This plant, Soleriolia soleriolii, also called Pilea Baby Tears, is awesome. It’s a mat-forming or clumping houseplant that looks quite like moss from a distance. This tropical perennial is actually a member of the nettle family, but it has short, thick stems that create a delicate but also dense collection of foliage. This plant is fairly easy to care for, but I have personally had a few die on my watch. It took a little while for me to figure out what these plants need to thrive and look their best, but now I have, I can share it with all of you!
Baby’s Tears thrive in lower-light conditions and are the perfect addition if you are making a terrarium, planting a bed or filling mixed containers. In sunnier climates it can be planted as a ground cover or a filler plant. If it’s planted outdoors in colder zones it will essentially be an annual plant that dies out when the first frost comes.
Table of Contents
- What Kind of Light Does a Baby’s Tear Plant Like?
- How Often Should I Water My Soleriolia Soleriolii?
- How Warm and Humid Should I Keep Baby’s Tears?
- Do I Need to Fertilize Baby’s Tears?
- How Do I Prune and Propagate Baby’s Tears?
- How to Repot Baby’s Tears?
- What Pests and Diseases Are a Concern?
- Varieties of Soleriolia Soleriolii
- About Baby’s Tears
What Kind of Light Does a Baby’s Tear Plant Like?
Baby’s Tear plants are quite delicate and can’t handle direct, bright light, they’ll become scorched and wilted if they get too hot. To keep them looking lush try to provide as much bright, indirect/ filtered light as possible. If you’re growing them outdoors it’s best to plant them in the shade as the sun shines much brighter outside than in, and since windows filter out UV.
Here’s a guide to knowing whether your tiny tears plant is getting too much or little light:
|Stunted growth/ leggy
|Brown patches on leaves
|Yellowing or pale leaves
|Growing towards the light
How Often Should I Water My Soleriolia Soleriolii?
These plants are super thirsty and require frequent watering. This can be tricky to remember, since they should never be allowed to dry out, but luckily the plant will wilt very dramatically to tell you if it needs water. Within 24 hours of watering a wilted plant it’ll perk right back up so don’t worry. Personally, I’ve had a right scare seeing some of my plants wilting but they always recover. Since these plants need such frequent watering it is important to be vigilant against root rot. Don’t let the roots sit in stagnant water and make sure you’re using a really chunky, well-draining soil mix.
How Warm and Humid Should I Keep Baby’s Tears?
Baby’s Tears plant is happiest when it’s kept between 50 to 70ºF. Remember that the more heat your plant is receiving the more humidity, light and water it’ll need.
These plants love high humidity, making them a perfect bathroom plant, they’ll love a kitchen too if you cook lots. If you live somewhere with low humidity then you might want to grow these in a terrarium. Generally Baby’s Tears need at least 75% humidity.
Do I Need to Fertilize Baby’s Tears?
To keep the Baby’s Tears foliage nice and green and healthy you should use a balanced fertilizer throughout the active growing season which is spring and summer.
I personally always use a liquid fertilizer but it really is down to preference, just ensure you’re not using both types (granular and liquid) at the same time. There’s pros and cons to each, liquid fertilizer is a little easier to use and control but it needs applying more often, but it’s not difficult to throw a few drops in your watering can anyways! Granular fertilizer is longer lasting and cheaper but it’s harder to use.
Don’t forget that if your plant is flowering, which these can, then it’ll need more fertilizer than usual!
How Do I Prune and Propagate Baby’s Tears?
It’s not absolutely essential that you trim back this plant, but it does help to improve the look of it and it’ll encourage new growth, so I do recommend. Pruning is a lot more important if you are growing Baby’s Tears in a terrarium and you want to have other plantain there too. Baby’s breath can become a very fast spreading invasive plant if you’re not careful.
Due to the nature of this plant, you’re going to end up with lots of cuttings most likely, which means you can propagate this plant!
Baby’s Tears propagate really easily, and throughout the spring and summer they can root super quickly too. Most plants require you to find a good node for propagation and then you have to hope that node will root, Baby’s Tears will root pretty much wherever stems touch the soil. These plants can spread without any limitations, and I’d say they’re harder to kill than they are to keep alive.
To Propagate by Stem Cutting
To propagate your Baby’s Tear you will need some sanitized pruning shears/ secateurs, a clean pot, potting mix and if you use it, rooting hormone. You should use a chunky potting mix that is well-draining.
Cut a few healthy looking stems, aiming to make the cuttings be at least 2-3 inches long. Gently pinch the lower leaves and twist to remove them, it’s best if you can take them off cleanly.
Dip your cuttings in the rooting powder if you have it and then make holes in your soil before planting your cuttings.
Cover the top of the cuttings with something made of clear plastic to act as a mini greenhouse for 3-4 weeks while the cuttings begin to take root. You can even just put the whole thing into a clear, airtight tupperware. Make sure to remove the lid occasionally to water and allow some fresh air flow.
To Propagate by Division
This method of propagation is so simple, so I’d recommend division over stem cutting for most people because you basically can’t mess up!
You’ll need another container for the new plant and potentially a small, clean trowel or secateurs. Just separate a section of stems and roots, however big you want the divided plant to be, using the tools if needed, but sometimes I just use my hands and it’s easier. Don’t stress if you’re losing a few leaves here and there, they’ll grow back super quickly.
Replant the new Baby’s Tears in some well-draining soil and water.
How to Repot Baby Tears?
The Baby’s Tears plant can be a fast growing plant when it is well looked after, so it could need repotting every other year in its prime. Once you find that the roots of the plant are growing out of the base of the pot, it’s time to repot. You’ll need to repot during spring or summer, when the plant is actively growing since this helps with its recovery time as the plant will have more energy for regrowth
Use a pot that is roughly an inch or two bigger than the current pot, but it’s not a one size fits all situation. Just try not to use a pot that’s a lot bigger or the plant could get stressed. If your plant is in a small pot then only one inch bigger can be a drastic increase, but if it’s in a large pot then maybe you’ll want to do 2-3 inches bigger. I like a well-draining soil for the Baby’s Tears, but with ingredients that can absorb moisture and retain it well, like coco coir. I generally use potting mix with perlite for the easiest, most convenient option. If you’re a little more organized than me, you could mix together coco coir (or peat, but peat is unsustainable), orchid mix/ chunky soil mix and perlite for the ultimate soil.
To repot your plant, first gently remove the root ball from the old plant, taking care to avoid snagging the roots or ripping them. Then I find it easiest to use a bucket of water to rinse the roots in, to quickly get rid of the older soil. I’ll fill my new pot with about a third full of the soil, place the plant in and fill the rest of the pot up with more soil. After that give the plant a good, thorough watering and place it in its new home.
I’d recommend using a terracotta pot for a plant like this as it will help with moisture retention and prevent root rot by absorbing and slowly releasing the moisture as needed.
What Pests and Diseases Are a Concern?
Things to look out for on Baby Tears:
- Root rot
Varieties of Soleriolia Soleriolii
Remember that in terms of care, each variety of this plant will be slightly different. If the plant has variegation that means there’s less green on the leaf it will need more light. You’ll know if your variegated plants have enough sunshine based on the new leavers it puts out and their colors. If you find a variegated plant reverting back to green it’s a sign the plant doesn’t get enough light and is trying to compensate for that by creating more chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is the pigment that gives a plant its green color and also is responsible for absorbing light for photosynthesis. If you find the foliage getting much lighter in color, the plant is probably getting too much light and so is making less chlorophyll, leading to the leaves looking pale.
Soleriolia Soleriolii ‘Aurea’
This is a slightly slower growing version of Baby’s Tears, which may well be more convenient for some people who would like a lower maintenance plant. It’s got beautiful golden foliage that stays lower and narrower when it grows. This variety of Baby’s Tears should be grown in a shadier spot.
Soleriolia Soleriolii ‘Golden Queen’
These Baby’s Tears have yellow-green leaf borders which create a cool pattern in the dense foliage Soleriolia soleriolii ‘Silver Queen’.
Very similar to the Golden Queen but with more of a silver-gray color to the leaves.
Soleriolia Soleriolii ‘Variegata’
This variety used to be known as ‘Argentea’. It has silver leaves with white variegation.
About Baby’s Tears
|Native to the northern side of the Mediterranean Sea and Italy
|Size at maturity
|4” tall and 36” wide
|Partial sun to shade, depending on variety
|Well-draining, rich , loamy soil
|Blooms in late spring to early summer with white flowers
|USDA zones 10-11
|Pet safe and non toxic for humans
How do you take care of a baby tears plant?
Grow this plant in plenty of bright, indirect light. Keep the potting soil moist at all times, these plants won’t be happy if they are allowed to dry out.
Do baby tears plants need sunlight?
Absolutely! These plants will grow in low light but they won’t thrive, and they most definitely can’t grow with no light at all!
Is baby tears an indoor plant?
You can grow Baby’s Tears indoors or outdoors.
Do baby tears need water?
Yes, these plants require lots of water as they are very thirsty plants. Keep the soil consistently moist and don’t let the roots dry out.
Why is my baby tears plant dying?
Damage to your plant can come from a number of factors. If it seems wilted and sad it’s likely a watering issue, but check the soil and the roots to confirm. Healthy roots are white and firm, roots that have suffered root rot are brown and mushy. Crispy foliage that is brown can be from over-fertilizing or too much sunlight.
Shed No More Tears Over This Plant With Our Tips!
With this plant, the key thing is consistency. Baby’s Tears will need regular watering, lots of filtered light and then the rest is simple. Make sure you keep this delicate plant away from extreme temperatures and prolonged exposure to the cold or frost. Boost your plant’s vitality with a balanced fertilizer, apply sparingly over the course of the spring and summer months. Maybe even give bottom watering a go, if you feel brave! If you come across any trouble with your plant, our comment section is the place to be!
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