The Q&A Archives: Growing Ivy

Question: We need 75-100 4" pots of ivy for wedding centerpieces on March 20, 1999 and we haven't been successful in finding a local source to purchase them. Is it possible to take cuttings from the ivy in our backyard and grow them ourselves? I don't know what kind it is but it is climbing on a fence. The room we would have to use is cool and doesn't get a lot of light although we could probably use artificial light. Please advise the best way to root the ivy and grow it FAST!

Answer: You can probably do it by taking cuttings. Ivy roots very easily from cuttings. Use clean pots, a sterile potting mix and tepid water.

Tip cuttings will be the most graceful and root the quickest, but slightly older vine sections will also root. Take pieces at least 4 to 6 inches long, depending on how long the ivy needs to be in March and put several in each pot. Remove the lowest leaves from the bottom two inches of stem. Stick the bare two inches of stem into the potting mix and firm; water well to settle the soil and remove air pockets.

Keep the soil moist but not dripping wet, maintain good humidity around the plants and they should root in a matter of a few weeks. After that, their growth rate will depend on the growing conditions: ambient temperature and amount of light plus nutrients. Occasional pinching of the growing tips will result in more branching and a lusher look.

The cutings will root faster with a touch of bottom heat. You could grow them on under shop lights with normal fluorescent bulbs or the special plant bulbs. Keep the lights close to the plants, just a few inches above them, to maximize the effect. Rotate the plants under the lights regularly to compensate for brighter and darker positions. You will also want to use a regular program of water soluble fertilizer such as Miracle-Gro according to the label instructions. Finally, keep a careful eye out for pests so that if any problems develop you can stop them right away.

Good luck with your ivies!

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