Pilea Involucrata Care Infographic
Pilea Involucrata Care Infographic

Pilea Involucrata is a tropical trailing plant cultivated for its unique-looking, fuzzy leaves, having contrasting colors on its textured foliage make it an excellent houseplant, setting it apart from the green foliage of other plants.

Pilea Involucrata is called the Friendship plant due to the rapid rooting of its cuttings. These cuttings can be easily established giving rise to new baby plants in very little time and can be shared with friends.

Let us take a closer look at what it takes to care for this gorgeous plant. 

What Is a Pilea Involucrata?

Pilea Involucrata is native to the tropical forests of Central and South America. Its common names are Pilea Mollis, Panamiga, Moon Valley Pilea, and the Friendship plant. It belongs to the Nettle family of the Urticaceae family. Additionally, it is called the Moon Valley Pilea because of the moon-like and textured leaves.

Pilea Involucrata Care

Pilea Involucrata care is quite easy to follow even if you are an absolute beginner in the gardening world. Read all about its growth and care requirements to keep the textured foliage healthy, as we have put together in an enhanced manner.

– Light Requirements 

Friendship plant leavesPilea Involucrata has moderate light requirements. It grows well in bright, indirect sunlight with some occasional direct sunlight. Provide it with six to eight hours of bright, indirect light for healthy growth. Remember to turn the plant around every few days for uniform exposure to sunlight.

Place it away from a window that receives harsh, direct sunlight, especially at noon. In its natural environment, the plant grows in shade on the forest floor with very little sunlight reaching it. 

Whenever you change the lighting around your plant, let the plant acclimatize slowly.

A sudden change from intense to mild light or vice versa can make the plant look dull for a day or two but that is not a cause of worry.

– Water Requirements

Pilea Involucrata has moderate water requirements and prefers to grow in evenly moist soil. It needs to be watered only when the top few inches of the soil dry out. Do not rewater the plant until half the soil dries out. 

If you are a beginner and finding it difficult to judge whether the plant needs to be watered or not, do so by using the finger-knuckle test. Insert a finger in the soil till the second knuckle. If the soil sticks to your finger, wait for a few more days and check again before watering.

Reduce the watering sessions in the winter months as it does not show much growth and needs less water to survive. Overwatering in the winter months makes the plant susceptible to root rot. 

Give the plant a thorough soaking while watering. Instead of watering a little every day, water the plant thoroughly every few days. This method ensures that even the deepest roots receive enough moisture to grow properly. 

When you water only a little every time, the roots at the bottom of the pot do not receive adequate moisture and tend to dry out. It causes the foliage to become yellow and unhealthy in the long run. To avoid this issue, water your plant thoroughly such that excess water drains out of the bottom drainage holes. 

– Soil Requirements

Pilea Involucrata soil should be loose and well-draining for proper growth. It prefers peat moss-based mixes that are rich in nutrients and draining at the same time. Add perlite to your regular potting mix to make it airy and draining. 

Together with the soil requirements comes the kind of pot or planter you choose to grow your plants is an important factor in determining their long-term health. Remember to always choose a pot that has a lot of drainage holes at the bottom so that the plant roots do not stand in soggy soil for longer periods.

Try to grow your plant in clay or terracotta pots as they absorb the excess moisture from the soil and prevent problems related to root rot and other fungal diseases. 

– Temperature Requirements

Pilea Involucrata is a tropical plant that thrives in slightly warmer temperatures. It grows well in the temperature range of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep the plant away from drafty windows and air conditioners as direct air can cause the browning of leaves in this tropical plant. 

If the temperature outdoors rises above 80 degrees Fahrenheit, shift the plant indoors to a cooler spot away from direct sunlight. You will need to water more frequently as compared to the winter months to keep the soil evenly moist at all times. 

The Friendship plant cannot tolerate frost and cooler temperatures for longer periods. You will need to shift it indoors to a warmer spot so that it can spend the winter months in comfort. Try to keep the soil on the drier side as the roots are prone to rot in winters. 

– Humidity Requirements

Pilea Involucrata thrives in high humidity conditions which makes it perfect to grow in terrariums. Indoor air can become dry in the winter months. If the humidity level around your plant falls below 50 percent, keep a humidifier or a humidity tray to increase the humidity levels. 

Fill a shallow tray with some pebbles and water and keep your pot above it. You have the humidity tray ready. Just like the other plants belonging to the Urticaceae family, Pilea Involucrata thrives in humidity levels between 50 and 90 percent. 

While high humidity is a great thing to have around this tropical plant, make sure that the plant has good air circulation around it. High humidity with no or poor air movement can cause fungus growth and root rot problems. 

– Fertilizer Requirements

Fertilize Pilea Involucrata with natural, organic fertilizers such as compost and earthworm castings for best growth result. Fertilize the plant twice a year with a balanced liquid fertilizer if you are a beginner. Apply quarter to half of the recommended dose mentioned on the label. 

Since the plant is dormant in the winter months, it is better to not fertilize it at all in winters. Wait for spring before resuming regular fertilizing. Overfertilizing or fertilizing in the winter months causes root burn that happens due to excessive salts released in the soil from fertilizers. 

– Pruning

To keep your plant bushy and to prevent it from getting leggy, you must prune the stems and leaves when needed. It will help keep the plant compact and also encourage fresh growth from the point of cutting. 

Pinch off the growing tips regularly to keep the plant compact. Use the pruned cuttings to propagate the plant. 

Pilea Involucrata has a compact root system which means that it can stay root-bound for some time. Wait for every three to four years before shifting it to a bigger pot. The ideal time to repot this plant is from early spring to early summer when it begins to show new growth.

When you see the roots coming out of the drainage holes, you can consider putting the plant in a larger pot. Choose a pot one to two inches larger than the previous one to accommodate the plant roots. Minimize damage to the thin and delicate root hair while shifting the plant. 

In a fresh soil mix, place the plant gently and firm the soil around the roots. Keep the plant in a shaded spot for a few days before shifting it to a brightly-lit space. Keep the soil evenly moist to prevent root damage. 

 

Propagation 

Pilea Involucrata is one of the easiest plants to propagate by stem cuttings. Propagate the plant and give the baby plants to your friends and family. Make sure that you propagate the cuttings in warm weather conditions and not in winters as it would not show much growth in the winter months. 

Remember that the lower leaves tend to fall off as the plant matures. Initially, the new leaves are bronze-purple but as they mature, they turn apple green on top and purplish-bronze on the undersides. 

– Propagating in Water

Pilea Involucrata is a moisture and humidity-loving plant that propagates quite well in water. It can grow quite an extensive root system if propagated in water. You can keep the cuttings in the water forever if you do not want a bushy trailing plant. 

But if you want to grow the plant in soil, shift it to the soil mix once the roots are about one to two inches long. Grow it like any other plant in a well-draining soil mix. 

– Propagating in Soil

Propagating the plant from stem cuttings is the easiest way to grow more baby plants. If you have a broken stem, seize the opportunity to grow another plant in a terrarium. 

Place the stem cuttings in a moist soil mix and firm the soil around them. Place the cuttings in a plastic bag to keep the humidity level high. In a few weeks, the cuttings will root.

Problems

Pilea Involucrata is an easy plant that needs only some attention during the growing months of spring and summer. But it can face some common problems if you ignore the basic growth requirements. Read on to find out more about them.

– Browning of Leaves

The browning of leaves and their edges is caused by dry air. Warm temperatures with low humidity can cause the browning of leaves. Since dry weather conditions do not work well for this plant’s growth, it is necessary to keep the humidity levels high.

Keep humidifiers around your tropical plants to keep them happy. Instead of keeping these tropical plants in dry spots, grow them in terrariums away from direct air. But ensure proper air circulation to prevent rot and fungus growth. 

– Droopy Foliage

Drooping of leaves is caused by either too dry or too soggy soil. As the plant grows old, some of the older leaves at the bottom fall making the plant look unattractive. In such cases, remove the leaves and propagate the stem cuttings. 

– Root Rot

Pilea Involucrata can develop root rot when overwatered. The first symptom of root rot that you will notice is the foliage excessively drooping. You might also notice some dark spots and the leaves turning mushy. If you leave the plant untreated, your plant will die within seven to ten days.

Check the bottom of the pot and make sure that it has sufficient drainage holes. Gently pull out the plant and check its roots. If they have a mushy texture and unpleasant smell, prune them. Repot the plant in a fresh potting mix with some perlite mixed for drainage. 

There is no guarantee that your Pilea Involucrata will bounce back due to overwatering-related problems. If it manages to survive for more than a week after repotting, you will notice it recovering.

– Pests

Even though Pilea Involucrata is fairly pest-resistant, pests such as aphids, spider mites, and mealybugs can affect your plant’s growth. They are hard to get rid of because of the plant’s textured leaves.  

Check the signs that the plant is trying to give and treat the plant accordingly. Sometimes, a white cotton-like layer develops on the leaves or the foliage turns yellow. They can be a sign of the presence of any of the pests.

It is important to use a soap spray solution or alcohol spray solution to get rid of these unwanted pests. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some commonly asked questions about Pilea Involucrata with their answers provided for better enhancement of this magnificent friendship plant.

– Is Pilea Involucrata a Toxic Plant?

Pilea Involucrata is not toxic to animals and humans. It is perfectly safe to keep indoors around pets and children. 

– Which Plants Are Similar To Pilea Involucrata?

The Friendship Plant has some well-known cousins such as the Pilea Repens, commonly called the Black Panamiga, Pilea Cadierei, commonly called the Aluminum Plant, Pilea Glauca, and Pilea Depressa. These plants are similar in leaf shape, color, and texture.

– How Big do Pilea Involucrata Growth?

Pilea Involucrata is a bushy and moderately fast-growing plant. It can get about six inches tall and in rare cases, its height can reach up to 12 inches. It grows horizontally by growing new stems and leaves beside the mother plant. 

Most Pilea Involucrata varieties grow well as trailing plants but some of its cultivars are pinched regularly to keep them bushy and thriving. Pinch off the tips regularly to keep the plant compact and bushy.

Since the plant shows more horizontal growth than vertical growth, it makes it a good choice for shallow and horizontal trays, pots, and terrariums. You can grow this versatile plant both as a trailing plant or keep it upright like a bush. 

– What Is the Sign of Underwatering in Pilea Involucrata?

Similar to overwatering, underwatering too is dangerous for your plant’s health. It can cause the foliage to wilt when the soil gets too dry. The leaves turn crisp and fall off because of the low moisture levels available to the plant. 

Maintain a regular watering schedule to avoid problems related to overwatering and underwatering. If spotted early, these problems can be solved without harming the plant much. 

– Do Friendship Plants Bloom?

Yes, they do and the Friendship plant flower is pale pink and green. If given enough time and space to mature, most of them flower in summer in clusters. These pink-green flowers are insignificant and often overlooked when compared to the abundant foliage. It is not a regular bloomer and you won’t see any flowers indoors. 

Conclusion

Pilea involucrata Moon Valley plantPilea Involucrata will be a perfect addition to your plant collection if you love textured foliage. It is easy-going and needs little care that makes it a wonderful beginner-friendly houseplant.

Let us take a look at the essential care tips and guidelines once more.

  • Pilea Involucrata is a beautiful trailing plant native to Central and South America. 
  • It has textured, velvety leaves that are apple green with bronze burgundy veins.  
  • It thrives in a moist soil mix, warm temperatures, and high humidity conditions.
  • The tender foliage tends to burn in intense sunlight, so make sure you keep it in a spot away from direct sunlight.
  • You can propagate the plant easily from stem cuttings in water and soil. 
  • It faces some problems like drooping and browning of leaves and pest attacks that can be treated if spotted early. 

Provide the right conditions to this gorgeous-looking plant and it will reward you with amazing foliage. We hope our care guidelines have helped you know all about Pilea Involucrata and you get one of these for yourself soon!

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