Creeping Charlie Houseplant Care InfographicThe Creeping Charlie houseplant makes a perfect indoor plant. Its creeping vines and oval leaves are a big hit when it comes to indoor decor.

You can place it in hanging baskets or pots any way you want. Learn the essentials of looking after this plant in this super-quick guide.

What Is Creeping Charlie Houseplant?

The Creeping Charlie is a houseplant known alternatively as Pilea nummulariifolia. It has tiny, coin-shaped, shiny green leaves with scalloped edges. The sunken veins on the leaves’ upper surface give them a cute puffy appearance.

Creeping Charlie Houseplant Care

The care requirements of this creeping vine are simple — keep it under bright shade and warm temperatures, and water as soon as the soil surface becomes dry, preferably with distilled water. 

Fertilizing during growing months is a must whether you choose commercial or organic fertilizers. Maintain high humidity levels constantly because this plant cannot survive dry air. Brush up on more charlie vine care requirements ahead.

– Water Requirements

The watering requirements of this plant entail a moderate quantity of water whenever the top three to four inches of its soil dry up. Remember that this plant drinks a lot of water, and you might find its soil drying faster than your other house plants. 

Of course, dry and hot weather conditions also contribute to faster soil drying. Luckily, you will be able to water less during winters.

How Often To Water

In most regions within the U.S, you will have to water this plant at least three to four times a week. During wintertime, the soil takes longer to dry, so you can reduce watering to about once a week.

However, don’t just water this plant on a schedule without checking the soil first. Never water your plant if the top three to four inches are still wet.

How To Water

Always water your plant evenly with a moderate amount of water. Watering the soil evenly means pouring water in circles all over the soil.

Don’t let the water splash over the stem and leaves of the plant while you are at it. This has been known to cause fungal and bacterial attacks on the wet plant parts.

Make sure your pot has enough drainage holes at its bottom so that all the water not absorbed by the soil comes draining out. If not, then make a few holes yourself using a screwdriver.

Pilea nummulariifolia (Creeping Charlie) leaves

– Light Requirements

This plant is among indirect light-loving species. It must be kept in a well-illuminated area for about seven to eight hours daily. 

You can easily tell if your plant’s light needs are being met or not. If the leaves start turning lighter than usual, it needs more light. If they get darker than usual, they get more light than needed.

Read below to learn where to keep this plant indoors and outdoors.

Indoors

Within your house, choose a room that is lit by adequately-sized windows. If the room is thoroughly well-lit, you can keep this plant anywhere within it. Otherwise, place the pot as near the windows as possible.

Because windows to the north receive more direct light, you can put this plant on the windowsill. The east and west windows receive direct sunlight for a couple of hours each day. You will need to cover the window with curtains during those hours.

You must place a thick curtain all day long for southern-side windows that receive the most intense light. Alternatively, you can also move the plant away from the direct path of light.

Outdoors

You will have to provide shade if this plant is placed in a garden or a yard outside. Use a sun shade, a larger tree, or a north-facing wall to block the direct sun from your creeping plant.

– Soil Requirements

Fast drainage is the first requirement of the ideal creeping charlie plant soil. The soil should also have proper air circulation and spaces for the roots to grow freely. This plant grows most successfully when the soil pH is somewhere between 6.5 to 7.5. 

Below, we have compiled a list of the most important additives to add to your potting mix. We will also explain why these ingredients are so important.

Peat moss

Peat moss will contribute to the organic content within your soil. It gives the soil some much-needed nutrients. It also acts as a sponge that absorbs water when the soil is watered and then releases it back slowly, taking its time. 

This way, it contributes toward retaining soil moisture without overwatering the soil.

Vermiculite 

Vermiculite is another soil additive that works similarly to peat moss. Do you want your soil to be nutritious and retain moisture but don’t want to add peat? Vermiculite is one of the best alternatives.

Perlite 

Perlite is an inorganic additive that comes in the form of tiny balls. When you mix it with your soil, these balls loosen the soil and create air and water pockets within it. Honestly, no potting soil is complete without perlite.

Sand

Mixing soil with sand can add more porosity to your soil at a microscopic level. We suggest going for coarse sand rather than fine sand. This would make it easier to maintain the consistency of the potting mix.

– Temperature Requirements

Whether it’s summer or winter, 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit is the constant temperature range for this plant. This is especially true when the plant is young and only just growing. It is best not to place this plant inside the house in a chilled room. The kitchen or laundry room would be the most suitable spot for it.

Make sure to keep the windows that the plant is near closed at night. This is especially important if you live somewhere with chilly nights.

– Humidity Requirements

This plant cannot tolerate dry air at all. Your air humidity levels should be 60 percent all the time. You can install a hygrometer in the house to keep an out for the humidity levels. 

Whenever it feels like they are beginning to fall below 60 percent, you should mist the plant as soon as possible. You can also make use of a pebble tray.

Tips on Misting

This creeping vine tolerates being misted quite well. Below are our super tips on how to make misting more effective.

  • Always mist during daytime. The water will evaporate all day, contributing to air moisture instead of staying on the plant’s surface, causing rot.
  • It is better use filtered or distilled water for misting too. Otherwise, the tap water will evaporate, leaving salt crystals behind on the leaves.
  • Mist from a distance from the plant. Use a very light spray mode while you are at it.
  • After misting, your plant should not be completely wet from the water. Rather, it should only be glistening lightly.

– Fertilizing Requirements

Your Swedish ivy plant will need monthly feeding when it is growing from spring until early fall. There is no one way to fertilize. As per your personal preference, you can go for slow-release or rapid-release formulations. 

You must stop fertilizing this plant in the winter. Otherwise, its leaves will turn yellow as a result of overfertilizing. It might even get a pretty bad fertilizer burn as a result. We have discussed our two favorite forms of fertilizers for this plant in this section.

Liquid Fertilizer

Liquid fertilizer comes first if you want to provide an instant feed to your plant’s roots. For this plant, go for one with an NPK ratio of 3:1:2. This ratio is written on the back of the fertilizer packaging.

No matter how mild your fertilizer concentration is, always dilute it yourself. Just add an equal volume of water and mix it up. Pour slowly on the surface of the soil a few inches away from the stem.

Compost 

Are you someone who likes to keep things natural, even with your houseplants? Then what better way to fertilize this creeping vine than using your own homemade compost.

Compost is not only a great way to recycle your edibles but also to feed your plants. Maintain your compost bin at home, but if you are too busy to do so, then store-bought organic compost is always available.

Take a rake to mix compost within the soil’s top one to two inches. Do this every month. It might take a while to take effect, but you will surely notice a much healthier plant.

– Pruning

Grooming a plant comprises keeping it neat and clean. A plant covered with layers of dust doesn’t look very presentable. Set aside only 10 minutes weekly to clean your plant using a lightly damp paper towel. This habit is really useful when it comes to spotting pests lurking sneakily under the leaves.

Grooming also includes pruning off askew, old, or diseased branches. Hold the stem in one hand and use sterilized pruning shears to cut off the branch in question. Spring is the best time to prune your plants because it promotes further growth.

Propagation

You can propagate this vine in two ways. One is the very simple stem cutting method. The other is dividing the root ball, which involves depotting the whole plant first. The success rates of both methods are equally high.

Read the step-by-step process of both these methods to decide which one you prefer.

Stem Cutting

For stem cutting propagation, you will need to take a healthy piece of stem from the parent plant. Here is how you can do this.

  1. First, prepare a brand new, small-sized pot for your propagation. Make sure that the soil is sterilized and loose with lots of water channels.
  2. Using cutting gardening tools that have been disinfected previously, cut five to six inches of a healthy stem.
  3. Remove half the leaves from the stem near the cut end. Let the remaining leaves be.
  4. Insert the cutting in the soil with the cut end going under the soil.
  5. Wrap the pot with a transparent plastic sheet for increased humidity.
  6. Place this pot in a shaded and bright, warm place — only water as needed.
  7. Remove the plastic covering for a few hours each day to let the plant breathe a bit.

Root Ball Division

You may need to take the plant out of its current pot for this method to work. That is why we recommend that you schedule your yearly propagation and repotting session at the same time.

  1. Deep water the soil two or three hours before depotting. This will make the soil soft enough to get the plant out easily.
  2. Wash the roots so that it is easier to divide the root ball.
  3. Remove as many roots as you wish to propagate. Each root should have its own stem still attached to it.
  4. The rest of the rootball should be repotted in its own pot.
  5. Choose a smaller pot appropriate for the divided roots and their stems.
  6. After planting the divided roots in their new pots, cover the pot as mentioned above for improved humidity.
  7. Take great care of your newly potted roots for the first few weeks. This will help them establish their roots pretty firmly.

Problems

Luckily, the Swedish ivy plant is not very problematic. If there is a lapse in care and overwatering ensues, you might have to deal with problems like mealybugs or bacterial leaf spot.

Learn about these problems here.

– Overwatered Plants 

We have already established that the Swedish ivy plant needs more regular watering than most plants. You must be careful not to cross the thin line over to overwatering. If water is allowed to stay in the soil without proper drainage and evaporation, it will be absorbed by the plant.

Overwatering leads to swelling and drooping of this plant’s small leaves. The absorption of important nutrients from the soil is also impeded. New leaves begin to turn yellow, reflecting a consequent lack of nutrients.

Other, more dangerous consequences of overwatering are fungal and bacterial infections. These pathogens proliferate and attack the plant whenever the soil becomes runny.

– Mealybugs

Mealybugs are the most common pests every home plant owner should be aware of. They are among pests that puncture your plant and feed on its sap. Because of how rapidly they grow in number, they quickly begin to drain your plant of all its energy.

Now you can learn how to tackle them most effectively.

Signs and Symptoms

These insects are small, roundish, and white. They concentrate in large numbers under the leaves but can also be skirting over them as white dots.

A classic sign of mealybug infestation is the presence of honeydew on the plant’s surface. Honeydew is a wax-like sticky substance secreted by these pests. It can both be seen as well as felt on the top surfaces of the leaves.

After a few months, your plant will start developing yellow spots. This will be followed by leaf wilting and drooping. Growth stunting will be seen as your vine will stop producing new leaves.

Saving Charlie Vine From Mealybugs

You can remove mealybugs from your vine using the few simple steps below.

  1. Take the pot outside and lay your creeping vine on a ground cover.
  2. Wash the vine thoroughly using a water hose and anti-insecticide spray. 
  3. When the plant has dried, apply neem oil on the leaves and the vines. You can also make anti-insecticide sprays made of neem oil or baking soda. Instead of these natural sprays, you can also go for chemical insecticides.
  4. Spray the plant weekly until all larvae are gone.

– Bacterial Leaf Spot

When the soil is allowed to stay wet and runny, bacteria called Xanthomonas might begin to multiply in it. These bacteria then attack your plant and cause leaf spot disease.

During the initial stages, yellow-colored and moist spots appear over the leaves. These spots, later on, turn black. Leaves might even start falling off the vine at a dangerous rate.

How To Treat Leaf Spot 

Unless leaf spot is caught early and treated, it will kill the vine within weeks. Read the steps below to learn the treatment for bacterial leaf spot.

  • A copper anti-bacterial agent is best suited to treat Xanthomonas. 
  • Set one day aside every week to spray your plant with this product.
  • Make sure you take protective steps to save yourself from exposure to it.
  • Take a pair of snippers to cut off the most rotten and black plant parts.
  • Improve the water drainage conditions of your soil, pot, and plant.

– Turning Yellow

Your plant could be turning yellow due to sun scorching, overwatering, underwatering, or pest attacks. If it is placed under direct sunlight and turning brown at the edges, move it to a shaded place.

If the leaves are swollen and yellow, the cause is overwatering. Yellowing leaves due to underwatering manifest as dry and papery. They might also be curled around their edges.

If only yellow spots appear over the upper surfaces of the leaves, then the cause is most likely pest attacks. You can follow our guide above on getting rid of pests immediately.

– Toxicity

Fortunately, this plant is not harmful if consumed in small doses. It was brought into northern America back in the day from Asia for medicinal purposes.

That being said, it does produce toxicity when consumed in a huge amount. Farm animals, particularly horses, are most susceptible to this as hay with more than 30 percent charlie content is toxic for horses.

If you are an urban homeowner, then you need not worry. Even if you have pets or toddlers at home, there is very little chance of them eating so much of this plant to cause toxicity.

Creeping Charlie or Pilea Nummulariifolia leaves

Conclusion

After going through this guide, we bet you are as fascinated by this plant as we are. So what are the most important points we have learned today?

  • Creeping charlie vine likes moderate watering three to four times a week.
  • Bright, shaded areas are the perfect spot when keeping it as one of your indoor plants.
  • Don’t let this plant sit in dry air with less than 60 percent humidity.
  • Using root ball division or the stem cutting route, you can propagate this plant easily.
  • Keep an eye under the leaves to see if any pests are hiding there.

The creeping Charlie makes great ornamental plants as their leaves are so pretty that they brighten up any living space where they are kept. Knowing what you know now, you are more than ready to grow your own creeping vine!

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