The evergreen tropical creeper, Pilea Spruceana, is a unique plant of the Urticaceae family. Its multicolored leaves are the center of attention of this plant that makes stand out in the collection of other tropical vines. It has brown-purple, oval-shaped leaves with a metallic white center and white-colored flowers. Despite all the lovely features, it is a low-maintenance plant. So if you want to grow one in your home or already have a Pilea and do not know how to care for it, here is an easy guide for you.
- Silver Tree
- Family: Urticaceae
- Genus: Pilea
About the Genus Pilea
This genus has almost 600 to 715 species of flowering plants, which are native to the tropical, subtropical, and warmer temperate regions of the world. These species are not found in Australia and New Zealand.
Origin and Distribution
During the 18th century, Hugh Algernon Weddell discovered and introduced Pilea Spruceana for the first time. This species is native to the tropical regions of Ecuador and Peru.
Pilea Spruceana Features
Foliage and Stem
This plant has brownish-green colored leaves with a tint of purple. The center of the leaves is white-splashed. These oval leaves grow in a rosette pattern on the stem.
Pilea Spruceana norfolk produces beautiful white flowers in late spring. These flowers grow in clusters in the middle of the stem. The plant rarely blooms indoors, but if it does produce flowers, they last for several days.
Pilea Spruceana is an evergreen vine that stays fresh and green throughout the year. You do not have to worry about its foliage shedding in autumn as it only loses its leaves one by one when they turn yellow.
Pilea plant reaches 1 foot tall and spreads to almost 1.5 feet. It can also be grown in houses as groundcover and garden plant. It is a vine, so its height naturally increases if provided with support.
As long as the temperature stays in the average room temperature range, this plant stays happy. Too much coldness or heat can damage its leaves and foliage. You should not grow it outside in extreme temperatures. Also, never place it in the way of cold or hot drafts.
Low humidity and less moisture affect this plant in a way that its leaves turn grey and lose their freshness. Low humidity is not preferred for this tropical vine. This is why you should increase the humidity around this plant for its own good.
The robust foliage of this vine has a tendency to retain water. It is a drought-tolerant plant that can survive harsh and drier days. This plant goes into dormancy if you do not water it for an extended period and protect itself.
It is a fast-growing plant that reaches its maximum height rapidly. In just two years, it attains mature height and grows new leaves and buds every month.
The USDA plant hardiness growth zones of this plant are 10 to 11.
Another positive feature of this beautiful tropical vine is that it is non-toxic to cats, dogs, horses, and humans. It can be grown indoors without any fear of getting a swelling reaction.
Pilea Silver Tree is a low-maintenance plant; it is so easy to maintain. It does not have many care needs and requirements; you can grow it without much problem. This is why it is a popular houseplant.
This plant should not be over-watered or over-fertilized from October to February, as it goes dormant during those days. Its growth rate reduces to almost nothing during these days. This is why you will not see any new leaves growing out during these days.
Pilea Spruceana Care
Pilea Spruceana care involves weekly watering and monthly fertilization. It should be planted in well-draining soil of pH(6.5-7.5). The humidity should be above 50%. The temperature required for this plant is from 12° to 24°C (54°-75°F). This plant must be placed under medium light conditions.
Pilea Spruceana should be watered once a week or every 10 days. The watering schedule must be set according to how quickly its soil gets dry. You should water it once the top-third soil gets dry or 80% of its complete soil has lost its moisture. This means you should water it more during summers than in winters.
Checking the dampness of its soil with your finger is the best way to know if your plant needs watering. Avoid over-watering the plant as it can cause root rot and yellowing of leaves. On the other hand, grey leaves indicate that the plant needs more water.
The plant can grow in a wide range of pH. You can plant it in slightly acid and neutral to slightly alkaline soil. The pH of the soil can range from 6.5 to 7.5.
It needs well-draining peat moss-based soil to thrive. It depends on you, whether you buy a prepared potting mix or make one on your own. We recommend you make your own potting mix to add all the essential ingredients to it. Mix one part perlite, one part peat-based potting mix, and a layer of leaf mold to prepare its potting soil.
In its natural habitat, the Pilea Silver Tree creeps along the ground of the forest’s canopy. It is safe from direct sunlight there, so when grown indoors, it requires similar conditions. This plant needs medium sunlight exposure to grow perfectly. Too much bright or direct sunlight can damage its foliage.
Due to its lesser light requirements, you can place this plant in several places inside your home. You can also grow it in your office space with low light conditions. Do not place it directly on a window sill where the direct sun can burn its leaves with its scorching heat.
The optimum temperature range for Pilea Spruceana is 12°-24°C (54°-75°F). The average temperature range suggests that this plant is warmth-loving and prefers to be grown indoors where the temperature is not too high nor too low. You can also grow it in greenhouses where the temperature stays warmer throughout the year. If you want to grow this plant outdoors, make sure to cover it with shade cloth, and not more than one hour of hot sun shines on its foliage.
Pilea Spruceana norfolk care involves providing it with more than 50% humidity. It is a tropical plant that thrives in high humidity in its natural habitat. Due to all the trees around it, the moisture level is already high in the forests. This is why it prefers high humidity in the house as well.
The best way to increase the humidity around this plant is to place it above a pebble tray and fill the tray with water. Make sure the level of water is lower than the pebbles and the pot. If the standing water reaches its drainage hole, it can cause root rot. As the water evaporates from the dish, it increases the moisture and humidity around the plant.
Pilea Spruceana needs to be fertilized every 4th week. You should use a houseplant fertilizer to feed this plant. You can also use a liquid fertilizer. Whichever fertilizer you use, make sure to dilute it first to prevent the roots from burning.
During autumn and winters, this plant is not actively growing, so it does not need much fertilizer. During those days, this plant should be fertilized after six waterings only. Over-feeding can actually kill the plant due to nutrient and salt build-up, so schedule the fertilization accordingly.
Grooming and Pruning
This plant does not need to be pruned or trimmed for healthy growth. However, if you want to grow this plant in a certain way or a certain shape, you can trim its foliage by yourself. The best time for pruning it is at the beginning of the growing season.
Yearly pruning and cutting the old, yellow leaves can encourage faster growth and perfect appearance. You should sterilize the shears before trimming the plant with them, as unsterilized blades can expose the plant to various infectious diseases and pests.
You should re-pot a Pilea Spruceana plant after every two years. It does not like to be disturbed every year so let it be; do not re-pot it every year. You can also use the same potting soil in the new pot. A pot that is 1-2 inches larger than the old one should be used while repotting the Pilea Plant.
You can also inspect the roots for any signs of root rot or other diseases during repotting. If you notice any such signs, separate the infected parts right away.
Propagation of Pilea Spruceana is done through its stem cuttings. If you want to propagate your Pilea plant, you should take its cutting in early spring. If you have never propagated a plant before and have no idea how to do it either, here is an easy guide for you:
- Cut a stem cutting using a disinfected knife.
- The stem should be at least 3 inches long with two nodes on it.
- Remove the bottom leaves.
- Take a small container and fill it with potting soil.
- Place the cutting in the soil in such a way that one node is below the soil surface and one node is above it.
- Cover it with a plastic bag.
- Pinch in some holes in the plastic bag for air to flow.
- Keep it in a bright spot and water it regularly until new roots and a shoot grow out of it.
Pilea Spruceana is a tropical vine that has multicolored foliage. It is a drought-tolerant, easy-to-care, evergreen perennial plant that is grown as a houseplant in the tropical and subtropical regions. Due to its small size, its pot can be placed in a number of places in a home. You can also grow it in your office as it needs just medium-light to thrive and grow properly.