ivy, English ivy or hedera propeller, not only is it an excellent houseplant for both beginners and experienced gardeners, it is also easy to propagate in water. Even if you are new to growing houseplants or new to propagation, you can learn how to successfully propagate ivy in water. With just a few simple steps, you’ll be well on your way to growing more ivy plants for your home, garden, and friends.
If you want to successfully propagate ivy in water, the steps are very simple.
- Make several good cuttings with sterile pruning shears
- Remove the lower leaves leaving a few knots.
- Put the ivy in the water.
- Allow to sit for 4-6 weeks in bright, indirect light and at temperatures of 18-27°C (65-80°F).
- Transplant the cuttings into the ground when the roots are about two inches long.
- How to propagate ivy in water?
- What can go wrong when spreading ivy in water?
How to propagate ivy in water?
Read on for more detailed information on practical steps to learn how to propagate English ivy in water. You’ll learn what tools you need, what to expect when propagating ivy, and how to fix problems.
If you want to learn how to propagate and grow all kinds of beautiful houseplants that will thrive year after year, check out my book, “Houseplants Made Easy”.
Is it difficult to propagate ivy in water?
Growing ivy in water is actually very easy and simple. You don’t need a lot of tools, just a few ivy cuttings, a container and some water to put them in. English ivy is considered an invasive species in some states due to its natural ability to grow and thrive, which means it should grow very easily if cared for properly.
Supplies Needed to Propagate English Ivy in Water
- scissors or knife
- ivy plants to propagate
How to prepare your ivy cuttings for propagation?
The most critical piece of ivy is the cutting(s) you will use. You want to take several cuttings from a healthy ivy. It’s always best to have more cuttings than you think you’ll need in case some don’t work.
When growing ivy in water, you will always want to choose a healthy plant to start with. Never attempt to propagate a diseased, dying, or insect-infested plant, as this increases the chances of your propagation failing.
You will also want to choose new shoots. In other words, use ivy cuttings from vines grown in the most recent year. Look for lighter colored leaves, which indicate newer growth, as opposed to older, darker colored leaves, which indicate older vines.
Also look for stems in good condition, but not too woody. A tough, woody stem is harder to propagate, although it’s still possible if that’s all you have.
Use a clean, sharp knife or scissors to cut the ivy, making sections about 4 to 6 inches long and having multiple leaves. It’s best to choose vines that already have nodes, but if they don’t, great because you can “do” them. Do not try to cut or tear the ivy. Just make a clean, clean cut.
You can take long vines and cut them into shorter segments. It is also good to propagate longer sections of ivy, but 4 to 6 inches is an ideal length and it is also easier to work with growing ivy in water.
Once you’ve cut your sections to your desired length, look for available knots. A node is a small bump on the stem of the plant from which stems, leaves or even roots can grow.
If you have nodes available, this is the best way to spread. Simply remove the leaves around the nodes and submerge them when placing the cutting in water. The roots will grow directly from the nodes.
However, if you don’t have any visible knots in the ivy cut, that’s fine. You can “create” your own knots by carefully cutting the bottom two inches from the leaves. The sites where you deleted the leaves act as nodes. Make sure this part is submerged when placing the cutting in water.
The last option for taking cuttings is to damage the plant. After removing the last two inches of leaves from your cutting, use your scissors or a knife to gently peel off some of the outside of the stem. This creates a wound that the plant will use to grow new roots after being placed in water.
Ivy plants are so hardy that even if you just put a piece of ivy in water, it is likely to grow. However, if you are serious about propagating ivy, it is definitely worth following the proper steps mentioned above to ensure you have the best chance of successfully propagating ivy.
Place your cutouts in a container of water and place it in a transparent window. Change the water every two weeks, unless it looks dirty. If the water looks dirty, you can change it weekly, but don’t disturb the plant unless you have to. Just be sure to add water regularly to keep the stem nodes completely submerged so the roots start to grow.
How long does it take to propagate ivy in water?
English ivy is hardy and fast growing. If the cuttings are properly prepared, the ivy should spread very quickly. Roots should grow within three weeks and your ivy should be ready to transplant within four to six weeks.
Under what conditions should ivy be cut?
A transparent window is a great place to keep your ivy plant while it takes root. However, ivy doesn’t take sun or too much heat, so you may need to experiment to find a spot that’s bright but doesn’t overcook the plant.
You can use almost any type of container to propagate your ivy. It must contain water, of course, but other than that, you can choose almost anything you want. Clear glass containers, like vases or glass jars, work well because you can see the roots as they grow. You can tell when it’s time to plant your ivy in the ground without disturbing the plant too quickly.
When you’re ready to plant your ivy in the ground, you’ll want to choose a high-quality potting mix designed for houseplants. See my guide to choosing and making potting soil. Use a pot with a drainage hole in the bottom so the soil doesn’t get too soggy. Keep the soil slightly moist until the roots are well established, then only water when the soil is dry.
When should ivy be moved from water to ground?
Once your ivy has roots, you may wonder when to move it from water to soil. You really don’t need to rush. You can leave your ivy in the water for as long as you want and you should be fine.
However, if you leave them in water, the plants may not grow and thrive as well as they would in soil, so eventually you’ll want to plant them in a good potting mix.
A good rule of thumb is to move the ivy into the ground when the roots are about two inches long. Longer roots will help the plant establish itself better in the soil, but in general, if the roots are two inches long, you can be reasonably sure that the new cutting will thrive. As long as you leave a few inches of roots, your ivy should be fine as it is hardy and easy to grow.
What can go wrong when spreading ivy in water?
Although spreading ivy in water is a very simple and easy process, things can still go wrong. To avoid problems, make sure your ivy always has enough water and that the water isn’t dirty or smelly.
If you begin to suspect something is wrong, ask yourself if the plant is growing and healthy. If it continues to grow while submerged in water, your plant should be fine, even if the roots are growing slowly.
If the water gets dirty too quickly or the plant appears to be rotting, check that all leaves below the waterline have been removed. Leaves left in water can rot and rot, causing bacteria to grow in the water that are harmful to the plant itself.
Make sure your ivy gets enough light, but not too much direct sunlight. Too much sun can burn your plant and cause it to die. If your plant appears to be burning, place it out of direct sunlight or out of grow light.
If there is too little sun, the plant becomes spindly and pale. If so, try moving it closer to a window or grow the light so that it can receive more light to develop.
If your plant wilts, make sure you have enough water to cover the injured area or plant nodes. Otherwise, be sure to refill the water regularly so that it does not spill.
Sometimes streaming fails for no apparent reason. It is always best to propagate more cuttings than necessary, in case one or more cuttings fail. English ivy, however, is hardy and evergreen, making it an excellent choice for beginners learning to propagate plants.