How to grow and care for Aluminium Plant Indoors

Houseplant, Aluminium Plant, Pilea cadierei

Botanical name: Pilea cadierei
Family: Urticaceae

Aluminium Plant also called Watermelon Pilea is an evergreen plant which bears dark-green oval leaves, each bearing raised silvery patches and hence the common name "Aluminium Plant". The leaves are generally opposite on the stems and they are clearly divided into petiole and leaf blade. The plant grows to a height of 1 ft and 18 in. wide. With age, Aluminium Plant becomes leggy and unattractive; replace the leggy plant with young vibrant plants which are easily propagated from stem cuttings. The plant is monoecious; male and female flowers are on seperate plants. Aluminium Plant is native to China and Vietnam. The species name "cadierei" is in honour of the 20th century botanist R.P. Cadiere.

How to Grow Aluminium Plant (Pilea cadierei)

Light

Aluminium Plant prefers bright indirect light to maintain the leaf color. Keep it away from direct sunshine as it can lead to scorching of the leaves. Inadequate light leads to a thin and leggy plant. Learn how to ensure your plant receives the correct light in this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

Water

Water Aluminium Plant thoroughly during the growing season and allow the top 1-2 in. of soil to dry out between waterings. Reduce watering in the cold season to keep the soil slightly moist as growth is minimal. Avoid waterlogging as it can lead in root-rot. Learn more on how to water houseplants.

Temperature

Average warmth with a minimum 150C is ideal for Aluminium Plant. Protect the plant from cold draughts.

Humidity

Aluminium Plant has no need for high humidity; average room humidity is adequate for this plant. Where the room temperatures are too high, employ these techniques to raise humidity for the plant.

Feeding

Feed Aluminium Plant with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer every 4-5 weeks during the growing period. Withhold feeding during the cold season as growth is minimal and feeding at this time may lead to fertilizer burn. Learn more on feeding houseplants.

Repotting

Repot young Aluminium Plant annually at the beginning of the growing season; the extensive root system is known to break the pots if restricted. Use a rich, free-draining soil and a pot two sizes larger than the previous one. Ensure the pot has a drainage hole(s) to prevent waterlogging which can lead to root-rot.

Pruning

Pruning Aluminium Plant involves regular removal of dead foliage to maintain the plant neat and tidy. To control the height of the plant and encourage bushyness, pinch the growing tips. Learn more on how to prune houseplants.

How to Propagate Aluminium Plant (Pilea cadierei)

Aluminium Plant is propagated during the growing period from stem cuttings.

Propagation of Aluminium Plant from Stem Cuttings
Stem cuttings root easily so there is no need for rooting hormone. Take a stem cutting from a healthy Aluminium Plant of about 3-5 in. and ensure it bears at least two sets of leaves. Insert it in moist free-draining soil and place in a cool shaded place. Maintain the soil moist through out until new growth emerges. Allow the plant to be well established before transplanting.

Common Problems in Growing Aluminium Plant (Pilea cadierei)

  • Discolored leaves with brown tips and edges
  • Inadequate light is the cause of discolored leaves with brown tips and edges in Aluminium Plant. Move the plant to a brighter spot, they prefer bright indirect light. Learn how to ensure your plant receives the correct light in this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

  • Bare spindly growth
  • The cause of bare spindly growth in Aluminium Plant is too little light; move the plant to bright indirect light.

  • Brown and shrivelled leaf tips
  • The cause of brown and shrivelled leaf tips in Aluminium Plant is too dry air, employ these techniques to raise humidity for Aluminium Plant.

  • Brown spots and yellow leaves
  • The reason for brown spots and yellow leaves in Aluminium Plant is exposure to direct sunlight; move the plant to a shaded spot or protect it from direct sunlight.

  • Diseases
  • The most common diseases in Aluminium Plant are Root-rot due to overwatering and Blight which begins in one leaf and turns it brown and rotten; remove the affected stem to prevent spread to the rest of the plant.

  • Pests
  • Common pests in Aluminium Plant are Spider Mites and Mealy Bugs. Isolate the affected plant and treat appropriately.

Toxicity

Aluminium Plant (Pilea cadierei) is toxic to humans and pets; it contains alkaloids.

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