How to Clone Ivy for Cheap Ground Cover

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English ivy makes a tough, attractive ground cover.
English ivy makes a tough, attractive ground cover. (Image: Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

If you're looking for lush, green ground cover it's hard to go wrong with English Ivy. It's hardy; it grows fast and it requires little upkeep. If you're looking to cover a large area, purchasing enough plants to do the job could cost you plenty. However, if you have a plant and some patience, you can clone many ivy plants from a single parent plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Ivy Plant
  • Scissors
  • Soil
  • Small Containers

Purchase or dig up one large ivy plant to serve as the "parent" plant.

Take cuttings from the parent plant. Using scissors, cut samples from the established plant that are at least 6 inches long and have a minimum of four leaves. Cut multiple samples from the parent plant but leave at least one sample on the original plant to ensure regrowth.

Soak each sample in a small container of water. Leaves should face skyward. Submerge at least 2 inches of the vine. Store the container in partial sunlight -- a windowsill is ideal. Monitor the water levels and add water as needed to ensure the vine remains submerged.

After one week, check for root buds by gently removing a cutting from the water. A root bud initially appears as one or several small bumps on the submerged end of the sample. Place submerged end back in water. If the water becomes murky, empty the container and refill it with fresh, room-temperature water. Within two weeks, the buds grow into roots.

Transplant the cuttings into small containers when the roots of the cuttings are at least 2 inches long. Each container should be at least 3 inches deep and wide, allow for drainage and have a broad top so you can remove the plant and soil easily. Cover the bottom of the container with 1 inch of potting soil; add the cutting on top, gently filling around the roots with potting soil. Pack the soil loosely. Water the plant and return it to the windowsill. Check regularly and add water to keep the soil slightly moist.

Plant the young plants outdoors when new growth appears at the top end of the cutting, generally within two weeks of transplanting. Prepare the location by loosening the ground soil 6 inches deep. The plant with root and soil clump should be planted only deep enough so the original soil is level with surrounding ground. Water the plants.

Tips & Warnings

  • Neighbors with mature stands of English ivy likely prune it severely every year to keep it from encroaching on buildings and other plants. Ask if you can have the cuttings the next time they prune.
  • Do not clone from small Ivy plants. This will kill the original plant.
  • Do not fertilize or use other chemicals in cloning or you will scorch the roots.

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