The genus Pilea includes a really vast variety of species, in fact, approximately seven hundred of them! And let me tell you, these species have found their space in all sorts of places—right from traditional Chinese medication, to the corners of our living spaces.
And for good reason, too! Particularly, the species that I want to brief you about today is one of my absolute favorites when it comes to houseplants.
The Pilea Depressa or the “Baby Tears”, as it is more commonly known, is one of those plants that will just brighten up your mornings every day with its refreshing green foliage.
Once you add the lovely flowers to the equation and the climbing vines that add a touch of grace to the visual aesthetics of this plant, the Pilea Depressa is one of those plants that rightfully deserve a spot in your indoor garden.
Did I mention that this plant is super easy to maintain as well as simple to propagate? Personally, those are the factors I would look for in a plant that I’d be wishing to add to my home, and the Pilea Depressa perfectly fits those criteria as well!
Pilea Depressa Care
The Pilea Depressa is native to parts of the Australian continent and is naturally used to a tropical kind of climate. Therefore, it thrives in higher temperatures ranging between 68-95℉ (20-35℃), although they do just as well in temperatures as low as 5℃. Being native to a tropical climate, these plants respond well to humid environments—an average humidity of 60% is good for its growth.
It is a climber and requires a well-draining mixed soil to grow in along with a normal watering schedule. It does not need frequent watering, but make sure to watch out for dry topsoil.
The Pilea Depressa enjoys the sun but does well mostly under partial shade. It is an evergreen flowering plant that requires little to no fertilizer—you can simply use a common houseplant fertilizer once a month if you wish to.
The plant does not require pruning unless you wish to see it grow in a particular pattern and is best propagated through water propagation.
The Pilea Depressa requires mixed soil—but, that is, if you plan to pot them up and allow the tendrils to climb over the pot and hang around over it. However, if you decide to go the other way and mount the plant onto a mounting board, provided you give the right kind of support, your Pilea will grow as a beautiful climber! In that case, the substrate that you will be using to achieve this goal should be the kind that drains easily and does not retain too much moisture.
Water clogging near the roots can lead the roots to rot, a fate that none of us would want our precious houseplants to face!
Pro tip— If you can ensure that the substrate you are using also contains a certain amount of peat moss, all the better.
The Pilea Depressa is one of those plants that enjoy the shade. Of course, I’m not suggesting that you leave your plant in dingy corners of your room at all, because the plant still needs its fair share of sunlight. But exposing the plant to the direct and harsh morning or afternoon sun will prove to deteriorate the quality of the plant’s leaves. Direct sunlight will almost dry the leaves up and scorch them.
At the same time, inadequate brightness can lead to the wilting of leaves too—so I would advise you to provide the plant with as much indirect sunlight as the Pilea Depressa can take. A wall or a sheltered part of the room that receives slanted rays of the sun would be ideal for this purpose.
If that is not available, you could also go for artificial lighting for your houseplant. That way, you will not be dependent on subjective factors for your plant’s brightness requirements.
Also, on the bright side, you will be able to adjust the intensity of the light that you want the Pilea Depressa to be exposed to!
I have heard a lot of people complain that even though they would really like to have house plants, they simply can’t fit daily watering schedules into their busy routines. If you too have trouble maintaining house plants, the Pilea Depressa is just the plant for you! It does not really require very frequent watering. All you need to do is just watch out for dry soil. If the soil feels dry to touch, then that can be the cue you need to grab the watering can. Water the plant in such a way that the soil or the substrate remains mildly damp, but not slushy.
Too much water retained in the soil might just prove to be fatal for your plant because the roots and the stem might find it hard to survive through inadequate aeration.
Pro tip— Make sure that you water the plant from above and not horizontally.
The Pilea Depressa is a warmth-loving plant, given it is native to a region that experiences a warm tropical kind of climate. This plant will thrive in higher temperatures ranging from 68-95℉ (20-35℃), but it can also withstand temperatures as low as 41℉ (5℃). However, it would be best if you can manage to arrange for the higher temperatures as the plant would be more comfortable in that range. Of course, frosty temperatures are a big no-no for the Pilea Depressa.
The plant prefers medium to high humidity levels on average. During the daytime, the Pilea Depressa requires about 60 percent of humidity in the air, while during the night, the plant would require a slightly higher level of humidity. So, in general, 70 to 90 percent of humidity in the air should be just about right for your Pilea Depressa.
One thing you could always do to ensure that your plant is well served with moisture is misting it. All you have to do in order to mist your plant is take some water in a watering spray bottle and then spray it onto the leaves.
You can be generous with the spraying, but at the same time, ensure that the plant has more than enough swift air circulation around it for the water on the leaves to dry within a few hours after misting.
Leaving water stagnant on the leaves after misting the plant can be quite a problem, so proper aeration is very important for the well-being of your precious plant.
The Pilea Depressa does not really need to be fertilized too often, but if you feel that maybe it will be beneficial for your plant, there is no harm in fertilizing your Pliea Depressa plant once in a while.
A basic liquid houseplant fertilizer would work fine for the purpose— just ascertain that the contents of the fertilizer you are using are three parts Nitrogen, two parts potassium and one part Phosphorus.
If you are fertilizing your plant, doing it once a month would work fine for your plant, or you could just do it in the growing season and that would be okay, too!
The Pilea Depressa is a small plant, but despite that, the plant is known to have a moderate to fast growth rate. Of course, like any other plant, the Pilea Depressa’s growth rate is also dependent on several external factors, like receiving the correct brightness and environmental conditions during the period of its growth.
During the tail end of the Spring season, the Pilea Depressa produces white little star-like flowers. While these flowers are really pretty and refreshing to look at, the green foliage of the plant generally takes all the praise.
Also, the plant does not grow to be very large, so repotting it about once a year is more than sufficient. I would personally suggest that you refrain from repotting the plant during winter. Carrying out this part of the exercise during the growing months would be the most effective.
Pruning the Pilea Depressa isn’t necessary as the plant has a bushy growth. It tends to grow indiscriminately in all directions.
I really enjoy the plant’s untamed aesthetic, but if it doesn’t suit your taste, you are free to prune the plant to maintain a particular shape or appearance.
You could trim the plant in any manner you like as long as you don’t chop the plant up, but I’m sure I can leave that up to your better judgment!
Just remember, the shears you use to trim unruly growth must be sharp, clean, and preferably sterilized. Using blunt force from scissors that aren’t sharp enough can ultimately cause a lot of damage to the plant itself, which is something that should be avoided.
The easiest way to propagate the Pilea Depressa is to use the method of water propagation. It is quite a simple procedure, really, and you will be fine as long as you observe the following steps.
- Get hold of a healthy, mature Pilea Depressa plant, and snip off a few cuttings from between two nodes, with a pair of sterilized and sharp scissors.
- The snips you procure must then be put in a jar of water.
- It is best to expose this jar to natural sunlight instead of artificial lighting at this stage of the plant’s growth. However, always make sure that the jar receives only indirect sunlight, and adequate warmth to go with it.
- Soon, you will see roots developing at the ends of the cuttings left in the water jar. When you see this happen, you can take the cuttings out and replace the cuttings in a pot of soil.
Of course, it will help to prepare the appropriate potting mix early on and dampen it to just about the correct level.
Common problems with Pilea Depressa
Overwatering the plant or dampening the soil it is planted into can lead to some problems in the Pilea Depressa plant.
- The leaves might turn back if you water the plant way too often or if the water remains stagnant on the leaves for too long.
- The roots can decay and rot if the soil remains too slushy for too long.
In both cases, the first thing to do would be to reconsider your watering schedule and maybe loosen it up considerably.
You should also check for fungal infections. If you observe white edema spots on your plant, it’s time to expose it to more brightness and to look into the aeration around it.
Frequently Asked Questions about Pilea Depressa
Why are the leaves falling off of my Pilea Depressa?
If the leaves are falling off, there’s a good chance that you are watering it too much. Just stop watering until the soil is dry to touch and then you can resume watering every alternate day or every two days.
Does Pilea like to be misted?
Well, most Pilea species, including the Pilea Depressa, appreciate humidity. So if you live in a region that is otherwise dry, or more importantly if you have air conditioning systems running frequently in your house—you could definitely mist the plant about twice a day.
Is Pilea toxic to pets?
No, they aren’t! In fact, if you have pets at home, the Pilea species can be the best option for you. Pilea species, including the Pilea Depressa, are completely pet-friendly, and leaving your pet to play around it won’t cause any harm to your pet.
You can plant the Pilea Depressa as a potted plant and display it in a planting pot, but if you can arrange for the right kind of vertical support, the plant could also grow as a climber.
It is low maintenance, yet a beautiful plant that would greatly improve your living space.
Its refreshing appearance definitely lifts my mood, and now that you know the basics of Pilea Depressa care, just go for it!
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.