Common Name: pilea
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Zone: 11 to 12
Height: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: Rarely flowers indoors
Bloom Description: Pink-green
Sun: Part shade
Leaf: Colorful, Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest
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.
Pilea mollis 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.
Genus name comes from the Latin word pileus meaning a cap from the shape of the female flowers.
Specific epithet means soft or with soft hairs.
‘Moon Valley’ is a more upright and mounding cultivar (to 12” tall) featuring textured bronze-green leaves with sunken purple veins and bright green margins. Leaf surface is strongly puckered in a way that purportedly resembles the surface of the moon, hence the cultivar name. 'Moon Valley' is also commonly sold in commerce as a cultivar of Pilea involucrata, but synonymity has not been conclusively determined.
No serious insect or disease problems. Watch for mealybugs and spider mites. Leaf spots and stem rot may occur. Fragile plant stems.
Small indoor plant. Good for terrariums.