Tips & Tricks

Ivy Turns Brown - What Now?

Ivy Turns Brown - What Now?

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If the leaves on the ivy become brown, this may be due to incorrect maintenance or pest infestation. Sometimes a fungus is to blame. Then act quickly.

Ivy is an undemanding climber

Ivy is a robust and undemanding climber, which tends to proliferate and which you must therefore keep in check. However, there are also susceptible varieties. For example, happen that the ivy does not survive a harsh winter. But it is also very difficult for him to be very dry. In addition, pests and fungi can ensure that the leaves turn brown and even die over time.

Causes of brown leaves & treatment options


The most common cause of brown leaves on ivy is dryness. If the ivy is in a too sunny place, it can quickly suffer from a lack of water. The result: the leaves turn brown. Therefore, always plant the ivy in a partially shaded to shady spot.

If the summer is very hot, it is best to always water the ivy. If the plant is already very high, spray the leaves with water. But only when the sky is overcast, otherwise the leaves could burn.

Ivy is not hardy:

Not every type of ivy is hardy. If this is the case with your ivy, then you should not be surprised if the plant gets brown leaves over the winter. This is a sign that the leaves are frozen. You must always plant these varieties in a place where the ground does not freeze in winter. Otherwise rely on very hardy varieties such as Hedera colchica Sulfur Heart, Hedera helix Modern Times and Hedera Helix Baltica.

Fungal diseases:


If the leaves become brown only at certain points, this may be due to bacteria or a fungal disease. The focal spot disease (Colletotrichum trichellum) manifests itself e.g. due to gray to brown spots with a mushroom coating and small fruiting bodies.

If there is an infestation with this fungus, cut back the plant strongly and remove the fallen leaves.


But the so-called ivy cancer (Xanthomonas campestris pv. Hederae) can also cause problems for the plant. This first manifests itself through small spots on the leaves. In the further course black spots with a reddish-brown edge form, which dry up and fall out.

In order to put an end to this fungal disease, you should remove the infected plant parts quickly. Then thinn the plant well and do not rinse it off anymore, because the fungus spreads through spitting water. It is also important that you disinfect your cutting tools regularly, since the bacteria also settle there.


Common spider mite:

Pests can also cause the leaves of the ivy to turn brown. Among other things, e.g. it is the common spider mite's fault that the ivy in the living room turns brown. It spreads on the underside of the leaves, where it then withdraws the nutrients from the plant. First, the leaves turn yellow. If the infestation is very strong, they turn brown and dry out.

Since the pests multiply in dry, warm air, do not place the plant too close to the heating. Spray the ivy regularly with water for prevention. If all of this does not help, then the best thing to do is to use a rapeseed oil-based preparation free of toxins to combat the pests. We recommend e.g. Naturen pest-free (available here). The fine drops of oil clog the animals' respiratory openings so that they suffocate in no time.

Scale insects:

Even scale insects like to tamper with ivy. You can recognize an infestation e.g. on the so-called honeydew on the top of the leaf. It is a sticky substance. The scale insects themselves settle on the underside of the leaf. If the plant is heavily infested, the leaves turn brown.

To get rid of the pests, you can use the ivy e.g. Spray with a solution of water, soft soap and alcohol. Alternatively, you can also use a rapeseed oil-based preparation to combat the pests.