The dense, lush and rich green leaves of the baby tears plant look incredible when falling from a hanging basket. However, the thought of maintaining these delicate-leaved plants can be intimidating! Do they look difficult to plant and care for to you as well?
Well, you don’t have to worry about planting or taking care of these charming baby’s tear plants. They are easy to maintain and can serve as an excellent houseplant.
Scientifically, they’re known as Soleirolia soleirolii or Helxine soleirolii, baby tears is delicate looking, featuring bright yellow leaves with tiny white flowers. Outdoors, you’ll usually find them as a ground cover or in ornamental gardens.
They’re native to southern Europe, mainly Italy, Sardinia, and Corsica. These moss-looking plants are often regarded as environmental weed in Western Europe and California. If you’re looking for a plant to enhance the appeal of your home’s interior décor, Soleirolia soleirolii is a great option to choose.
Read on to learn more about how to plant dwarf baby’s tears and take care of them properly.
|Common Names:||Baby’s Tears, Corsican Carpet Plant, Irish Moss|
|Light:||Partial shade to bright indirect light|
|Temperature:||Cool to room temperature|
|Bloom Time:||May to June|
|Flower:||Creamy white without petals|
Baby’s tears has small round leaves in lush green and yellow leaves on rather fleshy stems. They are low growing plants that give off a moss-like look. Belonging from the Urticaceae family, Soleirolia soleirolii grows vigorously and is likely to outgrow its container. It can be easily grown indoors near bright sunlight windows, patios or even in shady spots. If you are looking for an alternative to grass, it’s an excellent option.
Types of Baby’s Tear Plant
If you are wondering how to care for Soleirolia soleirolii, it is important that you delve deeper into understanding the family of Urticaceae to which it belongs.
Pilea or Pilea depressa is a native of Mexico and Brazil. It belongs to the Urticaceae family and looks largely similar to the original baby’s tears. Though both types are not closely related, they can be confused with each other. Pilea has leaves smaller than a fingernail and are round in shape.
If you are looking to grow baby tear plant for terrariums or container gardens, Pilea ‘Baby’s Tear’ can be the best option. With their small and delicate structure, they look beautiful hanging from the containers or draped on the wall. However, you have to make sure that this type of Soleirolia soleirolii does not dry out.
Aurea is another variety of Soleirolia soleirolii. It is commonly known as Golden Baby’s Tears. They are perennial plants used for groundcover. They have the ability to grow as high as two inches and as wide as 18 inches.
The growing conditions for this variety remain the same: it needs well-draining soil with even moisture. It can grow in shady locations and places without direct light. Aurea baby’s tear has broad leaves and is golden in color.
Baby Tears Plant Care
Looking at the delicate, tiny leaves and trailing stems can trick you into thinking these are tough to care for! That couldn’t be further from the truth! They’re easy to grow in your home and require little maintenance.
To learn how to care for Soleirolia soleirolii, we’ve broken down the entire process into simple variables to make things easy for you.
Let’s have a look at them one by one.
Baby’s tears is a houseplant. The best part about it is that it doesn’t require excessive, direct sunlight. It can grow well in shady areas with marginal light.
However, if you want optimal results, you can plant baby’s tear seeds in a place that has a moderate amount of daylight exposure. Keep them away from direct light as it may hinder their growth.
For optimal growth, it’s best to you keep your container or bed consistently moist. However, it should never be soggy. The first rule of baby’s tear plant care is to give it a moist environment but the level of water must not go overboard. Overly damp soil will cause the roots to rot.
Dwarf baby’s tear care requires checking your soil moisture regularly. Besides keeping the soil adequately moist, you have to ensure there is sufficient air circulation and the container is well-draining.
The soil you’re using in your pot must have enough peat moss to encourage the healthy growth of the plant while maintaining good soil moisture. However, too much and your soil won’t drain well, so add perlite to increase drainage.
When you decide to plant Soleirolia soleirolii seeds, it is important that you feed them well once they start growing. Fertilize every two weeks in the spring and summer. This is the time when the baby’s tear plant is growing at the highest rate, and needs additional nutrients.
Adequate plant nourishment ensures that you have a healthy plant. You can use a balanced liquid house plant fertilizer that is diluted by about half.
Repotting these plants is quite easy. Once they start to overgrow and crowd out their existing pot, up-pot by about 1″ and mix in some high-quality potting mix.
You can propagate baby tears by division pretty easily. All you have to do is divide the root ball and foliage, then pot into two smaller pots. In fact, this may be more effective than repotting the same plant if you want to multiply your collection.
Baby’s tear plants can be rather invasive, especially when grown outdoors. Prune frequently to ensure they’re not overgrowing their container, or spilling onto your pathways outside. Use a pair of sharp scissors and don’t be afraid to aggressively prune.
Although these plants are pretty darn easy to take care of, you can still run into some pests, diseases and growing problems. Let’s have a look at each of these issue and delve into ways which you can combat them.
If your plants are growing slowly or don’t look healthy, revisit the care section of this guide. Chances are you are either overwatering, underwatering, or having an issue with the light requirements for baby tears.
There’s a slight pest possibility with Pilea plants, namely whiteflies, scale, and aphids.
Whiteflies: These small insects, covered with white powdery wax, resemble fungus gnats. They feed on baby’s tear plant sap and weaken the plant, causing the leaves to drop. They lay eggs on the top of the leaves. What you can do to control this pest is to spray green solution (a mixture of water, alcohol, biodegradable liquid soap, and mineral oil). Also consider neem oil.
Scale Insects: If you have kept the baby’s tear plant inside your home, it is likely to get attacked by scale plant pests. They start to form small brown spots on the leaves. They feed on the sap of the plant and create a sticky substance known as honeydew. You have to manually wipe off the bumps caused by the scale with rubbing alcohol and cotton swabs.
Aphids: Also known as plant lice, aphids are pear-shaped insects that form large colonies on plants. They can damage the plant by sucking their sap and ruining their leaves and flowers. To get rid of this pest, you can spray a mixture of warm water with mineral oil and liquid dish soap.
As mentioned, for the optimal growth of Soleirolia soleirolii plants, you have to be careful about the conditions in which they are grown. The roots can easily rot if they are overwatered. Keep the soil just moist enough to ensure proper watering, but not too moist to waterlog the roots..
Q. Do they produce flowers?
A. Baby’s tear plants do produce flowers that are tiny in size and creamy white in color. You can find them blooming in late spring. They do not have petals and cannot be used for decoration purposes.
Q. Can I only grow them indoors?
A. You’re more than welcome to plant baby’s tear outdoors. They’re best suited for rock gardens or green walls. They can also be used as an alternative to grass.
Q. What do I do if my plant is getting overgrown and unruly?
A. You have to schedule regular pruning and trimming of the plant to make sure that stays in shape.
Q. Can baby’s tear be used for a terrarium?
A. Yes, they make great terrarium plant as they grow and spread well horizontally. But, you have to be careful, because they have the tendency to overtake the entire terrarium.
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