Ivy Plant Leaves Turning Brown and Crispy

Hi Judy,
This is my ivy, can you tell me why she is brown and dying. Its been like this since winter began, I’m wondering if it has to due with the cold air by the window.



Hi Shanny,


There are several things that may be causing the problem.

Too Much Water: I know this is not usual for plants, but crispy leaves on an ivy plant indicate over-watering not under-watering. During the winter, when plants are “resting” and growing less, they require less water.

Too Much Plant Food Causes Brown Leaf Tips: You should feed an indoor ivy every two weeks in the spring and summer with a basic houseplant food diluted to 1/2 the recommended strength. Fertilize only monthly in the fall and winter. Never use fertilizer on an ivy plant when: the temperature is extremely hot or cold, if the soil is very dry, or if the ivy plant is not producing new leaves.

Low Humidity: Ivy plants like medium to high humidity. Dry air in our homes, caused by our heating systems, can result in crispy leaf edges. The dry air also encourages spider mites, a plant pest that sucks the color from the leaves.

I’d recommend allowing the plant to dry out more before watering; not feeding the plant until the spring; placing the plant on a wet pebble tray, and spraying the plant with my “Green Solution.”

Here’s how to make a wet pebble tray: Use a shallow tray large enough for the plant to sit in. Add a 1-2″ layer of pebbles to the tray. Fill with water to just below the top of the pebbles. The plant should always sit on the pebbles and never in the water. The water evaporates creating higher humidity around the plant. Add water as it evaporates.

You can find the simple inexpensive way to make the “Green Solution” in the Glossary of the website. It’s good for all plant pests and plant diseases.


Ivy plants are poisonous and should be kept away from pets and children. Read more about common houseplants that are poisonous in Don’t Feed Me To Your Cat! A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants.