How to Plant Ivy Seeds

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Ivy is easy to grow from seed.
Ivy is easy to grow from seed. (Image: Andrew Bret Wallis/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

The Hedera genus, more commonly known as ivy, contains roughly 15 species. The most commonly grown Ivy species in North America, by far, is English ivy (Hedera helix). This species of ivy can be found covering trees and buildings throughout North America and Europe. It is exceedingly easy to plant from seed. In fact, the seed spreads and germinates so easily that English ivy is considered a weed in some areas. Whether you plant your ivy seed as a ground cover, potted plant or climber, monitor its growth and spread carefully to keep it from becoming invasive.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic bag
  • Paper towel
  • Refrigerator
  • Pot
  • Seed-starting soil
  • Spray bottle
  • Watering can
  • Cold frame

Moisten a paper towel. Place the ivy seeds in the paper towel and leave it in the refrigerator's crisper drawer for four weeks. Do not keep any apples or bananas in the refrigerator during this time. They release ethylene gas which will render the seed nonviable.

Fill a small (4- to 6-inch) pot to within 3/4 inch of its rim with moistened seed-starting soil.

Place one ivy seed in the center of the pot, roughly 1 inch apart. Press the seeds gently into the soil with your finger to ensure good seed-to-soil contact.

Keep the pot outdoors in an area where it will receive indirect sunlight. Check the soil's moisture level at least once daily. If it begins to dry out, re-moisten it with a spray-bottle (pre-germination) or watering can (post-germination; water whenever the top third of the pot's soil dries out until you see water drip from the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot).

Place the potted ivy plant in a cold frame (placed in indirect sunlight) for its first winter.

Plant the potted ivy out of doors in the ground or in a planter the following spring (after the last threat of frost has passed) if you do not wish to keep it potted. Re-pot mature potted ivy and move it to a spot where it will receive partial sunlight. It will no longer need cold framing in winter.

Tips & Warnings

  • Ivy grows best in USDA Growing Zones four to eight, depending on the cultivar.
  • Mature English ivy needs a pot with a 3- to 7-gallon capacity to grow well.

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