English Ivy plants tend to have a bit of a reputation of being really hardy and not sensitive to their care or environment. However, plant parents will often find their leaves go brown and crispy if something isn’t right. But here’s the tricky part, there are quite a few causes of brown leaves on English Ivy plants so it’s important you take a good look through each of the reasons so you can figure out which is affecting your plant.
Overwatering can cause brown leaves
One common reason why your English Ivy may have developed brown leaves is too much water. It can be quite easy to accidentally give your plant too much water as it’s difficult to see what’s happening in the soil but being careful of this can help to avoid brown leaves.
The reason that consistent overwatering can be so harmful to your English Ivy is that it causes waterlogged soil which cuts off air circulation in the potting mix and means the root system will start to rot which causes brown leaves.
Before you change anything, you must be 100% sure that overwatering is the cause of the brown leaves on your English Ivy or you risk causing more issues by fixing the wrong problem. Take your English Ivy out of its pot and closely inspect the potting mix and root system. If the potting mix feels soggy and clumpy, then this means your English Ivy has been overwatered. If the roots are soft and mushy it suggests that the issue has been going on for a while.
How to revive an overwatered English Ivy:
- Replace the soil immediately with fresh, high-quality soil.
- Trim off any soft, mushy or brown roots and leaves.
- Adjust your watering schedule.
How to prevent overwatering causing any more brown leaves on your English Ivy:
It’s important that you take preventative measures to stop any more brown leaves from developing on your plant in future.
- Only water when the potting mix feels dry. Using a moisture meter will REALLY help with this!
- Ensure good drainage through drainage holes and, perlite and terracotta pots
- Downsize your pot if necessary to reduce how long it takes for the soil to dry.
- Adjust your watering schedule depending on the size/maturity of your plant as well as seasonal factors.
If the leaves are very dry and crispy as well as brown, then you may have been underwatering your plant for some time. Make sure to regularly water your English Ivy using the little and often method to make sure that the soil is always slightly damp. English Ivy plants don’t like to be swimming in water, but they don’t like to have dry soil for too long either.
Luckily underwatering won’t instantly kill your English Ivy so you have quite a while to spot this issue and revive your plant. Start by giving your plant a little bit of water once a day for a week. Drowning your plant will only cause it to go into shock and this can cause more brown leaves! Trim away the brown leaves and any new growth should hopefully be healthy and luscious green!
Your English Ivy could be in an area where it is suffering from temperature shock and this might be the cause of the brown leaves. This usually happens if your English Ivy is too close to a heating/AC vent or a radiator. Whilst the overall temperature in your home might be ideal for growth, be wary of drafty windows, doors and vents that might be affecting your English Ivy.
Also, make sure to open your windows every day to ensure the air in your home is circulating properly. This reduces the risk of hotspots forming which can very quickly cause brown leaves on your houseplants. We also recommend picking up a digital thermometer to check the spot your English Ivy is sitting for peace of mind.
Extremely Dry Air
Although English Ivy plants are quite tolerant of some dry air, a lack of humidity may also be the cause of the brown leaves. This usually starts at the tips and edges of the leaves Although the current brown tips are irreversible, there are quite a few simple ways to up the humidity to stop any more from occurring.
Misting the leaves
This is our top method to increase the humidity for your English Ivy. Mist the leaves using a spray bottle 3-4 times a week. Not only will this increase the humidity but it will also get rid of any dust that has formed on the leaves.
Put your English Ivy in the shower
Rinsing down your plant will instantly increase the humidity and prevent any more brown leaf tips on your English Ivy. Use lukewarm water at low pressure so you don’t damage, shock or burn the leaves and vines.
Invest in a humidifier
These portable and affordable gadgets are a real game-changer when it comes to increasing the humidity for your plants and your English Ivy will love you for it. Say goodbye to brown leaf tips!
We recommend this humidifier from Amazon. We’ve been using it for years and our plants really love it!
If you notice that the tips of your English Ivy are starting to turn brown and dry it may be due to sensitivity to chemicals in the water. This is a slightly rarer cause but if you are struggling to see that any of the other reasons fit with your plant, then this might be the one.
Salts, chlorine and fluoride found in tap water can build up in the soil and over the months and years can cause harm to the root system. This will then show up as brown leaves on your English Ivy. This is a lot more common if you live in a hard water area so that’s worth checking out if you don’t already know what the water is like in your local area. Use distilled water or rainwater to reduce the levels of chemicals and this should be the end of the brown leaves.
Now that you’ve hopefully diagnosed the issue with your English Ivy you might be wondering what to do about the brown leaves that are already there. Unfortunately, once a leaf has turned brown, there is no reversing that. This is why we often recommend removing the leaves that have turned a solid brown colour.
When removing the leaves, make sure to trim them off using sharp tools. Never rip or pull the leaves off by hand as this can damage the stems and other parts of the plant that might be otherwise healthy.
More often than not, brown leaves on your English Ivy are a sign that your plant is starting to die. This can be caused by a whole range of issues that this article discusses. It’s important to act as quickly as possible to find out what is causing your English Ivy to develop brown leaves as the sooner you start fixing the issue, the more chance you have at bringing your plant back to full health.
The key to preventing your English Ivy from developing brown leaves is to make sure that it is growing in the ideal environment. You need to make sure that environmental factors such as sunlight, warmth and humidity are right for your plant, as well as balancing watering so that your English Ivy is getting what it needs.
Care requirements will be different for each plant so we recommend looking at our care guide for a more comprehensive overview.
Unfortunately, once the leaves on your English Ivy have turned brown, there is no reversing this as that part of the leaf has died.
These are the most common reasons why English Ivy plants develop brown leaves. As we mentioned earlier, there are quite a few reasons which can make diagnosing the problem a little tricky. However, inspect the potting mix and environmental factors around your plant and you should be able to see what is causing the brown leaves.
A lot of people ask us whether they should trim away the brown leaves or let them naturally fall off the plant. We tend to recommend removing them if you have clean, sharp scissors as this just prevents your plant from wasting energy trying to revive those dying leaves. Don’t tug or pull at the leaves though as you risk damaging the vines.
To find out more about how to care for your plant, as well as propagation methods, repotting advice and how to solve other issues you might face, check out our English Ivy care guide.
Written by Joanna Turner