Pilea is an attractive, compact plant with oval dark green silvery patterned leaves and an easy plant to grow. There are several varieties of the plant. Some are creeping and others are upright growing plants. Pilea involucrata ''Friendship plant'' has bronze leaves striped with silver grey and Pilea ''Moon Valley'' has large, oval green leaves and marked with russet brown.
Water 2-3 times a week in Summer. Once a week in Winter, compost should never dry out.
Feed every 14 days in Spring and Summer with standard liquid fertilizer.
Re-pot in Spring in peat based or loam based compost. Pileas do not have large root system and will thrive in 3-4 inch pots or shallow pots.
Divide every 2 years in Spring or take cuttings 3 inches long in Spring or early Summer. Insert each cutting in a pot of cutting compost. Each cutting will root in 3-4 weeks if placed in a warm shady position and watered enough to keep it barely moist and covered with polythene bag or in a warm propagator. When it is well rooted pot it in peat based compost.
Pilea does well on a windowsill away from mid day sun. Leaves must not touch window glass in winter. When young shoots are 4 inches long, pinch out the growing tips to make the lower stems grow bushily. The plant grows leggy if there is no light.
Prune back the stems by half before re-potting. Cut with scissors just above a pair of leaves.
If new leaves grow small, the plant needs feeding or re-potting.
Mealy bugs cause white woolly patches on leaves and stems. Wipe them off with cotton wool dipped in methylated spirits. If the leaves are dirty or dusty use a small dry paint brush. Do not use leaf-shine. New leaves grow paler at first, developing their colour as they grow.
Well known as an attractive foliage plant for the home it is ideal for low tables where the leaves can be admired from above. Looks also good in bottle garden, terrariums and mixed bowls. The creeping kinds look effective when grown in hanging baskets or shallow pots.
Spray daily in Summer and once a week in Winter or stand pot on moist gravel. Shake off surplus water if plant stands in direct sunlight.
Peat based compost.
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