize the plant utmost once a month.

Too much fertilizer can cause the leaves to turn solid green, losing the variegation that makes the plant so appealing. A light application of a balanced fertilizer in early spring should be all that is necessary to maintain the plant’s health and vigor.

For Variegated English ivy planted outdoors, you need to apply a nitrogen-rich fertilizer, preferably a water-soluble one. Use a suitable houseplant fertilizer if you have grown your variegated English ivy indoors.

Please note: Fertilizing your variegated English ivy too often can not only result in the plant losing its variegation, but it may also kill it as extra fertilizer builds up in the soil choking the plant.

Disease management

ANTHRAC- NOSE

Anthrac-nose is a fungal disease that affects the leaves of Variegated English Ivy plants. The leaves will turn black and slimy as the fungus grows. Left untreated, the disease can quickly kill the plant.

Remedy: First, make sure you are watering your plants correctly. Overwatering can help the fungus grow more quickly.

Second, keep your plants in a well-ventilated area. Anthrac-nose thrives in moist environments, so good air circulation will help stop the fungus from spreading.

RHIZOCTONIA AERIAL BLIGHT

Rhizoctonia aerial blight is a fungal disease that affects Variegated English Ivy plants. It is caused by the fungus Rhizoctonia solani, which lives in the soil and enters the plant through the roots. The disease causes the plant’s leaves to turn yellow and brown and eventually fall off.

Remedy: The best way to remedy this disease is to plant your Variegated English Ivy in a sunny location where the soil is well-drained. You can also help prevent the disease by watering your plants regularly and using a fungicide spray.

BACTERIAL LEAF SPOT

Bacterial leaf spot is one of the most common diseases of variegated English ivy. The bacterial leaf spots are small, circular, and water-soaked. They may be yellow, brown, or black and may eventually become sunken in the center.

Remedy: The best way to deal with bacterial leaf spots is to water your plants properly.

Make sure to water the soil, not the leaves, and do not water the plants if they are wet from rain or dew. You can also use a fungicide to help prevent the disease.

ROOT ROT

Root rot is a common problem that can affect variegated English ivy. It’s caused by a number of different factors, including poor drainage, overwatering, and a lack of oxygen in the soil. When root rot sets in, the vine’s roots will rot and die, eventually causing the plant to die as well.

Remedy: Make sure that you are not watering your variegated English ivy plants too often. Also, ensure that your ivy plants have good drainage.

Pest management

WHITEFLIES

Whiteflies are tiny, sap-sucking insects that can cause extensive damage to variegated English ivy plants.

They can cause leaves to yellow and drop off, which can stunt the growth of plants and kill them. Whiteflies can also spread diseases to your ivy vines.

Remedy: The best way to prevent an infestation of whiteflies is to keep your ivy plants healthy and free of any damage.

Inspect new plants for signs of whiteflies and if you see any, isolate them from your other plants until you can treat them. You can also use an appropriate pesticide to kill the whiteflies.

APHIDS

Aphids can be a problem on variegated English ivy, as they can distort the plant’s shape and reduce its vigor.

Remedy: The best way to control aphids is to catch them early before they do too much damage. Another is to use neem oil, which will deter the aphids without killing them.

MEALY BUGS

Mealybugs are sap-sucking insects that can cause extensive damage to plants.

They are small, soft-bodied, and white in color. Mealybugs feed on the sap of plants and can cause leaves to yellow, wilt, and drop from the plant. They can also cause the variegated ivy plant to produce less fruit or flowers.

Remedy: Mealybugs can be controlled with a variety of methods. Horticultural oil can be sprayed on the ivy plant to kill the mealy bugs. Ladybugs and other beneficial insects can also be released to control the bugs on the vine.

What Else Does English Ivy Need to Thrive?

Enough sun

Variegated English ivy plants need the full bright sun, but they can’t take direct sunshine. In winter, the plant should be placed in a cool place with moderate humidity.

Good light

Variegated English ivy prefers bright, indirect light and can be placed near a window. English ivy also grows well in shaded areas outdoors.

Good soil

Variegated English ivy can thrive in various soils but prefers loam soil. The soil needs to be moist but not soggy. It would help if you allowed the soil to dry out slightly between waterings.

Optimum temperature

The variegated English ivy plant grows best at 70-90°F. If the temperature is too low, the leaves will turn yellow, and the plant will stop growing. If the temperature is too high, the leaves will brown, and the plant will die.

Uses and Benefits of Variegated English Ivy?

Air Purification

Variegated English ivy is one of many houseplants that have been found to improve air quality. The plant filters and removes airborne toxins in the space it grows.

According to research findings, English ivy is able to remove the following pollutants from the air:

  • Particulate matter like mold spores
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) such as those produced by paints
  • Organic compounds such as benzene, xylene, formaldehyde, and toluene

Landscaping Benefits

Variegated English ivy is a beautiful and versatile, evergreen groundcover that can be used to landscape a variety of different areas. It’s a fast-growing vine that can quickly cover large areas with lush leaves.

Variegated English Ivy also has a trailing habit, which makes it perfect for hanging baskets, planters, and window boxes.

Ornamental Benefits

One of the most interesting things about English ivy is its propensity to produce variegated leaves, which are markedly different in color from the normally green leaves of the plant.

Variegated leaves can be white, gold, or silver, and they add an extra dimension of interest to ornamental arrangements.

In What Season Should You Plant English Ivy?

The best time to plant English ivy is springtime when the weather is still cool but starting to warm up. The soil should be moist but not wet, and the location should be sunny or partially shaded.

How Does English Ivy Reproduce?

In late fall and winter, the vines produce small blackberries. The English ivy plant reproduces from seed dispersed by birds when they eat the fruit.

The seeds pass through the bird’s digestive system and are deposited in other areas when the bird excretes. This is how English ivy can spread to new areas and overtake native plants.

Can you Grow English Ivy Indoors?

The glossy dark green and creamy white marked leaves of English ivy make for an excellent addition to indoor gardens and potted plants.

Not only does this trailing vine look attractive, but it’s also easy to care for. With the right light, watering, and soil conditions, English ivy can thrive indoors.

Note: The variegated English ivy is a great plant for hanging baskets. The vine is sturdy enough, so it perfectly takes the weight of the foliage that grows from it.

Variegated English Ivy Indoor Care Practices

With the right care, variegated English Ivy can thrive for many years indoors. Here are some tips for how to take care of your English ivy indoors:

  • The most important thing to remember is to keep your ivy well-hydrated. Make sure to water it regularly and give it a good soak once a week.
  • Variegated English ivy prefers bright, indirect light. Place it near a window, but ensure it doesn’t get too much direct sunlight.
  • If you want to effectively grow Variegated English ivy indoors, make sure it’s in an area where there is plenty of airflows.

Is the Variegated English Ivy the Best Ivy Variety?

Variegated English ivy is one of the most popular houseplants in the world, not to mention that it’s the most common and best ivy variety in cultivation. It’s easy to care for and is tolerant of a wide range of conditions.

English Ivy is also very versatile and can be used to decorate both indoor and outdoor spaces.

Is Variegated English Ivy Tolerant to Cold?

Variegated English ivy is quite tolerant to cold, as evident in the recommended USDA hardiness zone range of 4-10.

Even so, some horticulturalists believe that variegated English ivy is not as tolerant of cold weather as the green variety. When temperatures drop below 10 degrees Fahrenheit, the leaves may turn brown and die.

When Does Variegated English Ivy Flower?

The variegated English ivy flower is a rare occurrence, but it is possible to see it two years after planting the vine.

That said, the flowers of English ivy are small, green-white, and inconspicuous. They are produced in clusters in the fall and are pollinated by bees. After pollination, the flowers produce small blackberries that birds eat.

Does the Variegated English Ivy Prefer Shade or Sun?

Variegated English ivy is a versatile evergreen vine that grows well in both full sun and full shade. It will grow more vigorously in full sun and have a denser appearance. In full shade, it will be less vigorous but will still spread.

Is it Hard to Grow Variegated English Ivy?

Variegated English ivy is a beautiful and easy-to-grow vine plant. With proper care, it’ll thrive and grow quickly.

The most important things to remember when growing variegated English ivy are to provide enough light and water and to keep the soil moist at all times.

In addition, the plant needs to be fertilized at least once a year. A high-nitrogen liquid fertilizer or a slow-release houseplant fertilizer can be used for outdoor and indoor-grown ivy.

Why is my Variegated English Ivy Dying?

If you notice your Variegated English Ivy turning brown or simply dying, then you’re either overwatering or overfertilizing the plant.

Underwatering and exposure to too much such could also be the cause for your variegated English ivy dying. Lastly, your Ivy plant may die if it lacks nutrients such as Nitrogen.

Can I Revive my Dying Variegated English Ivy?

There are two straightforward things you can do to revive your dying variegated English ivy plant. The first is to water and fertilize the plant appropriately. The other is to expose the vine to the right amount of sun.

How Can I Make My Variegated English Ivy Fuller?

There are a few things you can do to help your variegated English ivy grow fuller.

  • First, make sure the plant is getting enough sunlight. It should be in a spot where it receives at least six hours of direct sunlight each day.
  • Second, water the plant regularly. Keep the soil moist, but not wet.
  • Third, fertilize the plant twice a year with a balanced fertilizer.
  • Finally, trim it back every once in a while to help new growth come in and make the ivy look fuller.

How Long Does Variegated English Ivy Take to Mature?

The variegated ivy will grow quickly and will need to be trimmed back regularly, especially in the early stages of its growth.

Ivy can be a beautiful addition to a fence, but it will take some time to become established. Once it has, the ivy will grow at a rate of around 1 foot per month. That said, the variegated English ivy can take up to 3 years to clock full maturity.

Is Variegated English Ivy Invasive?

Variegated English ivy spreads quickly and can be invasive. Invasive plants such as variegated English ivy often outcompete the native plants for resources and damage the local ecosystem. This can be a major problem for local ecosystems.

The vine can crowd out the native plants, reducing the area’s biodiversity. It can also create problems for the local animals that may not have evolved to deal with the foreign plant.

This is not to mention that variegated English ivy leaves are toxic and can be a major risk to local wildlife.

In this regard, it’s important to trim/prune your variegated English ivy plant to control its growth and, most importantly, to check with your local office before planting the vine outdoors.

Do Pollinators Visit the Variegated English Ivy?

The Variegated English Ivy vine produces small, white flowers in the fall, and the berries that follow are black.

Bees and other flying insects are attracted to the flowers of English ivy. They help pollinate the plant, which is necessary for its reproduction.

Does Variegated English Ivy Attract Mosquitoes?

Pest biologists claim that variegated English ivy can attract mosquitoes because of its dense foliage. While the evidence that this plant attracts mosquitoes is still inconclusive, it’s definitely something that you should be aware of.

Is the Variegated English Ivy Poisonous to Touch?

When touched, the white sap from variegated English ivy can lead to severe skin irritation.

If you come into contact with the sap, you may experience redness, swelling, and blistering. If you have any of these symptoms, you’re advised to seek medical attention.

Children under the age of 5, as well as pets such as cats, dogs, and birds, are most vulnerable to variegated English ivy poisoning, so the plant should be grown out of their reach.

How Long Can Variegated English Ivy Live?

With proper care, a variegated English ivy plant can live for up to 10 years. However, the average lifespan for a typical variegated English ivy is 4-6 years.

The most impressive thing about this ornamental landscaping plant is that it stays evergreen, provided all its needs are met.

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