Easy Tip to Keep Your Ivy Healthy

Easy Tip to Keep Your Ivy Healthy



Keeping an ivy alive and green and ready to take on the coat hangers of the world…. is really so simple.

Here’s the solution.



Dish washing soap.


Here’s the proof.


Ivy TopiaryTopiary

                      Ivy circa April 12, 2011                                                                       Ivy circa June 28, 2011


Have you seen an ivy when it gets yellow and pale and the leaves start falling off?

It’s usually because of spider mites.

I don’t remember who told me to use dish washing soap to get rid of them.

And I don’t know why it works.

But it does.


Dishwashing Detergent


The secret is cheap soap.

No fancy stuff.

No extra anti-bacterial nonsense.

Just soap.


Soap dispenser


Simply add 2 tsp. of soap to one pint of water.

Don’t add anymore soap or your topiary may not recover.

Then pour mixture into a spray bottle filled with water.


And if you do this….can you try to get a cuter spray bottle than mine?

Not just one from Wal-mart.

A really cute spray bottle.

Like this one.

Or this one.

Or at the very least make a cover for it like this.


English Ivy


Then take your really cute spray bottle and spray the leaves every two to three weeks.


That’s it.


Your topiary will thank you.

Your ivy will thank you.

And the spider mites will have to buy a Winnebago and take a cross-country trip to their condo in Florida 🙂


PS  If you want to know how to make a topiary….here’s a post where I used a coat hanger to create one!

PPS  Here’s an article on using soap that has much better directions and tells when not to use soap under certain conditions.

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  1. Thank you so much for that tip. It’s a joke around our house that Jane can’t grow ivy. I say “the thing ‘s dead and it’s time to buy your monthly ivy plant to re-place it. We’ll give the soap a try. If it works we can use the extra money to buy silly stuff like food.

  2. Who knew!?!?!

  3. Your genius knows no bounds! Pinning to my tips board. And now I just may have to try this. 🙂
    xo Heidi

  4. good to know!—adorable bunny plate, karianne! have a great weekend! (love the shoot fly shoot site, too)

  5. Thanks KA~ more good info as I just planted a pot of ivy this week. I’m still spreading coffee grounds and tea bags around the hydrangeas too. I’ll keep you posted.

  6. In the words of my precious granddaughter “Grandma I am giving your plants a bubbly bath!”….yes, works great…but every once in a while, the mites had a party, invited all of their friends and the Winnebago broke down…so the sprayer had to be filled with the dreaded Sevin…!…Pretty topiary Kari…so sparkly clean!

  7. Great tip but please don’t send them to Florida…we have plenty! 🙂 Our tomato, bean and cucumber plants just lost their lives to some kind of tiny, tiny spiders…they left little bit of orange residue…I don’t think that’s spider mites, do you know? Does anyone know? Helppppp!

    PS I’m going to try the coat hanger! Thanks!

  8. We discovered this years ago, and it has always worked. My husband and friends tease me by calling me the ivy queen. Why, you ask. Because ivy will over-winter outside here, and due to that I don’t constantly have to purchase new plants every year. When they start showing their age, I just repot and give them a trim. I’ve got some ivy that I have had over twenty years. And, did you know you can break off a piece, stick it in some dirt and you soon have another ivy plant?

    Have you figured out yet how much I love ivy? ♥♥♥ It is also great to use in your flower arrangements, and it makes a gorgeous garland around a punch bowl for luncheons or showers. I just add a few fresh flowers and it looks great.

    You go, KariAnne.

  9. So now, I need a tutorial on how to actually remember to do it…

    Or to water my poor pitiful daisies.

    Poor, poor, poor daisies…

  10. Who cares what your spray bottle looks like? I was totally distracted by whats behind it – whatever that is with the rabbit on it (a plate?). So cute!

  11. Well I do have two ivy plants, but I might try this just to craft a cute spray bottle.

    The noodle party worked GREAT why not a spray bottle party?

  12. Can I use the ivy that has found its way to my house from the next door neighbor’s brick house? NOTHING kills that stuff. I think I’ll make some shapes out of coat hangers and stick them in my chimney so that at least if I have to look at the stuff that won’t – keep – to – its – own – house, it can look whimsical.

    Love your blog. I begin my day with it and it always produces my first chuckle of the day. Keep up the great work! 🙂

  13. Well, aren’t you just full of info. Wish I knew that with my last three ivy plants. Now I will go buy another one and wash those spider mites away!!

  14. My mother used to spray all her plants with a mild dish liquid/water solution. The had the greenest thumb I ever saw, so I guess it worked. I can kill just about anything.

  15. Thank you for sharing this. I have ivy all over my yard and in a few planters. I’m really excited to use your hanger trick!

  16. That ivy may just make it to circa 2099!

  17. Thanks so much for this information? I had given up on ivy because of the mites, I am going out to buy an ivy!

  18. I loved meeting you at Haven! You have an infectiuos smile and personality! Thank you for the drink! I hope I will get to know you better through blogging

  19. Shut up! I love ivy, but I have killed every. single. one. I love topiaries, and bought a really expensive gorgeous ivy topiary at Fresh Market last summer that died, but I kept the form. Thank you, lovely lady! I even have 2 hideous spray bottles!


  20. Well I never knew – thanks, I’m going to go do that right now!

  21. And I would probably give mine that lethal dose that one does not recover from …



  22. Karianne-
    That is a great idea.. Love your photos in your last post. I hope you are having a wonderful summer!

  23. Dang, girl! There’s gonna be a mite-y caravan leavin my house this afternoon! Those bad boys have been having a convention on my ivy and when the Ivy Inn was full, apparently overflow accommodations are being made across the shelf on my gardenia plant. Well, Lucky for me (for them, not-so-much) I have YOU…AND a cute spray bottle and some cheap soap! I think that I’ll take the plants outside to spray them…closer to the road for them, less tire marks on the kitchen counter for me!

    I thank you, my ivy thanks you, the bugs…spider mites, well, you should probably buy more soap because I’m guessin that they’ll come lookin for ya. xo

  24. Thanks for the great tip Karianne! Have a wonderful weekend. Joyous Wishes, Linda

  25. A great hint, Karianne! Your ivy looks wonderful! Thanks for sharing!

  26. Oh thanks. On their way down to Florida, they saw my beautiful ivy and have taken up residence. I guess the rent was cheaper. 🙂 I have been using soap water for years and you are right, it works beautifully. And oh yea Miss Fancy Shmancy Spray Bottle promoter, the makers of plain ole’ plastic squirters will be writing you in protest. 😀

    Miss you. xxoo, B

  27. Imagine that….I’m gonna try it, too. Yours looks amazing.

  28. I won’t tell anyone that I saw you at Walmart the other day picking up a new Ivy plant! 🙂

  29. I’m going to try that on my rose bush! Since the day I bought it, it’s had symptoms that sound like what you describe. It makes the most beautiful roses, and I can make it flush with a little epsom salts, but the greenery part of it is often hole eaten and the leaves turn yellow and drop off.

  30. Hmmmm. I might just have to give topiaries a go again! I’ve had several but have given up because they all died. But maybe I will have on live yet!!

  31. Thanks for the tip…….it does work 🙂 Great photos I love your layout. Happy Friday to you!

  32. I pinned your topiary forever ago and i’m glad to see it’s still so beautiful! These to me are just so rich looking.

  33. Great tip! I have not heard about this.

  34. I’ve been doing this since back in the covered wagon days (well not really, but that’s how old my grandchildren think I am) and it really works. 🙂

  35. Thank you, thank you!! I can keep every plant alive except for ivy! I’ll try this for sure! Love ivy! Thanks again for the tip!

  36. Just look at you, with your green thumb and helpful hints!! Love the tips! Thank you! 🙂

    WHERE did you get that adorable bunny plate?? I want it!! My everyday dishes look very similar around the edges.

    Miss you and your sweet face!!

  37. LOL – I learned this years ago from Master Gardner, Jerry Baker…..I believe he said it basically gives the bugs diarrhea and they
    either die or go find a sick room. You can use it on other plants as well! Happy gardening!

  38. That’s a second at least) generation remedy for spider mites..I don’t know why it works..Also if you put a drop of liquid soap on a tick, it will back out…

  39. I am loving your farmhouse sink!! Happy gardening indoors and out!

  40. that is a great tip! i once had a live ivy topiary and it died from spider mites. Wish i had known about this at the time.

  41. I had no idea. You are one smart lady. Thanks for sharing this tip with us.

  42. I was just trying this morning to spray some soap on the white fly that’s plaguing our plants. It is on my avocado trees and all my palms. However, my Walmart spray bottle only sprays once in a while, the rest of the time I just stand there squeezing the trigger harder and harder, looking like an idiot. and getting a tired finger I kept squeezing because I was sure it was gonna spray something soon, especially since the bottle was full. But no. I definitely need a new spray bottle. I’ll take anything, as long as it works. And keep your spider mites to yourself, please. We are notoriously buggy here in South Florida. You send us spider mites, we might just send you some white fly. Sadly there is more of that now than a spray bottle can take care of anyway. [sigh]

  43. I never knew that?! I just might have to give that a try! I love to have live plants in the house – not a big fan of the fake stuff!

  44. Soap I never would have thought that learn something new today thank you for that

  45. I love this! What a smart idea. I totally pinned this and the instructions for how to make a topiary, thanks for the great tips!


  46. I needed this tip..so thank you for sharing. I will be doing this trick tomorrow when I do some replanting and such in the garden. Have a fabulous weekend KariAnne.

  47. Wow what a great tip! I really don’t like spider mites and have some on a Fig Tree that is in the bathroom so reading this post came at a good time. Thanks,

  48. Great trip! I’m going to try it on some other plants 🙂 have a great 4th!

  49. Great tip, sometimes mine do fine, and then take a nose dive. Will keep that in mind!!

  50. I just used this trick on an outside plant that had spider mites. My pest man told me about using this solution but I didn’t know that you could use it on indoor plants.

  51. great hints…gorgeous topiary and i will just gaze and watch yours grow! if i could surgically remove my black thumb i would : ) lol!!! hugs…

  52. Thanks for sharing, your ivy looks healthy and beautiful!

  53. O M G!!!!!!!!!!!! FINALLY I may have a solution to my IVY problem! I LOOOOOOVE them but never seem to keep them alive. I will do this! Thanks SOOOOOOOOOOOO muc. BTW, saw this on Pinterest. XO, pinky