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Almanac Planting Aluminum Plant Pilea cadierei 4 inch grow pot
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Aluminum Plant

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Pilea cadierei

Overview

Uses: Houseplant, patio plant, or outdoor plant (in approved tropical zones)

Benefits: It's an air purifying plant that removes VOCs from the air. Moderately easy to take of.

Zones: 10a - 12 suggested (some have had success as an outdoor perennial in zones as low as 9)

Sun: Bright indirect to partial shade. Avoid full sun. Suggest a minimum 4 hours of bright indirect sun daily.  

Life Cycle: Perennial

Mature Height: 12"

Mature Width: 9"

Bloom Season: Rarely blooms

Summary 

Aluminum Plant is a wonderful indoor plant due to its smaller size, beautiful foliage, and its ease of care.

It gets its name from the silver markings on its leaves that look as if the plant was splashed with aluminum. 

A member of the nettle family (Urticaceae) of plants, it grows in a shrub shape to a height of up to 12" and a width of about 9".

Care

Aluminum Plant Care

How Much Water Does an Aluminum Plant Need?

We suggest watering an indoor Aluminum Plant every 3-5 days between spring and fallattempting to keep the soil moist but not wet. The plant will not drink as much during periods of slow growth such as winter, during which it's suggested to shift the frequency of watering to a weekly to bi-weekly schedule, making sure to allow the upper 1/3 of soil in the pot to dry between watering.

Like many other plants, too much watering will result in the yellowing of stems and leaves, eventually followed by root rot should the wet conditions persist.

This plant is not extremely drought resistant and too little water will result in the browning of branches and the death of leaves. Eventually, if left without water, the entire plant will die.

What Humidity Does an Aluminum Plant Like?

Pilea cadierei prefers moderate to high humidity (above 50% RH) and does well with daily misting. Humidifiers and pebble beds may be used to supplement humidity around the plant. 

How Much Sun Should an Aluminum Plant Get?

Avoid placing this plant in areas that receive extended periods of strong, direct sunlight.

The best lighting is provided by bright indirect light as direct light could cause leaf burn.

Pilea Cadierei does great with lots of shade, but needs a minimum of 4 hours of bright, indirect sun every day.

Too little light will result in gangly stems, poor growth, and possible death.

What is the Best Temperature for an Aluminum Plant?

Pilea Cadierei prefer warmer temperatures and will likely die in extended periods of 50°F weather.

It's best to keep this plant in temperatures above 55°F to ensure its beauty and the integrity of its growth; however the optimal temperature range of this houseplant is between 65°F and 85°F.

As such, Aluminum Plant thrives outdoors year round in USDA zones 10-11, and will likely not survive living outdoors over winter in USDA zone 9 or cooler.

What is the Best Soil for Aluminum Plant?

Pilea Cadierei prefers well draining, sandy, and rough soil mixes. If you're planting in a pot, we suggest using our potting soil or something similar. 

How to Fertilize an Aluminum Plant

Pilea Cadierei should be fertilized on a bi-weekly to monthly basis between early spring and late fall. Winter fertilizations may be required on a less frequent basis if the plant is in an environment where the temperature and the amount of light that it's exposed to don't promote fast growth.

We suggest using a balanced liquid fertilizer, fish emulsion, or our Slow Release Fertilizer. Make sure to be careful and not overfertilize. 

Trimming and Maintenance of Aluminum Plant

It's suggested that you trim your Aluminum Plant on an annual basis to keep it looking its best. Trimming is best done in the spring, and is accomplished with the use of a clean and sharp trimming scissors. Stems may be cut as close to 3" from the soil, although it's advised to only cut them to half of their length (assuming their length is over 6"). This method will result in a plant that is both bushy and healthy. We suggest lightly fertilizing after any extensive pruning. 

A bushy plant can be also be encouraged by trimming or pinching new growth from the tips of the stems, which will signal the plant to sprout lower growth. 

Like most other plants, it's advised that any dead or dying leaves and stems be removed from the plant to keep it as healthy and clean as possible. 

How to Repot an Aluminum Plant

Pilea Cadierei do not do well rootbound so it's suggested that you repot your plant if its roots begin to crowd its pot. These plants are known to have somewhat powerful roots that are likely to break pots if they're too small. You can repot your plant by placing the entire root ball into a larger pot then softly breaking up its root structure around the edges of its root ball prior to surrounding it with a lightly packed, medium porosity potting mix. It's advised to only slightly increase the pot size when repotting.

In situations of root bounding without the desire for a larger pot and/or plant, it's advised to remove your Aluminum Plant from its pot and to trim away the side/lower roots and to replace their space with new potting soil. 

How to Propagate Aluminum Plant

The propagation of Pilea Cadierei is easily accomplished by placing a cutting in a glass of water or a pot of moist/wet soil, possibly with a slight amount of liquid fertilizer and/or rooting hormone (although neither are necessary). Change water as required to maintain its cleanliness.

It's best to provide propagation cuttings with ample light, but to keep them out of strong, direct sun.

You'll want the cutting to be of one leaf with approx. 1"-2" of stem. Roots should begin to emerge from the cutting after 2-3 weeks, at which point the plant should be placed in soil that is kept slightly moist until the plant becomes established.

Leaving the cutting in water/wet soil for too long after the establishment of roots will cause rotting and death.

Size

How Large Do Aluminum Plants Grow?

The size of Pilea Cadierei at maturity is typically no larger than 12" high and 9" wide. Its leaves are usually 1"-3" in length.

What Size of Aluminum Plant Do You Ship?

We ship our Aluminum Plants in 4" grow pots, with the typical size of the plant being between 8"-10" tall and around 6" wide. We measure the height of our plants from the top of the soil, not from the base of the pot.

Additional Information

Common Names of Pilea cadierei

  • Aluminum plant

  • Watermelon Pilea

  • Watermelon Plant

Toxicity and Risks of Aluminum Plant

Pilea cadierei is known by some to have a very low level of toxicity to both pets and people. Its toxicity is from the alkaloids present in its leaves which could pose a threat if eaten in higher quantities. It's important to realize that many sources, including the ASPCA, do not consider this plant to be toxic.