Baby Tears Plant or Helxine Soleirolii is closely related to the nettle. Although, unlike nettles, baby tears are not seen as weeds. In today’s society, baby tears are often celebrated houseplants. Their eye-catching appearance is so often enhanced by being planted in hanging baskets. A hanging basket is perfect for growing baby tears, as they so regularly grow long Viney stems that flow downwards in a beautiful fountain-like manner.
These quirky little plants are an excellent addition to any home, turning the mundane into the magnificent, so grab that gardening gear and let’s get started!
The first thing you must pay attention to when growing baby tears plants is the right location. Most plants’ basic needs are the same. Ply them with water and sunshine and they’ll be just fine. However, researching a more detailed care plan for your plant is always a good idea.
Baby tears plants are a great indoor houseplant for newbie gardeners and with this step-by-step guide on how to grow baby tears houseplants, you’ll be feeling like a pro in no time.
Baby Tears Plant Characteristics
Baby Tears Plant, also known as Soleirolia soleirolii or Mind-Your-Own-Business, is a small, herbaceous perennial plant that belongs to the Urticaceae family. It is native to Corsica and Sardinia, and is commonly grown as a ground cover or as an indoor plant in many parts of the world. Here are some key characteristics of Baby Tears Plant:
- Physical appearance and size: Baby Tears Plant features delicate, creeping stems that bear small, rounded leaves that resemble tear drops. The leaves are typically bright green in color and have a glossy texture, giving the plant a lush and attractive appearance. The plant forms a dense mat-like carpet, spreading horizontally, and can reach a height of 2-4 inches (5-10 cm) with a spread of 12-24 inches (30-60 cm).
- Varieties and cultivars: There are several popular varieties and cultivars of Baby Tears Plant, including ‘Aurea’ with yellow-green leaves, ‘Variegata’ with variegated leaves of green and cream, and ‘Albivernis’ with white-edged leaves. These different varieties offer a range of options for adding visual interest and diversity to your garden or indoor space.
How to Growing Baby Tears Plant?
A baby tears plant can be grown both outdoors and indoors, however, it is almost always recommended to grow them in a container regardless of location as they can be invasive plants.
There are a few varieties of baby tears plant, so knowing which seeds you have is vital to ensure you are growing them correctly. We will start with a basic guide on growing a regular baby tears plant, then will follow with details specifically on how to plant dwarf baby tears.
Choosing Your Pot
Choosing the correct home for your plant is essential. Baby tears like to spread, they germinate very easily, so choosing a small container will keep your plant in check and won’t allow it to invade vast spaces.
Baby Tears Plant prefers bright, indirect light or partial shade. It thrives in areas with filtered sunlight or bright indoor spaces with ample natural light. Direct sunlight should be avoided as it can scorch the delicate leaves.
Baby Tears Plant prefers moderate temperatures between 60-75°F (15-24°C), but can tolerate temperatures outside of this range. It is not frost-tolerant and should be protected from freezing temperatures.
Baby Tears Plant loves high humidity and performs best in environments with relative humidity above 50%. It can be grown in terrariums or kept in bathrooms or kitchens where humidity levels are naturally higher.
Baby tears plants aren’t so fussy when it comes to soil, so any regular potting soil bought in a store should do the trick. For the ultimate baby tears plant care, you can mix your soil with compost or manure to increase the nutrients available to your plant.
Baby Tears Plant requires consistently moist soil, but not waterlogged. It is important to water the plant regularly, keeping the soil evenly moist, but avoiding standing water. Overwatering can lead to root rot, so it’s crucial to strike the right balance in watering.
Baby Tears Plant does not require heavy fertilization. A diluted, balanced liquid fertilizer can be applied monthly during the growing season (spring and summer) to promote healthy growth.
Planting Your Seeds
Place your baby tears seeds approximately 1-2 inches deep in the soil and cover with a little more of your potting mixture. Water gently in the beginning until you see some seedlings appear. (A baby plant is called a seedling or embryo).
Care in the Beginning
Knowing when the baby tears start to develop and grow is easy to figure out. Once you see them sprouting out of the soil they will grow rapidly so immediate plant care is the way forward.
How to Care for a Baby Tears Plant?
Baby tears plant care is very important to ensuring your houseplant thrives and has an optimal opportunity to grow and flourish. Baby tears crave attention, so you should give it to them. Especially if you want them looking their best!
Be sure to water your plant regularly, they love water and don’t like to dry out. However, if you do forget to water your baby tears houseplant, they are fairly good at regenerating so can handle a couple of days wilting.
These stunning plants develop best in bright indirect sunlight, but if artificial light is all you’ve got then not to worry! They thrive in indoor light situations. Here are some essential tips for taking care of this delicate plant:
Baby Tears Plant prefers consistently moist soil, but not waterlogged. It is important to water the plant regularly, keeping the soil evenly moist, but avoiding standing water. Overwatering can lead to root rot, so it’s crucial to monitor the soil moisture and adjust watering accordingly. Watering from the bottom, such as using a saucer to allow the plant to soak up water, can help prevent wetting the leaves, which can reduce the risk of diseases.
Baby Tears Plant does not require heavy fertilization. A diluted, balanced liquid fertilizer can be applied monthly during the growing season (spring and summer) to promote healthy growth. Avoid over-fertilizing, as it can lead to excessive growth and weak stems.
Regular pruning is not usually necessary for Baby Tears Plant, but occasional trimming can help maintain its shape and density. Trim back any leggy or overgrown stems to encourage bushier growth. Pinching off the tips of the stems can also promote branching and a fuller appearance. Be sure to use clean and sharp pruning shears to avoid damaging the plant.
Pests and diseases
While Baby Tears Plant is relatively resistant to pests and diseases, it can still be affected by common indoor plant pests such as aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites. Regularly inspect the plant for any signs of infestation and promptly treat with organic or chemical insecticides as needed. Baby Tears Plant can also be susceptible to fungal diseases like powdery mildew or root rot, especially in overly damp conditions. Ensuring proper air circulation, avoiding overwatering, and keeping the leaves dry can help prevent these issues.
Seasonal care and considerations
Baby Tears Plant requires some adjustments in care based on the season and climate. During the growing season (spring and summer), the plant may require more frequent watering and fertilization to support its active growth. In contrast, during the dormant season (fall and winter), the plant may need less water and fertilizer as its growth slows down. In colder climates, Baby Tears Plant may need protection from frost or freezing temperatures, either by moving it indoors or covering it with a frost cloth.
Baby Tears Plant Propagation Methods
Baby Tears Plant can be propagated through seeds, division, or cuttings.
Baby Tears Plant produces tiny seeds that can be sown on the soil surface and lightly covered with a thin layer of soil. Keep the soil consistently moist and provide warm temperatures for germination to occur, which usually takes 2-4 weeks.
Baby Tears Plant forms dense mats of foliage, and it can be divided by gently separating the clumps into smaller sections and replanting them in well-draining soil. This method is best done during the active growth period in spring or early summer.
Baby Tears Plant can also be propagated from stem cuttings. Simply snip off healthy stems with several leaves and plant them in moist soil or place them in water until roots develop. Once roots have formed, transplant the cuttings into pots or the ground.
Edible and Medicinal Uses of Baby Tears Plant
Baby Tears Plant is not only admired for its ornamental beauty, but it also has some edible and medicinal uses. Here are some ways in which this versatile plant can be utilized:
Baby Tears Plant has a mild, fresh flavor that makes it a popular choice for culinary purposes. Its tender leaves and stems can be used in salads, sandwiches, and as garnishes for various dishes. The delicate foliage of Baby Tears Plant can also be brewed into teas, adding a subtle, refreshing taste to beverages. Its tiny leaves and trailing growth habit make it an attractive addition to culinary creations, adding a touch of green and a hint of crunch.
Medicinal properties and traditional uses
Baby Tears Plant has been traditionally used for its medicinal properties in some cultures. It is believed to have anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties, and has been used as a poultice for minor skin irritations, cuts, and burns. Baby Tears Plant has also been used in some traditional medicine practices to soothe coughs and colds, and as a mild diuretic and laxative. However, it’s important to note that scientific evidence regarding its medicinal properties is limited, and consulting a healthcare professional is always recommended before using it for medicinal purposes.
Precautions and considerations
While Baby Tears Plant is generally considered safe for consumption in small amounts, there are some precautions and considerations to keep in mind. As with any edible plant, it’s important to ensure that the plant is grown in a pesticide-free environment and has not been exposed to harmful chemicals. It’s also crucial to verify the plant’s identity and avoid consuming any look-alike plants that may be toxic. Pregnant or breastfeeding individuals, as well as those with known allergies or medical conditions, should exercise caution and seek professional advice before consuming Baby Tears Plant or any other herbal remedies.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is Baby Tears Plant suitable for indoor gardening?
Yes, Baby Tears Plant is a popular choice for indoor gardening due to its low-growing, trailing habit and preference for indirect light. It can thrive in indoor spaces with adequate humidity and bright, filtered light.
How often should I water my Baby Tears Plant?
Baby Tears Plant prefers consistently moist soil, but not waterlogged. It’s important to monitor the moisture level of the soil and water accordingly, allowing the top inch of soil to dry out slightly between waterings. Avoid overwatering, as it can lead to root rot.
Can I propagate Baby Tears Plant in water?
Yes, Baby Tears Plant can be propagated in water by taking stem cuttings and placing them in a container of water until roots develop. Once roots have formed, the cuttings can be transplanted into pots or the ground.
How can I maintain humidity for my Baby Tears Plant?
Baby Tears Plant prefers a humid environment. You can maintain humidity around the plant by misting the leaves with water, placing a tray of water near the plant, or using a humidifier in the room where it is located.
How do I fertilize Baby Tears Plant?
Baby Tears Plant benefits from regular fertilization during its active growing season (spring and summer). You can use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer diluted to half-strength and apply it every 2-4 weeks. Avoid over-fertilization, as it can cause leaf burn.
Does Baby Tears Plant require pruning?
Baby Tears Plant can benefit from occasional pruning to promote bushier growth and control its trailing habit. You can pinch back the tips of the stems to encourage branching and maintain the desired shape.
What pests and diseases are common to Baby Tears Plant?
Baby Tears Plant can be susceptible to pests such as aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites. It can also be prone to diseases such as powdery mildew and root rot. Regular monitoring, proper watering, and good air circulation can help prevent pest and disease issues.
Can I use Baby Tears Plant in terrariums or vivariums?
Yes, Baby Tears Plant is a popular choice for terrariums or vivariums due to its small size, trailing habit, and preference for high humidity. It can create a lush, carpet-like effect in enclosed environments.
Can I use Baby Tears Plant in outdoor gardens?
Yes, Baby Tears Plant can be used in outdoor gardens, particularly in shaded or partially shaded areas with well-draining soil. It can be used as a ground cover or as an accent plant in rock gardens, borders, or woodland gardens.
Can I consume Baby Tears Plant as a food or herbal remedy?
While Baby Tears Plant has some culinary uses, it’s important to exercise caution and verify plant identity before consuming it. As for its medicinal properties, scientific evidence is limited, and consulting a healthcare professional is recommended before using it for any medicinal purposes.
Baby tears plants grow rapidly so will often need propagating, pruning, or repotting. Baby tears can handle a bit of wear and tear, so don’t shy away from cutting back those overgrown leaves if you want to keep them looking trim and tidy.
Now you have a fail-safe guide to growing these expansive, astonishingly easy houseplants you’re bound to wow your guests with baby tears plants hanging from every wall!