If you’re ready to bring some positive green vibes in your home or office, please meet the friendship plant (Pilea involucrata).
This bushy and trailing plant will thrive in your home if it’s on the warmer and more humid side and where it’s bright, but without too much direct light.
It’s native to Central and South America where it’s also known as the Panamiga.
Everyone seems to love it for the impressive color contrast on its textured foliage.
Even more interesting is the bronze or burgundy hue which develops on its undersides or tops. And, it makes the perfect plant for terrariums.
You can’t help but fall in love with their fuzzy and quilted leaves and how easy it’s to care for it. Being a low maintenance plant, I warmly recommend it to beginner gardeners or the forgetful types.
It’s an awesome pick if you have little available space as it usually grows up to 6 inches in height. And, it’s a plant that can tolerate low light areas, although it still needs at least a couple of hours of light.
And, when a stem accidentally breaks-don’t worry; with this plant, it’s a chance for propagation-it’s that easy!
Although it’s not the most potent indoor air purifying plant out there, it’s surely a pet-friendly one; it’s not toxic to people and pets.
The lovely common name comes from how easy their propagation is and the high success rate of rooting from cuttings.
That is, it makes it so easy to share with your plant-loving relatives and friends.
How to Care for a Friendship Plant
This plant loves moderate to bright light, but it’s best to be indirect. In its native environment, the friendship plant grows on the forest floor, enjoying the shadier life.
This is why it’s always a safer bet to reduce the amount of direct light it receives; for example, I keep it a bit farther away from my windows and it seems to love it.
What’s more, if you keep it in a terrarium, plant it a bit taller. I also recommend rotating it slightly every few weeks, to ensure all leaves are getting equal light.
This plant will thrive when it’s kept in a room where the temperature is over 50 degrees F, ideally between 65 and 75 degrees F. Frost can be deadly for them.
Place it where it won’t be exposed to drafts or hot or cold air blows from ACs.
Water & Humidity
As with other Pileas, this one loves moisture.
It wants moderate levels and nice and even, so water it when the soil has slightly dried out. When it’s hotter outside, they’ll need more water and may show this by their drooping foliage.
If it’s on the drier side, these humidity-loving plants would appreciate the occasional misting or a tray with water and pebbles. This is why terrariums are also a good option to grow them in.
Your friendship plant will be happy if you grow it in a rich and highly-draining potting mix. This is essential because soggy soil will cause the roots to rot and destroy the plant.
You can use an African violet mix or a peat moss-based mix with perlite and leaf mold.
When grown indoors in pots, apply a liquid houseplant fertilizer diluted to half strength once in the spring and then in the summer.
Repotting is recommended every few years as it can be stressful for the plant. Do it when the soil is dry-you can use a pot with the same size or a slightly larger one.
Use new and fresh soil and water it lightly. If you want to propagate it in the same time, pinch off the tiny babies and follow the tips below for propagation.
This is a plant that’s considered very easy to propagate, especially from cuttings.
Since pileas have a tendency to go leggy, starting new cuttings every spring is an great idea, rather than struggling with the droopy, older pilea.
You should set the cuttings in moist peat and ensure they’re warm until rooted.
Place them where the temperature is around 75 degrees F. Expect them to form roots in three to five weeks.
After this, you can plant them in their own pots.
Best Friendship Plant Species
The Microphylla or The Rockweed
The Rockweed is a loved variety thanks to its light green foliage and small leaves. It will add a lot of greenery to indoor spaces and it does pretty well in shaded areas.
Chinese Friendship Plant or Chinese Money Plant
This popular pilea, also called the pancake plant because of its round, green leaves, always adds a modern, green vibe to spaces. See more here
Moon Valley Friendship Plant
This wonderful variety features ovate and toothed dark-green foliage with deep bronze textures that remind of the valleys and craters on the moon.
The light green edges also add to the plant’s mystique.
Other Friendship Plant Care Tips
To ensure a compact and bushy growth, pinch off new growth on the branches.
However even if you’re doing this regularly, you can’t always maintain it in optimal shape because it’s normal for the lower leaves to naturally go droopy as the plant ages.
Trouble Shooting- Common Issues
Problem: droopy leaves
Solution: Reduce the watering and use soil that drains well and doesn’t retain water. It’s also good to check out the roots for possible root rot.
Problem: bottom leaves going yellow and becoming softer
Cause: Low nitrogen.
Solution: This deficiency tends to affect the leaves on the bottom first because they’re the oldest. Add a nitrogen-rich formula and consider amino-acid supplementation on a monthly basis to prevent it from happening again.
Problem: leaves developed yellow spots & seem droopy
Solution: Spray the plant using Neem oil and repeat it after a week once more. Check the plant weekly to spot infestations early and treat them timely.
I do hope that you’ve enjoyed reading this article on friendship plant care and found it useful.