Why Are My English Ivy Leaves Crunchy? [How to Fix]

English Ivy, also known as Hedera Helix, is one of the most common types of houseplants in the USA.

These plants are mostly placed outside and can serve as a decent ground cover. Moreover, they are easy to maintain and care for.

However, sometimes, the leaves of your English Ivy can turn brittle and crunchy. It signifies that your plant is dying and needs immediate attention. Such issues arise for several reasons.

It could be due to improper watering or excessive fertilization. In this blog post, we will examine the reasons why your English IVY leaves are turning crunchy.

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You’re Overwatering the Plant

Overwatering is one of the most common reasons your English Ivy leaves turn crunchy. Unlike Dieffenbachia, snake plants, and other houseplants, the English Ivy needs drier soil to grow.

Too much water makes the roots soggy, thus resulting in fungal diseases.

If the root is affected, it will prevent your plant from absorbing the vital nutrients it needs to survive.

Consequently, the leaves lose their vigor and turn brown and crunchy. Most people relate crunchy leaves to a lack of water and start watering their plants excessively.

Here are a few tips to follow.

  • Before watering your English Ivy, allow the soil to dry.
  • The top inch of the plant’s soil must be dry when touched.

Furthermore, the pot of your English Ivy must have ample drainage so there isn’t any clogging. To keep the bottom drain hole unclogged, you must place a piece of wire mesh at the bottom.

The goal here is to have a potting mix that is slightly dry. Also, your English Ivy mustn’t sit in stagnant water or extremely wet soil.

Excessive Use of Fertilizer

It is worth noting that English Ivy and similar plants don’t need too much fertilization. Fertilizing them once every two months is more than necessary.

When choosing a fertilizer for your English Ivy, it is better to opt for nitrogen fertilizer.

When fertilizing this plant, timing is very crucial. If you fertilize too often, the fertilizer can build up in the soil, which results in dry and crunchy leaves.

It is also important to understand when to fertilize your English Ivy. You must fertilize your English Ivy when new growth occurs. However, don’t fertilize during the winter months.

The reason is that your English Ivy is going through a dormant period during the colder months. Therefore, it won’t need too many nutrients during this time.

Insufficient Light

Whether the leaves of your English Ivy are all green or variegated, it needs a medium to bright light to grow and survive. However, they cannot sustain direct sunlight.

Moreover, you need to pay close attention to a baby Ivy plant. Young English Ivy plants are weak, and direct exposure to direct sunlight can burn them quickly.

Some people leave their young Ivy plants on the windowsill and then wonder why they need to buy new English Ivy plants every so often.

Keeping your English Ivy in a darker location can also be detrimental. Insufficient light can slow growth; the plant will eventually die if darkness is too much.

It would be best if you created a balance. Place it where it receives its fair share of light but isn’t exposed to direct sunlight.

Also, don’t place it where there is barely any light. Moderation is key when fulfilling the light needs of your English Ivy.

Too Much or Too Little Humidity

Moderation must also be practiced when providing your English Ivy with the necessary humidity. The air should be moist where this plant is placed.

While English Ivy can survive in moderate to low humidity levels, dry air is detrimental to their growth.

Dry air results in brown and crunchy leaves. You must ensure you provide enough air circulation to your English Ivy.

To do so, ensure you don’t overcrowd the space where your English Ivy is kept. The bathroom is a good place to keep your English Ivy.

You can also place it in or right outside the kitchen. Bathrooms and kitchens are spaces that have just the right amount of humidity this plant needs.

If necessary, you can also invest in a mister. You can place the mister near your plant so the air around it doesn’t get too dry.

Moreover, you can also spray your English Ivy with water every once in a while. Spraying will provide your plant with some extra moisture. Spraying is helpful, especially if you live in a place with dry air.

You can also resort to the old-school humidity tray technique. All you need is a saucer and some pebbles. There are two ways you can do this.

  • Put pebbles in the saucer, and cover the pebbles with water. Then, place your pot with the Ivy plant on top of the pebbles.
  • You can also use perlite in place of pebbles. Put your perlite in the saucer, and place the pot on top of the perlite.

With time, the water will evaporate, thus providing your plant with sufficient humidity. Most people resort to the perlite method because it prevents your plant from standing in water.

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Extreme Temperatures

It is important to note that English Ivy is a genus of plants that needs cooler temperatures. These plants are native to Europe, where plants can easily grow in cooler conditions.

If you live in an area that experiences extremely high temperatures, it is better to keep this plant inside. You might even have to arrange some air conditioning.

If the temperature inside your living space is high, the plant won’t grow as it should.

The temperature should be somewhere between 50 and 70 degrees during the day. During the night, anything between 5 and 10 degrees is good.

It is always a good idea to place your Ivy in a room with sufficient space that isn’t too crowded.


Because English Ivy is an outdoor plant, it is somewhat resistant to pest infestation. However, pests can still attack, and you must exercise caution.

There are two main reasons why English Ivy falls prey to pests in the USA.

  • The plant isn’t getting enough water.
  • It hasn’t washed in a long time.

When the plant is underwatered, it is in a state of stress. In such situations, it is more prone to diseases and pest infestations.

Moreover, if you don’t wash your plant for a long time, dirt can accumulate on the leaves, which allows pests to attack. It is worth mentioning that there are different types of problems haunting your plant’s survival.

Spider Mites are the most common pest that feeds off of English Ivy. These mites are so small that they are invisible to the naked eye.

Despite their small size, they can be identified by the small web they form under the leaves.

These mites feed off of the juice of your English Ivy. As a result, the leaves appear dry and lifeless.

You can prevent these mites from attacking by washing your plants every once in a while. Just place your plant under the shower, and allow the water to wash away the dirt.

Make sure the water pressure from the shower isn’t too strong, or it may uproot the plant. As far as Spider Mites are concerned, just grab a spray bottle, and douse your plant in a mixture of water and mild dishwashing soap.

Aphids are another kind of pest that can suck the life out of your English Ivy plant. These tiny green insects suck on the sap of your plant.

Aphids are soft-bodied insects, and their skin has a wooly texture.

To prevent these insects from coming closer to your English Ivy, simply wipe your plant with some alcohol. You can also use neem oil for disinfecting your English Ivy.

Mineral Buildup

As we have discussed, too much fertilizer can build up the soil. Similarly, mineral buildup can occur on the ground if you use tap water to water or wash your plant. Also, tap water may contain salts, which too can accumulate.

Salt is detrimental to your plant’s health, and a salt buildup can result in dry and crunchy leaves. Luckily, you can fix this issue easily.

Transplant your plant from the old pot to a new one. Also, use fresh soil with active nutrients. Furthermore, don’t provide your plant with tap water.

Use distilled water instead. Distilled water is free of salts and minerals and therefore keeps the health of plants intact.

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Concluding Thoughts

You must have understood why your English Ivy leaves are crunchy. Taking care of an English Ivy plant is easier than you think.

There are only a handful of things you need to keep in mind. Moderation is key, whether you are watering your plant or making lighting arrangements.

Make sure not to overwater or underwater your plants because both have their downsides. Moreover, they should get enough light, but direct sunlight can burn them, especially young ones.

Furthermore, fertilizing your plant once a month is more than enough. Lastly, keep an eye on the pests and make all the necessary arrangements to keep them at bay. Applying alcohol or neem oil to your English Ivy once in a while will do the trick.

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