Pilea involucrata
Common Name: friendship plant
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Urticaceae
Native Range: Central and South America
Zone: 11 to 12
Height: 0.25 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 0.25 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: Flowers not showy
Bloom Description: Pinkish-green
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Insignificant
Leaf: Colorful, Evergreen

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zone 11-12. In St. Louis, grow indoors in a warm, humid environment in bright indirect light. Avoid full sun. Use a peaty soil-based potting mix. Plants like high humidity, and appreciate humidified rooms or placement on a bed of wet pebbles. Water moderately in the growing season, and reduce watering in fall to late winter. Pinch stem tips as needed to keep plant compact. Easily propagated from stem cuttings, hence the sometimes used common names of friendship plant or panamiga.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Native to Central and South America, this species of Pilea is a bushy trailing plant that features clusters of ovate, toothed, textured, dark green leaves (to 3” long) with dark bronze undertones and often light green edges. Leaf undersides are typically dark red. Tiny pink-green flowers in branched cymes in summer are not particularly showy. Indoor plants rarely flower and fruit. ‘Moon Valley’ (some classify as M. mollis 'Moon Valley') is a more upright and mounding cultivar (to 12” tall) featuring textured green leaves and sunken purple veins. ‘Norfolk’ features textured bronze-green leaves with silver bands.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Watch for mealybugs and spider mites. Leaf spots and stem rot may occur. Fragile plant stems.

Garden Uses

Small indoor plant. Good for terrariums.