Soleirolia soleirolii or Helxine soleirolii is a plant in the Urticaceae or nettle family. It has a number of common names, including baby's tears, angel's tears, peace in the home, bits and pieces, bread and cheese, Corsican creeper, Corsican curse, friendship plant, mind-your-own-business, mother of thousands, Paddy's wig, and pollyanna vine. It has also been called Irish moss; however, it is not a moss, nor should it be confused with Sagina subulata or Chondrus crispus (an alga), which are also known as "Irish moss". They’re native to southern Europe, mainly Italy, Sardinia, and Corsica. The plant was named after Henri-Augustin Soleirol, a botanist who collected the plant in Corsica. The plant is not toxic at all. In fact, it has even been marked as safe for cats and dogs.
It is a delicate-looking creeping herb with juicy bright green or yellow leaves and multitudes of tiny white flowers. It grows close to the ground in mats and is sometimes used in ornamental gardens alongside ferns and other moisture-loving types of plant. The leaves are usually slightly stalked, about 5 mm across. The minute flowers produce oval seeds. It blooms from May to June, featuring small, creamy white flowers with no petals. It looks great in terrariums, vivariums, bottle gardens, hanging pots, miniature gardens (such as fairy gardens), and other types of indoor multi-flower arrangements. The plant features a myriad of stems with bright green, kidney-shaped leaves. Due to its versatile nature, Baby’s Tears is a very sought-after house plant.
Table of Contents
1 - 6 inches
36 inches or more
5.0 - 6.0
Types of Baby's Tears
The baby tears plant comes in many different varieties distinguished by the color of the leaves and the size and growth patterns of the plant. We will now list out the five main types of baby tears and tell you about their features and any special needs.
Soleirolia soleirolii ‘Aurea’
Originating from Italy, Corsica, and Sardinia this variety is more commonly known as the Mind-your-own-business plant. The leaves of the aurea variety tend to be a brighter shade of green with many leaves entering into the gold spectrum. This bright green – golden combination is perfect to add life to a dull room. The soleirolia soleirolii aurea plant is comparatively shorter than the other varieties so you do not need large or wide pots. This variety grows best with dappled sunlight and a cold, moist environment so avoid places with direct sunlight.
Soleirolia soleirolii ‘Alba’
The alba variety has silvery-green foliage and grows wider and taller than the aurea. It’s perfect for climbing over and covering walls and other structures. Like the aurea variety, the alba plant also prefers dappled sunlight and a cold, moist environment. As it grows wider, you will need bigger pots to grow it.
Soleirolia soleirolii ‘Variegata’
Formerly known as S. soleirolii ‘Argentea’, the variegata variety has tiny light green foliage with bright stripes of white. The thing that sets this variety apart from the other types is that the leaves give off a silver reflection depending on how the light shines on them. It has excellent climbing and covering abilities and is perfect for vertical gardens and green walls.
Soleirolia soleirolii ‘Silver Queen’
The silver queen variety is called so because of its silver-green foliage that may appear grayish. This variety tends to grow low and wide making it perfect to use as a ground cover or to cover any other landscape structure.
Soleirolia soleirolii ‘Golden Queen’
The golden queen variety is distinguished by its tiny green leaves with golden margins. The bright colors are perfect for adding color to a dull room, as with the aurea variety. The best thing about this variety is that it can easily adapt to its environment. This helps it recover from issues like dry spells all by itself.
Planting Baby's Tears
Start with a good quality, commercial potting soil. These are usually lighter in weight than topsoil, sterile and pest-free. Many are available with a mild starter fertilizer in the mix.
Select a container with a drainage hole or be prepared to drill holes for drainage if there are none.
Prepare the container by filling with potting soil up to 2” (5cm) from the rim of the planter. Remove the plant from its pot.
Make a small hole in the soil slightly larger than the root ball either by hand or using a trowel. Insert the plant into the hole and press soil firmly around the roots and just covering the root ball. When all the plants are potted, water thoroughly to settle the soil and give plants a good start. Place plant in a reliably sunny location.
Repot every 2 years in the same container or in a container slightly larger than the diameter of the roots.
How to Get Baby's Tears to Bloom
Baby’s tear plants produce tiny, creamy white, otherwise insignificant flowers. They bloom easily outdoors in late spring. They do not have petals and are not much to look at, so they are not used decoratively. Baby's tears rarely flower when kept indoors or cultivated.
Baby's Tears Plant Care
Baby's tears have a vigorous growth habit. It grows best outdoors in moist, well-drained soil in a partial to full shade spot. Despite its reputation for aggressive growth, baby's tears do not respond well to harsh sunlight or dry conditions. But in rich, well-drained, moist soil, the plant sends out runners and spreads throughout the area. It is not perennial in colder zones. As a potted plant, baby's tears grow easily in a standard potting mix.
Outdoors, baby's tears have almost no serious pest or disease problems. Indoors, it may be affected by some of the same pests that affect many houseplants—aphids, mites, and mealybugs.
Baby's tears plants dislike intense direct sunlight, which may scorch leaves. They look their best in bright, filtered light. Baby tears plants can thrive under artificial lights indoors. Outdoors, place it in a shadier location.
A rich soil amended with humus, compost, or manure is sufficient for baby's tears plants. It will also help to regulate the moisture level for plants. Commercial potting soil is suitable for growing baby tears as a houseplant or in a container garden.
Baby's tears plants are thirsty plants that never like to dry out. If you allow your plants to dry out, you'll notice a dramatic wilting. Water as soon as you notice wilting, and within a day, they should recover. Baby's tears houseplants will require slightly less water in the winter months. It's fine for the soil's surface to be dry, but the soil around the roots should be moist. However, do not let the roots sit in water, which can promote root rot. Make sure the soil stays moist but drains well.
Temperature and Humidity
As an outdoor specimen, baby's tears plant grows best in a climate that remains between 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The higher the ambient temperature, the more attention the gardener must pay to light and humidity. Baby's tears plants can tolerate a light frost, but freezing temperatures that sometimes occur in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zone 9, may kill the plant's top growth. The plant can regenerate after the transitional climate warms up again.
Baby's tears appreciate high humidity with at least 75 percent humidty. These plants are ideal for a steamy bathroom or kitchen. If you live in a drier environment, these plants will appreciate life in a humid terrarium.
A balanced plant fertilizer will keep the foliage of baby's tears plants bright green and dense. Give the plant liquid fertilizer through spring and summer every two weeks. The liquid form is easier to apply than spike inserts or granular fertilizer when no bare soil is visible.
Pruning Baby's Tears
The green color is dominant across all varieties. If you have a variety that comes in a different color, such as a golden or variegated type, prune the green stems to prevent the cultivar from reverting to solid green.
Although it isn't necessary to trim baby's tears, pruning will improve its appearance, encouraging new growth. If you grow baby's tears as a companion plant to another houseplant, give it a trim to keep it in bounds. Pruning is prudent in small terrariums. Baby's tears can quickly overrun other miniature plants in a confined space.
Propagating Baby's Tears
Baby's tears plant propagates easily, especially in its growing season, usually during the spring and summer. Wherever stems touch the soil, they will form roots. Plants can spread without limit. If you want to keep the plant within its bounds but don't want to kill the overgrowth, move it to a container. These plants are seldom propagated by seed. Baby's tears plants are best propagated via division and cuttings. Here's how to do it:
To propagate via division:
To divide your plant, you will need a trowel, new growing container, or growing area for your divided plant.
Separate a section of stems with soil and roots using a small trowel. Don't worry about damaging the plant; it will regenerate quickly.
Replant the division in moist, well-draining potting soil.
To propagate via stem cutting:
You'll need scissors or pruning snips, a potting container, fresh moistened potting mix, and, optionally, some rooting hormone.
Cut healthy stems that are at least 2 inches long. Remove the base leaves and keep only the leaves at the top of the stem.
Make holes in the potting medium with your finger and plant the cuttings in the holes. For better results, dip the cut ends in water with the rooting hormone before burying the cut tip in the hole.
Cover the cuttings with plastic wrap or a clear plastic or glass dome. After 3 to 4 weeks, the stems should be well-rooted.
Potting and Repotting Baby's Tears
Containers are another good option for people who live in subtropical zones, where this plant can get invasive if planted in-ground.
Baby's tears plants adapt well to life in containers. In a small hanging basket, the spreading plants can spill attractively over the sides. In a terrarium, the plants can creep to the edges of the glass, hiding the bare soil. In a mixed outdoor planting, baby tears plants work great as an edging plant.
Baby's tears plants grow quickly and need to be repotted regularly. Get a larger pot—in this case, the larger, the better—and get a commercial potting soil lightened with additional peat moss or perlite.
The plant's stems are fragile, do not pull plants out of their containers by the stems or leaves. Turn the pots upside and tap, squeeze, or push on the drainage hole with a pencil to coax the plants loose. Place the roots in the new potting mix. Water thoroughly.
If you live in a place that gets frost or cold weather conditions, it's a good idea to grow baby's tears in containers. Bring these plants indoors before the weather approaches freezing temperatures. Frost will begin killing off the outer layer of leaves first. The plant will not survive outdoors if you live in a location with sustained wintery weather or in any hardiness zones less than 9. The plant should be able to bounce back if exposed to frost briefly.
Pests and Diseases
There’s a slight pest possibility with Pilea plants, namely whiteflies, scale, and aphids.
Whiteflies: These small insects, covered with white powdery wax, resemble fungus gnats. They feed on baby’s tear plant sap and weaken the plant, causing the leaves to drop. They lay eggs on the top of the leaves. What you can do to control this pest is to spray green solution (a mixture of water, alcohol, biodegradable liquid soap, and mineral oil). Also consider neem oil.
Scale Insects: If you have kept the baby’s tear plant inside your home, it is likely to get attacked by scale plant pests. They start to form small brown spots on the leaves. They feed on the sap of the plant and create a sticky substance known as honeydew. You have to manually wipe off the bumps caused by the scale with rubbing alcohol and cotton swabs.
Aphids: Also known as plant lice, aphids are pear-shaped insects that form large colonies on plants. They can damage the plant by sucking their sap and ruining their leaves and flowers. To get rid of this pest, you can spray a mixture of warm water with mineral oil and liquid dish soap.
As mentioned, for the optimal growth of Soleirolia soleirolii plants, you have to be careful about the conditions in which they are grown. The roots can easily rot if they are overwatered. Keep the soil just moist enough to ensure proper watering, but not too moist to waterlog the roots..
Common Problems With Baby's Tears
Baby's tears are an easy plant to grow and care for—once you understand their needs. Your biggest considerations with this plant are making sure the plant gets sufficient water and humidity.
Wilting occurs because the plant's leaves are not getting enough water. Pot-bound plants are more susceptible to drying out. You'll notice continued wilting in plants that need to be repotted. Divide the plant and transplant the division in a new pot.
Plants growing in full sun may develop brown, scorched leaves. Move the plant to a shadier location or give it some cover if it's in-ground.
Blackening Leaves and Foul-Smelling Soil
Root rot can kill a plant if not caught in time. Overwatering causes this deadly disease. If you notice a few blackening leaves and a foul smell, the soil is likely soggy, too. However, all may not be lost; you still might be able to rescue the plant. Unearth the root ball and repot it in a better draining soil, amended with perlite. Prune off the blackened leaves. Cut off any rotten or blackened root sections. Look for fungus gnats or aphids on your plant, too. They often infest plants that are weakened by root rot. If you notice pests, apply an insecticide soap or neem oil to remove the insects and keep them away.
Benefits of Baby Tears Plant
The baby tears plant benefits the look of both the indoor and outdoor of your home. Here are some benefits of adding Baby Tears Plant to your home:
First of all, it gives an aesthetic look to the surroundings and plays a pivotal role in increasing a room’s overall beauty. It makes the room feel calm and relaxing.
It purifies the quality of air and improves the Air Quality Index of the room.
If you are looking to grow baby tear plants for terrariums or container gardens, Pilea Baby Tears shall be the best option. The overall structure looks beautiful hanging on the doors and the windows.
The baby tears plant is non-toxic and safe for both humans and pets. However, ingesting large quantities may have some adverse effects.
They are perfect showy green in hanging basket and pot. You can hang your adorable plants from ceilings. You can also attach them to the walls with magnet.
The draping delicate stems filled with tiny leaves of our gorgeous Baby’s tears décor the place. It not only adorns walls or tables but also patios.
They are fillers in rock gardens. They find their pleasant space between rocks and act as ground cover.
You can use Baby’s tears as living mulch under Banana tree.
Our Baby tears our comfortable in terrarium with other plants. One of them is Starfish Flower Cactus.
Baby tears have cozy space in Vivarium. This gives the natural gaze to the set up. Do not submerge it completely in water. It may harm its roots.