Pilea cadierei

The Aluminium Plant is native to the tropical forests of Asia. It was discovered at the relatively late date of 1938, in Vietnam. Although its flowers are not striking, it has very attractive foliage. The leaves have three prominent veins and are marked with silvery patches, hence the common name.

Because it grows in the bottom layer of tropical mountain forests it does not require much light; it must be protected from direct sunlight. It requires a mixture of two parts frame soil, two parts leaf mould and one part sand or a loam and peat compost. The temperature should be about 27°C (77° F). Water regularly and maintain a relative humidity of no less than 60 per cent at all times. Feed with a solution of compound mineral fertilizer once a week.

Pilea spruceana

This is one of 200 species of the genus Pilea distributed in tropical regions throughout the world. P. spruceana is native to Peru and Venezuela. It makes numerous runners with ascending stems about 10 cm (4 in) long. The leaves are hairy and covered with blister-like growths. They are light green which, in very young plants, is often flushed with red.

The cultivar ‘Norfolk’ has almost orbicular leaves col oured a striking bronze-brown, sometimes even red, with large white patches between the veins. It is a very decorative plant but must be provided with a fairly high temperature and a humid atmosphere.

Pilea crassifolia

This plant is better known as P. mollis or as ‘Moon Valley’. It is certainly the most decorative species of the entire genus. Its most ornamental features are the leaves, which are very wrinkled, pointed-ovate and with crenate margins.

Protect it from direct sunlight. It requires a temperature of 20°-25°C (68°-77°F) in summer and 18°C (64° F) in winter. Water and mist it regularly.

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