Aluminum Plant, Artillerary Plant, Friendship Plant (Pilea species)
Pileas are an incredibly diverse group of plants with such a wide range of foliage colors, textures and leaf forms that it’s hard to believe they’re related. All species tend to create a lush, low mound of foliage. Older plants can be pinched back to encourage fresh new growth. A very easy to grow, low maintenance selection.
Windowsills, succulent terrariums, dish gardens. Pilea can be grown outdoors in the summer and brought back inside when temperatures are expected to fall below 50°F (10°C). Can be grown outdoors year-round in frost-free climates, in a pot or in the ground.
Once every month during growing season.
Water thoroughly but allow soil to dry slightly between waterings.
Fertile, well-drained soil.
Basic Care Summary
Thrives in a warm location with bright, indirect light. Allow soil to dry between thorough waterings. Can be pruned to maintain desired size.
Start with a good quality, commercial potting soil. These are usually lighter in weight than topsoil, sterile and pest-free. Many are available with a mild starter fertilizer in the mix.
Select a container with a drainage hole or be prepared to drill holes for drainage if there are none.
Prepare the container by filling with potting soil up to 2” (5cm) from the rim of the planter. Remove the plant from its pot.
Make a small hole in the soil slightly larger than the root ball either by hand or using a trowel. Insert the plant into the hole and press soil firmly around the roots and just covering the root ball. When all the plants are potted, water thoroughly to settle the soil and give plants a good start. Place plant in a reliably sunny location.
Repot every 2 years in the same container or in a container slightly larger than the diameter of the roots.
Prefers moist but well-drained soil. Check the soil moisture with your finger. If the top 2-4” (5-10cm) of soil is dry, or plants are wilted, it is time to water.
Apply water at the soil level if possible to avoid wetting the foliage. Water the entire soil area until water runs out the base of the pot. This indicates that the soil is thoroughly wet.
Most container plants can be pruned freely to maintain the desired size and shape. Keeping the foliage trimmed also keeps the plants looking neat and tidy, encourages the plant to develop more side-shoots and flowers, and reduces the demand for the plant to develop a larger root system. This is important since the roots are in a confined space.
Fertilizers are available in many forms: granulated, slow-release, liquid feeds, organic or synthetic. Determine which application method is best for the situation and select a product with a nutritional balance designed for foliage plants.
Too much fertilizer can damage plants so it’s important to follow the package directions to determine how much, and how often, to feed plants.
Slow-release fertilizers are an especially good, care-free choice for container plants. A single application can often provide plants with the proper level of nutrition all season long.
|Height Metric Range||5-30cm|
|Space Metric Range||30-38cm|
|Available Colors||Grown for foliage|
|Companion Plants||Dracaena, Dieffenbachia, Aglaonema|
|Lowest Temperature||40° to 80°F|
|Lowest Temperature Metric||4° to 27°C|
|Bloom Time||Grown for foliage|
|Plant Light||Medium Light|
|Hardiness Zone||11, 12|