Pilea cadierei (Aluminum Plant)

Pilea cadierei is an evergreen perennial in the nettle family that is commonly called the aluminum plant. One look at its leaves, which look like they have been dry brushed by someone let loose with a gallon of aluminum paint, and you will see where it gets its name. It is because of this startling color, which contrasts so well with the dark green foliage, that the plant is so prized.

The Aluminum plant does occasionally flower, but the tiny white blooms are not ornamental. You will want to remove them as soon as they bloom to conserve energy for the impressive foliage growth. This plant does not get very large, twelve inches tall in a grouping cluster of stems.

Experience:

Novice

Habbit:

Upright growth habit

Pet Friendly:

No

Price Range:

$9.99 - $15.99

Light:

When growing the aluminum plant indoors make sure the plant receives bright, indirect light for at least four hours each day. You need to be certain it does not receive too much sun, as this will scorch the leaves, leading to browning. Outdoor plants should be planted in partial shade.

Water:

When it is growing season over the spring and summer, evenly moist soil is recommended for this plant. A good rule to follow is if the top quarter inch is dry it is time to water your plant again. During the winter months, the aluminum plant will need less watering. An occasional misting will be beneficial as will a rock humidity tray.

Soil:

Choose a well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. You do not need to worry about pH with an aluminum plant. The biggest concern is drainage. You want a very rich soil that can nourish the plant, retain moisture but also drain well. You are looking for the goldilocks of soil. A brand name moisture control potting mix is a good solution.

Humidity:

If you live in a tropical zone in the US, USDA zones 11 and 12, you will be able to grow your aluminum plant outdoors. Otherwise, you will need to keep this plant as a house plant.\n\nIt likes humidity, so consider misting it occasionally and do not leave it near vents or heat sources that will wick moisture away from your plant. If you have a well-lit bathroom, this is an excellent home since there is a source of humidity from the shower.

Quick Reference

Common Name:

Aluminum Plant, Watermelon Pilea

Botanical Name:

Pilea cadierei

Native Area:

North Africa

Hardiness Zones:

9b - 11 USDA

Mature Size:

1 - 2 ft

Bloom Time:

Rarely blooms

Light Needs:

Bright, indirect light

Water Needs:

Water weekly, but allow to dry between waterings.

Soil Preference:

Well drained light mix

Maintenance:

Like watering, you will want to adjust feeding as the seasons change. When in a growing season, you should fertilize this plant with a quality 5-5-5 water-soluble plant food monthly. During the winter months, it is not needed. \n\nThe most common issue you may have is checking the plant for overly abundant root growth each spring. The aluminum plant’s roots will actually outgrow your pot and break through its container. Head this off the first year by potting larger, then each subsequent year by transplanting into an even larger pot.