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How to Care for Friendship Plants (Pilea involucrata)

care for friendship

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About Friendship Plants

The Pilea genus, also known as the Friendship plant, consists of over 600 species of both trailing and upright, bushy plants. The versatile Pilea involucrata can be grown in either form.

This is definitely a foliage plant: its small flowers are easy to overlook. The deeply corrugated, attractively patterned, multicolored leaves are oval with serrated edges and darker longitudinal veins. Their exotic leaf pallet is a mix of bronze and burgundy hues contrasting with wide green outer margins … the undersides have a red to a purplish color.

Pilea Genus is a tropical plant native to Central and South America. The Pilea genus has become a popular houseplant in recent years due to its easy care requirements and striking appearance. This Friendship plant grows in bright, indirect light and moist, well-drained soil. Avoid overwatering, as this can lead to leaf drop and root rot. This plant can reach 12-18 inches in height and width with proper care.

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Friendship Plant | 2″ & 4″ Rooted Full Plant

Selecting the Best soil for Friendship Plants

These plants are lovely, hardy plants that are easy to maintain. They don’t require much in the way of nutrients, but a little goes a long way in terms of their growth. The optimal soil for your plant is a nutrient-dense medium with excellent drainage. If the soil is open and doesn’t develop a bog, it’s much easier to water it properly.

Peat moss or coco coir is an excellent substrate to use with perlite or other inorganic additions to promote aeration. African violet potting soil is an additional suitable medium. Fertility can be improved by adding organic ingredients such as compost or leaf mold but don’t overdo it. Too much fertility will result in lush, green growth that is more susceptible to disease and pests. Just a light sprinkling of organic matter will do the trick in terms of providing nutrients without encouraging problems.

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Friendship Plant | 2″ & 4″ Rooted Full Plant

Selecting the right pot for Friendship Plants

One of the most important things to consider when potting a Friendship Plant is drainage. The plant needs access to water in order to thrive, but too much water can be just as harmful as too little. That’s why it’s important to choose a pot that will provide adequate drainage without allowing the soil to become oversaturated.

One pot often used for Friendship Plants is a plastic pot with multiple drainage holes. This type of pot allows water to readily run through the soil and into a drainage tray, which helps to prevent the plant from becoming waterlogged. However, it’s important to keep an eye on the moisture level of the soil, as plastic pots have a tendency to keep the soil somewhat moist. Overwatering can be harmful to the plant, so it’s important to only water when the top inch or so of soil is dry.

Another option for Friendship Plants is a clay pot. Clay pots are ideal for this type of plant because they are moisture-wicking and help keep the soil moist without becoming soggy. However, clay pots can dry out soil more quickly than plastic pots, so it’s important to check the soil’s moisture level regularly and water accordingly. Whichever type of

Rare Pilea Plant  Pilea Moon Valley Friendship Plant  Pilea 4" Moon Valley

Friendship Plant | 2″ & 4″ Rooted Full Plant

The Best light for Friendship Plants

While the friendship plant enjoys bright, indirect light, it is also quite tolerant of low light conditions. However, if kept in too low of light, the leaves of the plant will become darker and duller in color, and the stems will stretch and lean. An east-facing windowsill is ideal for these plants, but they can also tolerate direct sunlight if necessary.

Simply provide some sheer curtains or move the container back a few feet to protect them from direct sun. In addition to natural light, Friendship plants also thrive under artificial lighting, making them a great option for rooms with little or no natural light.

How to Water Friendship Plants

There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to watering your friendship plant. First of all, before you water the plant, let the top inch of soil dry. This will help to ensure that you don’t overwater the plant. Secondly, soak and drain the mix before you water the plant.

This will help to ensure that the plant gets enough water. Finally, once the top inch of soil dries out, rewater the plant. However, be sure to monitor the medium carefully so that you don’t overwater the plant. If you do overwater the plant, it could die, and conversely, if you underwater the plant, it will also suffer. So, be sure to keep an eye on the moisture level of the soil and water accordingly.

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Friendship Plant | 2″ & 4″ Rooted Full Plant

How to Fertilize Friendship Plants

Applying fertilizer to your Friendship Plant is important to maintain their health, but it is important not to overdo it. This little species is not a big feeder; over-fertilization can cause problems. Especially if the soil contains a high concentration of organic matter, the plant can thrive with relatively little. My advice is to apply a balanced mixture diluted to half or even one-fourth strength in the spring and again in midsummer.

Some growers dilute the fertilizer more and administer it monthly during the warm season to better meet their feeding schedule, but this is unnecessary. Do not apply fertilizer in the fall and winter. If you’re uncertain about how or when to fertilize your houseplants, consider consulting with a professional gardener or horticulturist. With a little care and attention, you can keep your houseplants healthy and thriving for years to come.

Best Temperature and Humidity for Friendship Plants

Friendship plants prefer tropical climes and high humidity. Most homes are dry and become drier when heating or cooling is utilized; thus, certain seasons may be humidity-challenged for this type of plant. Low humidity causes browning leaf margins and slow development.

Grouping tropical plants together increases humidity. Pebble-filled water trays placed under the plants can also help. Either strategy – or both – can boost plant moisture levels so that your plant can adjust if you offer at least 50% humidity.

The plant tolerates warmer temperatures better than colder ones: it begins to suffer when the thermostat falls below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius). Keep it away from freezing windows and heaters because they can also cause leaf browning. The plant is evergreen in USDA Hardiness Zones 11 and 12.

A mild frost may allow some specimens to recover if they are promptly moved to a warmer location. Indoors, Friendship Plants enjoy bright, indirect light but can tolerate low-light conditions. These tough plants are easy to grow and make excellent houseplants for beginning gardeners.

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Friendship Plant | 2″ & 4″ Rooted Full Plant

How to Propagate Friendship Plants

Friendship plants are very easy to propagate from stem cuttings, which is almost as easy as the other common way of reproduction: planting the baby offsets that grow along the stems of mature plants. If your mother plant isn’t producing offsets yet or wants to increase production, rooting stem cuttings is simple and straightforward. All you need is a sharp knife or pair of scissors, a container filled with moist potting mix, and some patience.

Spring is the perfect time to take cuttings from your plant and propagate more plants. Each 3-inch stem should have 2-3 leaves. To ensure success, use a sharp knife or garden shears to make a clean cut just below a node (the bump on the stem where leaves are attached).

Plant your cuttings in moist peat (peat-free alternatives work well too). Optional: Dip your cut ends in rooting hormone. Gently push the earth around the stem, but don’t squish it. Keep your cuttings at 75o (24oC). Covering plants with clear plastic increases humidity in dry air. In three to six weeks, the stems should root.

Once they’ve rooted, plant them in soil-filled containers and care for them normally. With a little patience and love, you’ll have plenty of Friendship plants to share with your friends!

Friendship Plants Common Pests and Diseases

Cultivating beautiful and thriving plants means being mindful of more than just watering and feeding schedules – it also means being on the lookout for pests. Mealybugs, spider mites, and aphids from different plants may invade your Friendship Plant’s territory, and early detection is crucial.

When watering your plant, take a moment to check for pests both under its leaves and in any cracks or crevices. For some smaller pests, you may need to use a magnifying glass. If you detect any unwelcome wildlife, quickly identify the culprits and begin treatment.

Though this plant may be able to shrug off a pest or two, an infestation can seriously hurt it. One way to treat an infestation is by using alcohol to kill the insects. Another is to employ light horticultural oils or insecticidal soap against colonies of pests. And finally, you can try covering the plant with a cloth or sheet in order to prevent any further invasion.

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Friendship Plant | 2″ & 4″ Rooted Full Plant

When should I repot my Friendship Plant?

Friendship plants, or Clusia rosea, typically don’t need to be repotted often. In fact, this species enjoys being a little rootbound. Every two years is generally plenty. If you do need to repot your friendship plant, though, the best time to do so is in the spring. That way, the plant will have the entire growing season to recuperate. 

There are a few indications that it might be time to repot your friendship plant. One is that its roots protrude from the drainage holes and dirt, and another is that you find yourself needing to water it more often than usual. If either of these things is happening, it’s probably time for a new pot. 

When repotting a friendship plant, keep a few things in mind. First, even light shaking and tapping can damage its tiny root hairs. Second, the pot you use doesn’t need to be much larger than the current one – just one inch in diameter should do the trick. Finally, remember that this plant needs some rest too. Avoid fertilizing or relocating it for at least a month after repotting.

How to prune Friendship Plants

When it comes to friendship plants or Pilea involucrata, pruning is key to keeping them looking their best. These plants are known for their brittle, easily-pinchable stems, and over time, they can begin to look leggy and undersized if they are not properly trimmed.

In addition, low light levels can cause the plant to stretch as it ages, making it even more difficult to keep it looking compact. However, by regularly pinching back the stems, you can encourage the plant to grow more densely. In addition, removing any dead or decaying leaves and stems help to avoid infection or infestation.

Suppose you have a Pilea that is overgrowing in a terrarium landscape. In that case, extensive pruning may be necessary to keep it looking its best. However, if given enough light, trimmed stems can regrow more compactly. So don’t be afraid to give your plant a little trim every now and then – it just might thank you for it!

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Friendship Plant | 2″ & 4″ Rooted Full Plant

Care for Friendship Plants – FAQ

Where are Friendship Plants from?

They are Native to Central and South America.

Is Friendship Plant care easy?

Yes, Friendship Plant care is very easy. These plants are very resilient and can tolerate a wide range of growing conditions.

What causes root rot in Pilea Genus plants?

Root rot is caused by overwatering or poorly drained soil. It can also be caused by fungal diseases.

Does Pilea Genus prefer direct light?

To make this plant thrive, give it bright, indirect light.

What is the ideal temperature for Friendship Plants?

Friendship Plant care is easy; the ideal temperature for these plants is between 60-85 degrees.

Can Pilea Genus tolerate soggy soil?

No, they won’t tolerate soggy soil and may get root rot.

How to Care for Friendship Plants (Pilea involucrata)

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M.Arch. Julio Arco
M.Arch. Julio Arco

Bachelor of Architecture - ITESM University
Master of Architecture - McGill University
Architecture in Urban Context Certificate - LDM University
Interior Designer - Havenly
Architecture Professor - ITESM University

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