Are you a fan of low-growing miniature vines? Pilea depressa is an evergreen ornamental climber native to Brazil and Mexico. The tiny green leaves with scalloped edges are less than ¼ of an inch and grow on delicate pinkish stems. Numerous tiny, white, petal-less flowers grow in the spring to make it nothing less than a fairy vine.
This plant is well-adapted to both indoor and outdoor environments. The tiny creeper makes beautiful hanging baskets, fairy-gardens and terrariums. Additionally, you can even use it as a groundcover to replace the grass. Let us share the important facts about the Pilea depressa plant along with its care and propagation.
Pilea Depressa Classification
Pilea is a genus of around 780 ever-green perennial plants. This is the largest flowering genus and stands among one of the largest genera in its family. These plants are usually shade-loving succulents. They are currently found in tropical, sub-tropical and warm regions (except New Zealand and Australia). These have generally got extinct from their natural native habitat in Chinese mountains. Majority of Pileas are famous as indoor decorative plants.
Pilea Depressa Common Names
- Depressed clearweed.
- Artillery Plant.
- Gunpowder plant.
The last two names are in reference to the pollen spread from the flowers. Importantly, these names are commonly associated with many other Pileas including the P. microphylla plant.
Pilea Depressa ‘Baby Tears’
The Depressa plant gets this common name due to its close resemblance with the original Baby Tears plant. They are often confused with each other. However, they are botanically different and don’t even belong to the same genus. Let us get an introduction to the Baby Tears plant.
Original Baby Tears Plant
The original Baby Tears plant is botanically known as Soleirolia soleirolli or Helxine soleirolli. This evergreen plant belongs to the genus Soleirolia of the Urticaceae family. This is a 3 to 6 inches tall, trailing houseplant popular for forming moss-like ground covers. This native of Western Mediterranean has small round bright green leaves which grow compactly on fleshy stems. Furthermore, it produces pale white petal-less flowers in summer. This plant does equally well in indoor containers and patios. Moreover, it is popularly used in replacement of grass.
P. Baby Tears vs. Original Baby Tears(Soleirolia soleirolli)
The leaves of the former are comparatively large, thick and fleshy. Alternatively, the soleirolli’s leaves are shorter, thinner and have smooth edges.
Pilea Depressa ‘Tiny Tears’
This is a smaller version of the plant P.depressa ‘baby tears’. Its leaves are about half the size of depressa’s leaves. Moreover, it has a close resemblance with the original Baby Tears (Helxine soleirolli). Still, both of them don’t share any close botanical relationship. The basic features of the plant are as under:
- The plant is sometimes known as ‘Tiny Toes’ and ‘Leprechaun toes’.
- Leaves are shiny green, round and pulp with scalloped edges.
- The plant is a delicate vine and forms excellent ground covers.
- It is adaptable to both the indoor and outdoor environment.
- It is an easy to care plant wit fast growth rate.
- Basic requirements include moist well-drained soil and low light.
Pilea Depressa ‘Tiny Tears’ vs. Original ‘Baby Tears’(Soleirolia Soleirolli)
The basic differences are as under;
- Depressa Tiny Tears has thicker foliage, more substantial texture.
- Alternatively, the later has comparatively thinner foliage. Moreover, unlike Tiny Tear plant, the leaf margins are round and smoilea Depressa Care
The water requirement is average. Thrice a week in summer and once a week in winter is an estimated frequency. Just follow the simple rule of keeping the upper layer at least 50 % moist in summer. While, in fall and winter, let the soil get dry between consecutive waterings.
Over-watering and water standing at the base may lead to root rot.
The plant usually requires bright shade. In outdoors, select a well-lit shady area. Importantly, keep it away from direct sun, especially the peak hours. In indoors and Pilea depressa terrariums, the plant can do pretty well in the fluorescent light. An ideal place to keep the pots is an east-facing window with a medium level of sunlight exposure.
Browning of leaves is a possible sign of over-exposure to
Just like other members of this genus, the ideal temperature range for the plant is 15 to 25 °C(60 to 70 °F). These plants are not frost hardy. Regions with the possibility of temperature fall below 12 C( 54 F) are unsuitable for the Depressa plant.
The plant does pretty well with normal humidity of your zone. However, Optimum humidity range is around 50%. In dry days, you can consider adding some extra humidity by misting. In case of Pilea depressa terrariums, you can place the setup around a humidifier.
The substrate should be light and free-draining. Sandy soils are the first preference for the Artillery plant. If you are mixing at home, just mix clean sand and peat in 1:2. Furthermore, you can replace sand with perlite.
Optimal PH range for the plant is acidic to neutral (6 to 7.5).
Use a houseplant fertilizer once a month in spring and summer following the instructions on the pack. Howbeit added nutrition is not suitable in winter.
These plants are vigorous growers and usually get ‘out of control’. To maintain the appearance, you can simply remove the dead or normal leaves from the lower sides of the vines.
Pilea Depressa Propagation
Pileas are easy to propagate plants. Common method of propagation is by using stem-tip cuttings.
- In spring, just cut 5 to 7 inches of stem tips of a healthy plant.
- Fill a small container (about 4 to 5 inches) with a light and well-draining substrate. Water it slightly to make it moist.
- Now, dip the base of the stem-cuttings in growth hormone and shed any excess powder.
- Plant the stem-cuttings in the soil and slightly water the plant.
- Cover the container in a plastic or polythene bag. Keep the bag half-open, as Pileas don’t like high humidity at this stage.
You can use water as a growing medium for initial days. Simple take some soft water and dip the stem-tip cutting about 3 inches. Once the roots are developed, you can transfer the plantlet to soil or the potting mix. Some people even keep the P.Depressa plants live permanently in water. And the plant grows pretty happy there.
This is an estimate to help you get an idea about the growth and development of the plant. We recommend keeping an eye on the plant and managing the requirements accordingly.
- Day 1 to Day 7: Just place the polythene bag (with the plant pot) in a warm place with normal light exposure. Roots will start developing by the end of the week. Now, you can remove the covering bag.
- Day 7 to Day 40: Keep watering the plant very lightly. You will see shoot development after the third week. Furthermore, you can shift the water plantlets to soil any time by the end of 5th week.
- Day 40 onward: Just follow the usual care explained above to maintain your beautiful Gun Powder Plant.
Pilea depressa is an evergreen, miniature vine. The tiny, green, fleshy leaves with scalloped edges grow on thick pinkish stems. This plant makes excellent fairy gardens, terrariums, hanging baskets and ground covers. The P.depressa ‘baby tears’ and the Baby Tears plant differentiate by the slightly large leaves and wavy edges of the former. On the other hand, Tiny Tears is a simply a smaller version of the Pilea depressa plant. The care includes frequent watering and partial indirect sun.