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1O Central Florida Research
FLORIDA and Education Center
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Research Report
Propagation of Hedera helix Cultivars Affected by Fertilizer
Source, Harvest Conditions, Handling and Storage
C.A. Conover, R.T. Poole and K. Steinkamp1 L i c
SEP 3 0 1994
Central Florida Research and Education Center-Apopka
CFREC-Apopka Research Report RH-94-6 nersi of Florida
English Ivy (Hedera helix) is an attractive foliage plant produced in various sized
standard containers and hanging baskets. English ivy is also used indoors in dish gardens, on
trellises, as a ground cover in large indoor combination planters and wherever a trailing effect
is desired. Numerous cultivars, differing in leaf shape, size, variegation and plant growth habit
are available. Some growers maintain stock plants to supply their cutting needs while others
purchase cutting material or harvest one or two cutting crops from ivy crops growing in 6-inch
or larger containers before they are sold.
When cutting material is shipped, the standard shipping temperature is usually 60F.
Sometimes cuttings must be stored for a period of time before space becomes available on the
propagation bench and since English ivy cultivars are among the more tolerant foliage plants,
no visible damage has been observed on cuttings stored at lower temperatures. However,
information is lacking on how storage may affect growth after propagation. The four
experiments described here examined effects of stock plant fertilization, harvest date, maximum
air temperatures in stock plant production areas, storage compared to immediate propagation and
effects of various storage temperatures on selected cultivars of English ivy.
Materials and Methods
Experiment 1. Cultivar, Maximum Production Temperature and Fertilizer Source.
Excellent quality 'Irish Gold' and 'Gold Dust' English ivy plants in 8-inch baskets, to be used
as stock plants, were obtained from a local source on July 17, 1990. Plants had been grown
from cuttings rooted 10 per 8-inch basket, using Metro Mix 500 potting medium (Scotts Co.,
6656 Grant Way, Allentown, PA 18106). Stock plant baskets were maintained in greenhouses
'Professor of Environmental Horticulture and Center Director, Professor of Plant
Physiology, and Technical Assistant, respectively, Central Florida Research and Education
Center, 2807 Binion Road, Apopka, FL 32703.
The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is an Equal Employment Opportunity Affirmative Action Employer authorized to provide research, educational
information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function without regard to race, color, sex, age, handicap or national origin.
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION WORK IN AGRICULTURE, HOME ECONOMICS, STATE OF FLORIDA, IFAS, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA,
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, AND BOARDS OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS COOPERATING.
where maximum light intensity was 1500 ft-c. Plants were watered overhead as needed to
This was a 2 x 2 factorial experiment with 4 replications per treatment. Minimum air
temperature during stock plant growth was 65 F while the fan-and-pad cooling system was set
to restrict maximum air temperatures to 86 or 970F. On July 19, 1990, baskets were top-
dressed with 10 g 19-6-12, or 13.6 g 14-14-14 Osmocote (Grace/Sierra Horticultural Products
Co., 1001 Yosemite Dr., Milpitas, CA 95035) so that nitrogen rates were comparable.
On September 12, 1990, cuttings were harvested from stock plants and placed in 5-inch
tubs filled with Metro Mix 500, 5 cuttings per pot. Cuttings were made from the mid-sections
of vines and were about 3-in long. Cuttings were placed under mist until well rooted, then
moved on October 16, 1990 to a greenhouse where air temperatures ranged from 65 to 90F and
maximum light intensity was 1500 ft-c. Plants were watered as needed. Containers were top
dressed with 3 g/pot 19-6-12 on October 16, 1990. On January 3, 1991, plants were graded
based on a scale of 1 = dead, 2 = poor quality, unsalable, 3 = fair quality, salable, 4 = good
quality and 5 = excellent quality.
Experiment 2. Propagation Temperature. Excellent quality 'Ingrid Liz' and 'Starling'
English ivy plants growing in 8-inch baskets were obtained locally on September 13, 1990.
Baskets contained a commercially manufactured peat/bark growing medium top-dressed with 10
g 19-6-12 Osmocote/8-inch basket. On September 14, 1990, stock plant baskets were placed
in greenhouse sections where maximum light intensity was 1500 ft-c. The fan-and-pad cooling
system restricted maximum air temperature in greenhouse sections to 86 or 970F. Baskets were
watered four times per week.
Cuttings were periodically harvested from the mid-sections of vines from stock plants,
as in experiment 1, and then graded based on a scale of 1 = dead, 2 = poor quality, 3 = fair,
4 = good and 5 = excellent quality. Cuttings were harvested and graded on September 14,
October 9, October 16, October 23, October 30, November 6, November 13, November 20,
November 27 and December 5, 1990.
Experiment 3. Storage Temperature and Duration. As in the preceding test, excellent
quality 'Ingrid Liz' and 'Starling' English Ivy plants growing in 8-inch baskets were obtained
locally on September 13, 1990 and used to obtain a crop of cuttings. For both cultivars used
in this test, cuttings were propagated immediately or stored at 35, 40, 45, 50 or 60F for 18 or
36 days. Four replications per treatment were made for each cultivar of English ivy tested.
The control group was propagated on September 13, immediately after harvest, on a
greenhouse mist bench. Other cuttings were placed in plastic bags, then stored in coolers where
air temperature was maintained at 35, 40, 45 or 50F for 18 or 36 days and then propagated
All cuttings were rooted in 4-inch pots, 5 cuttings per pot, using Vergro Container Mix
A (Verlite Co., Tampa FL 33610). On October 23, 1993, the control group was moved from
the propagation area to a greenhouse where maximum light intensity was 1500 ft-c, air
temperatures ranged from 65 to 90F and plants were watered three times per week. Cuttings
stored 18 days were removed from coolers, potted and placed on the mist bench on October 1,
1990. Cuttings stored 36 days were potted and placed under mist in the propagation area on
October 18, 1990. The entire cutting crop, including the control group, was placed together on
a greenhouse bench on November 14, 1990 and top-dressed with 3 g 19-6-12 Osmocote/4-inch
pot. Maximum light intensity was 1500 ft-c, air temperatures ranged from 65 to 90F and
plants were watered .three times per week.
Plants grown from cuttings were graded based on a scale of 1 = dead, 2 = poor quality,
unsalable, 3 = fair quality, salable, 4 = good quality and 5 = excellent quality, on January 3,
1991. Plants propagated from cuttings in the control group which had not been stored were
provided a longer growing period compared to plants propagated after 18 or 36 days in coolers.
Experiment 4. Storage Temperature. In this experiment, cuttings harvested from two
cultivars were propagated immediately or stored at one of five temperatures before propagation.
There were 5 replications per treatment for each cultivar tested. Single-eye node cuttings of
'Ingrid Liz' and 'Rolf' English ivy, from the mid-sections of vines, were obtained from local
sources on October 17, 1990. Cuttings were propagated immediately or stored in coolers
maintained at 35, 40, 45, 50 or 60F for 28 days before propagation.
On November 15, 1990, cuttings were removed from coolers and propagated. All
cuttings used in this experiment were propagated 5 per 5-inch tub, using a commercially
manufactured potting medium. Mist was provided until cuttings were well rooted. Ivy were
maintained in a greenhouse where maximum light intensity was about 1500 ft-c, air temperatures
ranged from 65 to 90F and plants were watered as needed. On January 3, 1991, plants grown
from cuttings were graded, based on the same 1-5 scale described earlier.
Experiment 1. Cultivar, Maximum Production Temperature and Fertilizer Source.
On January 3, 1991, plant grades of the 5-inch crop were not affected by the different maximum
air temperatures stock plants had received, with 86F producing the same quality as 97F.
Stock plant fertilizer source affected quality of 'Irish Gold' but not 'Gold Dust' (Table 1). The
5-inch 'Irish Gold' pot crop grown from stock plants getting 19-6-12 were much better than the
crop grown from stock plants getting 14-14-14. Additional research on fertilization is planned
in order to determine proper nitrogen (N) and potassium (K) ratios.
Experiment 2. Propagation Temperature. Although an overall reduction in cutting
quality occurred between September and December, there was little effect from maximum
temperature (Table 2). Maximum air temperature in stock plant growing areas only affected
'Starling' cuttings on November 20, when better quality cuttings were harvested from stock
plants, maintained at the higher air temperature of 97*F, but this single instance may be due to
chance. Decline in cutting quality over time may have been caused by naturally decreasing light
levels and night temperatures occurring as fall progressed into winter.
Experiment 3. Storage Temperature and Duration. The two cultivars responded
differently to treatments. Plant grade of 'Starling' was not affected by storage temperature or
duration while best quality 'Ingrid Liz' plants were grown from the control group which was
propagated immediately after harvest (Table 3). Plant grades for 'Ingrid Liz' decreased as
storage duration increased and plants propagated from cuttings stored for 36 days were unsalable
when plant grades were recorded on January 3, 1991.
Experiment 4. Storage Temperature. As in the preceding experiment, best quality
'Ingrid Liz' plants, were grown from cuttings in the control group (Table 4). Best quality 'Rolf'
plants were also grown from the control group cuttings. However, quality of 'Rolf' plants
grown from cuttings stored at 50 or 60F (between fair and good) was better than quality of
plants grown from cuttings stored at 45F (just fair).
On first glance, the data provided in this report may seem confusing. However, on
closer examination, some useful information relating to stock plants as well as the potential for
storing cuttings of several different cultivars of English ivy can be seen.
More research needs to be conducted on fertilizer sources as the limited data presented
here may be misleading. Temperature data from two experiments showed production of stock
at maximum temperatures of 86 or 97F had no real effect on cutting quality. This is contrary
to popular opinion which is that English ivy needs as cool a temperature as possible during
summer in Florida.
Storage experiments indicated excellent quality plants could be produced from 'Starling'
cuttings without storage and also when cuttings had been stored at any of the temperatures
tested. However, 'Rolf' stored fairly well only at 50 or 60*F and 'Ingrid Liz' did not store well
at any temperature. These data suggest that storage potential is probably somewhat cultivar
related. Therefore, additional research will be needed to determine optimum storage
temperatures for the most widely grown cultivars.
Data generated from these experiments indicate the need for more research on English
ivy stock plant maintenance and cutting storage and propagation for cultivars of major economic
Conover, C.A. and R.T. Poole. 1990. Light and fertilizer recommendations for production of
acclimatized potted foliage plants. Nursery Digest 24 (10):34-36, 58-59.
Henley, R.W., A.R. Chase and L.S. Osborne. 1991. English Ivy. Univ. of Fla., IFAS,
CFREC-A Foliage Plant Research Note RH-91-15.
Plant gradesz of 'Gold Dust' and 'Irish Gold' English ivy grown from cuttings
from stock plants receiving different slow release fertilizers and grown in 86 or
97F maximum air temperatures. Experiment 1.
Maximum Temp (F) 'Gold Dust' 'Irish Gold'
86 4.1 2.6
97 4.4 3.1
SignificanceY ns ns
19-6-12 4.2 3.4
14-14-14 4.3 2.4
Significance' ns *
zPlant grades were based on a scale of 1 = dead, 2 = poor quality, unsalable, 3 = fair quality,
salable, 4 = good quality and 5 = excellent quality.
Yns, *; Nonsignificant or significant at P = 0.05, respectively.
xStock plants were fertilized with 10 g/8-inch basket 19-6-12 or 13 g/8-inch basket 14-14-14
Osmocote controlled release fertilizer on July 19, 1990.
Maximum air temperature during stock plant production and resultant plant grade
of two cultivars of English ivy cuttings. Stock plants were placed in maximum
air temperature September 14, 1990. Experiment 2.
'Ingrid Liz' 'Starling'
Harvest date 860F 97F Signif 860F 97F Signif
Sep 14 4.2z 3.8 nsy 5.0 4.8 ns
Oct 9 4.0 4.2 ns 4.5 5.0 ns
Oct 16 4.8 4.5 ns 4.5 4.8 ns
Oct 23 4.5 4.5 ns 5.0 4.8 ns
Oct 30 4.5 4.5 ns 5.0 5.0 ns
Nov 6 3.8 4.2 ns 3.5 4.0 ns
Nov 13 3.5 3.5 ns 3.5 3.7 ns
Nov 20 3.8 4.0 ns 3.0 3.7 *
Nov 27 3.5 3.6 ns 2.8 3.0 ns
Dec 5 3.2 3.2 ns 3.2 2.8 ns
zCuttings were graded on harvest dates as indicated based on a scale of 1 = dead, 2 = poor
quality, 3 = fair quality, 4 = good quality and 5 = excellent quality.
Yns, *; Results nonsignificant or significant at P = 0.05, respectively.
Effects of storage temperature and duration on plant grades of English ivy
cultivars 'Ingrid Liz' and 'Starling'. Experiment 3.
Storage temp (OF) 'Ingrid Liz' 'Starling'
50 3.4 5.0
45 2.8 4.9
40 3.0 5.0
35 3.2 4.9
linear ns ns
quadratic ns ns
Storage duration (days)
0, no storage 4.5 5.0
18 3.6 4.9
36 2.7 5.0
linear ** ns
TPlants grown from cuttings were graded on January 3, 1991, based on a scale of 1 = dead, 2
= poor quality, unsalable, 3 = fair quality, salable, 4 = good quality and 5 = excellent
Yns, **; Nonsignificant or significant at P = 0.01, respectively.
Effects of cuttings storage temperature and grower on plant grade of 'Ingrid Liz'
and 'Rolf' English ivy. Experiment 4.
Storage tempe ("F) 'Ingrid Liz' 'Rolf'
Control, no storage 3.8 4.0
35 2.3 2.7
40 2.2 2.7
45 2.1 3.0
50 2.7 3.3
60 2.4 3.6
Contrast control vs storage ** **
Contrast 35F vs other temps ns ns
Contrast 40F vs 45, 50, 60F ns ns
Contrast 45F vs 50, 60F ns
zPlants were graded based on a scale of l = dead, 2 = poor quality, unsalable, 3 = fair quality,
salable, 4 = good quality and 5 = excellent quality.
YCuttings were propagated immediately or stored for 28 days at 35, 40, 45, 50 or 600F.
xns, *, **; Nonsignificant, significant at P = 0.05 or significant at P = 0.01, respectively.