Pilea Glauca

Pilea Glauca | Plant Care Guide

The Pilea Glauca is a common indoor plant called “Aquamarine” or “Silver Sparkle Pilea.” It is a good choice for buyers looking to buy an uncommon house plant to attract a viewer’s attention. 

This article will share the details about the Pilea Glauca plant and the most important growing tips.

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Botanical NameDoes not have a confirmed botanical name yet
Common NamePilea Glauca, Aquamarine, Silver Sparkle Pilea, Silver sprinkles, Glauca libensis, Pilea Silver Sparkle, Grey Baby Tears, Red-Stemmed Pilea, or Grey Artillery Plant
Size1 foot to 3 feet in height
DifficultyEasy
Pet FriendlyYes, Non-Toxic
Air CleanerYes

Pilea Glauca Origin

Pilea Glauca is a vine that originates from the Central American and Brazilian rainforests. The plant belongs to the large family of herbaceous creeping plants of the Pilea genus. Pilea is one of the largest families of flowering plants with around 600-700 members.

The Pilea genus belongs to the Urticaceae or the nettle family of flowering plants. However, they lack the characteristic stinging hairs of the nettles.

At present, Pilea Glauca still does not have a confirmed botanical name. Hence it has various names like Silver sprinkles, Glauca libensis, Pilea Silver Sparkle, Grey Baby Tears, Red-stemmed Pilea, etc.

Pilea Glauca is an evergreen succulent with small oval leaves that are blue-gray. What makes it attractive is the silvery dust on the leaves that almost shimmers under light. Apart from the leaves, the other aspect that makes the plant attractive is the red-colored stem. 

The plant can grow up to 1 to 3 feet in height and more than 1.5 feet in width when grown freely. It can take around 4 to 6 years for a plant to reach its full size.

As a creeper, the plant is mostly found as a groundcover on the forest floor. It is generally allowed to cascade from hanging pots when planted indoors.

How to Care for Pilea Glauca

The Pilea Glauca is easy to care for and has no special requirements. It is an excellent plant for beginners.

That said, the plant will need care and attention to look its best. This is not a plant that can be neglected for long periods of time. 

The main requirements for healthy growth are a well-draining potting mix, room temperatures, indirect sunlight, moderate humidity, and light fertilization. The plant grows fast during summer and spring. In winters, the growth rate slows down.

Light and Temperature

The Pilea Glauca plant requires bright but indirect sunlight. Direct sunlight can scorch the leaves. It is best to rotate the plant periodically to prevent unidirectional growth towards the sun.

The plant will do well in bright, indirect sunlight. Filtered sunlight or semi-shaded spots are the best options. It can take 1-2 hours of direct sunlight in the early morning or late afternoon, especially during winters.

When subjected to harsh light, the leaves can turn yellow due to sunburn. Make sure to trim the yellow leaves and shift the plant to a shadier location.

The plant can adapt to lower light conditions. But low light usually reduces the overall leaf count. Also, the leaves turn dark green, and the plant spreads out more in such situations.

Since it is a tropical plant, Pilea Glauca thrives in hot conditions. They can be easily grown at room temperatures. The ideal temperature range for it is between 65-75 °F (15-23 °C). But placing the plant near heating vents or exhaust outlets can damage the leaves.

Pilea Glauca is not frost-tolerant, and temperatures below 50°F (10°C) in winter can cause damage to it. In case winter temperatures drop below this mark, shifting the plant indoors is the best option.

Water

While the Pilea Glauca likes humid conditions, overwatering can damage the plant. Since it is a succulent, the plant is susceptible to root rot. Excessive watering can also cause the leaves to fall off.

This is not a plant that likes soggy soil. Allowing the soil to dry between waterings is the best option. A pot with drainage holes is essential for allowing any excess water to drain off. 

In summer and spring, keeping the soil slightly moist is the best option. Even at the peak of summer, the plant should not be submerged in water. Ideally, the water should reach the roots without collecting around them.

Generally, watering once or twice a week during summer should be good enough. In winter, watering can be reduced further, based on the indoor temperatures.

During fall and winter, watering should be done only when the top half-inch of soil has dried out. Another way is to water when the leaves are slightly droopy. The leaves also lose their shine when the plant is dehydrated.

It is best to water the soil and not irrigate the plant from the top. Watering the thick foliage from the top can lead to excess moisture deposition. This can result in the rotting of the leaves.

Other than that, the plant can be sensitive to the salts present in the water. This may lead to spotting in the leaves. In such cases, filtered water is ideal for watering.

The plant likes a humid environment. Using an artificial humidifier during cold and dry winters is an effective solution for such houseplants. Trays filled with water in the growth space can also increase humidity levels.

Fertilization

The plant requires light fertilization during the growing period. Fertilizing once a month with a balanced fertilizer is sufficient. It is always better to underfeed than to overfeed the plant. 

Pilea Glauca does not need fertilization during the winters. Since the growth rate is minimum in that period, over-fertilization can kill it.

Both organic and chemical fertilizers can be used. However, there should not be a fertilizer build-up on the pot. A white crust on the top of the soil indicates a fertilizer build-up. In such cases, fertilization should be stopped for a few weeks. 

Flowering

Generally, flowering starts in late spring and continues through the summer. Some plants can also bloom beyond this period. Small clusters of white or pink flowers emerge from the stem. 

The flowers are unremarkable and release a burst of pollen when the plant is watered. Many growers cut off the flowers to allow the plant to conserve energy. This way, it can focus more on the foliage, which is the main attraction.

Usually, the chances of flowering are less when the plant is grown entirely indoors.

Pruning

There are no special techniques for the pruning of the Pilea Glauca. Due to the compact size and soft stems, pruning is easy. Since more growth makes the plant look more attractive, not much pruning is needed.

It is necessary to remove brown or rotten leaves to prevent any plant disease from spreading. Clean cuts should be made with disinfected scissors while pruning. This reduces the chance of bacterial infections and prevents any shock to the plant.

Repotting

Pilea Glauca does not need frequent repotting. Unnecessary repotting can be stressful for the plant. Changing the soil after two to three years is good enough.

These plants like to grow in small pots that offer some restriction to the roots. In case the root system in the old pot is too dense, the plant can be shifted to a larger pot. 

It is best to repot the plant in spring, at the start of the growing season. A well-draining potting mix is best for the plant. A mixture of organic soil and pearlite in equal proportions is a good choice.

Pests 

In general, the Pilea Glauca plant is not susceptible to pests. However, it can get affected by aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, and scale. The first step is to identify the type of pest affecting the plant. That can determine the need for isolating the plant if needed. 

Once this is done, the pests should be removed manually as much as possible. Rubbing alcohol is effective and can be used for this purpose. It is best to cut off the most affected leaves and stems. Finally, an insecticide or an insect-killing soap can be used to treat the plant.

Other than that, an infection due to whiteflies can lead to twisted and discolored leaves. Treating the plant with insect-killing soap can reduce the problem.

Diseases

Root rot is the most common ailment that kills the plant, and it is caused by overwatering. Other diseases like red leaf-spot, southern blight, and botrytis can also occur.

Many of these diseases are caused by the presence of excess moisture between the leaves and poor air circulation. Fungal infections can also occur from excrements left by pests.

The first step is to remove the affected leaves and branches to prevent the spread of the disease. Next, organic or chemical fungicides can be used to control the disease. In the case of southern blight, hydrogen peroxide should be used.

How to Propagate Pilea Glauca

Propagating Pilea Glauca is easy from stem cuttings. In fact, the plant can grow roots and plantlets from almost any part.

The cut can be placed in a pot containing a well-drained potting mix and left in a bright spot but away from direct sunlight. The soil should be left loose to prevent any suffocation of the newly formed roots.

The pot should be kept in a moist environment and in warm temperatures. The soil should be misted to prevent drying. New growths should start coming out within a few weeks. 

The pot can also be kept in a transparent plastic bag to maintain high humidity levels. However, the bag needs to be opened every day or two for aeration.

Alternatively, propagation can be done through a leaf and the connecting petiole. This portion can be left in a glass of clean water and not allowed to dry out. Within a month or two, new growths should emerge. 

Frequently Asked Questions

The Pilea Glauca is a succulent and stores water in its leaves. But unlike many other succulents, it needs a periodic supply of water for staying alive.

Misting is not required for the plant when the right humidity levels are maintained, along with proper watering. In the case of indoor plants, the airflow around the plant is often limited. Misting can result in the collection of excess water on the leaves for long periods. This can lead to fungal diseases.

There can be multiple reasons behind that. A close observation often plant is needed to identify the cause.

If there are yellowed leaves, sudden leaf loss, and stunted growth, underwatering or direct sunlight can be a cause. Pilea Glauca cannot survive in drought conditions. This can also happen when the plant is exposed to cold temperatures.

Another cause of death can be root rot due to overwatering. This is more common for plants that are kept in darker locations. If the soil is waterlogged, the root system will be affected due to the lack of air supply.

Beyond that, it can be affected by insects or conditions resulting from fungus or molds. Removing the affected parts and using the right treatment can be helpful.

A common sign of overwatering in Pilea Glauca is the yellowing of the leaves that are closer to the soil. In the next stage, the leaves can droop and fall off. 

This is also an indication that root rot is setting in as the roots are unable to get a steady supply of oxygen. Gently pulling out the plant and examining it can reveal brown and mushy roots. In such cases, repotting the plant and disinfecting the roots will be necessary.

The plant is not toxic to humans or animals. This makes it a safe choice as a houseplant.

Final Thoughts

We have covered all the necessary points for growing the Pilea Glauca plant. It is a beautiful plant that is easy to maintain and is perfect for most indoor conditions.

With the right environment and care, growing a healthy Pilea Glauca plant in a home garden is quite simple.

Be sure to check out all of our Plant Care Guides!  

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