How to propagate ivy in water – for more plants, both indoors and out

Ivy is easy to look after and well-suited for planting up high – and propagating it in water is simple, too

english ivy cutting in water
(Image credit: Ekaterina Fedulyeva / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images)

Ivies are adaptable plants that work just as well indoors as they do out. Compact varieties look good in interior schemes and are particularly effective trailing from a shelf or a mantelpiece. In backyards, more vigorous specimens are useful for quickly covering walls and trellises, plus, they're good for wildlife.

Not only are these plants super versatile, but they're also easy to propagate by taking cuttings. While these can be rooted in soil, they can also be started off in jars of clean water – similar to many plants such as monsteras and fiddle leaf figs. This is a well-favored approach as it allows you to watch the root system develop, which gives you a good indicator of when it's time to pot them up.

So, if you already have one ivy plant, why not have a go at making some more – for free? Just bear in mind that in some regions, this plant is considered invasive, so it's best to check before you put it in your yard.

variegated ivy in pot

Ivy is a versatile plant

(Image credit: Kseniya Ovchinnikova / Moment / Getty Images)

Propagating ivy in water – in 5 easy steps

Tony O'Neill, a gardening expert, shares his step-by-step tips for propagating ivy in water.

Top tip: Before you get started, put on a pair of gardening gloves – these plants are known to irritate the skin.

  1. Choose a healthy ivy stem with at least four leaves, and cut just below a node (where the leaf joins the stem) using clean, sharp scissors, Tony says. Then, remove the bottom two or three leaves.
  2. 'Place the cutting in a clear glass filled with water, ensuring the nodes where you removed the leaves are submerged, but keeping the top leaves above the water,' he continues.
  3. 'Position the glass in a location with indirect sunlight. Too much direct sunlight can cause algae growth in the water.'
  4. 'Change the water every three or four days to provide fresh nutrients and prevent bacteria buildup.'
  5. 'You should soon see roots developing from the submerged nodes. Once the roots are a few inches long, your ivy is ready to be potted in soil.'
Tony O'Neill
Tony O'Neill

Tony O'Neill is an accomplished gardening expert, author, and educator. With a passion for simplifying gardening practices, he has inspired a wide audience through his popular YouTube channel and website Tony's expertise empowers individuals to cultivate thriving gardens and connect with nature.

ivy cuttings in water

Roots will soon appear from the submerged nodes

(Image credit: Kippel, Karna, Lina / Johner Images Royalty-Free / Getty Images)


How long does it take for ivy cuttings to propagate in water?

Look after the cuttings properly, avoiding the common water propagation mistakes, and roots should appear within just a few weeks.

Once established, consider planting your ivy in a hanging basket, either to brighten a corner of a room or to add interest to a porch. 

Alternatively, use your new ivy plants as part of a fall patio display: plant them around the edges of mixed containers where they'll spill over the edge. Try a variegated variety alongside pansies and colorful heucheras for a pretty combination.

Holly Crossley
Contributing Editor

The garden was always a big part of Holly's life growing up, as was the surrounding New Forest where she lived. Her appreciation for the great outdoors has only grown since then; over the years, she's been an allotment keeper, a professional gardener, and a botanical illustrator. Having worked for for two years, Holly now regularly writes about plants and outdoor living for Homes & Gardens.