Pilea glauca care infographicThe Pilea Glauca is a very under-researched plant that is not well-known but is a beauty to see when it is grown correctly. With thousands of small round leaves cascading down its red stems, the Pilea Glauca is a sight to behold in any household.

They can grow up to 12 inches tall, but the long trailing stems can grow as long as you let them. Continue reading for a complete guide to making your plant happy and healthy.

Quick Overview

Here is a quick table of the plant’s requirements.

Requirements Pilea Glauca
Light At least two to four hours of bright but indirect sunlight every day, preferably the early morning or evening sun
Water Water when top half-inch of soil is dry; needs to stay moist, but do not overwater
Soil Mix of one part perlite and one part peat
Temperature Temperatures ranging from 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit
Humidity High humidity levels of around 70 percent to 80 percent
Fertilizer High-quality brand made especially for houseplants with an NPK of 10/10/10; feed it every month during spring and summer, every other month during winter

What Is Pilea Glauca?

The Pilea Glauca is an uncommon plant from the Urticaceae family of succulent plants that has long, red stems growing tiny, round, green leaves that are dusted with silver, which is where it gets some of its more common nicknames. It also grows small pink, orange or white blossoms in the right conditions.

– Where Does It Originate?

The Pilea Glauca plant originates in the Chinese mountains, but some people say that it comes from Brazil or Central America. The evergreen plant has become extinct in its natural habitat of the Chinese mountains but is commonly found in many homes. What is known about the Pilea Glauca is that it is a tropical succulent plant that needs heat and moisture to thrive.

– Other Names for the Pilea Glauca

The Pilea Glauca is not well-studied and has gone by many names. Although it is certainly a Pilea plant, the official name seems to be in question. Some of its more common names include:

  • Home plant Pilea Glauca on a dark backgroundPilea Libanensis
  • Silver Sparkle Pilea
  • Chinese Money Plant
  • Fairy Dust Plant
  • Grey Baby Tears
  • Red-stemmed Pilea
  • Gray Artillery Plant
  • Aquamarine Plant

Care

Caring for Pilea Glauca is pretty straightforward. They will do great with basic water, light, humidity and food requirements. Keep reading for more details to help you grow your best Pilea Glauca.

– Light

Your plant needs at least two to four hours of bright but indirect sunlight every day, preferably the early morning or evening sun. Do not let it get too much direct sunlight — it can scorch the leaves and reduce the moisture and humidity that your Pilea Glauca needs to thrive.

– Water 

Before watering Pilea Glauca, check to make sure that the top half-inch of its soil is dry. Although your plant needs to stay moist, you do not want to overwater it or it can get root rot. It is also sensitive to water quality, so let the water sit out overnight before using it.

– Soil

The Pilea Glauca soil should be a mix of one part perlite and one part peat in order to drain well while still retaining some moisture. You can use potting soil mix, but make sure it is a high-quality brand because the cheaper ones tend to have a lot of salt in them, which can kill your plant. Make sure the soil has a pH between 5 and 6. 

– Temperature

As a tropical succulent, your plant needs warm to hot temperatures ranging from 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit to be healthy. It does not tolerate cold temperatures well, so do not let the temperature drop below 55 degrees Fahrenheit or your plant will go into hibernation. That is why it is typically grown as a houseplant or terrarium plant.

– Humidity

Due to its native home, your Pilea Glauca needs a high humidity of around 70 percent to 80 percent. Although it will be fine with the average home humidity, it will not thrive unless it gets the moisture it needs. There are certain things you can do to raise the humidity level for your plant. 

A pebble tray placed under your Pilea Glauca will do wonders for keeping it moist. You can also mist the plant’s leaves every day to help it out. Another solution would be to place a running humidifier near the plant.

– Feeding

Your Pilea Glauca fertilizer should be a high-quality brand made especially for houseplants with an NPK of 10/10/10. During the spring and summer, you can feed it every month, but during the winter, only feed it every other month. Do not overfeed or your plant can go into shock or get root burn.

Propagate

To propagate your Pilea Glauca, you can either use water or soil rooting with a stem cutting. Take about one or two inches of stem above a node and strip off the bottom leaves.  

– Rooting in Soil

To root it in soil, all you have to do is introduce the stem to the soil in a fresh pot. Do not cover the cutting or push it into the soil. It likes to be in loose, aerated soil. 

You may want to dip the cutting in rooting hormone before placing it into the soil. Water it well and keep a plastic baggie over it to maintain humidity, but you should uncover it every other day to ventilate it so it does not develop mold. 

– Rooting in Water

Growing the new cutting in water helps you know whether the roots are growing well or not. Just place the cutting in a glass of clean, unchlorinated water but do not let the leaves get wet. Put it in a sunny spot, water it every few days, and the roots should start growing in a week or two.

Repot

If your Pilea Glauca leaves are starting to wither or are not growing well, it may be time to repot your plant. Another sign you need to repot is when it starts looking leggy or if the roots start to grow out of the drain holes. Check your plant’s roots every year and if they get too dense, transplant it to a larger pot.

– The Size of the Pot Matters

You do not need to jump from a 4-inch pot to a 12-inch pot when you replant your Pilea. Typically, you only need to go up one or two sizes; these beauties do not really need that much room anyway. Just place it in a 6-inch pot and your plant will be happy.

Growing the Pilea Glauca Outdoors

Although these plants grow outdoors in their native area, you should probably keep them indoors unless you live in zones 9 through 11. Even then, you will have to make sure you plant it where it will not get too much sunlight but will have enough moisture and humidity.

– For Those in Other Zones

If you live in a different zone and want to let your plant go out and get some sunlight, you can do that during the late spring and summer months as long as it does not drop below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Just keep it in a pot and set it out on the patio or deck for a few hours a day. That way, you can bring it back in if the temperature drops.

Problems 

Just like all plants, its foliage can tell you when your Pilea Glauca is in trouble. If you see that the leaves are getting spots on them, changing color, drooping, curling or falling off, there is an issue you need to correct. It may be a watering, light or humidity problem or it could be a pest infestation. 

– Leaves are Curling Inward

If the little leaves are starting to look like little cups, you may be giving it too much light or heat. Although this plant likes a lot of sun, it has to be indirect sunlight or it will damage the leaves. And even though it is a tropical plant that loves heat, placing it in a place with dry heat over 80 degrees Fahrenheit for too long can dry it out and kill it. 

– Drooping Leaves

You may be watering your plant too much if the leaves are drooping, but if you have been maintaining good water practices and keeping the top part dry, your plant may have a pest problem. Aphids and other pests suck the life out of your Pilea Glauca, making the leaves droopy.

– Yellow Leaves 

If the leaves are yellowing or the edges are turning brown and crispy, your Pilea Glauca plant may have a potassium deficiency. If you are not giving your plant too much sunlight, treat it by giving it some high-potassium fertilizer. Also, make sure you are not giving it too much water.

Common Pests

Your Pilea Glauca is susceptible to pests just like any other plant, especially if you move it outside for a time. Bugs can also get to your plant through contaminated soil or even through an open window or door. Here are some of the pests that can bug the Pilea.

– Whiteflies

Just like the name indicates, whiteflies are tiny white flies that are smaller than a typical ant and fly away when you disturb them. There are many types of whiteflies such as the Silverleaf, giant, banded wing and greenhouse, but they are all bad for your Pilea Glauca

These pesky flying bugs suck the nutrients out of your plant and make it weak and susceptible to molds. The leaves may wilt, turn yellow and fall off. You need to get rid of these pests and prevent them from coming back.

Start by blasting the bugs with a hose, spray bottle or showerhead in your shower. Then you can spray the leaves with insecticidal soap or neem oil. Continue to apply the soap or oil a few times a week for a few weeks to keep the whiteflies from coming back.

– Thrips

These tiny black or yellow winged bugs not only suck the nutrients from your plant but they also bring diseases and viruses from other plants. The damage will probably be obvious with stunted growth, small white patches on leaves, and streaks or speckles of brown, yellow or white. You can shake off or spray away the pests using water or air. 

Once they are gone, dust the undersides of your plant’s leaves with diatomaceous earth. You can also apply insecticidal soap or neem oil every few days to keep the bugs away. Sticky traps also work well for prevention against thrips.

– Mealybugs

Their name tells you what these little bugs do to your plant; they make a meal out of it, sucking out the nutrients and leaving behind damage consisting of mineral deficiency and a gradual decline in growth.

They are only about ¼ inches long or even smaller and are a white, yellow or gray oval, sometimes with a waxy coating. They will suck the life out of your plant in high numbers and since they can lay up to 600 eggs at a time, infestation will not take long.

Get rid of the infestation by pruning the bad spots and sealing them up in a bag before throwing them away. You can use a cotton ball dipped in alcohol to get rid of small infestations or use a bug blaster or shower hose, then spray neem oil or insecticidal soap on your plant every few days to prevent them from returning.

– Spider Mites

Does your Pilea Glauca leaves look like it is encased in a cocoon? It probably has a spider mite infestation. These tiny cousins of the spider can actually do a lot of damage in a short period of time, so it is important to get rid of them as soon as possible. 

Prune the leaves and stems that are connected to the webbing and those that have small dots or look damaged. Put these pieces in a sealed baggie and throw it in the trash so they do not get out and infest other plants or the same one all over again. Then you can spray your plant with a hose or bug blaster to get rid of the survivors.

Once you have done all that, spray your plant with insecticidal soap or neem oil to prevent reinfestation. Reapply every few days for several weeks to keep them from coming back. You can also use an organic insecticide that does not harm plants.

– Fungus Gnats

Fungus gnats are a bit bigger than the whiteflies and may be hard to spot because they do not fly around as much as the whiteflies do. They typically just lay their eggs in the soil and leave them to hatch. However, each one can lay about 200 eggs at a time so the infestation can build quickly. 

If it gets too bad, your plant may start drooping, the leaves can turn yellow, and it will generally look unhealthy. Scrape off the top few inches of soil to get rid of the pests’ eggs and larvae, then add some diatomaceous earth powder to the new soil you add. You can also use a mosquito dunk when watering your plant to kill the pests. 

Use flypaper or sticky traps to get rid of the flying adults. You can cut the sticky paper into small pieces and place them on top of the soil so the bugs get stuck when they land to lay their eggs. You can also use a mixture of half water and half vinegar with a drop of dish soap in a shallow container next to your plant to catch these gnats.

– Scale Bugs 

These creepy little buggers come in two types, the soft-shell and the hard-shell ones. The hard-shell ones are actually just the females that have soft bodies with no legs or wings, so they are covered by a cap of wax. The soft bugs are males that have legs and wings, making new colonies all over your plant but do not hide under wax covers.

Remove any foliage that is infested with the pests because getting rid of the armored females is a difficult process. Place the infested parts in a sealed plastic bag and throw it in the trash so they do not come back. Spray your plant with neem oil or insecticidal soap once every few days to prevent reinfestation.

Different Varieties of the Pilea Genus

The Pilea genus has over 200 species, and the most common ones besides the Glaucus include:

  • Pilea Peperomioides is the most common species, often referred to as the Chinese Money Plant or Sharing Plant. Its coin-shaped leaves are larger than the Glaucus and they do not have silver dust. Instead, they have a deep green color all year long.
  • Pilea Caldierei Minima, or the Aluminum Plant, has large oval leaves with silver markings. It comes from North Africa and grows to about one or two feet tall. They rarely flower but their foliage makes them a popular houseplant.
  • Pilea Microphylla, also known as the Artillery Fern, has small round leaves that can spread to 24 inches wide but only about 8 to 12 inches tall. It comes from Mexico, Florida, and Southern and Central America. 
  • Pilea Involucrata has a unique look with its fringed green leaves that have dark bronze veins. It is also known as the Moon Valley or Friendship Plant. It grows up to 12 inches tall and sometimes grows tiny pink flowers.
  • Pilea Costa is known as the Dark Mystery Plant and is from Ecuador. The long, almost black leaves are long and skinny with a stripe of silver running through them. The new leaves are pink for a short period of time before maturing. 
  • Pilea Grandifolia is a pretty plant from Jamaica with long pointed light green leaves and a quilted texture. They can grow up to 15 inches tall and have pretty pink flowers. 
  • Pilea Nummulariifolia, or Creeping Charlie, is a tropical plant from South America that typically grows along the ground as ground cover but is also a nice hanging plant indoors. Their inch-long leaves are shiny and green. 
  • Pilea Serpyllacea Globosa is one of the most unique Pilea variants with its tiny, round, pink leaves. During the spring, it may even grow some small red and white flowers. These plants stay small and look like miniature trees. 
  • Pilea Pubescens, also known as Silver Cloud, is named for its unique leaves that are silver on the front and red on the back. The plant is small at about 6 inches tall, but its leaves are large and can grow around 2 inches long. The tiny flowers are green and can barely be seen.
  • Pilea Repens is also known as Pilea Bronze and is not as popular as the others, but it has striking purplish-black leaves that are crinkly with dark bronze veins. It only grows to about 10 inches tall, but the leaves are rather large.

Conclusion

We have covered a ton of information in this article about your Pilea Glauca, so you should now be well-prepared to take care of your tropical green waterfall plant. Here are the highlights of the article for you to remember.

  • The Pilea Glauca is succulent with red stems and tiny round green leaves. It can also grow small flowers in the right conditions. 
  • This species of Pilea is thought to come from the Chinese mountains, but may also be from Central or South America. 
  • There are many different names that the Pilea Glauca may go by, including the Pilea Libanensis, Silver Sparkle Plant, Chinese Money Plant, Fairy Dust Plant, Grey Baby Tears, Red-Stemmed Pilea, Gray Artillery Plant and Aquamarine Plant.
  • Your Pilea Glauca needs two to four hours of indirect bright sunlight everyday.
  • Be sure to check that the top layer of soil is dry before watering it, and give it water that has sat out overnight.
  • This plant needs well-draining soil that is one part peat to one part perlite. Keep the pH between 5 and 6 and be sure to use high-quality soil that does not have high levels of salt in it. 
  • Keep your Pilea Glauca between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit and never let it go under 55 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • Humidity needs to be high so use a pebble tray, humidifier or mist it daily.
  • Feed it with diluted 10/10/10 fertilizer once a month during the spring and summer and every other month during the winter and fall. 
  • Take a two-inch stem cutting from your plant and place it in water or soil to propagate. 
  • Repot your Pilea Glauca when it starts to look stunted or leggy.
  • You can place your plant outside in warm temperatures but remember to bring it in if the temperature drops below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • Check your plant’s leaves for signs of illness or pest infestations. 
  • Common pests include whiteflies, thrips, mealybugs, spider mites, fungus gnats and scale bugs. 
  • The Pilea genus has over 200 species, and the most common ones include the Peperomioides, Caldierei Minima, Microphylla, Involucrata, Costa, Grandifolia, Nummulariifolia, Serpyllacea Globosa, Pubescens and Repens. 

Because propagating this plant is so easy, be sure to help keep this pretty tropical plant going by making more of them to share. They make lovely housewarming or Christmas gifts.

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