Pilea - Pan Am
- Botanical Name: Pilea Cadierei
- Origins: Peru
- Light: Low Light
- Watering: Daily
- Growth Speed: Fast
- Grower: Novice
- Style: Table Top
- Home Decor: Casual
- Variety Code: 293
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Product Description - Pan Am
Pileas are available in a wide variety of bushy and trailing plants. The name Pilea" comes from "pileus", a Roman felt cap (which the seed resembles). The species of Pilea listed here are ideally suited for window sills and tables. Most grow no more than 12 inches tall and have peculiarly puffy leaves with depressed veins that make them look quilted.
Pilea cadierei (varieties: Pilea, Combo, Glauca, Silver Tree) is a native of Vietnam and is grown for its attractive foliage. The dark green leaves have silver markings between the veins on the upper raised leaf surface. The plant is also known under its common name Aluminum plant or Watermelon pilea. P. cadierei 'Minima' - the dwarf Aluminum pilea, becomes only 5 to 6 inches tall and has 1 1/2 to 2 inch leaves on pink stems. It is more compact and doesn't become "leggy" as the plant gets older. P. grandis - "Moon Valley" has its origin in Jamaica. It grows up to 12 inches tall (30 cm). P. involuctrata - (varieties: "Pan Amiga", "Involuctrata" or the Friendship Plant because it's easy to propagate) are from Central and South America. The plant grows to about 1 foot in height indoors. It has rosettes of dark green leaves with purple puckered surfaces and a plain green edge. The undersides are reddish but rarely turn upward enough to be visible. The Panamiga is the Pan-American friendship plant. P. microphyla are the small-leaved fern like Pilea.
Plant CarePileas like an average warmth with a minimum of 50 degrees in the winter, and bright indirect or curtain-filtered sunlight or semi-shade. Protect them from direct sun in the summer. If only artificial light is available, provide at least 400 foot-candles. Night temperatures of 65 to 70 degrees and day temperatures of 75 to 85 degrees are ideal. Water liberally from spring to autumn, allowing compost to dry out slightly between watering, and water sparingly in winter with tepid water. Mist the leaves regularly.
Feed established plants at two-month intervals with standard house-plant fertilizer diluted to half the minimum strength recommended on the label, but wait three or four months before feeding newly purchased or potted plants. The plants generally grow most satisfactorily in 3 to 4 inch pots, a size that allows space for a good balance between root and top growth. Use a mixture of equal parts of a packaged general-purpose potting soil and peat moss or leaf mold. Watch for spider mites. Even in expert hands the bushy Pileas tend to become leggy and unattractive with age.
As cuttings root easily, it is a good idea to start new plants each spring rather than retaining old specimens. Leaf drop in winter is most likely caused by cold air, but even a healthy plant may shed a few leaves in winter. Cut back affected stems in spring to induce new healthy growth. Wilted and discolored leaves with stem rot present is caused by over-watering, especially in the winter. Leaves discolored with brown tips and edges indicate too much shade, so move the plant to a brighter spot. If the plant is well lit, the probable cause is a sudden drop in temperature.