What to do when Boston ivy plant leaves turn yellow & fall off

The leaves of boston ivy plants (also known as Parthenocissus tricuspidata) can turn yellow and brown for reasons within or beyond your control. Here are the most common causes and steps you can take to make the foliage of the boston ivy plant look green and healthy again.

Underwatering or overwatering is bad for Boston ivy plants

Improper watering is usually the main culprit when yellow or brown leaves start to develop on Boston ivy plants. As plants that originate from eastern Asia, boston ivy plants do enjoy generous watering from time to time. That said, a puddle of water shouldn’t remain on the soil after the plant gets watered as that could encourage root rot to develop and this, in turn, can cause yellow leaves. How often you water the boston ivy plant will depend on factors such as whether you are growing it indoors or outdoors and the general humidity, temperature, and light intensity.

On the flip side, underwatering may cause boston ivy plants to develop yellow leaves as it may cause interference to the chlorophyll (the pigment that gives leaves their green color) and, in turn, start the discoloration process.

As a general rule of thumb, it should be okay to water boston ivy plants once a week. Adjust the watering accordingly as the season changes.

Proper drainage of water from soil

You won’t be able to properly gauge the frequency of watering the boston ivy plant needs if it is being grown in soil that doesn’t drain well. Compacted soil can cause a number of issues for boston ivy plants such as preventing root growth, reducing nutrient absorption, and preventing oxygen absorption. All of this can cause leaves to turn yellow and fall off. you will know if the soil is waterlogged by creating a tiny hole on the soil surface and filling it with water. If the water hasn’t drained after a few hours then you are dealing with clogged soil problems.

To stop more leaves from turning yellow, you will most likely need to transplant the boston ivy plant into soil that drains well. One way of doing this is by mixing the soil with material like perlite, compost, and shredded leaves.

Excessive sunlight or lack of sunlight

Yellow leaves can also form on boston ivy plants due to changes in sunlight conditions. Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight, for example, can harm plants because it can result in sunburn and the scorching of leaves. Lack of sunlight could have the same negative effect on boston ivy plants as it would result in the leaves not getting enough light to drive photosynthesis. Lack of energy would then cause the leaves to wilt and gradually become discolored.

Try to position the boston ivy plant or provide it enough cover or exposure so that it receives an optimal amount of sunlight, which is about a few hours of full sun per day.


  • Plant Mad:

    I am struggling to keep my Boston Ivy alive. Although it’s supposedly easy to grow ivy plants, mine looks like it will end up drying out after a few weeks and crumble to its doom. I water my plant once a week. Is that too little?

  • Samantha:

    The edges of my Boston ivy plant are turning yellow. The end of the vines are also turning black. How do I save my plant? It doesn’t look so nice anymore along the walls of my house.

  • Jake:

    Help! My Boston Ivy is dying. The leaves are starting to dry out and fall off… I am watering it regularly and it should be getting enough sunlight. What else could explain the Ivy turning yellow and weak?

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