Spear point ivy is also called Hedera helix ‘Spear point’. It’s a very pretty evergreen climbing type of ivy, and it produces foliage that looks stunning no matter if it’s trailing or climbing. It produces many aerial roots that they use to climb up anything you give them, and they look stunning climbing up a moss pole or put in several different areas inside of your home. Spear point ivy has darker and lighter coloring on the foliage, and this is a very beginner-friendly plant that is a fast grower. They are a great companion plant for anyone who wants to get a lush plant with minimal care, and we’ll outline how to keep it healthy below.
Spear point ivy is a slightly rare houseplant that is very easy-going, and it develops long, trailing vines that look great in hanging baskets.
Generally speaking, spear point ivy grows very slowly and doesn’t require you to add any fertilizer. Instead, you should replace the plant’s potting soil once a year to give it more than enough nutrition to thrive. Remember, all plants get their energy from sunlight, not fertilizer.
You won’t have to worry about any additional humidity with your spear point ivy. It absorbs most of the water through the root system instead of the leaves, so the best way to give your plant humidity is by watering the soil regularly.
Ideally, you’ll put your plant in a well-draining potting soil. A good soil will contain a high amount of organic matter like perlite, coco coir, or vermiculite to encourage good drainage. Adding a handful of perlite to regular store-bought potting soil should be more than enough to make it thrive.
Spear point ivy can have problems thriving and it’ll drop leaves without a decent amount of sunlight. You should put it less than three feet from a window to maximize the growth potential, and make sure you check your growing zone to see how to maximize the sunlight for your plant.
Ideally, you’ll allow your soil to dry out between watering sessions, and you should make a point to get it on a watering schedule so it gets regular watering. Allow the first inch or two of soil to dry out between watering sessions so you don’t waterlog the roots. You can poke your finger into the soil to see if it’s dry or not.
Planting Spear Point Ivy
Most types of ivy are very adaptable to different growing situations, but it prefers humusy, fertile, well-drained, but moist soil. Variegated ivies like light, but they need protection from strong sunlight exposure to prevent scorching. Plant them deeply in the soil to encourage strong roots. Indoors, your ivy should go in a spot that gets low light to bright but indirect light.
Spear Point Ivy Propagation
To propagate your spear point ivy, you’ll cut a length of ivy vine up to four feet long using a clean pair of garden scissors or a sharp knife. Cut your vine into several pieces, and each piece should have a leaf or two on it. Make each cut right above the leaf, and trim the stem below the leaf to roughly an inch. Dip the end of each stem into rooting hormone powder, and plant each powdered end in the soil and then gently backfill around it.
Water your soil well once you get the ivy plant in place, and put the planter in a plastic bag to help retain the moisture levels. Open the bag once a week and water it as needed to keep it moist. Your ivy cuttings should be ready for you to replant in a permanent spot within six to eight weeks.
Propagating your ivy is an easy task, and you can do so either in water or in soil if you use rooting hormone. In a few weeks, it’ll be ready to care for like an adult plant.
Spear Point Toxicity
All parts of this plant are toxic, and contact with the sap can cause skin irritation or an allergic reaction. If you accidentally ingest any part of this plant, including the sap, contact Poison Control in the United States. If your pet gets any part of the plant, contact the ASPCA or your veterinarian for instructions.
The ASPCA states that spear point ivy is 100% poisonous to cats. Not only is it poisonous to cats, but it’s also poisonous to horses and dogs. The main hazardous ingredient in this plant is the polyacetylene compounds, and they also have glycosides called triterpenoid saponins. Never allow your pet to eat any part of this plant, and even licking it could get them into contact with the sap.
If you think that your pet is in the midst of poisoning by ingesting spear point ivy, pay close attention to them. Some common indications of toxicity with this plant include labored breathing, diarrhea, muscle weakness, excessive drooling, hyperactivity, fever, vomiting, hyperactivity, stomach pain, and widened pupils. If your pet is displaying any or all of these symptoms, it’s a good idea to get them to your local emergency vet immediately to help negate any long-term damage or death.
How to Revive a Dying Spear Point Ivy Plant
A dying spear point ivy plant is usually due to underwriting it, overwatering, or because it’s in a pot that is much too small with limited access to nutrients and moisture. If your plant starts to turn brown and is dying back, this is most likely due to too much sun, dry soil, and not watering it enough.
To revive your plant, it’s essential that you start watering it enough, put it in the correct sized container, and use a fertilizer if necessary. You want to cut back the dying foliage to promote green, healthy growth. Keep reading to see what common issues with this plant are and how to solve them.
Dry Soil – Spear Point Ivy Leaves Start Turning Brown
Drought is the biggest cause of your plant’s leaves turning brown and dropping. Ivy requires watering, and you’ll want to generously soak your spear point ivy’s soil once a week to keep it healthy, but you may have to increase this to twice a week in more arid or warmer climates. If the soil dries out too quickly because it’s in a smaller pot with less soil, intense sunlight, or higher temperatures, your ivy will turn brown and drop off. Even if you water it regularly, it can still suffer from drought and die back because:
- Smaller containers or pots have less soil capacity overall, and this means that they retain less moisture each time you water them. In turn, they’ll dry out too quickly for your plant.
- Ivy needs a very generous soak when you water it. If you water it too lightly, the water may only reach the top inch or so of soil, and it won’t drain all of the way down to the root system.
- Low humidity levels and higher temperatures can increase evaporation from the soil, so there will be much less moisture available, and this will cause browning.
- If your spear point ivy is outside and under full sun, the afternoon light can increase the evaporation rate.
How to Revive a Spear Point Ivy That is Dying Back with Brown Leaves
The key to saving your spear point ivy is to water your plant appropriately for your house conditions or climate. Watering it once per week is optimal in most climates as this allows the soil time to dry out between watering sessions, and this is the ivy’s preferred balance of soil moisture. However, if you live in a drier or more arid climate with lower humidity levels, you’ll have to adjust how much you water and how often the surface feels dry to the touch but it doesn’t dry out all of the way to the roots.
If you’re not sure of when you should water your spear point ivy, test the soil with your fingers. Stick your finger into the soil an inch or two and see if it feels damp. If it doesn’t, you need to water it more. Water it until you can see water start to trickle out of the drainage holes at the base of your container. This will help ensure that the water has reached the plant’s root system so that it can stay healthy and thriving.
It’s also important that you plant your spear point ivy in a container of the correct size. A big pot has more soil capacity and it can retain moisture much more effectively, especially in higher temperatures. This also prevents your roots from getting pot-bound, and it allows your plant’s roots more access to nutrients. If the roots are noticeably pot bound, then you transfer them to a larger pot that is roughly 10 inches wide and suitable for hot climates.
Cut back any brown leaves you see or any dying portions of the plant using a sharp, sterile, pair of pruners to stimulate new growth. If your leaves are 100% brown, then it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to revive the individual leaves. However, cutting them back should promote healthy, new growth.
Your spear point ivy can actually withstand a huge amount of pruning and still come back strong, so don’t worry about cutting away the dead or dying parts of the plant.
Too Much Sun Can Scorch Spear Point Ivy Leaves
While it’s possible for your spear point ivy to grow in some direct sun, it shouldn’t be 100% in the direct sunlight as it can scorch the leaves. Ivy is historically a woodland climber that prefers partial sun, shade, or dappled light conditions. Move your plant to an area where it gets indirect but bright light in the morning and shade in the afternoon. Most problems linked to sun exposure happen because your potted plant has been moved to a different location and the light intensity changed.
If you have your ivy accustomed to shady conditions, when you move it to a sunnier spot, the leaves tend to look slightly scorched and the plant may look like it’s dying. However, this is a very adaptable plant that can go from shade to a sunny spot as long as you do it gradually by moving the container to a sunnier spot for a few hours at a time so it can adjust to the different light level.
Another thing to consider is that the more sun it gets, the more evaporation from the soil and water loss from the foliage that can happen. To help minimize any negative effects, make sure your plant is in a good-sized pot and keep it well watered. Monitor it for any signs of excessively dry soil, and increase your watering frequency accordingly to help your plant recover. Any foliage that is very brown or excessively scorched should get pruned back to stimulate new growth since any badly damaged plants are unlikely to recover.
Spear Point Ivy Turning Yellow Due to No or Low Fertilizer
Fungal disease and too much water aren’t the only reasons why your plant may have yellow leaves. Ivy is mostly a foliage plant, and this means they need a strong source of nitrogen to stay green and healthy. If your ivy is in soil that has a nitrogen deficiency, the spear point ivy may stop growing and the leaves can slowly turn yellow before dying off. There is a few reasons for a nitrogen deficiency, including:
- Same Pot – If you’ve had your ivy in the same pot for years, the roots can easily exhaust the potting soil of nutrients and cause the leaves to turn yellow.
- Small Container – If you have your plant in a container that is relatively small, the roots may be pot bound. If this happens, they can’t access the nutrients or nitrogen in the soil required for healthy growth.
How to Revive Spear Point Ivy in Containers That Are Turning Yellow
To revive your plant if it’s turned yellow due to low or no nitrogen in the potting soil, you want to transplant it into a bigger container with fresh potting soil. The new potting soil will give you plant the nutrients it needs to start to recover. Also, a bigger container has more soil overall, and this allows the roots greater access to nutrients and nitrogen without getting root bound.
Cut back any yellow foliage you see as it’s very unlikely it’ll recover and pruning it will help to encourage healthy, new growth. These subtle improvements can help your plant recover. However, the best thing you can do is to use a fertilizer to help keep the plant healthy and the leaves green. Add a simple houseplant fertilizer once every two months during the spring and summer months to ensure your plant gets all of the nutrients it needs to do well.
Indoor Potted Spearr Point Ivy is Dying
A few other issues that are specific to this ivy plant and growing it indoors includes:
- Fluctuating Indoor Temperatures – Generally, ivy plants prefer to have consistent and steady temperatures, so you want to avoid putting it next to a source or heat, by a radiator, or in the air current or forced air of your AC unit as this can dry your plant out and cause dying foliage with brown leaves.
- Spider Mites – Anyone who lives in a very dry climate can run into problems with spider mites. They tend to be very common in dry and warm homes in lower humidity planting zones.
Spider mites can damage your spear point ivy leaves, and they usually leave pin-sized yellow spots on the foliage that eventually turn brown with a dried out and wilted appearance. The most effective and easiest way to deal with them is to gently wash all of the foliage with soapy water from dish soap.
Washing the leaves or using a spray bottle can wash the spider mites away, and they won’t cause more damage to your plant. It will take several washes to get rid of them completely if you have a severe infestation. Trim back any badly impacted foliage to help stimulate new growth and encourage your plant to recover.
Generally speaking, spear point ivy is an easy-going houseplant that can grow very quickly with the right conditions. We’ve outlined everything you need to know about keeping them happy, healthy, and thriving all year round.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.