My English Ivy has started looking sickly - twiggy and as if it's starting to die. What could be the problem? I'm new to houseplants and would love guidance! The plant has been indoors in a room well lit with natural light but the plant itself has not received direct sunlight. I put it outside to receive direct sunlight but it seems to have made matters worse. The leaves are now looking a bit wilted. I water it 1-2x/week per the recommendation of the local nursery. Thanks in advance for the help!

enter image description here

  • How long have you had the plant?
    – Bamboo
    Commented Apr 21, 2018 at 21:09
  • Around 1 month!
    – Jessa_hw
    Commented Apr 21, 2018 at 21:46

1 Answer 1


That's quite a big plant for that size pot, it might need a larger one, but I wonder how much water you've been giving it twice a week. The best way to water is to water thoroughly, with enough water to wet the whole potful of soil; empty out the outer tray thirty minutes later, then water thoroughly again when the surface of the potting soil feels just dry to the touch, but not so dry it's shrunk from the sides of the pot.

Moving out to direct sunlight was not a good idea - ivies grow quite well in low light situations, and should do fine without direct sunlight. It's also not currently used to sunlight, so standing it outdoors suddenly and exposing it fully to the sun's rays will have caused some damage to the foliage.

It's unlikely to die if you get the watering right, even if the damaged leaves shrivel up and fall off. If they start to die back more, cut the whole plant back to about 4 inches or to healthy growth, cutting just above a leaf joint to encourage new growth from the base. You can check it's not potbound by turning it out of its pot - if you see roots wrapped round the outside, it needs a larger container, if not just put it back in its current pot.

In regard to 'twiggy' growth, over time, ivies contained in pots may well develop long stems with leaves at the end but not in the middle, nor towards the base - don't be afraid to cut those off when they occur, always back to a leaf joint, or even to soil level if necessary. It's a very resilient plant and will respond well to being cut back

  • Wow - thanks so much for the detailed response! Fingers crossed it will start to thrive.
    – Jessa_hw
    Commented Apr 22, 2018 at 13:09

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.