why is my ivy drying out

7 Reasons Why Your Ivy Is Drying Out And How To Fix It

In Plant Problems by Ana M

Hedera Helix is the most common type of ivy and you can find many different varieties of it. You might know it by the name English ivy or just ivy.

It’s a popular plant for outdoor use, for example, it can make a nice shady groundcover. However, if you’re looking for an easy houseplant to grow, then ivy is your number once choice.

Sometimes, whether you grow your ivy outside or indoors, the leaves can start turning dry and brittle which means that your ivy is drying out.

You might have no clue why it happens!

So, why is your ivy drying out?

The reasons why your ivy is drying out are too much water, excess of a fertilizer, the wrong amount of sunlight and low humidity. If the leaves are turning dry, brittle, brown and crispy, these are the signs that your ivy is drying out or dying.

I understand how frustrating it is when you can’t figure out why you’re having a hard time to keep your ivy alive. You need to take into the account your plant’s age, where do you keep it and what’s the watering schedule like.

That’s why I put together a blog post where you will learn what causes leaves to turn brown so you can adjust the growing condition and make your ivy thrive!

why is my ivy drying out

#1 Overwatering

That’s the most common reason why ivy leaves are turning brown. Ivy likes to grow in slightly dry soil so if you’re overwatering your plant, the plant roots will get too wet which can lead to a fungal disease – root rot.

It destroys the roots of the so your ivy won’t get enough nutrients and water from the soil which results in leaves browning and drying out on the edges.

Many people mistaken dry and brown leaves for a lack of watering and start to water more which makes the matters worse. Try to stick to these rules when watering your plant:

  • let the soil dry out before you water your ivy plant
  • the top inch of soil in the pot should be dry to touch

Also, it’s very important to get a pot with a drainage hole and make sure that it doesn’t get clogged.

TIP: put a piece of a wire mesh at the bottom of the pot to keep the drainage hole unclogged!

The goal is to keep a potting mix in your pot a little bit dry and don’t let your ivy sit in a standing water or overly wet soil.

#2 Too much fertilizer

Although outdoor ivy plants don’t need fertilizing, it’s a good idea to fertilize an ivy houseplant with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer. However, timing is crucial here because too much fertilizer can build up in the potting mix and burn the edges of ivy leaves making them dry and crispy.

ivy leaves are turning brown dry and crunchy

When do you need to fertilize your indoor ivy?

When new growth appears – in spring, summer and fall. Don’t fertilize in winter! You ivy will be in the dormant period and won’t need as much nutrients at this time.

How often do you need to fertilize your indoor ivy?

Fertilize your ivy once a month.

#3 Not enough light

Ivy grows in medium to bright light depending on whether you have a variegated (differently colored leaves) version or all green variety. None of the ivy types can tolerate direct sunlight.

You need to pay special attention to a baby ivy plant. It’s easy to burn it so move it away from a bright direct light. It’s not the best idea to keep a young ivy plant on a windowsill the whole day.

why ivy leaves are turning brown

Keep in mind that if you keep your houseplant ivy in a darker location, it will slow its growth and if it’s really dark, your plant will not like it and might eventually start dying.

#4 Dry Air (Low Humidity)

Ivy plants thrive in moderate humidity (when the air is moist). They can do well in normal low levels of humidity that most homes have but very dry air can provoke the browning of edges of leaves.

Make sure that you provide enough air circulation for your ivy plants which means that you need to avoid overcrowding. You can put your ivy plant in the bathroom.

Also, a good idea is to get a mister and keep it next to your plant. Every time you pass by you can spray your plant giving it some extra moisture.

Or you can just use an old school humidity tray method. All you need is a saucer and pebbles. There are 2 ways to make your own humidity tray:

  1. Add pebbles to a saucer and cover them with water, then set your pot with an ivy plant on top of the pebbles
  2. Wet pebbles or perlite and put them in a saucer. Set your ivy plant on the top of wet pebbles or perlite.

The water will evaporate, raising the humidity around your plant. I personally prefer second method as it’s unlikely that your plant will end up standing in water.

#5 The temperature is too high

It’s important to remember that ivies prefer cool to moderate temperatures. They are originally from central and norther Europe where ivies grow in cool climates.

Therefore, hot room temperatures can be damaging to these plants. Try to keep the temperature from 50 to 70 °F during the day and about 5 to 10 °F lower at night.

It’s a good idea to put your ivy plant in a separate room or a kitchen, somewhere where it can stay cool.

#6 Pests

Although pest infestations are rare when you keep your ivy plant outdoors, it can happen. Most of the time there are two reasons why it happens:

  • your plant is underwatered
  • you need to give your plant a wash

When your plant doesn’t get enough water, it is under stress. That’s when it’s most prone to pest infestations and diseases.

Also, if you don’t give your plant a regular wash, the dust and pests can accumulate on and behind the leaves.

The most common pest of ivy plant is spider mites. They are tiny and black – you can recognize them by little webs under the leaves.

Spider mites suck the juices in the plant leaves which can make your ivy leaves look dry and brown.

Washing your ivy plant periodically will help to prevent issues with pests. All you need to do it put your plant in the shower and let the water run over the plant for a few minutes.

If you’ve noticed spider mites, grab a spray bottle and spray your ivy plant with a solution of warm water and a few drops of dish-washing liquid.

#7 Minerals build up

We’ve talked about the build-up of nutrients when you’re using too much fertilizer. Similarly, if you’re using tap water that is high in mineral salts, these salts can accumulate in the soil.

Build-ups of salts in soil can burn the edges of your ivy plant resulting in dry and crispy leaves. Luckily, you can simply fix this issue!

Replant your affected ivy plant in new potting soil and from now on use only distilled water to water your plant.

Hope that you found this article useful and please feel free to share it on your social media!

Let me know in the comments section down below how do you manage to keep your ivy alive?

Want more greenhouse tips, tricks, and ideas? Follow me on Pinterest!

Happy Growing 🙂

With Love,


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