Aluminum & Artillery Plants
Aluminum (Pilea cadierei) and artillery plants (Pilea microphylla) grow well in a home environment, but the dwarf aluminum plant makes the best houseplant. The aluminum plant has unusual silver markings on the raised portions of its deep-green leaves, while the artillery plant is fine textured and has bright green leaves.
These plants grow in most potting soils suitable for houseplants, as long as the soil is well-drained. For good plant growth, keep the soil evenly moist, and water only when the soil surface appears dry. For the greatest success, check your plants daily and water only when necessary. If the soil feels dry, apply enough water so that some drips from the base of the container, then remove excess water from the saucer.
Aluminum and artillery plants need fertilizer every five to six weeks when actively growing. Liquid or soluble fertilizer is the easiest to apply, but be sure to follow the manufacturer's directions for correct rates. To avoid root injury, never apply fertilizer to dry soil. Remember to pinch the growing tips of these plants occasionally. It helps produce a stockier, more shapely plant.
During the summer, these plants should be grown in partial shade– a location 3-6 feet from a window usually provides enough light without scorching the leaves. In winter, they prefer well-lit areas, for example, near a window with southern exposure (but not in direct sunlight). Day-time temperatures of 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit and night-time temperatures of 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit are best for aluminum and artillery plants. Be sure to keep plants away from cold or hot drafts from heat and air conditioner vents, and from the temperature swings from being close to a window.
Do you have a question? Try Ask an Expert!
Updated Wednesday, October 12, 2016