Plant care and cultivation

Canary Island Ivy Care and Propagation

Ulla Rothschuh Osorio
By Ulla Rothschuh Osorio, Biologist. March 12, 2024
Canary Island Ivy Care and Propagation

Canary Island ivy (Hedera canariensis) is a woody climbing plant, endemic to the Canary Islands and the Atlantic coast of North Africa. While its origins are in these hot regions, they have become a popular plant in homes and gardens around the world, especially when used to decorate walls and trellises. Despite their popularity as vines, we can keep Canary Island ivy as a potted plant indoors, as long as we provide the correct care and conditions. This includes plenty of sun, warm temperatures and occasional pruning.

At thedailyECO, we provide everything you need to known about Canary Island ivy care and propagation. We discover what sort of environment it needs, how often we need to water it and how we can reproduce Hedera canariensis to enjoy more of these beautiful climber.

You may also be interested in: Thunbergia Grandiflora Care and Propagation
  1. Light, temperature and location
  2. Canary Island ivy soil and fertilizer
  3. Watering Canary Island ivy
  4. Canary Island ivy pruning
  5. Canary Island ivy propagation

Light, temperature and location

This plant can be kept in full sun exposure or in semi-shade as long as it receives between 2 to 6 hours of light per day. Hedera canariensis ‘variegata’ is a hybrid of this plant which displays variegated leaves, i.e. white parts with a lack of chlorophyll. These hybrids may require even more sunlight to ensure the white remains bright.

Unlike English ivy (Hedera helix), Canary ivy requires warmer climates and more sun. It does not tolerate frost or temperate areas. Having it in cold areas slows down its characteristic accelerated growth, a symptom which shows that it is in a condition of thermal stress. Learn more about thermal stress with our article on why rose leaves turn yellow.

Canary Island ivy can be kept as an outdoor or indoor plant, as long as the conditions are correct. If you live in cold climes, it will not likely survive outside. Even keeping it inside will require being placed in front of a window and ensuring the room doesn't become too cold.

This ivy is used as a type of climbing or vine plant because it has aerial roots with which it can hold tightly to walls, fences, trellises or trees. Its rapid growth is excellent for having a dense cover of leaves in a short time. It does not need stakes thanks to the strong roots, which adhere strongly to surfaces. We will need to be careful if it grows on a wall which is prone to damage.

Canary Island Ivy Care and Propagation - Light, temperature and location

Canary Island ivy soil and fertilizer

Canary ivy does not need a special substrate and thrives in almost any type of soil. It moderately tolerates saline soils or those with certain contaminants, serving as a bioremedial plant for detrimental areas where vegetation does not usually grow. By assimilating salt and contaminants, it can rehabilitate the soil, leaving it in good condition for the settlement of other plants with more standardized requirements.

Although it is plant tolerant of relatively poor conditions, you should provide your Canary Island ivy plant with a good substate to best ensure growth. The ideal substrate for Canary ivy is rich in fertile organic soil with good drainage. This helps to avoid waterlogging due to water retention. it should also be slightly alkaline.

You can easily prepare this substrate at home using a tablespoon of lime to alkalize universal soil. Add a handful of perlite to improve the drainage further and promote quick drying. It should be made of three-quarters of peat and one part of worm castings to provide nutrients.

Canary Island ivy does not require fertilizer. However, providing a layer of worm castings once a year can help to provide any nutrients that have been consumed.

For plants that do need them, you can learn how to make the best homemade organic fertilizers with our related guide.

Canary Island Ivy Care and Propagation - Canary Island ivy soil and fertilizer

Watering Canary Island ivy

Water for canary ivy is added sparingly. It can go through occasional droughts, but it is advisable to give it appropriate watering so that it develops well. The lack of water is noticeable by the decayed leaves, so constant water is necessary. You can use this as an indicator to know if your plant requires more water. When it is hot it is watered twice a week, reducing to once a week when the weather cools.

Learn more about waterlogging in plants with our article which explains why black spots appear on plant leaves.

Canary Island ivy pruning

Canary ivy is low maintenance, but regular pruning is recommended to keep it under control due to its rapid growth. Gloves, glasses and long sleeves should be worn when pruning, because Canary ivy is poisonous. In fact, it is classified as having a high level of danger.

Symptoms of ivy intoxication include severe irritation on contact and allergic dermatitis. This is caused by triterpenoid saponins and polyacetylene compounds. Both the leaves and the sap that comes out when cutting are dangerous. However, it is a very common plant in gardening so it should not cause concern if precaution is taken. These recommendations should be followed to avoid possible discomfort.

Learn about how to care for another plant with toxic sap in our article on caring for syngonium plants.

Canary Island ivy propagation

It is very easy to reproduce Canary ivy from cuttings of a specimen that you already have at home. If you want to know how to propagate Canary Island ivy, follow the steps below:

  1. Look for a strong stem with leaves, aerial roots and that is not diseased. Ideally, use a plant that has a semi-woody stem and is not too old. Mature Canary ivy cuttings produce non-climbing shrubs.
  2. Cut one of the nodules or roots with washed and disinfected shears. From these cuttings underground roots will develop with which you will have a new plant.
  3. Place the cutting you just made in a jar with water so that the bottom is submerged. You will see that after only a few weeks the plant already has new white roots.
  4. Once this moment has arrived, you can leave the plant in water to have it as a decorative indoor plant or transfer it to a dry medium with a substrate, prepared as indicated above.
  5. Water well when you place it in the new soil to ease the transition.

Now you know how to care for Canary ivy and propagate this plant, you can learn how to do the same with our portulaca care guide and kalanchoe care guide.

If you want to read similar articles to Canary Island Ivy Care and Propagation, we recommend you visit our Plant care and cultivation category.

  • Vermeulen, N. (1999). Encyclopedia of House Plants. Netherlands: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, Incorporated.
  • North Carolina Plant tool box. (n.d.). Hedera canarensis. Retrieved from:
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Canary Island Ivy Care and Propagation