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or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
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site maintained by the Florida
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Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
L. S. Osborne, A Pise1ii9FAR)yHenley1
Unive sity d Poh idaIFAS
Agriculture Research Center Apop a
AREC-A Foliage P.TF .SeRe!Fho0Ibrq 984-H
English ivy (Hedera helix), a member of the aralia family (Araliaceae),
is a woody vine with evergreen, alternately arranged leaves. Leaves are
palmately veined and usually palmately lobed, although there are many
cultivars which vary in leaf size, leaf shape, leaf color and plant growth
habit. The American Ivy Society has developed a classification system,
primarily on leaf shape and color, which is useful to horticulturists (Table
1). Most English ivy in the trade is in its juvenile form and is therefore
vine-like, with lobed leaves, without flowers and easy to root. Very old
specimens of English ivy trained on walls or trees will often develop to the
mature form which results in thickened-erect stems, non-lobed leaves,
flowers and difficult-to-root branches. English ivy is one of the most cold
hardy plants used indoors. Some cultivars are used in northern landscapes
where temperatures drop to -10OF for brief periods. Most of the cultivars
usgd as potted foliage are not nearly so hardy, but should withstand 10 to
20 F if acclimatized to some cold prior to exposure to sub-freezing
temperatures the first time.
English ivy is an excellent foliage plant for hanging planters and
other applications which require a cascading or trailing plant. It is also
used effectively in dish gardens and other combination planters. In large
interior plantings, English ivy makes a good ground cover and for those who
like formal shapes, the plant-can be trained on trellises or made into
topiary figures. Depending upon a particular application, some cultivars
will be much superior than others.
English ivy should be rooted and grown in a well drained potting medium
with high water holding capacity. Calcium and magnesium is normally
supplied by dolomite blended with the potting medium at the rate of 4 to 10
pounds per cubic yard to adjust the pH to approximately 6.0. The amount of
dolomite used will depend upon the initial acidity of the medium. Micro-
nutrients can be premixed with the potting medium or added as part of a
liquid fertilizer program. A fertilizer with approximately a 3-1-2 or 2-1-2
ratio should be used at the rate of 2.5 to 3.0 pounds of actual nitrogen per
1000 square feet per month.
Assistant Professor, Entomology; Associate Professor, Plant Pathology; and
Professor, Foliage Extension Specialist, respectively, Agricultural
Research and Education Center, 2807 Binion Road, Apopka, FL 32703.
Ivy grows well at light intensities of 1500 to 2500 foot candles and a
temperature range of 65 to 80 F.
1) Loss of variegation in young leaves
Symptoms Some of the variegated cultivars will lose most, if not all,
of their color pattern in young foliage when placed in very deep
shade. This is most frequently observed during winter propagation.
Control Since shifting the plants to brighter light restores the
Typical color pattern in young leaves, it is not regarded as a
2) Loss of variegation in older leaves
Symptoms Another type of leaf color shift is observed in the older
leaves of a few of the variegated cultivars, particularly some of the
yellow and green ones. The loss of variegated pattern is accelerated
by low light levels.
Control Grow only those variegated cultivars which retain the typical
color pattern as the leaves age.
3) Permanent loss of variegation
Symptoms One or more shoots on a plant will develop with leaves which
are uniformly dark green. Changes in light level and leaf age.do not
restore the variegated pattern. The shoots with green leaves are
normally more vigorous than the variegated ones.
Control Remove the green shoots when possible by pruning and use only
cuttings with leaves typical of the cultivar for propagation. Some
cultivars, such as 'Gold Heart', are much less stable than others.
4) Slow growth and rooting of cuttings
Symptoms Plants lack normal vigor and root slowly, a condition
frequently observed during the summer in the South.
Control English ivy grows best when temperatures can be maintained
below 900F. Shading, keeping hanging plants low in the greenhouse
and supplementing ventilation with either evaporative pads or fog
will help reduce high temperatures.
Table 1. Classes of English ivy, Hedera helix, used by the American Ivy
Society and examples of cultivars produced by commercial growers
Arborescents plants with stiff, upright
stems and can produce flowers
Bird's foot leaves with narrow lobes
Curlies leaves with ruffles, ripples, or
Fans leaves broad and fan shaped with leaves
of equal length
Heart shapes leaves shaped like a
Few in commercial pro-
Brokamp, Green Feather,
Big Deal, Manda Crested,
Ivy ivys -
leaves typical of species, (H.
helix) with pronounced terminal,
lateral and basal lobes
Miniatures leaves less than 1/2 inch long
Oddities plants with unusual form, such as
fasciated stems or distorted
Variegateds leaves multicolored
Few in commercial pro-
Glacier, Gold Dust, Gold
Heart, Hahn Variegated
Hedera helix is subject to numerous leaf, stem and root diseases caused
by both bacteria and fungi. Although the fungal diseases can be adequately
controlled through cultural or chemical means, one must rely upon cultural
techniques for control of the bacterial diseases since available
bactericides are either phytotoxic or leave an unsightly residue and usually
do not result in satisfactory disease control.
1) Xanthomonas leaf spot (X. campestris pv. hederae)
Symptoms Xanthomonas leaf spot of ivy cultivars is characterized by
brown to black circular to irregularly shaped spots found first on
the oldest foliage. Many times the spots have a bright yellow halo
or margin and a water-soaked edge. Disease occurs throughout the
year. Infection of immature leaves results in speckling and
deformity of these leaves.
Control Although streptomycin sulfate is effective in controlling some
bacterial leaf spot diseases of foliage plants, it is not recommended
for use on ivy due to phytotoxicity. Plants treated with as little
as 100 ppm a single time develop white marginal chlorosis. This is
especially apparent on solid green cultivars, but also occurs on
variegated cultivars. Alternately, the use of a combination of
copper and maneb is usually undesirable due to the poor control
achieved and the glue-like residue produced by this combination.
Consequently, control of this disease must be based on use of
pathogen-free stock plants and minimization of overhead watering.
Roguing infected plants is also recommended to decrease spread of the
disease to adjacent plants.
1) Botrytis blight (B. cinerea)
Symptoms Botrytis blight first appears as relatively large grayish
areas on leaf margins and in their centers. The dusty gray-tan
spores of the pathogen form readily in the dead tissue and can be
easily seen with a 10 x hand lens. Affected leaves generally
Control Botrytis blight occurs during the winter months when days are
cool, short and humidity in the greenhouses is high. Benomyl
(Benlate 50 WP) and vinclozolin (Ornalin 50 WP) are both registered
for use on this crop and provide good to excellent control of
Botrytis blight. Iprodione (Chipco 26019 50 WP) also provides good
disease control but is not registered for use at this time.
2) Colletotrichum leaf spot (Colletotrichum trichellum)
Symptoms Colletotrichum leaf spot, (also called anthracnose) appears
very similar to Xanthomonas leaf spot. Sometimes lesions appear
black with tiny black specks in their centers which are the fruiting
structures of the pathogen. Diagnosis of these symptoms by a plant
pathologist is necessary to ensure choice of the appropriate control.
Control Reduce overhead watering as much as possible since it is
necessary for disease development. Benomyl (Benlate 50 WP) is
effective for control and is registered for this crop. In addition,
chlorothalonil (Daconil 4.17F), thiophanate methyl (Fungo 50 WP), and
maneb compounds are effective fungicides, but are not registered on
this crop at present.
3) Phytophthora leaf spot (P. palmivora)
Symptoms Infected plants exhibit poor growth and color and basal
leaves turn brown and curl downward. Root rot sometimes occurs,
although leaf spot and stem rot appear to be more common. Leaf spots
are large gray to black and water-soaked.
Control Cultural controls include use of pathogen-free potting media,
pots and plant material as well as minimal water applications.
Chemical controls-which are labeled and effective are ethazole
(Truban 25 EC) and ethazole and thiophanate methyl (Banrot 40 wp).
4) Rhizoctonia aerial blight (R. solani)
Symptoms Rhizoctonia blight occurs primarily during the hot summer
months when humidities are very high in the growing area. Disease
development is rapid and can occur in less than one week if
conditions are optimal. Brown, irregularly-shaped lesions form all
over the plant. Although the first symptoms sometimes appear on the
top of the plant, the pathogen inhabits the potting medium and is not
as readily spread by air movement as many other fungal leaf spot
organisms. The lesions spread rapidly and the reddish-brown spider
web-like mycelium can cover the entire plant.
Control Cultural control of this disease is the same as that listed
for Phytophthora leaf and stem rot. Benomyl (Benlate 50 WP is
registered) is very effective in controlling this disease when it is
applied to both the foliage and the roots of the infected plant.
Ethazole and thiophanate methyl (Banrot 40 WP) are also effective as
soil drenches for control of Rhizoctonia root rot and aerial blight
on ivy. Two other fungicides available for Botrytis control also
provide control of Rhizoctonia blight. Vinclozolin (Ornalin 50 WP)
is registered for use on this plant while iprodione (Chipco 26019 50
WP) is not currently registered on this plant.
PHYTOTOXICITY OF BACTERICIDES AND FUNGICIDES ON HEDERA HELIX
Banrot 40WP Agri-Strep
Daconil 4.17 F and 75WP
Chipco 50WP 26019
Truban 25 EC
Pesticides were tested at recommended rates and intervals.
MAJOR INSECT AND MITE PESTS
The major.arthropod pests of Hedera helix include mealybugs, mites,
scales, thrips and larvae of certain moths. Mealybug, mite, and scale
infestations are typically the result of introducing infested plant material
into the greenhouse. Moths and thrips have the ability to fly and thus
invade the greenhouse from weeds and other infested plants outside. In the
control section for each pest, a few of the many registered and effective
pesticides will be listed. For a complete listing, please consult the
references at the end of this report. Because of the numerous varieties
grown in the greenhouse, a small group of plants should be tested for
phytotoxicity prior to treating the entire crop. The list given in this
section should be used only as a guide to the sensitivity of this plant to
Symptoms Mealybugs appear as white cottony masses in leaf axiles, on
the lower surfaces of leaves and on the roots. Honeydew and sooty
mold are often present, infested plants become stunted and, with
severe infestations, the plant will die.
Control Systemic materials are preferred. Examples of chemicals which
have systemic activity are: Dimethoate, Disyston, Metasystox-R, and
Orthene. Bendiocarb appears to be as effective as some of the
systemic materials. Control of root mealybugs is accomplished with
soil drenches with an insecticide. Diazinon and Vydate are the only
insecticides registered for this purpose, but both can cause phyto-
toxicity. When pesticides are applied to the soil, care must be
taken to assure that the pots have good drainage and that no saucers
are attached or phytotoxicity may result.
2) Moths (worms)
Symptoms Infestations are easy to detect because worms, their
excrement and the damage they cause, are generally visible to the
unaided eye. Damage appears as holes in the center or along the
edges of foliage. One species of moth has larvae that ties pieces of
the leaf or leaves together with silk forming a shelter within which
it lives. This pest is called a leafroller and is becoming a serious
pest of ivy. Old damage can be distinguished from new by the
calloused appearance of the damaged areas (worms are usually gone by
Control Lannate, Orthene, Dursban, and Dipel effectively control
various worm species.
Symptoms Two-spotted spider mites are the major mite pest of ivy, but
this plant is often attacked by broad mites. Mites are very small
and go unnoticed until plants become severely damaged. Foliage
damaged by spider mites turns yellow or becomes speckled due to their
feeding. Often, the presence of this pest is overlooked because the
cast skins and webbing produced by this mite are confused for dust or
hairs present on many varieties of ivy. Broad mite feeding causes
the inhibition of new growth, necrosis of the vegetative shoot apex
which is followed by abscission of affected plant parts.
Control Spider mites can be controlled with Mavrik, Pentac or Vendex.
Kelthane and Pentac are effective controls for broad mites. The
critical point in any control program is thorough coverage of both
surfaces with the pesticide. The best control program is to minimize
the possibility of introducing mites into the growing area on
infested plant material.
Symptoms Infested plants become weakened or stunted and die. Scales
can be found feeding on leaves, petioles, or stems. Their shape,
size, and color are variable and many are hard to distinguish from
the plant material on which they are feeding.
Control See Mealybugs
Symptoms Infested leaves become curled or distorted, with silver-gray
scars or calloused areas where feeding has occurred.
Control Many materials are registered
and effective at controlling
PHYTOTOXICITY OF INSECTICIDES AND MITICIDES ON HEDERA HELIX
SAFE QUESTIONABLE UNSAFE
thuringiensis Dycarb Diazinon EC
Pesticides were tested at recommended rates and intervals.
1. Chase, A. R. 1983. Phytotoxicity of some fungicides used on tropical
foliage plants. ARC-Apopka Research Report, RH-83-2.
2. Short, D. E. 1978. Phytotoxicity of insecticides and miticides to
foliage and woody ornamental plants. Extension Entomology Report #57.
3. Short, D. E., L. S. Osborne, and R. W. Henley. 1983. 1983-84 Insect
and related arthropod management guide for commercial foliage and woody
plants in Florida.
4. Simone, G. W. 1983. Fungicides for use on ornamentals 1983-84.
Extension Plant Pathology Circular 484-B.
Mention of a commercial or proprietary product or pesticide in this paper
does not constitute a recommendation by the authors nor does it imply
registration under FIFRA as amended. Pesticides should be applied according
to the label instructions and safety equipment required on the label or by
federal law should be employed. Pesticides listed in the control sections,
but not listed in the phytotoxicity charts HAVE NOT been tested for plant
safety by the University of Florida.