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Botanical name: Pilea cadierei
Common names: Aluminium Plant, Watermelon Pilea
Pilea cadierei commonly called Aluminium Plant or Watermelon Pilea is an evergreen plant which bears dark-green oval leaves, each bearing raised silvery patches and hence the common names.
Aluminium Plant leaves are generally opposite on the stems and they are clearly divided into petiole and leaf blade.
Watermelon Pilea becomes leggy and unattractive with age. Replace the leggy plant with young vibrant plants which are easily propagated from stem cuttings.
Pilea cadierei is monoecious which means that the male and the female flowers are on seperate plants.
Aluminium Plant is a low growing plant which grows to a height of 1 ft only and 18 in. wide.
Pilea cadierei is native to China and Vietnam. The species name "cadierei" is in honour of the 20th century botanist R.P. Cadiere.
Aluminium Plants in various sizes are readily available online at Etsy. Buy Aluminium Plants (Pilea cadierei) online from Etsy.
Photo Credit: Wild Roots
Pilea cadierei (Aluminium Plant) thrives in bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight, warm and humid conditions and moderately moist, rich, well-drained soil coupled with monthly feeding during the growing season.
Aluminium Plant requires regular pruning to keep the plant neat and to encourage a compact, bushy growth. Repotting is needed annually to provide adequate space for growth. Keep reading for more on these growing conditions and how to achieve them.
Pilea cadierei grows best in bright, indirect light inorder to maintain the leaf color. Keep it away from direct sunshine as it can lead to scorching of the leaves.
Inadequate light for Aluminium Plant will lead to a thin and leggy plant. Where natural light is not adequate, you can use a grow light to supplement it.
Water Pilea cadierei thoroughly during the growing season and allow the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings to keep the soil moderately moist.
Growth is minimal during the cold season, therefore, cut down on watering to keep the soil slightly moist but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.
Aluminium Plant cannot tolerate soggy soil. Therefore, ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to avoid getting soggy soil as it can lead to root-rot disease and eventual death of the plant.
Use chlorine-free water only to water the plant as it is sensitive to chlorine and other chemicals dissolved in water which cause staining of the beautiful leaves.
Average warmth with a minimum 150C is ideal for Pilea cadierei. Keep it away from cold draughts to avoid sudden drop in temperature which can cause leaf drop.
Pilea cadierei has no need for high humidity; average room humidity is adequate for this plant but where the room temperatures are very high, the air becomes very dry (low humidity).
To increase humidity, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or grow the plant in a well-lit bathroom and other moist areas in the home.
You can also grow the Aluminium Plant in a terrarium as high humidity can be maintained inside a terrarium.
Feed Pilea cadierei with a balanced, liquid fertilizer every 4-5 weeks during the growing period for lush growth.
Do not feed Aluminium Plant during the cold season as growth is minimal and feeding at this time may lead to fertilizer burn and eventual death of the plant.
Repot a young Pilea cadierei annually at the beginning of the growing season as the extensive root system is known to break the pots if restricted.
Use a pot two sizes larger than the current one and ensure the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy which can result in root-rot disease and eventual death of the plant.
The best soil for Pilea cadierei should be rich in organic matter and free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy while providing the required nutrients like these quality potting mixes available at Etsy.
Pruning Pilea cadierei involves regular removal of dead foliage to maintain the plant neat and also discourage pests and diseases infestations.
To control the height and encourage a bushy, compact growth for the Aluminium Plant, pinch off the growing tips.
Pilea cadierei (Aluminium Plant) propagation can be done during the growing period from stem cuttings.
Take a stem cutting of about 3-5 in. from a healthy Pilea cadierei and ensure it bears at least two sets of leaves. The stem cuttings root easily so there is no need for rooting hormone.
Insert the cutting in moist, free-draining soil and place in a warm, well-lit place away from direct sunlight.
Maintain the soil moist through out until new growth emerges. Allow the new Aluminium Plants to be well established before transplanting after which you can begin routine care.
Photo Credit: The Plant Farm
Pilea cadierei (Aluminium Plant) problems indoors include brown leaf tips, discolored leaves, leggy growth, shrivelled leaves, leaf spots, yellow leaves, pests and diseases among others. Keep reading for more on these problems and how to fix them.
Inadequate light is the cause of discolored leaves with brown tips and edges in Pilea cadierei as it grows best in bright, indirect light.
Move the Aluminium Plant to a brighter spot where it will receive bright, indirect light or instal a grow light if the natural lighting is not adequate.
The cause of leggy growth in Pilea cadierei is too little light. Leggy growth is an attempt by the plant to grow towards the light source as it grows best in bright, indirect light.
Position the Watermelon Pilea in a brighter spot where it will receive bright, indirect light to prevent it from growing towards the light source or instal a grow light if the natural lighting is not adequate.
The cause of brown and shrivelled leaf tips in Pilea cadierei is too dry air (low humidity) especially where the indoor temperatues are very high like in winter.
Set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier to raise humidity. Check out these techniques on how to raise humidity for houseplants.
The reason for brown spots and yellow leaves in Pilea cadierei is exposure to direct sunlight. Brown leaf spots are sunscorch marks.
Place the Aluminium Plant in a shaded spot or shield it from direct sunlight to prevent the sunscorch marks.
Pilea cadierei is prone to root-rot disaese which is promoted by soggy soil due to poor drainage of the soil.
Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to the rest of the plant and treat it appropriately for the disease. Read on how to treat root-rot disease in houseplants.
Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole and the soil drains easily to prevent it from becoming soggy (too wet).
Common pests in Pilea cadierei are Spider Mites and Mealy Bugs. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to other houseplants and treat it with Neem oil.
Pilea cadierei (Aluminium Plant) is non-toxic to humans and pets as indicated by ASPCA. The plants are safe to grow indoors.