Baby’s Tear Care – How To Grow A Baby’s Tear Houseplant


Updated: 22 Aug, 2023

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Baby’s tears (Soleirolia soleirolii), often mistaken for moss due to its appearance, is a tropical perennial belonging to the nettle family. This plant showcases its uniqueness through a lush carpet of minute, circular or bean-shaped leaves, densely covering short, succulent stems. While novice gardeners can easily cultivate baby’s tears, maintaining their optimal appearance demands consistent care.

Flourishing in low-light settings, this species finds frequent application in terrariums and mixed plant arrangements. In regions with milder temperatures, it serves as an evergreen ground cover or filler for rock gardens. Conversely, in colder climates, it assumes the role of an annual, succumbing to winter frost. Spring facilitates effortless propagation from potted nursery plants, resulting in rapid growth.

However, it’s important to note that baby’s tears can be invasive in warmer tropical regions. Its exuberant growth can potentially pose a challenge to local ecosystems. In a dual capacity of captivating ground cover and potential invader, baby’s tears remains an intriguing horticultural subject for enthusiasts across various climatic zones.

Common NameBaby tears, baby’s tears, angel’s tears
Botanical NameSoleirolia soleirolii
FamilyUrticaceae
Plant TypeHerbaceous perennial, often grown as an annual
Mature Size4 in. tall; 36 in. wide
Sun ExposurePartial sun to shade
Soil TypeRich, moist loam
Soil pH5.0 to 6.0 ( slightly acidic)
Bloom TimeLate spring to early summer; May to June
Flower ColorCreamy ivory
Hardiness Zones 9 to 11 (USDA)
Native AreaMediterranean

What is a Baby’s Tear houseplant?

A Baby’s Tear houseplant, scientifically known as Soleirolia soleirolii or Helxine soleirolii, is a small, delicate plant that is popular for its lush, trailing growth and tiny, round leaves that resemble tears. It belongs to the nettle family (Urticaceae) and is native to regions in Europe and the Mediterranean. The plant is often chosen for its ornamental value and is commonly used as a ground cover, in terrariums, or in hanging baskets due to its charming appearance.

The leaves of the Baby’s Tear plant are typically vibrant green and form a dense carpet-like mat as they grow closely together. The plant’s cascading growth habit and delicate appearance make it a popular choice for indoor gardens and decorative arrangements.

Baby’s Tears is appreciated for its ability to thrive in low-light conditions, making it suitable for various indoor environments. It prefers consistently moist soil and higher humidity levels, making it ideal for terrariums or areas with controlled humidity. Additionally, its adaptability to indoor settings and ease of propagation contribute to its popularity among plant enthusiasts.

Cultivating a Baby’s Tear Houseplant: A Comprehensive Guide

Choosing the Right Environment

Light Requirements: Understanding the Plant’s Lighting Preferences
Temperature and Humidity: Creating an Ideal Microclimate

Selecting the Perfect Container

Pot Size and Drainage: Providing Adequate Space and Water Control
Terrariums and Mixed Containers: Exploring Creative Planting Options

Planting and Potting

Preparing the Soil: Ensuring Well-Draining and Nutrient-Rich Mix
Transplanting Tips: Moving Potted Nursery Plants to Larger Containers

Watering Wisely

Moisture Needs: Finding the Balance Between Overwatering and Underwatering
Watering Techniques: Avoiding Waterlogged Soil and Promoting Healthy Growth

Pruning and Maintenance

Trimming for Aesthetic Appeal: Encouraging Compact Growth and Dense Mat
Dealing with Overgrowth: Preventing Invasive Behavior in Suitable Climates

Propagation Methods

Division: Separating Healthy Clumps for New Plant Growth
Growing from Cuttings: Establishing New Plants from Stem Sections

Dealing with Common Challenges

Pest and Disease Management: Recognizing and Treating Potential Issues
Winter Care in Cold Climates: Navigating Seasonal Changes for Success

Utilizing Baby’s Tears Creatively

Terrarium Design: Incorporating the Plant’s Delicate Mat into Mini Landscapes
Rock Gardens and Ground Covers: Enhancing Outdoor Spaces with Evergreen Charm

Responsible Gardening Practices

Invasive Potential: Understanding Local Ecosystem Impact and Control Measures
Sustainable Planting: Balancing Ornamental Beauty with Environmental Considerations

Enjoying the Beauty of Baby’s Tears

Appreciating the Aesthetic: Embracing the Unique Elegance of the Plant
Rewarding Care: Cultivating a Thriving Indoor Garden Filled with Delicate Foliage

Baby’s Tears Plant Care

1. Light and Location

Low-Light Lover: Provide indirect or filtered light for optimal growth.
Avoid Direct Sun: Shield from harsh sunlight to prevent leaf scorching.
Terrarium Favorite: Flourishes in terrariums and shaded corners.

2. Watering Regimen

Consistent Moisture: Keep soil consistently moist but not waterlogged.
Mist Regularly: Maintain high humidity through misting, especially in dry environments.
Drainage is Key: Ensure pots have proper drainage to prevent root rot.

3. Soil and Potting

Well-Draining Mix: Use a peat-based, well-draining soil mix.
Choose the Right Pot: Opt for containers with drainage holes for excess water to escape.

4. Pruning and Maintenance

Regular Trimming: Trim overgrown parts to encourage dense growth.
Invasive Control: Prevent spreading in warmer climates by managing growth.

5. Temperature and Humidity

Moderate Temperatures: Thrives in room temperatures between 65-75°F (18-24°C).
Humidity Lover: High humidity environments mimic its native habitat.

6. Fertilizing Routine

Balanced Fertilizer: Feed every 4-6 weeks during the growing season (spring to fall).
Diluted Solution: Use a diluted, balanced liquid fertilizer for healthy growth.

7. Propagation Methods

Division: Divide and replant healthy sections to propagate.
Cuttings: Root stem cuttings in water or soil for new plants.

8. Pests and Diseases

Vigilance Needed: Watch for aphids, mealybugs, and fungal issues.
Prompt Treatment: Address any infestations or diseases promptly.

9. Winter Care

Indoor Protection: Move indoors in colder climates to prevent frost damage.
Reduced Watering: Decrease watering frequency during winter dormancy.

10. Creative Uses

Terrarium Focal Point: Create lush mini gardens with baby’s tears as a centerpiece.
Ground Cover Charm: Beautify rock gardens with its evergreen carpet.

Types of Baby’s Tears

“Baby’s Tears” can refer to two different types of plants: one is a common name for certain species in the genus Soleirolia, and the other is a common name for certain species in the genus Helxine. Both plants are often chosen for their delicate, trailing foliage and suitability as ground cover or in hanging baskets. Here’s more information about each:

  1. Soleirolia Baby’s Tears (Soleirolia soleirolii): Also known as Mind Your Own Business or Angel’s Tears, Soleirolia baby’s tears is a low-growing perennial plant with tiny, round leaves that cascade down in a lush green mat. It’s often used as a ground cover, in terrariums, or in hanging pots. It prefers moist, shaded environments and is not very tolerant of direct sunlight. Soleirolia is commonly grown for its ornamental value and its ability to create a dense carpet-like appearance.

  2. Helxine Baby’s Tears (Helxine soleirolii): This is another species with similar common names, which can lead to some confusion. Helxine baby’s tears, often referred to as Corsican Carpet or Mind-Your-Own-Business, has small, round leaves similar to the Soleirolia species. It’s also used for ground cover, in between stepping stones, or as an ornamental addition to shaded areas. Like Soleirolia, it prefers moist soil and indirect sunlight.

Propagating Baby’s Tears

Propagating Baby’s Tears plants (Soleirolia soleirolii or Helxine soleirolii) can be done through a few different methods. Here are the common ways to propagate these plants:

Division:

This method involves separating the existing plant into smaller sections and replanting them. Here’s how to do it:

  • Gently remove the plant from its pot or growing area.
  • Gently separate the clumps of plants into smaller sections, making sure each section has some roots attached.
  • Plant the separated sections in new pots or areas in the garden, keeping the soil consistently moist until they establish themselves.

Cuttings:

Propagating Baby’s Tears from cuttings can be quite successful due to their ability to root easily. Here’s how to do it:

  • Take a cutting from a healthy stem of the plant. Make sure it’s a few inches long and has several leaves.
  • Remove the leaves from the lower portion of the cutting.
  • Dip the cut end of the cutting in a rooting hormone (optional) to encourage root growth.
  • Plant the cutting in a small pot filled with a well-draining potting mix. Keep the soil consistently moist.
  • Place a plastic bag or a clear plastic dome over the cutting to create a humid environment that promotes rooting.
  • Once roots have formed and the cutting is well-established, you can transplant it to a larger pot or garden area.

Layering:

Layering is a method where you encourage a stem of the plant to root while it’s still attached to the parent plant. Here’s how to do it:

  • Identify a healthy, flexible stem that can be bent down to the soil.
  • Gently wound or scrape a small portion of the stem where it will come into contact with the soil.
  • This will encourage root formation.
  • Bury the wounded portion of the stem in the soil, ensuring it’s securely anchored.
  • You can use a small stone or piece of wire to hold the buried portion of the stem in place.
    Keep the soil consistently moist until you see new growth and roots forming.
  • Once the new plantlet has established itself, you can cut it free from the parent plant and transplant it.

Common Problems With Baby’s Tears

Baby’s Tears (Soleirolia soleirolii or Helxine soleirolii) are generally easy to care for, but like any plant, they can face certain issues. Here are some common problems that might affect Baby’s Tears and how to address them:

Overwatering or Poor Drainage:
Baby’s Tears prefer consistently moist soil but not waterlogged conditions. Overwatering can lead to root rot and other fungal diseases. Make sure the pots or planting areas have good drainage, and allow the top inch of the soil to dry out slightly before watering again.

Underwatering:
While Baby’s Tears like moist conditions, allowing the soil to completely dry out can stress the plants and lead to wilting and browning of leaves. Keep the soil consistently moist, especially during warm weather.

Pests:
Baby’s Tears can attract pests such as aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites. Regularly inspect the plants for any signs of pests, such as discolored or damaged leaves, webs, or small insects. If pests are detected, treat the plants with insecticidal soap or neem oil, following the instructions on the product label.

Diseases:
Root rot and fungal diseases can occur if the plants are kept too wet or in poorly-draining soil. Ensure proper drainage, use a well-draining potting mix, and avoid overhead watering to prevent disease development.

Poor Light Conditions:
Baby’s Tears thrive in bright, indirect light. If they are exposed to too much direct sunlight, their leaves can scorch and turn brown. On the other hand, insufficient light can cause the plants to become leggy and lose their lush appearance. Find a balance between light and shade to maintain healthy growth.

Temperature Extremes:
Baby’s Tears prefer moderate temperatures and can be sensitive to extreme cold or heat. Protect them from drafts and sudden temperature fluctuations, and avoid placing them near heaters, air conditioners, or vents.

Nutrient Deficiency:
Inadequate nutrients can lead to pale or yellowing leaves. Use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer diluted to half strength and feed the plants every 4-6 weeks during the growing season.

Crowded Growth:
If Baby’s Tears become too dense or crowded, air circulation can be restricted, which may lead to disease issues. Regularly thin out the growth to maintain good airflow.

Transplant Shock:
Baby’s Tears can be sensitive to transplanting. When moving them to a new pot or location, handle them gently and provide extra care during the adjustment period to minimize transplant shock.

Inadequate Humidity:
These plants prefer higher humidity levels. If the air is too dry, the leaves may start to brown at the edges. Increase humidity around the plants by misting them regularly or using a humidity tray.

How do I care for a Baby’s Tear houseplant?

Baby’s Tears thrive in bright, indirect light or low-light conditions. Keep the soil consistently moist, but not waterlogged, and ensure good drainage. Mist the plant to maintain humidity, especially in dry indoor environments. Regularly prune to prevent overgrowth, and avoid exposing it to extreme temperatures.

Can I grow Baby’s Tears indoors?

Yes, Baby’s Tears are well-suited for indoor cultivation. They can thrive in a variety of indoor settings, including as part of terrariums, hanging baskets, or as a ground cover in pots. Just ensure they receive the right amount of light and moisture.

What kind of soil is best for Baby’s Tears?

Use a well-draining potting mix with good moisture retention. A mix formulated for indoor plants or succulents can work well. Aim for a soil that provides both good drainage and retains moisture.

How often should I water my Baby’s Tear plant?

Baby’s Tears prefer consistently moist soil, but avoid waterlogging. Water when the top inch of the soil feels slightly dry. Use your finger to check the moisture level before watering.

Can I propagate Baby’s Tears?

Yes, Baby’s Tears can be propagated through methods like division, cuttings, and layering. Dividing established plants and planting the sections in new pots or areas is a common approach. Additionally, taking stem cuttings and providing them with the right conditions can lead to successful propagation.

Is Baby’s Tear plant prone to pests or diseases?

Yes, like many plants, Baby’s Tears can be susceptible to pests like aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites. It’s important to inspect your plant regularly for signs of infestation and treat them promptly with appropriate measures, such as insecticidal soap.

Can I grow Baby’s Tears outdoors?

Yes, Baby’s Tears can be grown outdoors in appropriate climates. They are often used as ground cover or in rock gardens. However, they are sensitive to extreme cold and should be protected from frost in colder regions.

Conclusion

The Baby’s Tear houseplant, scientifically known as Soleirolia soleirolii or Helxine soleirolii, is a charming and delicate addition to indoor gardens and decorative arrangements. Its lush, trailing growth and tiny, round leaves that resemble tears make it a popular choice for various settings. Belonging to the nettle family, this plant’s ability to thrive in low-light conditions, along with its preference for consistently moist soil and higher humidity levels, makes it well-suited for indoor cultivation, particularly in terrariums or controlled environments.

Its adaptability, ease of propagation, and ornamental value have contributed to its popularity among plant enthusiasts, whether used as a ground cover, in hanging baskets, or as a delightful component of mixed plant displays. The Baby’s Tear houseplant’s unique appearance and suitability for indoor spaces make it an appealing choice for those seeking to enhance their surroundings with its delicate beauty.


Mary Lloyster

Mary Lloyster

Mary, the ultimate oracle of indoor gardening! With years of experience and a flourishing indoor expo, Mary has become our go-to expert for all things related to house plants and indoor gardening. Despite her background in Political Science, Mary has discovered a delightful way to blend her full-time job with a touch of relaxation through indoor gardening. Now, she eagerly shares her wisdom and experiences with our readers on a daily basis. If you have any inquiries about house plants, indoor gardening techniques, or caring tips, don't hesitate to leave a comment for Mary in the designated section below!

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