How to grow ivy from a cutting?

Ivy Plant Propagation: Best Way To Root An Ivy Cutting

English ivy is a classic addition to any home, whether you grow it to cover a brick wall or plant it as an indoor vine as part of your room decor. Buying a lot of ivy for large plantings can be an expensive proposition, but you can get a large batch for free by rooting ivy plants in your home. Propagating English ivy (and most other types too) is a simple procedure than anyone can do with a few basic tools. Let’s learn more about the best way to root an ivy cutting.

Ivy Plant Propagation

Ivy plants are made of long trailing vines with multiple leaves growing along their lengths. Vines such as these are simple to cut and root, as long as you use the right cutting methods. One vine can be cut into multiple pieces and grown into new plants, turning one plant into a dozen.

The secret to rooting ivy vines is in the cutting and care you give them during the rooting process. Propagating English ivy and related species can be accomplished in either water or soil.

How to Propagate Ivy

Cut a length of ivy vine up to 4 feet long. Use a clean pair of shears or a sharp knife. Cut the vine into multiple pieces, with each piece having one or two leaves. Make each cut directly above a leaf, and trim the stem below the leaf to about one inch.

Dip the end of each stem in rooting hormone powder. Fill a planter with sand (or a sand/soil mix) and poke holes in the sand for planting. Plant each powdered stem in a hole and then gently push the sand around the stem.

Water the sand well and place the planter in a plastic bag to help retain moisture. Open the bag once a week to water when needed to keep it moist. The ivy twigs will begin to sprout and be ready to replant in a permanent location within six to eight weeks.

Ivy plants are also easy to root in water. Trim off any bottom leaves and place your cutting in a jar on a well-lit window sill. In a few weeks, you should start to see roots growing in the water. While rooting ivy plants in water is easy, it is always better for the plant when rooted in a solid planting medium, as transplanting water-rooted cuttings to the soil is more difficult and survival rates are lower. Therefore, the best way to too an ivy cutting is in sandy soil rather than water.

We have been using the same German ivy for many years. We have not had to buy a plant in more than 5 years. It’s fast growing and will fill a basket and trail down more than 2 feet given enough time. I’m told this is not really an ivy but a vine. That makes sense as the stems are more succulent than woody.
It keeps well in the house or greenhouse and it puts out pungent yellow flower masses, if we let it. Actually the fragrance is not what you would call pleasant. As a matter of fact it stinks worse than dirty socks.

The first time we had a bloom in the greenhouse we thought something had got in a died.
Today we took 3 baskets we kept from last year and trimmed all the terminal ends off. Then we dipped the ends in just a bit of rooting hormone and stuck them into 4 inch pots filled with pro-mix. We will keep the pots damp and in the shade for a few weeks and until the plants have taken root and started to grow.

This stuff is really easy to root and a look at one of the trailing stems will tell why. At every joint the plant sends out new shoots and in many cases they send out roots as well. The rooting hormone is probably over kill but we only use a very small amount and it is cheap insurance.
The plants also root if the stems are allowed to contact soil for a week or 2 and a cutting put in water will grow roots in very little time.

Once the German ivy is well rooted and sending off new shoots we will transplant some of them into 10 or 12 inch baskets. We normally use 3 plants per basket if they are to be planted alone. This ivy works very well with ivy geraniums but we need to be careful to make sure the geraniums are larger and well established. Otherwise the German ivy will take over and bury the geraniums.

The German ivy works well with moderate light and will thrive in lower light conditions. We let the plants dry out a bit between watering.
The biggest pest problems seem to be aphids and mealy bugs but this problem is not so pronounced when the plants are growing out doors.

Last year we put 4 really nice flats out to get some fresh air and they were hit by an un-forecast frost. The plants came back but they were not so well formed as before. This is just one of the challenges when growing in our cold weather zone 4 climate.

UPDATE:
It has been 10 days and the ivy has 1/4 inch roots. Even the trimmed leaves are starting to root and all the plants have new growth. Now the challenge is to keep the beasties away. We only use organic pest control and the greenhouse is growing all year long so we can not let up. Pyola oil about every 7 to 10 days does the trick.

STEP BY STEP instructions on propagating German Ivy with photos.
Step One. Choose a 2 to 3 inch section from a healthy plant and snip it off with clean shears or using a knife or razor blade.
choose a section from a healthy plant

Step 2. Pull the leaves off the bottom 1 to 2 inches.
Pull the bottom leaves off

Step three. Dip the lower 1/2 inch or so into rooting hormone.
Dip the lower portion into root hormone

Step four.Fill a pot with Pro Mix and poke a 2 inch hole in the center.
poke a hole in the soil

Step five. Check the roots. These roots are about 10 days old.
German ivy roots at 10 days

Step six. Put the stem in the hole and firmly tamp the soil.
tamp the soil down

Water the pot and place in a warm, 70 degree F., and shady area until the plant send out roots. A low nitrogen liquid fertilizer will help roots to grow. We use Age Old Organics 5-10-5 for starting cuttings. Keep the soil moist, not drenched. German ivy can take some sun but likes shade too.

Family:

Cashew Family (Anacardiaceae)

Other Names:

Rhus radicans, eastern poison-ivy, markweed, mercury, picry, poison creeper, poison vine, three-leaved ivy.

Origin and Distribution:

Poison-ivy is an American native that has a range extending from Canada to South America. It is distributed throughout every county in Ohio. Poison-ivy grows in many habitats including disturbed sites, woodlands, and wetlands. Because birds and animals often disperse the seeds, it is common to find poison-ivy growing in fence rows, on roadsides, at the base of trees, or along the edges of woods. Also, it has been observed in no tillage fields. Although poison-ivy grows in many soil types, it prefers soils with high calcium content.

Plant Description:

This is a deciduous woody perennial distinguished by its leaves that have three leaflets. The stalk attached to the middle leaflet is considerably longer than that attached to either of the two outer leaflets. It grows in a variety of forms including trailing, shrubby, or as a vine. Reproduction is primarily by seeds that are dispersed by birds and animals. Also, it may spread by rhizomes (horizontal underground stems). Stems are capable of forming roots and sending out new shoots when in contact with soil.

  • Root System:

    Poison-ivy produces aerial roots that attach to plants and other things when it grows as a vine. These aerial roots give stems of older plants a hairy appearance.

  • Seedlings and Shoots:

    First to emerge from a seed are 2 leaves (cotyledons) that are narrow and oblong. The characteristic 3-parted leaves appear next.

  • Stems:

    Woody stems have gray bark and grow either horizontally along the soil surface with upright leafy stalks or as a climbing vine.

  • Leaves:

    Leaves are alternate (1 leaf per node) and compound consisting of 3 leaflets. Leaflets are 2 to 4 inches long, glossy, and have a pointed tip. Their shape varies from elliptic to egg-shaped. Their edges also vary from smooth, to toothed or lobed. They appear droopy and reddish green in spring, become level and change to dark green when mature, and turn yellow, orange, or bright red before falling off in the fall.

  • Flowers:

    The small, greenish flowers have 5 petals and form in cluster that are 1 to 3 inches long and often hidden in the leaf axils. Male and female flowers occur on separate plants.

  • Fruits and Seeds:

    The small white berries are round, hard, and about 1/8 inch in diameter. Their surface has ridges that resemble segments of a peeled orange. Each berry contains a single seed.

Similar Species:

Seedlings of boxelder (Acer negundo) have the same alternate, 3-parted leaves that distinguish poison-ivy, but its leaflets are less shiny. Poison oak (Toxicodendron toxicarium) grows more erect than poison-ivy and its leaves have blunt tips with hairs on the upper and lower surfaces. In the U.S., poison oak is usually found growing from New Jersey southward. Leaves of poison-ivy are pointed and smooth on the upper surface, although they may be hairy on the underside. Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) is similar in appearance to poison-ivy but its leaves have 5 leaflets and it climbs by way of tendrils. Also, its fruit is a blue berry. Hog-peanut (Amphicarpa bracteata) has 3-parted leaves similar to poison-ivy, but it is a twining vine lacking woody stems and its purplish, pea-like flowers are larger than those of poison-ivy. Also, its leaflets have 3 strong veins apparent on either side while poison-ivy leaflets have only one centrally located midrib.

Biology:

Flowers appear from May to July. Seeds usually form after September and may remain on the plant throughout winter. Over 50 species of birds are known to eat poison-ivy seeds. Seeds are often dispersed far from the parent plant by animals and birds. Poison-ivy generally establishes on sites that have been repeatedly disturbed but not recently cultivated. It grows low to the ground and spreading, upright and bushy as a shrub, or vine-like and spreading. Slow vegetative spread by rhizomes can result in formation of large patches. The weed is easy to control by repeatedly cultivating, cutting, or mowing. Its shallow rhizomes are easy to dig up and remove. However, care should be taken to wear heavy protective clothing and repeatedly wash clothing and tools after use. Several herbicides are available that selectively control poison-ivy if applied to growing plants such that all foliage is completely covered.

Toxicity:

All parts of poison-ivy release an oil upon bruising that causes severe dermatitis with swelling and blistering. Sensitivity to the toxin varies among individuals, plants, and circumstances under which the person was exposed. If contacted, affected areas should be washed immediately with soap and water as well as any clothing or objects that may have come in contact with the oil. This activity will not decrease the severity of the reaction, but it will lessen the chance of spread. Unless removed by washing, the oil, which is similar to lacquer, can remain on plant parts, skin, clothing, and tools for an indefinite period of time without loosing potency. Fluid contained in blisters is not allergenic. Objects and animals can pick up the oil and transfer it to humans. Smoke of burning poison-ivy plants can cause allergic reactions inside the lungs of susceptible people. If affected, consult a pharmacist for ointment to treat the affected area and a doctor if the case is severe.

Facts and Folklore:

  • ‘Toxicodendron’ is Greek meaning ‘poison tree’.

  • ‘Leaflets three, let it be — berries white, poisonous site.’

  • Each year, reactions to poison-ivy are one of the most often cited causes of workers’ compensation claims.

  • Application of crushed leaves of jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) relieved the effects of recent exposure to poison-ivy in 108 out of 114 people tested.

  • Contrary to a widely-held belief, eating a poison-ivy leaf will not result in immunity to its toxin.

  • Botanists have contracted dermatitis from handling 100-year-old dried plants.

  • Poison-ivy has been cultivated in gardens and sold as an ornamental in Europe and Australia.

  • In the Netherlands, where its attractive fall foliage is prized, it is planted along dikes.

Poison Ivy

Eastern poison ivy foliage exhibiting smooth leaf margins.
Joey Williamson, ©2010 HGIC, Clemson Extension

Eastern poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) is a woody, perennial vine or small shrub that can be found in fields, pastures, woodlands, farms and home landscapes. As a vine, it attaches itself to trees or other structures with hairy, aerial roots borne along the stem.

Poison ivy has compound leaves that occur in threes (trifoliate or three leaflets). The edges of the leaflets can be smooth, wavy, lobed or toothed. Some leaves may resemble oak leaves. Atlantic poison oak (T. pubescens) looks similar to poison ivy, but it generally grows more upright and has hairs on both upper and lower leaf surfaces. Most mature poison ivy plants will flower and produce clusters of white, waxy fruit.

The entire plant is poisonous because all parts contain the irritating oil urushiol. Urushiol is a colorless or slightly yellow oil found in the leaves, stems and roots. The oil can remain active for months on objects. It can be picked up on tools,clothing and the fur of pets. Therefore, anything that may carry the oil should be carefully washed. Even dead plants or roots may cause allergic reactions for a couple of years.

Some people are more sensitive than others to the effects of poison ivy. Sensitive people often develop a severe skin rash within hours after contact. Highly allergic people may develop a rash if they inhale smoke when burning poison ivy in brush piles, or if they contact pets with the toxin on their fur. However, sensitivity can change from time to time so that someone who was not affected by it at one time can have a reaction at another time.

“The poison ivy vines become “hairy” in appearance as they are covered in anchoring rootlets that aid in attachment to the tree. A rash can also occur from contact with the vines.”
Joey Williamson, ©2017 HGIC, Clemson Extension

The plants are most dangerous in spring and summer when oil content is highest. For those sensitive to the oil, a linear rash, resembling small insect bites, will appear within 12 to 48 hours, but a reaction can take up to two weeks to occur. This rash develops into a more severe rash and blisters.

Washing with running water is recommended. Washing with soaps that contain oils, such as complexion soaps, can actually spread the irritating oil and make the rash more widespread. Unless the oil is removed from the skin within 10 minutes of exposure, a reaction is inevitable in extremely sensitive individuals. Less sensitive people may have up to four hours to wash it off, although it is generally accepted that the oil binds to the skin in 30 minutes. Thereafter, it is extremely difficult to remove with water. Rubbing alcohol is a better solvent for the oil than is water.

There are specially prepared cleansing agents (such as Tecnu Skin Cleanser, Tecnu Extreme Medicated Poison Ivy Scrub, and Zanfel) that remove much of the rash-causing oil if applied to the skin within 4 to 8 hours of contact.

Another treatment to help prevent a rash following exposure is with a manganese sulfate solution. A manganese sulfate solution has been shown to be effective both to inactivate urushiol on the skin, to relieve itching, and probably acts as a chelating agent for detoxification of urushiol. Dr. West’s Poison Ivy, Oak, Sumac Cleanser is the most common manganese sulfate solution available for treatment of poison ivy rashes.

Ivy Shield, Ivy Block Lotion, and Ivy X Poison Oak Lotion are protective agents for sensitive individuals to reduce the risk of a rash when spending time in areas with these plants.

Fall color of Eastern poison ivy.
Joey Williamson, ©2007 HGIC, Clemson Extension

“Once the poison ivy vines mature, flowers are produced. The resulting white fruit are spread by birds.”
Joey Williamson, ©2017 HGIC, Clemson Extension

Eastern poison ivy foliage exhibiting serrate (toothed) leaf margins
Joey Williamson, ©2010 HGIC, Clemson Extension

Eastern poison ivy foliage exhibiting lobed leaf margins
Joey Williamson, ©2010 HGIC, Clemson Extension

Control

Poison ivy grows fairly quickly and propagates itself by underground rhizomes and seeds. Seeds are quickly spread by birds and other animals that eat the small fruits. Poison ivy can get started in the landscape from a seed dropped by a bird and may quickly become a widespread problem. It often grows in shrubs and groundcovers making it difficult to control.

Don’t confuse poison ivy with Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), which also grows as both a groundcover and climbs trees as a vine. However, Virginia creeper plants have compound leaves with five leaflets rather than three.

Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) has leaves in groups of five.
Joey Williamson, ©2014 HGIC, Clemson Extension

For light infestations, dig up small plants. You can also repeatedly cut back the plants to ground level. Eventually they starve to death. Start cutting early in the spring, about the time leaves unfold. When new growth appears, cut again. Inspect the plants every week or two. Whenever you see green growth, cut the shoots back to the ground.

If you choose to eradicate poison oak or poison ivy by cutting back the plants, you should protect your hands and arms. Always wear a long-sleeved shirt and long pants. Use protective gloves. Launder the clothing separately from the family laundry. Instead of disposable gloves, consider using plastic bags, the long kind that newspapers and bread loaves come in. Slip each hand into a bag and keep the bags secured to your arms with rubber bands. When you have finished cutting, remove the bags by turning them inside out. Then be sure to discard them, because the bags will now be contaminated with urushiol, the oil that causes the allergic skin reaction.

To eradicate poison oak and poison ivy chemically, use an herbicide that contains glyphosate, triclopyr, or a 3-way herbicide that contains 2,4-D amine, dicamba, and mecoprop. See Table 1 for products containing these active ingredients. These herbicides can kill desirable plants, so be careful. If the poison ivy or poison oak is growing among plants you want to save, you can cut back the poison ivy or poison oak and spray or paint the herbicide only on the freshly cut stems or stump. If there are no desirable plants nearby, you can spray or paint poison ivy and poison oak without cutting them back first. Read and follow label directions whenever using any herbicides.

The herbicides glyphosate, 2,4-D amine, dicamba, mecoprop, and triclopyr are translocated from the leaves and cut stems to the rest of the plant, eventually killing the shoots and roots. Repeated applications may be necessary. Depending on weather and other factors, it may take one to several weeks before you discover whether you have successfully eradicated the plant, so be patient.

Herbicides work better when you spray at the right time. Poison ivy and poison oak are most sensitive to 2,4-D amine and dicamba treatments in late spring or early summer when the plants are actively growing rapidly. Triclopyr offers the best control after the leaves fully expand in the spring and before leaf color changes in the fall. Glyphosate offers the best control when applied between 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after full bloom (early summer) and should be mixed to a 2% solution.

In lawns, many of the 3-way herbicides may be applied to tall fescue, bermudagrass, zoysiagrass, St. Augustinegrass and centipedegrass for poison ivy control. Be sure to read the label for safe use on each turfgrass species and for the amount of product to use per gallon of spray. Applications may be repeated. Triclopyr may be safely applied to tall fescue lawns, and zoysiagrass although some products are not labeled for use on residential lawns. See Table 1 for products.

If triclopyr or 2,4-D containing products are applied to lawns for weed control, do not use the clippings for mulch in vegetable gardens or around ornamentals as plant injury or death may result.

There are also products that are mixes of 2,4-D, dicamba, and triclopyr that should give enhanced control of poison ivy in lawns and areas that are not near desirable plants.

When herbicides are applied to beds intended for future planting of ornamentals, care must be taken as various herbicides may injure the plants to be installed. For planned beds, glyphosate has far less soil activity (a few days) as compared with the 3-way herbicides (a few weeks) and triclopyr (several months). Glyphosate is the safest choice for spray application in existing flower and shrub beds, so long as care is taken to prevent drift to non-target plants. Glyphosate applications are much less apt to move through the soil, be absorbed by roots, and injure existing woody ornamental shrubs. See Table 1 for brands and products.

Care must be taken to not allow any of these of these products to touch the foliage, stems or trunks of desirable plants. If the bark is thin, many herbicides can move through the bark and into the plant’s food and water transport system (the phloem and xylem elements), and result in severe plant injury or death.

Table 1. Examples of Post-emergence Spray Herbicides for Control of Poison Ivy.

Brands & Specific Products Post-emergence Herbicide
Active Ingredient
% Active Ingredient
in Product
Labeled for Use on Listed Turfgrass Species
Ortho Max Poison Ivy & Tough Brush Killer Concentrate; & RTU2 Triclopyr 8.0 None
Ferti-lome Brush Killer Stump Killer Concentrate
Southern AG Brush Killer
Triclopyr 8.8 None
Ortho Weed B Gon Chickweed, Clover & Oxalis Killer for Lawns Concentrate; & RTS1 Triclopyr 8.0 Tall Fescue
Zoysiagrass
Hi-Yield Triclopyr Ester

Herbicide Concentrate Monterey Turflon Ester

Triclopyr 61.6 Tall Fescue
Bayer BioAdvanced Southern Weed Killer for Lawns Concentrate; & RTS1 2,4-D
Mecoprop
Dicamba
7.59
1.83
0.84
Tall Fescue
Bermudagrass
Zoysiagrass
St. Augustinegrass
(use at lower label rate)
Centipedegrass
(use at lower label rate)
Ferti-lome Weed-Out Lawn Weed Killer Concentrate 2,4-D
Mecoprop
Dicamba
5.88
5.45
1.21
Southern Ag Lawn Weed Killer with Trimec Concentrate 2,4-D
Mecoprop
Dicamba
3.05
5.30
1.29
Spectracide Weed Stop For Lawns RTU2 2,4-D

Mecoprop

Dicamba

0.593
Ortho Weed B Gon Max for Southern Lawns Concentrate; & RTS1; & RTU2 2,4-D
Mecoprop
Dicamba
Carfentrazone
4.01
0.49
0.27
0.16
Spectracide Weed Stop for Lawns Concentrate; & RTS1 2,4-D
Mecoprop
Dicamba
7.59
1.83
0.84
Roundup Original Concentrate,
Roundup Pro Herbicide,
Martin’s Eraser Systemic Weed & Grass Killer,
Quick Kill Grass & Weed Killer
Bonide Kleenup Weed & Grass Killer 41% Super Concentrate
Hi-Yield Super Concentrate
Maxide Super Concentrate 41% Weed & Grass Killer
Super Concentrate Killzall Weed & Grass Killer
Tiger Brand Quick Kill Concentrate
Ultra Kill Weed & Grass Killer Concentrate
Gordon’s Groundwork Concentrate 50% Super Weed & Grass Killer
Zep Enforcer Weed Defeat III
Eliminator Weed & Grass Killer Super Concentrate
Monterey Remuda Full Strength 41% Glyphosate
Knock Out Weed & Grass Killer Super Concentrate
Southern States Grass & Weed Killer Concentrate II
Total Kill Pro Weed & Grass Killer Herbicide
Ace Concentrate Weed & Grass Killer
Glyphosate 41 – 50% None
1RTS: Ready-to-Spray (hose-end sprayer)
2RTU: Ready-to-Use (pre-mixed spray bottle for spot spraying)

Caution: Pollinating insects, such as honey bees and bumblebees, can be adversely affected by the use of pesticides. Avoid the use of spray pesticides (both insecticides and fungicides), as well as soil-applied, systemic insecticides unless absolutely necessary. If spraying is required, always spray late in the evening to reduce the direct impact on pollinating insects. Always try less toxic alternative sprays first for the control of insect pests and diseases. For example, sprays with insecticidal soap, horticultural oil, neem oil extract, spinosad, Bacillus thuringiensis (B.t.), or botanical oils can help control many small insect pests and mites that affect garden and landscape plants. Neem oil extract or botanical oil sprays may also reduce plant damage by repelling many insect pests. Practice cultural techniques to prevent or reduce the incidence of plant diseases, including pre-plant soil improvement, proper plant spacing, crop rotation, applying mulch, applying lime and fertilizer based on soil test results, and avoiding over-head irrigation and frequent watering of established plants. Additionally, there are less toxic spray fungicides that contain sulfur or copper soap, and biological control sprays for plant diseases that contain Bacillus subtilis. However, it is very important to always read and follow the label directions on each product. For more information, contact the Clemson Extension Home & Garden Information Center.

Poison ivy, Toxicodendron radicans

Life Cycle

Perennial.

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Propagation

Spreading by seed and by woody rhizomes (underground stems) which produce dense patches.

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Stems

Stems woody and of two kinds, the most frequent kind growing horizontally on or just below the ground surface with upright leafy stalks 10-80 cm high; the second kind is a climbing vine which develops aerial roots and may climb 6-10 m per node (Fig 1:a).

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Leaves

Compound, each compound leaf (Fig 1:b, Fig 4) consisting of 3 leaflets (Fig 1:c) at the tip of a long leafstalk (petiole) (Fig 1:d); the middle leaflet has a longer stalk (Fig 1:e)than the 2 side leaflets (Fig 1:f); overall leaflet shape and type of toothing highly variable between leaflets on the same stem, as well as among plants within a patch and between patches; leaflets ranging from narrow to broadly ovate with a smooth margin (Fig 1:A/C), to a few scattered, shallow, rounded teeth (Fig 1:D), to several, coarse, deep-pointed teeth which give the leaflet a lobed appearance (Fig 1:E); leaves purplish to reddish when unfolding in spring (May to early June), bright green and often shiny (with a varnished appearance) in summer and turning a vivid orange-red to wine-red in autumn in sunny areas, but often lacking the bright colour in shaded places; leaflet smooth and hairless on both surfaces except for small tufts of brownish hair on the underside along the mid-vein and in the angles formed by the mid-vein and some of the lower branching veins.

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Flowers and Fruit

Flowers small, white or greenish, with 5 sepals and 5 petals (Fig 1:g), in branching clusters from the leaf axils (angles between leafstalk and stem); flower clusters inconspicuous because they are often hidden below the dense leaf canopy and because many plants do not flower every year; each flower in the cluster followed by a whitish to dull greenish-yellow, dry, berry-like fruit (Fig 1:h, Fig 5) about 5 mm in diameter with lengthwise ridges and somewhat resembling a peeled orange. Flowers in June and July; berries produced by September but often remaining on the low leafless stems all winter.

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Habitat

Poison-ivy occurs under forests, in edges of woodland, meadows, waste areas, fence lines, and roadsides throughout most of Ontario south of a line from North Bay to Kenora. The tall climbing vine form, however, is mainly confined to the counties bordering Lake Erie, Lake Ontario and the lower Ottawa Valley.

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Distinguishing Features

It is distinguished by its low growth or its occasional climbing habit, its 3 leaflets in each compound leaf, its leaves deep green in summer, reddish in spring and fall, its clusters of whitish to greenish-yellow berries, and its short, erect, leafless stems which frequently retain a few berries all winter long. Poison-ivy is sometimes mistakenly called Poison-oak because some plants have very coarsely toothed or lobed leaflets. The true Poison-oak, Rhus toxicodendron occurs in the southern United States, but not in Canada.

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Toxicity

All parts of Poison-ivy, including the roots, contain a poisonous substance which causes an irritating inflammation of the skin of most people, the inflamed areas frequently developing blisters and accompanied by intense itchiness. The poisonous substance is an oily resin contained in the juice of the plant. Contact with any broken part of the plant, with leaves which have been chewed by insects, or with shoes, clothing, implements, or pets which have touched broken parts of the plant may cause a person with sensitive skin to react. Dry twigs in winter or dug-up roots in summer can often cause a reaction. Burning Poison-ivy leaves and stems releases the poison in the form of tiny droplets on particles of ash and dust in the smoke, and can cause a severe reaction on exposed skin and in the breathing passages if a sensitive person breathes or passes through the smoke of such a fire. The author had a severe reaction on his arms and legs after trimming a specimen plant with hand clippers. Although the plant parts never touched his clothes, it seems that microscopic oil droplets may have squirted out while cutting the stems and vines and penetrated the cotton of his trouser legs and shirt sleeves. In cases of suspected contact with the plant, washing the skin and clothing with a strong soap may not prevent a reaction but it will help minimize reinfection to other parts of the body or to other individuals. If a reaction does develop, one should seek the advice of a physician for proper treatment. Poison-ivy is designated as a noxious weed by the Province of Ontario, and it is the duty of every person in possession of infested land to destroy noxious weeds thereon.

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Legislation

Noxious under the Ontario Weed Control Act.

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Figure #1.

(A) Low growing form of poison-ivy with short erect stem and flower cluster from the axil of 1 compound leaf. (B) Cluster of dry while, berry-like fruits produced from flower cluster.

Figure #2.

Poison-ivy. Variation in margin and lobing of leaflets.

Figure #3.

Young poison ivy plant.

Figure #4.

Poison-ivy plant.

Figure #5.

Poison-ivy plant with woody stem.

Figure #6.

Berry-like fruit of poison-ivy.

Figure #7.

Poison ivy, Southern Ontario in early June.

Figure #8.

Poison ivy climbing up tree, June in Southwestern Ontario.

Growing English Ivy from a Cutting

For anyone who knows me in real life, you’ll know that I’m a bit of a plant nut. Well for anyone who only knows me through my blog you probably know that too. I have a whole bunch of indoor plants and I really want to add ivy to that list. I would love to grow it on a bit of an indoor kind of climbing wall type deal. Like living art, which is kind of what I think all my plants are.
So anyway, I have been waiting for some ivy to come into stock at my local plant place, but no such luck as of yet. Then I realised, wait a second! I have a whole bunch of ivy at my place! Now I’ve just got to learn how to propagate it.
So here are all the steps to growing your own ivy from a cutting.
1. Find Some Ivy & Cut A Piece
Now I have a lot of ivy growing over the back wall of my home’s courtyard. So that means the first part was taken care of. You’ll want to find a reasonably long piece that’s poking out, and I chose a fairly new growth, which had a lot of little baby tendrils at the end.
If you look closes at the stem of the ivy, you’ll notice every inch or so there will be a tiny triangle like fold. For a good quality cutting, you will want to snip off your piece just above this. Cut off quite a long piece, one you can snip into smaller pieces for potting.
2. Decide How You Want to Root Your Cutting
There are actually two different ways to start growing your little piece of ivy. I’ve done both ways today. There are pros and cons to both. You can either plant the ivy in soil or you can pop it into some water.
If you put your cutting in a jar of water, you will be able to see when the roots start to form, and it can usually survive quite a while like this. But it will be harder to transplant the cutting into the soil once you do it this way and the survival rate is a lot lower than the alternative, which is planting the cutting in soil. Doing this you can’t tell when the ivy has started to root, and it requires a lot of tending to. But will be a lot easier to repot in the end!
3. Growing Ivy in Soil
Trim the leaves off the bottom half of the ivy cutting, so that the part that you want to bury doesn’t have any leaves on it. Get out your little pot of a sand/soil mix. It’s recommended to plant at least 3 pieces of ivy, to have the best chance of one growing.
Poke a pencil into the soil to leave a deep hole for planting. Now you will need some cutting powder, which is a hormone that helps cuttings sprout. I got mine from my local plant/hardware store for about $5.00. Anywhere that stocks gardening equipment and plants should have some.
Follow the instructions on the packaging, all may be slightly different. In mine I dipped the stem I am burying into some water and then into the rooting powder. Then I popped the ivy into the hole and patted it down so it was properly buried. I did this for all three pieces!
The pot should be kept moist and in a warm shady position. It can take from 3-6 weeks for your ivy to finally start rooting. Don’t give up! It’s a lot easier to grow them if you choose a softer stem, some of my pieces had quite a hardened and woody stem, so they will take longer to root.
You can also place a plastic bag around the pot to give the cuttings more of a greenhouse atmosphere, to help keep them healthy.
4. Growing Ivy in Water
Trim the leaves off the bottom half of the ivy again like you did with the first lot. Fill a clear glass with lukewarm unchlorinated water. Best is bottled water, or water from a stream or well if you can find one.
Pop your ivy cutting in the glass of water and place it in a warm sunny position, then wait! You will be able to see when it starts rooting.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and now feel like you can grow some Ivy from a cutting too! I can’t wait to see the progress of my little ivy over time.
I’ll let you know!
Have you ever grown a plant from a cutting? Ivy or anything really? How did you go?


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