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Question
I have an an indoor ivy plant for about 3 years now.  It is still in the same pot I purchased it in.  Do I need to repot? If so, I have considered potting it in a hanging pot however most hanging pots are for outdoor use and don't have a draining hole with a water catch tray.  I obviously don't want to water it and have the overflow on my floors.  What do you suggest?

Lastly, I bought a 2-3 foot tall stand in which the pot sits in.  The vines are now long and all over the floor.  I don't want people to step on it and I would like to provide an environment for it to continue to grow.  Do I need to get the vines off the floor and on the walls?  If so, how do I go about doing that logistically?

Answer
Hi Sonya,

Your questions are good ones because they reflect a couple of common misunderstandings about Ivies, as well as other potted plants.

Your Ivy does not need to be repotted and probably never will. Plants do best when kept quite potbound in their original plastic nursery pots.

But that raises the problem of hiding a not very attractive nursery pot. The answer is to double pot - placing the nursery pot inside a more attractive planter of your choice. Many decorative planters do not have drainage holes, as you have pointed out. However, when you double pot into a sealed hanging planter, any excess water will run out of the nursery pot and into the outer planter. It won't spill onto the floor and the excess can easily be dumped into the sink. As long as the nursery pot is not left sitting in water for more than 24 hours, there will not be a problem. It will take only a few times for you to determine just how much water to add each time so that only a tiny amount collects in the bottom of the hanging planter.

Pruning is the most neglected of all plant care practices. I see Ivies trailing over floors, pinned to walls, draped over lamp shades and book shelves and hung from ceilings and curtain rods. To be honest, such overgrown vines look rather ugly. Eventually they max out and you end up with long bare stems with a few leaves at the ends. Those are even uglier.

Potted ivies are not intended to grow ever longer. To keep an Ivy looking full and healthy, it is best to prune vines once they are more than 2-3 feet in length. The exact length is a judgement call depending on how you want yours to look. Personally, I keep most of my Ivies just about long enough that they reach the bottom of the pot. I suggest that they should never be less than a foot above the floor. Trying to get them to grow sideways and attach to walls is an exrcise in futility. Although Ivies can grow this way outdoors in damp environments, they cannot do it indoors unless you keep your walls wet!

Pruning does not affect the future growth or health of the plant. It affects only the appearance. In that sense, pruning is like getting your haircut - you do it to look better, not to live longer!

The individual vines can be cut just below a node (the point where the leaf stem attaches to the vine) at any point on the vine. The cuttings can be rooted in water or in damp soil to propagate more plants.

I have written articles on repotting, pruning and on Ivy care that I will email for free to you (or anyone else) who emails a request to me at wcreed@HorticulturalHelp.com.

Please let me know if any of this is unclear or if you have any additional questions.

If this information has been helpful, please click the Rate Volunteer bar below and enter a rating and nomination for me. I am a volunteer on this site so Ratings are the only compensation I receive for answering plant questions.

Need more information? Visit my website at:
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or email me at wcreed@HorticulturalHelp.com or call me at 917-887-8601 (EST)
 
Regards,
Will Creed, Interior Landscaper
Horticultural Help, NYC

Visit my website at: A link to HorticulturalHelp.com  

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Will Creed

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I am the only expert in this category with professional hands-on experience and knowledge of all indoor plants. I can answer questions regarding light, water, fertilizer, repotting, pruning and humidity and temperature requirements. I can identify plant pests and provide information on safe, effective treatments. My answers are based on 35 years of professional experience and scientific research and are clear and easy to understand. I do NOT use search engines to find answers to your questions. If you read my previous posts here, you will get a good idea as to how thorough and professional my answers are.

Experience

I have over 35 years of professional indoor landscaping experience caring for plants in homes, offices, building lobbies, stores, restaurants, and other adverse environments. I have written extensively on the care of indoor plants, including a 260 page book. My specialties include Ficus trees, low light plants, repotting, pest control, and re-blooming holiday plants. Be sure to check my ratings and nominations to learn why I am the top-rated indoor plant expert. I am the only House Plant expert consistently ranked in the AllExperts Top 20.

Education/Credentials
BA, Amherst College

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