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Baby’s Tears (Soleirolia soleirolii) Plant Care 101

Baby’s Tears (Soleirolia soleirolii) Plant Care 101

Baby’s Tears, aka Soleirolia soleirolii has been a favorite among houseplant enthusiasts for a while now. 

The plant makes for excellent groundcover (in terrariums) and when kept as a regular houseplant, it is very low-maintenance and relatively easy to keep happy. 

Also, when used for decoration purposes, these low-growing moss-like plants are very versatile and are perfect for both windowsills and for display on tables. While pretty easy to care for, in this article, we will tell you how to get the most out of your Baby’s Tears.

As usual, we will start with a compact overview of the basic needs of this creeping plant, which, by the way, also goes by the funny name of “Mind your own Business.”

Baby's Tears Plant Care

 

Baby’s Tears Plant Care Basics

 

Soil

The plant is quite undemanding in terms of soil but prefers a loose soil so that the water can drain off well and does not accumulate. Slightly acidic soil (aim for a pH value between 5 and 6) yields the best results. 

To determine the soil pH value, simply use a soil meter

 

Light

Baby’s Tears prefers medium light. Medium light as in bright, indirect light is perfect for your leafy friend. Even a pretty shady location is usually tolerated by this creeping green companion. 

Direct sunlight is not well received by Baby’s Tears plants. 

 

Watering

The watering regimen of Baby’s Tears is pretty standard. It is one of these plants that is most comfortable when the compost is kept moist, yet not soggy. 

Rainwater is always a good way to go about it. Distilled water is also a safe bet. When using tap water, make sure that the water is lukewarm. 

 

Temperature

Baby’s Tears is comfortable in a pretty wide range of temperatures. Anything from 11 to 21 °C (52 to 70°F) will do. 

It is best to keep the temperature for your Baby’s Tears steady throughout the whole year. 

Still, if there should be some sudden dramatic changes in temperature, Baby’s Tears responds better than most houseplants and does not immediately bite the dust. Most houseplants are less hardy in this regard.

 

Humidity

The Baby’s Tears is not delicate when it comes to the right amount of humidity. Humidity over 60% is what Baby’s Tears likes best, though. 

To achieve this level of humidity, you will need to take certain measures. One thing that you can always do is to put your plant on a trey with damp pebbles. This helps with increasing the humidity level. 

Another simple humidity hack is to regularly mist your plant with a hand mister. 

Last but not least, choose a high-humidity location for your Baby’s Tears. The bathroom is always a good choice, as this is usually the room in your house that provides the highest humidity. 

To learn more about leafy friends that are ideal for your bathroom, please have a look at our blog post “The 12 Best Houseplants for your bathroom.” 

 

Fertilizer

As far as fertilizer goes, Baby’s Tears has no special requirements. During growing season (spring to summer), feeding your plant twice a week with a diluted all-purpose fertilizer is more than sufficient.

When feeding the plant, make sure that the liquid does not touch the plant leaves, because in this case there is a risk that the plant will be burned. To ensure that the plant is not injured, rinse the leaves with clean water after fertilizing.

 

Propagation 

Propagating Baby Tears is easy and you will most likely not need to shed any tear because of (too many) unsuccessful propagation attempts. 

The propagation methods of choice for Baby’s Tears are propagation through stem tip cuttings or propagation by division. 

 

Growth 

The fast-growing Baby’s Tears can reach heights of about 6 inches (15 cm). As far as the width goes, these plants can get very wide, reaching up to 25 inches (63,5 cm) when used as groundcover or 

 

(Re)potting 

Repotting your Baby’s Tears once a year is usually sufficient. As a general rule, just repot your plant when it outgrows the pot or when propagating. 

As almost always with houseplants, you should only use pots with drainage holes when (re)potting your plant. 

Using pots with drainage holes is key for the health of your Baby’s Tears. It is also one of the best and easiest things you can do to prevent root rot

Wide, flat pots with good water drainage or hanging baskets are suitable as containers for Baby’s Tears plants.

Repot your Baby’s Tears in spring
 

How to propagate Baby’s Tears

It is really easy to propagate Baby’s Tears. This is yet another reason why this plant is an excellent plant for beginners. 

No matter if you are propagating the plant through stem tip cuttings or through division, the process is easy and you should have no problem producing some baby Baby’s Tears plants in no time. 

As always when propagating houseplants, your plant should be in good shape when starting with the process.

Now, just follow these simple step-by-step guides to propagate your Baby’s Tears.

 

Propagating Baby’s Tears through stem tip cuttings

 

Step 1: Wash your hands

Step 2: Prepare clean containers with your medium (potting soil mix) of choice. Dampen the soil well

Step 3: Make holes for the stem tip cuttings

Step 4: Search your Baby’s Tears for healthy stems

Step 5: Use a sharp, sterile knife and cut the stems directly below the leaf node (the stem should be between 5 to 7 cms long!)

Step 6: Remove all leaves but the topmost leaves from the cuttings

Step 7: Dip the cuttings (just the cut end!) in water and then in your rooting hormone of choice. 

Step 8: Now poke the stem tip cutting in the holes that you prepared earlier on (see Step 3). Make sure that the soil is firm, so that your cuttings can root well. 

Step 9: Enclose your cuttings in a plastic bag or anything else that can serve as a humidity chamber (don’t seal the bag completely as some airflow is necessary!)

Step 10: Keep the cuttings in the plastic bag for about two weeks. Make sure to mist the cuttings daily (best done in the morning) and keep the soil slightly moist at all times (not too wet either, though!)

Step 10: After around 2 weeks, you can remove the plastic bag and after about 3 weeks you can expect some growth (cuttings will begin to root). In some cases, it might take a little bit longer than just 3 weeks. Maybe 4 or 5.

Step 11: From time to time, gently pull on the cuttings to check if they are already rooted or not. If they are (resistance will tell)….congratulations! You did it! Now, move these new plant babies into separate containers!

 

Propagating Baby’s Tears through division

If you would like to propagate your leafy friend through division rather than through stem tip cuttings, this is yet another easy way to start new Baby’s Tears plants. 

Follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Remove your Baby’s Tears from the pot

Step 2: Cut the root ball with a sharp knife

Step 3: Place individual pieces in prepared trays

Step 4: Continue to care for these new plants like for adult plants

 

Important: Make sure that each cutting has sufficient fiber roots.

 

Pruning your Baby’s Tears

Pruning Soleirolia Soleirolii is truly a piece of cake. It is mostly done for aesthetic reasons. 

If shoots are getting too long, just cut them off. It is best to use scissors for that purpose rather than a knife. 

Also, you can, of course, prune your Baby’s Tears to get some cuttings that you can then use for propagation purposes.

It sometimes happens that Baby’s Tears features some yellow branches & leaves in the middle of the plant. This especially holds true for older plants.

For a rejuvenated plant, simply cut out the yellow parts to make sure that new green growth can be established. 

If you like a bushy look, pruning often is encouraged. 

If you are keeping Baby’s Tears in a hanging basket, regular pruning most likely won’t be necessary.

 

Baby’s Tears & Plant Pests & Diseases

At some stage, you might be dealing with aphids when caring for Baby’s Tears plants. However, it needs to be sad that Baby’s Tears is seldomly bothered by pests. 

Root damage is a problem that might occur with this plant. 

Luckily, we got two neat articles on that very topic. 

The first article, “Root Rot Causes & Symptoms” will help you in identifying root rot, which is not always an easy task to begin with because root rot symptoms can easily be mistaken for other plant diseases. 

The second article, “Root Rot Treatment” will be very helpful as soon as you know that you are most certainly dealing with root rot. 

 

5 tips to keep your Baby’s Tears happy

  1. Your Baby’s Tears should never completely dry out
  2. Waterlogging needs to be avoided at all costs. 
  3. Watering from below is highly recommended with Baby’s Tears (with the help of a special saucer)
  4. Keep the temperature steady throughout the year
  5. Only fertilize your Baby’s Tears between autumn and spring

 

Is Baby’s Tears easy to care for?

Baby’s Tears is definitely a good plant for beginners. Even new plant parents find it pretty easy to provide this cute little plant with all the necessary care and most succeed in keeping it healthy and happy. 

The plant thrives in a wide variety of temperatures, is very easy to propagate through division or stem tip cuttings and has no special preference for soil. 

Other houseplants that are not all that demanding and can even be kept by people with black thumbs are: Snake plant, ZZ plant, Spider plant & Heartleaf philodendron.

That said, if you only recently turned to the hobby of houseplants & indoor gardening and would like to start with something not all that difficult, then the Baby’s Tears plant is certainly an excellent choice.

 

Baby’s Tears FAQ

 

May I keep the Baby’s Tears plant in a terrarium?

Yes, Baby’s Tears can be kept in a terrarium (as groundcover). However, it needs to be said that this plant is pretty invasive and that can become a problem when used together with other plants. Moreover, good air circulation is important for Baby’s Tears and that is yet another problem that you need to deal with when keeping it in a terrarium. 

 

My Baby’s Tears is very leggy. What’s the problem?

Baby’s Tears usually becomes leggy if the temperature is too high. Reduce the temperature to solve the problem. 

 

What is the scientific name of the Baby’s Tears plant?

The scientific name (Latin name) of Baby’s Tears is Soleirolia soleirolii.

 

What are some other common names for the Baby’s Tears plant?

Baby’s Tears is also known as Irish moss, Angel Tears, Helxine & Mother of Thousands. The botanical name is Soleirolia soleirolii. Another fun name for Baby’s Tears is “Mind your own Business.”

 

Are plant pests a problem for Baby’s Tears plants?

Plant pests are usually not an issue for Baby’s Tears plants. These plants are more prone to plant diseases, especially root rot caused by overwatering.  

 

Is it possible to keep Baby’s Tears in hanging baskets?

Absolutely. Baby’s Tears are doing fine in both pots and hanging baskets. If grown in a pot, regular pruning will help to conserve the bushy look. If cultivated in a hanging basket, regular pruning won’t be necessary. 

 

Is Baby’s Tears toxic to cats?

Baby’s Tears is non-toxic for cats as per the ASPCA, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. While there are many toxic houseplants that can cause serious harm to your cats, there are also plenty of houseplants that are deemed safe for cats. Please consult our post 18 Cat-Safe Houseplants your Kitties will Surely Enjoy to learn more about cat-friendly houseplants. 

 

Is Baby’s Tears toxic to dogs?

As per the ASPCA, Baby’s Tears is also non-toxic to dogs. 

 

Any display tips for Baby’s Tears plants, please?

Due to its small size, Baby’s Tears is a perfect plant for a windowsill. They also do great as groundcovers in the garden. 

 

What varieties of Baby’s Tears are readily available on the market?

The regular Baby’s Tears has green foliage. Then, you can also find Baby’s Tears “Variegata” (sometimes also referred to as “Silver Queen,” which features grey-green foliage and last, but not least, there’s also Baby’s Tears “Aurea” (Golden Queen) that comes with golden-green foliage. 


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