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Pilea

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Pilea

Pilea mollis (P. 'Moon Valley')

Photo © Jon VanZile

A varied group of upright and trailing plants valued chiefly for their foliage. The most popular varieties include P. mollis, or Moon Valley (pictured), and the P. microphylla, sometimes called the artillery plant or artillery fern. Other varieties include P. cadierei (aluminum plant), P. nummulariifolia (creeping Charlie) and P. Norfolk. These are generally easy houseplants to maintain.

Growing Conditions:

Light: Bright, indirect light. Do not expose to direct summer sun.
Water: The pilea group likes high humidity and has fairly high water requirements. Don't let the soil dry out between waterings in the summer—instead water when the soil is damp. Cut back on water in winter.
Temperature: The pilea prefer temperatures over 50F.
Soil: They prefer rich, well-drained potting mix.

Propagation:

Pilea are generally very easy to root from cuttings. As the plants have a tendency toward leginess, it's a good idea to start new cuttings every spring instead of wrestling with older pilea. Place cuttings in moist peat and keep warm until they root. Rooting hormone usually isn't necessary.

Repotting:

Repot yearly in the spring, or start a new plant from cuttings and discard the old plant.

Grower's Tips:

Pilea are not hard plants to grow. With even minimal attention toward water, they will generally thrive and continuously put out new foliage through the summer months. In the winter, growth slows. All pilea tend toward leginess and have fairly brittle stems. To encourage a compact, bushy plant, pinch off growing tips every so often. Keep in mind, however, that even dedicated attention can't stop the plant from eventually looked a little bedraggled. When this happens, just start new cuttings.
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