How to Look After Pilea Cadierei (Aluminium Plant) - A Care Guide

Updated: Mar 12

Here's some tips on how to care for a Pilea Cadierei, so that you can make the most of this metallic leaved tropical houseplant.

A Pilea cadierei being held up at the Garden Geeks store. | Garden Geeks UK
A Pilea cadierei at the Garden Geeks store.

The Aluminium Plant


Native to the Vietnamese rainforest, the Pilea Cadierei gets it's common name (Aluminium Plant) due to its foliage looking as if it has been splashed with metallic paint.


This herbaceous, perennial, evergreen plant is relatively easy to care for and will add some satisfyingly silvery tones to your home or houseplant collection in a tightly packed shrub like packet. It's the leaves of this plant that are the real showstopper.

Light


Your Aluminium plant will do best in medium - bright, indirect sunlight - similar to the diffused light of it's native rainforests. It can tolerate lower light conditions, though it may grow a little leggy if it has to search for light. If it isn't getting enough light, the leaves may start to go brown. At least 4 hours a day of bright, indirect light is recommended as a minimum.


Try to avoid placing your Pilea in harsh, direct sunlight as it can scorch the plant's leaves.

Soil


Pilea Cadierei do best in well draining soil that is rich in organic matter and has some moisture retention - a jack of all trades soil mix is what you're looking for.


Adding some sand and perlite to a nutrient rich potting mix will help prioritise drainage, while leaving a bit of water retention. You may also want to add some bark or vermiculite to your mix to help with water retention, though not too much - drainage is the priority.


A 1/3 perlite to 2/3 potting soil mix is a good basis to work from, you can add a dash of sand if you like too, with a lesser amount of other ingredients.


Watering


As with most houseplants, overwatering is most likely to be the death of your Aluminium plant. If in doubt, err on the side of caution.


In growing season (spring and summer) you should aim for evenly moist soil, letting the top half of the soil dry out before watering again. Reduce your watering in the winter and if the plant is in a shadier spot, you'll want to water it less than a bright spot.


If the Pilea Cadierei's leaves are starting to wilt, you've probably left it a little too long for your plant's next drink - give it some water to perk it up.


Humidity


Originating form the rainforests of Vietnam, your Aluminium plant enjoys some humidity, though it can tolerate average home humidity levels too.


For best results, consider misting your Cadierei's leaves lightly every so often, or place it on a wet pebble tray, or in a well lit bathroom.


Temperature


This plant can survive just fine in average indoor temperatures of 12-24 °C. Try to keep it away from cold drafts if possible and avoid placing it near air vents or heat sources such as radiators that will wick moisture away from the plant.


Toxicity


Like most Pilea, Pilea Cadierei /Aluminium Plants are non-toxic for pets and humans.

Growth


Pilea Cadierei grow to about 1ft (30cm) tall when mature and spread to around 40cm. You can prune your Aluminium Plant back by about 1/3 to create a more bushy effect once it is fully gown.


Aluminium Plants make great candidates for terrariums. If you're interested in making a terrarium, we've written a guide on how to start.


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