How to Care for Piggyback Plant (Tolmiea menziesii) Indoors

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Piggyback Plant care, Tolmiea menziesii Care

Botanical name: Tolmiea menziesii
Family: Saxifragaceae
Common names: Piggyback Plant, Youth on age, Pick-a-back-plant, Thousand mothers

Piggyback Plant Description

Piggyback Plant (Tolmiea menziesii) also called Youth on age, Pick-a-back-plant or Thousand mothers is an easy to grow houseplant that relishes a cold, well-ventilated sunless environment.

Piggyback Plant is a compact mound of downy, bright green leaves about 9 in. high plant. The plant bears plantlets which form at the base of mature leaves and thereby forcing the leaf to bend under the weight and touch the ground hence the common name, 'Piggyback'.

The plantlets in Piggyback Plant will develop roots on touching the ground and become seperate plants.

Piggyback Plant has hairy, five to seven-lobed leaves and a capsule fruit containing spiny seeds. Though it is unlikely to bear seeds when grown indoors.

The long leaf stalks give Piggyback Plant a trailing appearance which makes it suitable for a hanging basket.

Piggyback Plant Origin

Piggyback Plant is a perennial plant native to West Coast America, occurring in northern California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and southern Alaska.

Piggyback Plant care, Tolmiea menziesii Care

Photo Credit: Planting Man

Piggyback Plant (Tolmiea menziesii) Care Indoors

Piggyback Plant Light Requirements

Piggyback Plant grows best in bright light but will still grow in semi-shade, but slowly. However, too little light will result in a leggy plants.

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Keep your Piggyback Plant away from direct sunshine as it can lead to scorching of the leaves. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

How to Water Piggyback Plant

Water Piggyback Plant liberally during the growing season and keep soil moist at all times and reduce watering during the cold season to keep the soil slightly moist. Read more on how to water houseplants.

Ensure that the pot for your Piggyback Plant has a drainage hole inorder to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead in root-rot disease and eventual death of your plant.


Temperature for Piggyback Plant

Cool to average warmth with a minimum of 100C is ideal for Piggyback Plant.

Protect your Piggyback Plant from cold draughts as they can cause leaf drop. Read more on understanding temperature for houseplants.

Humidity for Piggyback Plant

Piggyback Plant has no need for high humidity. Moderate (average) air humidity is ideal for this Plant.

However, if the temperatures are too high, set pot on a wet pebble tray to raise humidity for your Piggyback Plant. Read more on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

Fertilizer (Feeding) for Piggyback Plant

Feed Piggyback Plant with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer every 4 weeks during the growing period.

Withhold feeding for your Piggyback Plant during the cold season as growth is minimal and feeding at this time may lead to fertilizer burn. Read more on how to feed houseplants.

How to Repot Piggyback Plant

Repot Piggyback Plant during the growing season only when the plant has become pot-bound. Use a rich, free-draining soil and a pot one size larger.

Ensure that the pot for your Piggyback Plant has a drainage hole inorder to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead in root-rot disease and eventual death of your plant.

Soil for Piggyback Plant

The best soil for Piggyback Plant should be rich in organic matter and free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy while providing the required nutrients. Most multi-purpose potting mixes are ideal for Piggyback Plant.

Buy quality Potting Mix for your Piggyback Plant from Etsy.

How to Prune Piggyback Plant

Pruning Piggyback Plant involves regular removal of dead foliage to maintain your plant neat and tidy.

To encourage a bushy, compact growth for your Piggyback Plant, regularly pinch of the growing tips. Read more on how to prune houseplants.

Piggyback Plant (Tolmiea menziesii) Propagation

Piggyback Plant (Tolmiea menziesii) propagation can be done from the plantlets which form at the base of mature leaves.

How to propagate Piggyback Plant from plantlets

Peg down the Piggyback Plant plantlets in the soil while still attached to the mother.

Roots will develop at every point where the Piggyback Plant plantlets touch the soil surface.

Once rooted, cut away the rooted Piggyback Plant plantlet and plant in its own pot.

Use free-draining soil that is rich in organic matter and a wide pot that has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead root-rot disease and eventual death of your plant.

Piggyback Plant care, Tolmiea menziesii Care

Photo Credit: Garden Tags

Piggyback Plant (Tolmiea menziesii) Problems Indoors

Piggyback Plant (Tolmiea menziesii) problems indoors are caused by cultural faults like improper watering, low humidity and inadequate light. Read on for remedies and solutions to these problems.

Piggyback Plant brown leaf tips and edges

Brown leaf tips and edges in Piggyback Plant are due to dry air (too low humidity).

Set pot on a wet pebble tray to raise humidity for your Piggyback Plant. Read more on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

Piggyback Plant brown leaf spots

Brown leaf spots in Pggyback Plant are due to sun scorch from exposure of the plant to direct hot sunlight.

Protect your Piggyback Plant from direct sunlight or move it to a shadier spot to prevent sunscorch.

Piggyback Plant dry and shrivelled leaves

Dry and shrivelled leaves in Piggyback Plant is caused by underwatering resulting in too little moisture in the soil.

Maintain the soil for your Piggyback Plant moist at all times and never allow the soil ball to dry out completely. Read more on how to water houseplants.

Piggyback Plant pale leaves and leggy stems

Pale leaves and leggy stems in Piggyback Plant are due to too low light (inadequate light).

Move your Piggyback Plant to a brighter spot where it will receive bright light but away from direct sunlight.

Piggyback Plant diseases

Piggyback Plant is prone to root-rot disease which is brought about by soggy soil and Powdery Mildew which is promoted by overwet conditions.

Ensure that the pot for your Piggyback Plant has a drainage hole inorder to prevent the soil from getting soggy and avoid misting the leaves.

Piggyback Plant pests

The common pests in Piggyback Plant are Aphids and Mealy Bugs.

Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to other houseplants and treat it appropriately for the pests.

Is Piggyback Plant (Tolmiea menziesii) toxic?

Piggyback Plant (Tolmiea menziesii) is non-toxic to humans and pets. The plants are safe to grow indoors.

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