Minimalism has been famous lately. People tend to love simple and small houseplants that are easy to grow. If you happen to be one of these people, you would love the Soleirolia soleirolii, commonly known as baby’s tears.
This plant is famous for its fast growth and moss-like appearance. It is often utilized as a ground cover but people took interest in it being a houseplant. Some plant the baby’s tears in pots and use them to break the roughness of houseplants.
On the other hand, some also plant it in hanging pots and baskets because it tends to creep and cascade, giving a waterfall effect inside your home. Moreover, a lot of growers use this mainly for terrariums. It thrives well in enclosed areas with high humidity and bright indirect sunlight.
Read on to know more about this small but terrible plant.
|Scientific name||Soleirolia soleirolii (formerly known as Helxine soleirolii)|
|Common names||Baby’s Tears, Angel’s tears, Pollyanna Vine, Peace-in-the-Home, Paddys Wig, Corsican Carpet, Irish Moss, Japanese Moss|
|Plant Type||Houseplant and Ground cover|
|Height and Width||0.25 to 0.50 feet tall, 3 to 6 feet wide|
|Flower colors||Creamy White|
|Foliage color||Bright green|
|Sun Exposure||Partial shade to full shade|
|Soil Type & pH||Rich in organic matter, moist, loam, slightly acidic|
|Special features||Low growing, moss-like foliage, fast grower|
How to Grow Baby’s Tears
As mentioned above, there are many ways you can utilize this plant in your landscape. In an outdoor landscape design, this plant can be grown as a ground cover because it grows fast, therefore occupying a lot of horizontal space. It may also be planted in pots and turned into topiaries.
This style would be achieved with a help of manmade structures for support and a lot of trimming and training. It can also be left to climb walls, rocks, and fences. In terms of being a houseplant, it serves its purpose very well either planted in hanging pots, containers, or terrariums.
Having said these, here are ways on how you can grow a baby’s tears.
As expected for a fast-growing plant such as Baby’s tears, propagation is relatively easy. There are two main ways to propagate this plant, stem cutting, and division. Here are the steps for each method.
Propagating by stem-cutting:
- Prepare all the needed materials such as a garden trowel, gardening gloves, pruning shears (or sharp scissors), containers, and planting media.
- Using the pruning shears, harvest at 2-inch stems that are still actively growing, meaning it has new shoots. Make sure that the scissors or shears you’ll be using are sharp to ensure a clean cut of the stem.
- Remove the basal leaves and leave the one on the upper half of the cuttings.
- Prepare the growing media and container. Use your garden trowel to dig small holes for the cuttings.
- Before planting the stem cuttings, you may dip them in rooting hormone to aid in the production and development of roots.
- Using clean clear plastic, mimic a greenhouse and cover the container. Make sure there is enough space inside for the baby’s tears to breathe and grow.
- Roots can be expected after 3 to 4 weeks of care.
Propagating by division:
- Prepare all the needed materials such as a garden trowel, gardening gloves, garden knife, container, and planting media.
- Use your garden trowel to dig and uproot the baby’s tears. This will allow you to have a clearer view of the plant’s roots.
- Using the knife, cut the roots of the individual plants. You will see this as stems with a well-developed root system.
- Prepare your planting media and container.
- Plant your newly divided plant.
- Follow care instructions for Baby’s Tears.
This moss-like perennial prefers to be planted in fertile and moist soil. These soil characteristics may be achieved by adding manure, hummus, or compost to the soil mix. It also prefers a slightly acidic soil pH.
If you are unsure of your soil’s characteristics, there are soil test kits readily available in the market that you can use. It also includes guides as to what you will need to add to your soil to achieve different characteristics.
Pruning should be scheduled regularly to maintain the baby’s tears’ vigor and pleasing physical appearance. In pruning, make sure to cut the green stems. If you have enough space for this plant to grow as tall and wide as it can, you can prune whenever you see fit. Although, in closed spaces like terrariums and pots, you would need to prune more regularly to keep its rule.
Repotting and Transplanting
It is good and bad in everything. Although this plant’s vast growth and development is admirable, it may also be a con for busy people. The baby’s tears may require frequent repotting.
There are things you should remember before repotting and transplanting. First, choose a container that will cater to the fast growth habits of this plant. You can opt for the 2 sizes up from the old container or you can separate the main plant into different plants in different pots. Second, choose the correct soil mixture. Lastly, be careful when handling the plant. Its stems and leaves are frail so follow these steps in uprooting the baby’s tears.
- Use a garden trowel to loosen up the soil that is stuck on the sides of the container.
- Lay your hand flat on the base of the plant with it being in between your thumb and index finger.
- While supporting the base of the plant, turn the pot upside down and tap the pot lightly to uproot the baby’s tears fully. You can also poke the drainage hole to ease the uprooting process.
After following these uprooting steps, you may now plant it in its new container and care for it accordingly.
How to Care for Baby’s Tears Plant
Watering frequently is recommended for this plant. It is moisture-loving so the lack of it will be easily visible, which is signaled by wilting. If the wilting is still in the early stages, watering the plant will help the plant recover. Although, there is also a possibility that the baby’s tears’ roots will dry. If that happens, it will be harder to rehabilitate the plant and might lead to the death of it.
The frequency of watering is also altered as the seasons change. During warmer seasons, watering should be done more frequently. On the other hand, less frequent watering should be performed on cold winter days.
Baby’s tears plants prefer partial shade, dappled light, or bright indirect lights. It can tolerate brief moments of full sun exposure but it might lead to scorching of the leaves. Because of this light characteristic, it is a great indoor plant. Artificial lights may also be used if natural light seldom enters your room. Moreover, put it under shade if you are planning to plant it outdoors.
Temperature and Humidity
This plant thrives in USDA zones 9 to 11. It flourishes in places with temperatures that range from 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. In cold climates, the plant can withstand light frosts but severe colds may retard the baby’s tears or kill it.
In terms of relative humidity, the S. soleirolii prefers 75% humidity. It likes high humidity environments which makes it a great plant to put inside your kitchen or bathroom.
Feed the plant during spring and summer. Complete fertilizers in liquid form may be supplied every two weeks during the said seasons. Slow-release and granular fertilizers can be used too. Providing fertilizers is crucial for houseplants since they are pot-bound. If you want to be sure about what fertilizer your plant needs, do a soil test for the nutrients that are lacking.
Pest and diseases
Pests and diseases are not that prominent with this plant. Although, some common problems might arise. Having discussed all the things you need to take care of this plant, moisture is the main factor that can cause potential problems. Wilting is the first common problem encountered by this plant. It is a symptom of the baby’s tears not getting enough moisture. As mentioned earlier, it may be solved by providing water if wilting is still recoverable.
Then, leaf browning is another problem that is seen in baby’s tears which are caused by too much exposure to light. To fix this problem, relocate your plant to a more shaded area or areas with bright indirect light.
Lastly, root rot is common, especially with houseplants. This root rot leads to the blackening of the leaves and a foul odor emitting from the soil. The soil may also be too moist. If the disease is not that severe, there is still hope and the plant can still survive.
To salvage what’s left of the plant, trim the blackened leaves and parts, uproot the baby’s tears for air drying, and perlite may be applied to dry the soil and roots. Before planting is back to the ground, make sure that the soil is sterilized.
Common Varieties and Cultivars
Of course, not everyone prefers green. To widen your choices, there are varieties for this plant. It differs mainly from the baby’s tears’s foliage properties. Listed below are the Soleirolia soleirolii varieties and their characteristics.
- Aurea – gold leaves and shorter than other varieties.
- Alba – silvery-green leaves that grow wider than the Aurea.
- Variegata – variegated leaves with a sheen of silver and white stripes.
- Silver Queen – grayish leaves
- Golden Queen – green leaves with yellow margins.
With these varieties, you can plant them in groups and use the different colors to make the design pop and more aesthetically pleasing.
In conclusion, the baby’s tears plants are a wonderful creeping perennial perfect for indoor settings. As a plant that originally came from the Mediterranean regions, this plant prefers to be planted in areas with the same climatic conditions. Although, it may survive in temperate regions with manageable winters. You may also provide some alterations in the indoor environment if it becomes too cold during winter.
It does not require much light but you have to keep a keen eye on the moisture content both underground and air. It is easy to take care of this fast-growing plant but there would be times that it grows too fast, pruning is required. It may be scheduled regularly or whenever you see fit.
Aside from the things you need to do, there are practices you have to avoid too. Overwatering should be avoided to prevent rots. It may also be prevented by choosing the correct soil mix and containers with good draining holes. Too much light should also be avoided as it will lead to scorching and wilting. These are problems that can easily be fixed by following the right care for the baby’s tears.
Moreover, the baby’s tears come in four famous varieties. All of which vary in color. Surely, one of them would suit your home an ideal design.