Pilea hitchcockii

Family: Urticaceae

Countries: Colombia, Ecuador, South America

Pilea hitchcockii is a handsome little plant with attractive pointed leaves in intriguing shades of deep grey and chocolate-maroon, with tints of silver.  There’s a real depth to Pilea hitchcockii’s leaf colour; the combination of complimentary colour tones and such delicate and pretty serration along the leaf margins is exquisite.  I adore Pilea hitchcockii leaves!

This is a small, clump forming plant that thrives in bright but indirect light.  When choosing where to place Pilea hitchcockii, look for an area with light and bright conditions and soft light.  These plants can also be grown in light shade and partially shaded areas, but if your plant declines move it to brighter spot with softly diffused lighting.  Avoid growing Pilea hitchcockii in direct sunlight, which could scorch and damage the plant’s leaves.

Pilea hitchcockii do not want to wait too long before they are watered.  When caring for your plant, don’t allow your Pilea hitchcockii plant’s compost to completely dry out – water before the growing media dries out.  Poke your finger into the compost, so you you can feel the compost around your plant’s roots and will be able to accurately determine the moisture levels before you water.  Pilea hitchcockii don’t want to sit in continually soaked soil, but these plants need to be watered when the top 2-4cm of compost has dried out a bit.  Plants can be watered from below – to do this pop your Pilea hitchcockii plant’s container (a pot with holes at the base) in a saucer and top the saucer up with water to irrigate your plant.  Leave your plant for up to 20 minutes and then remove any remaining water, as these plants don’t want to sit in water.  Pilea hitchcockii can also be watered from above.

Pilea hitchcockii plants can be grouped with other plants that thrive in the same growing conditions.  Pilea hitchcockii has tantalisingly dark coloured foliage which forms a pleasing contrast to most terrarium plants leaves.  The other plants will help to raise the humidity levels which will be beneficial for Pilea hitchcockiiPilea hitchcockii plants thrive in a very humid environment and they enjoy being misted regularly.  These plants flourish when grown inside a terrarium or bottle garden.

When planting a terrarium, ensure you leave sufficient space around your Pilea hitchcockii plants, as they have a naturally busy habit and won’t want to be crammed into too small an area.  Pilea hitchcockii  is a small plant that grows up to around 15cm (6inches) tall and spreads to form a clump of bushy leaves around 15cm (6inches) wide.

The native range of this Pilea species is from Colombia to Ecuador.  Pilea hitchcockii grows primarily in the wet tropical biome.  This is a tender plant that thrives in a warm and very humid environment.  Pilea hitchcockii is killed by cold weather and low temperatures.  Ensure temperatures around your Pilea hitchcockii plant will never ever fall below an absolute minimum of 14C (58F) at night, although a higher minimum temperature would be preferable; as these plants need warmth and flourish in temperatures from 18C-27C (65F-80F).  When choosing a location to grow Pilea hitchcockii, avoid areas near external doors, windows that are opened in autumn or winter, open fires, stoves, or other spots with cold or extreme fluctuating temperatures.

Pilea hitchcockii is also sold as Pilea ‘Dark Mystery’; I am very happy to be proved wrong, but I believe both plants are the same.

To see my Planting List for Terrariums and Bottle Gardens, please click here.

To read articles I’ve written about my terrariums and bottle gardens, please click here.

To see more houseplant pages with pictures and information on growing a wide range of indoor plants, please click here.

To read articles about houseplants, please click here.

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