How to grow and care for Piggyback Plant Indoors

Some links in this post may be affiliate links

Houseplant, Piggyback Plant

Botanical name: Tolmiea menziesii
Family: Saxifragaceae

Piggyback Plant is also known by the common names Youth on age, Pick-a-back-plant or Thousand mothers an easy to grow houseplant that relishes a cold, well-ventilated sunless environment. Piggyback is a compact mound of downy, bright green leaves about 9 in. high. 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 will develop roots on touching the ground and become seperate plants. It 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 the plant a trailing appearance which makes it suitable for a hanging basket. It is a perennial plant native to West Coast America, occurring in northern California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and southern Alaska.

How to Grow Piggyback Plant (Tolmiea menziesii)


Piggyback Plant prefers bright light but will grow in shade. However, too little light will result in leggy plants. Keep it away from direct sunshine as it can lead to scorching of the leaves. Learn how to ensure your plant receives the correct light in this guide on understanding light for houseplants.


Water Piggyback Plant liberally during the growing season and keep soil moist at all times. Rduce watering during the cold season to keep the soil slightly moist. Avoid waterlogging as it can lead in root-rot. Learn more on how to water houseplants.


Cool to average warmth with a minimum of 100C is ideal for Piggyback Plant. Protect the plant from cold draughts as the cause leaf drop. Learn more on temperature for houseplants.


Moderate (average) air humidity is ideal for Piggyback Plant. Mist leaves occasionally or set pot on a wet pebble tray to raise humidity where temperatures are high.


Feed Piggyback Plant with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer every 4 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.


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 the pot has a drainage hole(s) to prevent waterlogging which can lead to root-rot.


Pruning Piggyback Plant involves regular removal of dead foliage to maintain the plant neat and tidy. To encourage a bushy, compact growth, regularly pinch of the growing tips. Learn more on how to prune houseplants.

How to Propagate Piggyback Plant (Tolmiea menziesii)

Piggyback Plant is propagated from plantlets. Peg down plantlets in the soil while still attached to the mother. Roots will develop at the point where plantlets touch the soil surface. Cut away the rooted plantlet and plant in its own pot. Use free-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. Use a wide pot that has a drainage hole(s).

Common Problems in Growing Piggyback Plant (Tolmiea menziesii)

  • Brown leaf tips and edges
  • Brown leaf tips and edges in Piggyback Plant are due to dry air. To raise humidity, set the pot on a wet pebble tray.

  • Brown spots on leaves
  • Brown spots on leaves in Pggyback Plant are due to sun scorch. Protect the plant from direct sunlight or move it to a shadier spot.

  • Dry and shrivelled leaves
  • Underwatering Piggyback Plant is the cause of dry and shrivelled leaves. Maintain the soil moist at all times and never allow the soil to dry out completely. Learn more on how to water houseplants.

  • Pale leaves and leggy stems
  • Leggy stems in Piggyback Plant are due to low light. Move the plant to a brighter spot.

  • Diseases
  • Piggyback Plant is prone to Root-rot disease which is brought about by waterlogging of the soil and Powdery Mildew.

  • Pests
  • Common pests in Piggyback Plants are Aphids and Mealy Bugs.


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

Was this insightful? Feel free to share on social media.

On the Blog

On the Blog

Houseplants, Indoor garden
Benefits of houseplants

Apart from adding beauty, live houseplants are beneficial to us in many ways. Some of these are quite interesting. Read more »

Houseplant, Peace Lily
10 Houseplants that clean the air

These ten beautiful houseplants have been found to be effective in removing indoor air pollutants. Select some to improve your indoor air quality. Read more »

Houseplants, Golden Pothos
10 easy houseplants

These houseplants are easy to care for which means they are suitable for you if you are just starting out with growing houseplants. Read more »

Houseplants, Snake Plant, Sanseveria
10 hard to kill houseplants

These houseplants are suitable for the forgetful, a beginner or one who has limited time to take care of their houseplants. Read more »

Houseplant, Nerve plant
16 Houseplants for small spaces

Let not space limit you in greening your living spaces. These small houseplants are perfect to additions for such spaces. Read more »

Houseplant, String of pearls plant
15 Houseplants for hanging baskets

Hanging baskets are one beautiful way of maximizing on the vertical space. These easy to grow houseplants are excellent for hanging. Read more »

Aglaonema modestum
15 Houseplants for low light spaces

Even for the poorly lit spaces, these houseplants will adapt very well to the low light conditions and continue to brighten up such spaces. Read more »

Houseplant, Monstera plant
20 Houseplants for the office

Do not let yourself be surrounded by dull plain walls while you are working. Bring some green in and break the monotony of pale boring walls. Read more »

10 Houseplants suitable for a Terrarium

One interesting way to display houseplants is the use of a terrarium. These houseplants are well suited for a terrarium. Read more »