Plant Care

Aluminum Plant Care

Aluminium Plant

Aluminum plant (Pilea cadierei) is famous for its gorgeous silvery foliage, which is the main reason why so many people choose to grow it in their home. A great thing about this plant is that it is relatively easy to care for, as long as you provide her with adequate growing conditions. This plant can make a great addition to any indoor area.

Basic Facts

Aluminum plant is a native to Vietnam and China, in the humid and warm areas. It is an herbaceous evergreen perennial plant and the member of the nettle family Urticaceae. It is important to remember that it can be only grown outdoors in the warmest regions.

This means that most people won’t be able to grow Aluminum plant outdoors. However, it is easy to care for indoors, so it is a popular household plant. Another common way to grow this plant is in a container on the patio or in the garden during the summer. The container is moved indoors during the cold periods of the year. Keep in mind that the Aluminum plant cannot survive outdoors in temperatures lower than 59 degrees F.

The plant got its name because of the attractive silvery splashes on its otherwise green foliage. The leaves are oval and toothed, and the main point of attractiveness for the plant. Each leaf has raised silvery streaks on the top and is about 2 to 4 inches long. The specific coloration characteristic for this plant is also the reason for another common name of this plant: Watermelon Pilea.

These plants do produce flowers, but they are very small and barely noticeable compared to the large and attractive leaves. You can notice greenish-white, small flowers forming at the tips of each stem during the summer. Keep in mind that blooming is less common for those plants that are kept indoors throughout the year.

Another thing to keep in mind is that this plant has only a moderate rate of growth. It also has a spreading habit. Its height is about ½ to 1 foot, but there is also a specific dwarf variety, “Minimia” that grows to about 6 inches in height. This variety also has half-sized leaves.

Aluminum plant is relatively easy to grow, so even beginner gardeners can enjoy it. All you need to provide is proper light, water and humidity. The plant is not difficult to maintain, so it is a good choice for those who don’t have much time to dedicate to gardening.

Aluminum Plant

Care Requirements

Here are the basic care requirements for the Aluminum plant:

Soil

It is important to grow your Aluminum plant in a well-drained soil. The best soil for this plant is the one with a peaty base. The plant also grows well in a rich soil medium, as long as the soil drains well. Make sure that your chosen soil never remains soggy after watering. Proper drainage is crucial for growing Aluminum plants.

It is possible to use a commercial potting mix. Some even include a slow-release fertilizer, which can be a good option because it means you need to fertilize less. However, keep in mind that many straight potting soil mixes are simply too heavy for this plant. They won’t drain properly, which can be very dangerous for Aluminum plants. You can still use such a soil mix, as long as you add peat, coarse sand or a lighter potting mix into it. To make this mixture, use equal parts of all ingredients. These changes will add proper drainage to the soil.

Temperature

It is crucial to keep your Aluminum plant at temperatures between 60 degrees F and 75 degrees F. In its native habitat, Aluminum plant thrives in warm and humid conditions – these conditions have to exist year-round for this plant to survive. If you wish to grow this plant indoors, make sure to keep it in temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees F. A good rule of thumb is your own comfort: if the temperature is comfortable for you, chances are that it is also comfortable for your Aluminum plant.

Remember, this plant can tolerate short bursts of higher or lower temperatures. For example, if you set it outdoors, it will thrive as long as the temperatures are not too low. This is why it’s crucial to always bring it back inside when the temperature drops in the fall. Your Aluminum plant needs to stay indoors during the winter.

Light

It is important to keep your Aluminum plant in bright but indirect light. If you keep your Aluminum plant outdoors, make sure to put it in a location that receives partial shade. This plant cannot tolerate full, direct sun. The leaves can scorch easily under the direct light.

Indoors, place it in a location with bright but indirect light. The plant should receive this sort of light for at least four hours per day. Even inside of the house, never allow your Aluminum plant to receive direct sunlight. Keep in mind that its leaves are prone to burning.

However, this doesn’t mean that you should keep your Aluminum plant in a dark location. If it doesn’t receive enough light, your plant will not be able to thrive. One common consequence are gangly stems and poor health of your plant. Make sure to give her enough indirect light so it can thrive.

Water

Make sure to water your Aluminum plant when the top half of the inch of soil becomes dry. Keep in mind that Aluminum plant likes a slightly moist soil, but this doesn’t mean that you should practice over-watering. If the soil is too wet, your plant can easily develop root rot, which can kill the plant.

Before watering, stick your finger into the soil to check if the top half of an inch is dry to the touch. If yes, water the container until the water runs from the drain holes in the bottom.

In the fall and winter, Aluminum plants go through a dormant period. This is when their growth slows. During these times, you should water only when the top few inches of the soil feel dry to the touch. Keep in mind that the plant needs less money during the period of dormancy, so don’t water as much as you do during the spring and summer.

What kind of a water to use? Tap water is fine, as long as you let it sit overnight before watering. You can also water using collected rainwater. It is important to only use water that is room-temperature: never water your Aluminum plant with cold water.

The main rule is to never allow your plant to sit in water after said water drains from the drainage holes on the bottom of the container. Make sure that the soil drains completely for about five minutes and then empty the bottom tray. You should never allow your Aluminum plant to sit in water or else it can develop root rot.

Humidity

Keep in mind that Aluminum plant requires a humid environment.

Fertilizer

Aluminum plants need to receive fertilizing every 2 to 4 weeks.

Photo credit: Maja Dumat via photopin cc