The Pilea mollis also known as the Moon valley is an attractive houseplant that you can consider adding to your indoor garden. The plant has dark green toothed, egg-shaped, and textured leaves with red undersides.
In addition, the upper sides of this plant’s leaves have also light green edges and dark bronze undertones, making it so unique.
For you to gain the confidence to add this quirky houseplant to your collection, this article will present expert care tips that can make your journey a success.
- What Is Pilea Mollis?
- Pilea Mollis Care
What Is Pilea Mollis?
The Pilea mollis is a small, trailing, bushy plant that cannot exceed the height of 12 inches. The plant can produce tiny pink-green flowers in summer. The Pilea mollis is usually mistaken for a friendship plant because they are both called with the cultivar name called ‘Moon valley.’
Pilea Mollis Care
The Pilea mollis is an easy-to-care plant but its health can be in danger if it is not properly taken care of. Follow all the gardening tips in this article for the plant to thrive happily.
– Water Requirements
You should water your Moon valley pile when the potting mix starts to dry out. Make sure 0.25 inches of the topsoil is kept slightly moist from spring to summer. This is the growing season of the plant so it needs more water.
You should irrigate your valley plant with filtered water once or twice every week or you can use tap water that is free from fluoride and chlorine by leaving it overnight in an open bowl, prior to watering.
In winter, 0.25 inches of topsoil should be allowed to dry between waterings. Evaporation is slow in winter and the plant will be in its dormancy phase so be sure to water it once or twice a month. Avoid sitting your plant in soggy soil so that you impede the development of root and stem rot. Remember to use a pot with drainage holes so that excess water can escape.
When watering your Mollis, do it thoroughly until the water starts to flow out of the pot through the drainage holes. If you water your Pilea mollis plant while indoors, put a draining tray below the pot.
Empty the tray when the water is completely drained or when it is full. Note that your Moon valley plant may also experience dehydration if underwatered and this causes the leaves to lose their color, curl up, and finally fall off the plant.
– Light Requirements
The Pilea mollis thrives well under indirect bright light. Note that you should not place your Pilea mollis plants in direct sunlight to avoid sunburn. Although the plant is succulent, its leaves can turn yellow or be scorched if exposed to intense direct light.
Place your valley pilea on the east-facing window but not too close to it or you can put a sheer curtain so that the plant can be exposed to dappled sunlight.
Your Mollis can tolerate low light. The green leaves can become darker and the plant can start to spread out instead of being bushy if the light is too little.
Furthermore, the stems can become leggy as the plant will be trying to reach out to the light. The Mollis grows toward the light so you should rotate it two to three times a week to hinder it from growing lopsided.
If your environment is facing light challenges, remedy the problem by getting a grow light. Note that you should not place the grow light too close to the plant as it can burn it.
– Soil Requirements
The potting mix must be a mixture of leaf mold and peat moss in a ratio of 1:2. Leaf mold refers to decomposed leaves.
You may also add a little perlite to improve drainage so that the air can circulate in the soil, this way, the chances of fungal infection on the roots will be slim. The leaf mold helps to improve the soil nutrient intake and structure through the addition of benign fungi.
– Temperature Requirements
Your Pilea mollis likes home temperatures that are between 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The plant will not survive low temperatures that are below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
You should avoid placing your plant on a spot where it will experience frost and drafts. Furthermor, protect it from heating vents like the air conditioner and heaters because the plant will drop all its leaves.
The Moon valley pilea can tolerate low-temperature ranges of 50 F to 55 F. If you do not have a thermometer to test the room temperature, you can determine it yourself. If you are comfortable with the temperature in the house, it is more likely that your Pilea moon is also happy.
– Humidity Requirements
A high humidity level of above 50 percent is ideal, hence you should test the humidity levels so that when it falls below 50 percent, you can humidify your plant artificially to maintain the tropical conditions.
Remember that extremely low humidity can cause the Pilea mollis leaves to develop yellow spots or show signs of wilting and an unhealthy appearance. The Pilea mollis suffers low humidity mostly in winter so you should invest in a humidifier.
You can also improve the humidity levels by placing a pebble tray with water just slightly below the pot. The water vapor from the tray will increase the humidity level. Make sure the pot is not sitting in water to prevent the potting mix from becoming soggy.
Furthermore, you can also mist the Pilea mollis using a spraying bottle. Spray water on the plant leaves and make sure there is enough ventilation. You may also even place a fan to circulate air around so that the water can evaporate. Remember that the plant leaves should not stay wet for long to avoid the development of diseases.
– Fertilizing Requirements
Add general houseplant fertilizer to your Moon mollis pilea to boost its growth and blossoming, although the plant rarely produces flowers while indoors.
Apply a balanced fertilizer with ratios of 10-10-10 twice every month in spring and summer. You must dilute the fertilizer half-strength to neutralize the salts in it that can burn the plant if they become too much.
Make sure you water your Pilea mollis a day before applying the fertilizer to avoid root burn. Remember, do not over-fertilize your plant. If you notice a white crust on the surface of the potting mix, it can be a sign of over-fertilization. Once you see the white crust, stop adding more fertilizer for some time.
The build-up salts can also be seen outside the terracotta pots. Make sure you are flashing water through the pot when watering to remedy over-fertilization.
Your Pilea mollis can maintain a bushier shape if continuously pruned. Use your two fingernails to pinch the plant’s terminal stem so that it will develop branches. If you want your plant to have many branches, snip all the new shoots’ top parts after the bud regularly.
Additionally, you may also prune the diseased or sunburnt plant leaves. Hence, prune the old leaves once they turn yellow as well. Lack of light can cause your Moon valley stems to become leggy.
Therefore, you should trim the leggy stems just above the leaf node with sharp, sterilized scissors and place your Mollis plant in a well-lit spot so that it can start to grow bushy again.
Propagate Pilea using cuttings from any part of the plant. Every part of the Pilea mollis has the ability to develop plantlets and roots.
– Using Leaf Cutting
Cut a leaf with a petiole from the mother plant. Allow it to callous for a day or two so that the scar can heal. Then, put the leaf in a glass jar and pour some water. Make sure you change the water regularly to keep it clean and prevent the development of molds.
Check for new growth within a month or two. Transfer your plant to a pot when it has a couple of roots.
– Using Stem Cuttings
Use a disinfected knife or shear to cut the stem of a healthy mature plant. Cut the top two to three inches of the stem. Note that the stem should have two to three leaves at the top and remove the rest at the lower part of the cutting.
Prepare a small pot with moist potting soil prior to planting, remember that you can add perlite to improve aeration. Then, place your cutting into the potting mix and press the potting mix firmly around the stem so that it can stand upright.
Put your potted Valley Pilea in a clear plastic bag to contain the humidity and moisture inside. Place your covered new Mollis in a cool, well-lit spot.
You must remove the plastic after four weeks when new growth has been established. After which you can, transfer your new Mollis to a bigger pot and exercise plant care the way you do to the mother plant.
– Using the Baby Shoots
Carefully snip off the two-inch baby shoots from a healthy mother plant. You can dip the lower part of the shoot in a rooting hormone before putting them in water. The rooting hormone can stimulate root development. Now, you can put the Mollis’ shoot in a glass jar that is half-filled with water.
Place your Mollis shoot in a diffused, bright light. The roots will grow within the range of three to five weeks. Remember to change the water and clean the jar once every week to reduce the risk of algae formation. When your plant has sprouted a couple of roots, go on to plant it in a pot and water it thoroughly.
Once your plant is established, start parenting it the way you do the mature Pilea mollis plant.
The Pilea mollis cannot be infected with pests and diseases if you properly take care of it. Be on the lookout for common problems so that you can control them as early as possible before it’s too late.
Mealybugs are tiny sap-sucking pests. They feast on the plant chlorophyll they draw using their mouthparts from the foliage. If you suspect mealybugs attack your plants, check for honeydew on the plant foliage. The Mollis leaves can also turn yellow and show some signs of wilting in the presence of mealybugs.
Isolate the affected Pilea mollis immediately and start treating it. you may use Neem oil or insecticidal soap to kill the pests. Neem oil would stop the growth of pests at all their stages of development.
– Spider mites
Spider mites are so tiny that you may need a microscope to easily identify them. The sap-sucking pests use their mouthparts to draw the plant juice. The spider mites are reddish-brown and they can cause spots and yellowing of leaves. Check for spider mites on the undersides of the leaves as they usually hide there.
Discard the severely damaged Mollis plant. Use 70 percent isopropyl alcohol solution or Neem oil also to effectively destroy the spider mites. Clean your plant and make sure the humidity is high to prevent your Mollis from being infected.
– Root Rot
The plant is susceptible to rotting. Be sure that you are using a well-draining potting mix when growing your Mollis pilea. Also, avoid overwatering so that your plant will not sit in drenched soil for too long. The pot should have draining holes so that your plant is not waterlogged.
The disease can cause stunted growth and if not treated in time, your Pilea can die.
Trim the affected roots and treat the infection using fungicides. You should discard and destroy the severely damaged Mollis plant.
– Crisp Dropping Leaves
Underwatering can cause crisp dropping leaves. Do not forget to water your mollis moon in time. Follow the watering patterns for the Mollis to keep it hydrated.
– Leaf Spot
Yellow or brown spots are the common signs of leaf spot. Avoid overwatering and make sure you do not water over the surface of the plant leaves so that they are always dry. Place your plant on a well-ventilated spot so that if you mistakenly irrigate the Pilea mollis plant leaves, the water can quickly evaporate.
Trim the infected leaves and apply fungicides. Heavily infected plants should be destroyed as the fungicides cannot work effectively. You should keep the area around your plant clean by removing all the debris.
Like the Pilea involucrata, the mollis is also non-toxic to pets and human beings. However, the plant leaves can cause vomiting or nausea if consumed in sufficient quantities. For your kids and pets to be completely safe, place the plant out of reach. You can also spray lemon juice on plant leaves to chase the pets away.
You now have all the empowering information at your fingertips. You are now ready to start parenting your Pilea. Below is just a recap of the main points.
- The Pilea mollis grows well and throves in bright, indirect light.
- The ideal temperature range is between 65 F and 75 F and the plant also prefers high humidity
- Apply half-strength liquid fertilizer to your Mollis in spring and summer once or twice a month.
- Propagate your Pilea mollis using cuttings in spring.
- Check your plant for common pests and diseases like leaf spot, spider mites, and mealybugs.
It’s now time to put into practice what you learned from this article. Get yourself this less demanding plant today and start parenting it the right way while enjoying the beauty of your indoor garden!
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