Everything There Is To Know About Friendship Plant – Grow Pileamollis Right In Your Backyard

There are many different types of houseplants available for keeping inside your homes. One of them includes the friendship plant. These plants are known for their quilted and fuzzy foliage and ease of care.

Also known as Pilea involucrate, these are tropical plants that thrive in warm temperatures and consistent humidity. If you are planning on getting these wonderful houseplants, you can know more about it in this article.

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friendship plant

A friendship plant is a tropical plant that is native to South and Central America. It grows on the edges of tropical forests; hence it can survive comfortably in places with high humidity levels. These plants are typically grown in terrariums, which can mimic humidity from their native homes.

Since these plants are within zones 11 and 12 in the US, they are used as houseplants. These plants are quite small and do not grow larger than 6-2-inches high and 6-12-inches wide. However, friendship plants tend to sprawl, which is why regular pruning is required to keep them attractive.

The most interesting aspect of these plants is their heavily-crinkled leaves, which are bronze with green edges and measures 2-inches. While they may appear stiff, they are very soft. The flowers are very small and either pink or green. Overall, these plants are more known for their foliage, rather than the flowers.

The friendship plant is a very tough houseplant and a perfect choice if you are building a glasshouse. From the nodding spike of the pink bracts, attractive clumps of foliage erupt. Since these plants can withstand tough weather conditions and dry air, they are better indoor plants than most others.

Varieties of Pilea friendship plants

There are several different types of pileas that you can choose, depending on the appearance and size you prefer. Some common varieties include:

  • Pilea mollis ‘Moon Valley’: The pilea moon valley is a variety of friendship plants with sawtooth-edged chartreuse leaves. The texturing is deep, similar to valleys and craters of the moon from where its name, moon valley pilea, is derived.
  • Pilea microphylla: This species of friendship plant is also known as the gunpowder plant, artillery plant, or rockweed. This plant has tiny leaves with light-green foliage.
  • Pilea cadierei: The watermelon pilea or aluminum plant has oval, dark-green leaves with four raised silver patches, thereby giving it a metallic look.
  • Pilea nummulariifolia: Also commonly known as the creeping Charlie, this is a fast-growing and evergreen herbaceous perennial. This species is known for its ability to spread, which may present a problem for professional gardeners.
  • Pilea peperomioides: Also known as the UFO plant, pancake plant, and the Chinese money plant, this pilea species has erect stems with dark and round green leaves.

How do you grow friendship plants?

friendship plant

Since pileas (especially the pileamollis) are fairly forgiving and low-maintenance plants, they can thrive even with minimal attention. With minimum watering, they will continuously grow new foliage throughout the summer months. As winter arrives, the plant’s growth gets slowed down.

If you are growing the plant in a container, you can shift it into a slightly larger pot during the spring season. Alternatively, you can also grow new plants from cuttings and discard the old plant if you lack the space for another large pot.

All friendship plants have fairly brittle stems and tend towards legginess. If you are looking for a bushy and compact plant, you can cut off the tips of the new growth on the plant’s branching forms.

However, you also need to remember that the plant will eventually look unattractive, no matter how much you prune it. This happens because the lower leaves start to droop as the plant gets older. When this happens, you can start a new plant from the cuttings.

Light

All species of friendship plants thrive in indirect and bright light. You should never expose the plant to direct summer sun because the heat can burn the leaves. A bright window still is a suitable spot. Ensure that you rotate the pot occasionally so that the plant does not grow in one direction. While the plant can tolerate low light, the foliage will change its color to dark green.

Soil

The soil needs to be well-draining and moderately rich. It should not be soggy or else the plant could die. For the best results, you need to use a moss-based potting, mixed with peat, perlite, and leaf mold.

Humidity and temperature

Mostly, pilea plant species can withstand temperatures up to 50°F. Cold temperatures can prove to be fatal for the plants. The indoor temperature needs to be between 60°- and 75°F. Additionally, ensure that the plant is not placed near vents that blow hot or cold air.

Water

Pilea plants have a medium to high water need. Watering becomes necessary as soon as the first inch of the soil layer dries out. If you notice the drooping leaves, it could mean the plant requires more water.

Fertilization

There is no requirement for fertilization for pilea plants when they are planted outside. On the other hand, indoor plants can make use of liquid houseplant fertilizer, like the Miracle-Gro, at half-strength once in summer and spring each. 

Propagating friendship plants

You can easily grow pilea plants right from the cuttings. Since these plants are known for their legginess, you can start new cuttings each spring, instead of putting in pruning effort for older plants.

You need to place the cutting in moist peat and maintain optimum warmth until it starts rooting. You may not need to add additional rooting hormone for the growth; however, if you decide to, you can make use of the DIP N Grow rooting concentrate.

The temperature should not exceed more than 75°F. After three to five weeks, you should see new roots. Once you do, you can transport them into separate containers.

You can watch this video to understand more.

Caring for friendship plants

As mentioned above, friendship plants are leafy plants that are mostly grown indoors. Since these plants do not require a lot of water, sunshine, or attention, they are generally low-maintenance and simple to keep alive.

The plants store the water in their meaty leaves for future consumption, which is why these plants can survive extreme heat and droughts. However, they are sensitive to cold and need to be kept away from the winter wind and snow.

If you are using pots for your friendship plants, they need to have drainage holes in the bottom. This will stop the roots from getting saturated with the water. You need to water the plants once a week and soak the dry soil until the excess water runs out the hole at the bottom of the pot. Since the water is stored in the leaves, the plant does not require a lot of moisture.

You need to place the pilea plant close to an area that receives partial sunshine, like your window. However, place the plant a bit away from the window during the winter months. Apart from being sensitive to cold, the chilled window glass can damage the leaves.

You can also move the plants to a humid area, like your bathroom or kitchen, during the winter months. Since these plants natively belong to South and Central America, they need some humidity to grow.

Conclusion

We do hope that the above article will help you understand more about friendship, or pilea, plants. You do not have to spend a lot of time and energy to take care of them, especially the moon valley plant. Apart from being easy to maintain, these plants also look extremely beautiful and your house indoors will look very appealing and authentic.

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