Silver Sparkle Pilea (Pilea libanensis or Pilea glauca )

 
Silver sparkle pilea - houseplant care guide by Dusty Hegge
Silver sparkle pilea Houseplant Care Guide - Dusty Hegge

Common Name

silver sparkle pilea, grey baby tears, grey artillery plant, silver sparkles, red stem pilea

Botanical Name

Pilea libanensis -or- Pilea glauca

(py-LEE-uh GLAW-kuh)

Origin

Likely Central America or Brazil, but little is known about this plant at the present.

Type

Trailing Foliage

 
 
 

Silver sparkle pilea has not yet been assigned a formal botanical name published according to proper botanical procedures. There is a very formal process to have a “formal” botanical name and there is a lot of debate about how exactly this plant should be categorized. I am certainly no botanist and I have no strong opinion or formal education on this matter, so I have listed the most common names they are referred to, botanically speaking. These names are considered “nomina nuda” which is Latin, and simply put, means that they do not have a proper botanical name.

Silver sparkle pilea truly are incredible! As the name suggests they really do sparkle! They will “sparkle” when watered well. Watch the leaves closely and when it needs water that “sparkle” will fade a bit, but after it’s watered it will return.

 

Sunlight

Medium indirect light.

Indirect sunlight simply means the sunlight is filtered in some way. Whether through a shear curtain or just being pulled further away from where direct sunlight can be found. Most homes are comprised primarily of indirect sunlight.

 

Water

MEDIUM: Water roughly once a week.

I cover watering even more in depth within my houseplant course, Get Planty but the gist is that I never suggest sticking to a hard and fast watering routine. Watering about once a week or so gives you a good idea of how much water it may use. There are so many factors in determining the proper watering requirements and every home is different.

During the summer months never let the soil dry out fully, but allow is to dry at least 2 inches down before you water deeply. Avoid soggy soil at all costs! I always suggest feeling the soil before you water and be certain to allow all excess water to drain, never let a plants roots sit in water for long.

Water a less in the winter and fall, this is because your plant is getting less sun and therefore will need less water in order to photosynthesize. During less sunny months allow the soil to dry 2-3 inches down and water very deeply each time. During colder months it will likely be 2-3 weeks between watering depending on the conditions in your home.

 

Humidity

No need to fuss with additional humidity.

I can't think of a single plant that wouldn’t prefer a little additional humidity. Our homes typically range between 30% and 40% humidity whereas most plant prefer 70%+. That being said I have found that watering appropriately is far more important and if you don’t fuss with additional humidity for your silver sparkle pilea it’ll be just fine.

If you do want to make your plant even happier I suggest grouping it with other plants or adding a humidifier nearby.

 

Soil + Pot

Potting soil in a terra-cotta pot.

A general, all-purpose potting soil is perfectly fine here, as in most situations I have found. Make certain whatever pot you use has adequate drainage. Terra-cotta or clay is always my top suggestion for this reason!

Silver sparkle pilea don’t mind being a little tight, repot one to two sizes larger every other year during Spring. You don’t absolutely have to wait until spring, though this is when your plant is coming out of a resting period and would appreciate the new nutrients that adding fresh soil will offer. In addition, because the plant is gearing up for new growth it is easier for it to recover from the stress of repotting.

 

Fertilizer

Proper fertilization is essential and easy to misunderstand. Always err on the side of too little plant food as opposed to too much! I recommend using an all purpose houseplant fertilizer, liquid concentrate at half strength every time you water in the summer and spring. Use once a month (at most) during the fall and stop you all together in the winter.

Remember that if you use a soil that has a slow release fertilizer already in it (most do) wait to add more until 4-6 months after potting it in new soil.

Watch your plant closely as you use it and adjust as needed. Over feeding a plant can cause the plant to die whereas underfeeding usually won’t.

 

Propagation

All pilea are known for how quickly they root and silver sparkle pilea are no exception! To take a cutting just cut right above the nod, the little knob where the leaves are emerging from. I suggest taking a cutting that is at least 3-4 inches long.

In water

After you’ve taken a cutting pull off some of the bottom most leaves, 3-5 is all. Then place your cutting in a jar of water so it stays fully submerged. I suggest rooting several cuttings at a time for a fuller plant. Keep in water until roots are well established, about two weeks, though you should start to see roots forming within one week.

Keep in a mildly light space and away from direct sunlight. You can pot the rooted cuttings in their pot new, little pot or add them back to the mother plant for a more lush plant.

In soil

Rooting pilea in soil is the recommended method. Simply poke your cutting in soil so the exposed, leafless tip (as I described above) is fully covered in soil. Keep the soil moist as it develops new roots. You can also opt to use a rooting hormone. To do this wet the tip of the cutting and dip in the rooting powder before you pot it.

 

Pests + Common Problems

Yellowing leaves

Too little or too much water, though it is usually too much. Feel the soil to be certain.

If you also spot little brown spots in addition to the yellowing on the leaves or small, dark new leaves it is likely under-watering or at the ver least un-even watering.

If you are confident you are watering correctly but are still getting yellowed leaves underfeeding could be the issue. Follow fertilizer instructions above.

Slow or no growth

During colder months this is to be expected as there is less sun to photosynthesize.

If this is not the case be certain it is getting adequate sunlight and water. You can also add fertilizer to your plant care routine to improve growth. Be wary of overfeeding and watch for any warning signs.

Leggy growth

Increase the amount of sunlight it gets and make certain you are watering appropriately.