Pilea “Dark Mystery” is a spooky-looking but stunning plant with dark, spine-edged leaves. Because of its unique and exotic appearance, it is one of the favorite house plants and can be grown both indoors and outdoors. The best part is that it requires minimal care and will thrive in low light conditions, high humidity, and warmer temperatures.
Let’s find out more about this gorgeous mystery plant.
Appearance of the Dark Mystery Pilea Plant
Table of Contents
The Dark Mystery pilea plant is a low-maintenance house plant that stands apart from other houseplants due to its unique coloring and leaf shape. The plant boasts very dark green and chocolate brown-colored leaves with a silvery metallic sheen.
The leaves have spine-shaped edges and look a bit like lizard’s tails. New growth have a warm rose color and a textured appearance. The plant also bears small pink flowers that arise from the center of the foliage.
Care of the Dark Mystery Pilea Plant
Dark Mystery pilea plant grows well in well-draining soil, indirect sunlight, and a moderate temperature. Let’s take a look at the basic requirements of the Pilea Dark Mystery plant.
Dark Mystery Pilea plant grows the best in all-purpose, well-aerated, and draining soil. To fortify it, you can add organic matter like coco coir, vermiculite, perlite, or compost.
Since the pilea plant is native to rainy tropical and subtropical regions, you will need to create a similar environment for it. To do this, simply add two inches of mulch to the base of the pot to help retain moisture. Also, ensure that the soil is well-draining. To ensure water does not swamp the roots of the plant, you can add a handful of perlite or vermiculite .
Dark Mystery pilea grows well in acidic to neutral soil with a pH between 6 to 7.5.
Dark Mystery pilea plants well in moderately warm temperatures, ranging from 62°F and 85°F during the day and 50°F and 65°F during the night. Like most houseplants, this plant does not do well in colder temperatures, so do not position it before the air conditioner, in a room with a cold draft, or outside in the frost.
Contrary to what its name may suggest, Dark Mystery pilea plant thrives in bright places and should be put in a suitable spot where it can get about eight hours of light. However, make sure you do not put it in direct sunlight as it can burn the leaves. Place the plant in a south-facing room within three feet of a window for sunny conditions. If the plant is getting full direct sun, place a sun shade on the window to protect it from the harsh rays of the sun.
Avoid putting the pilea Dark Mystery pilea plant in north-facing rooms as too little light is not good for the plant and will result in drooping leaves.
Dark Mystery pilea has a relatively high water requirement. Make sure the soil does not completely dry out before you water it. To determine when it is time to water, poke your finger 1 inch into the soil to check if the top soil is dry. If it is, you should give it about a cup of water every seven to nine days if it is placed in a 5-inch pot. If the pot is larger, adjust the water amount as necessary.
Adding perlite to the soil can also help it retain the right amount of moisture while ensuring aeration.
Dark Mystery pilea plants enjoy moderate to high humid conditions. As such, it is important for you to maintain 40 to 60 percent humidity by watering the plant regularly and not letting the soil dry out. On the days when you do not water the pilea plant, it is important to spray around the stem so that the water can be absorbed by the roots.
If you live in a place with dry conditions, then it is a good idea to install a humidifier that adds moisture to the air.
The potting mix you use to plant the pilea Dark Mystery pilea plant will have adequate nutrients to sustain the plant. By the time you need to replenish the nutrients, your plant will already have doubled in size and will require a larger pot anyway.
To fertilize the soil, you can add a half-strength liquid houseplant fertilizer by diluting it in the same amount of water, once in the summer and once in the spring season, to the growing pilea plant. You should not add fertilizer in the winter as the plant is dormant during the season and needs its rest.
Potting, Pruning, and Propagation of the Pilea Dark Mystery Plant
Let’s take a look at the potting, pruning, and method of propagation for the Dark Mystery pilea plant.
The pilea Dark Mystery plant should be placed in small pots about four to five inches wide. The soil should be all-purpose and rich, and you can add peat moss, perlite, and organic matter to enrich it.
Place the plant in the middle of the pot and pack the earth around it lightly. Make sure the plant is watered well and is placed where it gets plenty of natural indirect light.
After a year, your plant will have doubled in size and will need to be repotted.
Even though the Dark Mystery pilea plant does not require a lot of maintenance, it can get unkempt over time. To keep your plant neat and tidy, you should neatly prune the plant’s dry and damaged lower leaves by snipping off the leaf close to the main stem.
You should also thin the pilea plant’s foliage when it becomes thick and scraggly as this will ensure better circulation of the air and will improve the plant’s aesthetics. Do not remove more than 20 percent of the plant at a time.
When pruning the plant, you should also take care to sterilize the shears as that can prevent the spread of infections.
Pilea Dark Mystery plants can be easily propagated from their stem cuttings during the spring months.
Pilea Dark Mystery plants can easily propagate from their stem cuttings during spring.
Choose stems that have a new growth of leaves on them. Use a sharp cutter to cleanly cut off small pieces of stem no more than eight inches long.
Take care to remove the leaves close to the lower end of the stem.
Place the stems into a glass of clean water and put it in a room with indirect sunlight. Add fresh water when required. You will start to see root appearing within three to four weeks.
Add all-purpose potting mix into planters. Also, add perlite or organic matter to add more nutrients.
Plant the small cuttings into the pots and take care not to damage the roots. If necessary, provide some anchorage or support for the small stems.
Place the planters in a place with bright light but away from the direct summer sun. Make sure the temperature is around 65°F for best results.
Common Issues with Dark Mystery Pilea Plants
Like other pilea species, the Dark Mystery is also plagued by various problems like infection, infestation, and lack of light.
The pilea Dark Mystery is quite pest-resistant. However, it can still fall prey to spider mites and mealybugs. You can wash the plant to get rid of these bugs, but if the infestation is severe, you might need to use some insecticides.
The pilea plant can also be attacked by botrytis, which typically infests it in colder months, when the light is not so bright.
If the plant is infected, carefully cut off the infected parts to prevent the progression of the disease.
Droopy and wilted leaves may be caused by a lack of bright sunlight. Your plant needs to have about six to eight hours of indirect sunlight to ensure it remains healthy and vibrant.
Brown Spots on Leaves
Brown spots on leaves may be a sign of scorching. This can happen if the light is too harsh for your plant to tolerate.
If this is the case, move your plant further away from the window or place a sunscreen on the window to reduce the harsh glare and heat.
Dark Green Leaves
The sign of a thriving Dark Mystery plant is its signature black-green foliage with a silvery sheen. If the leaves take a darker green tone, it means they are receiving too much light. As such, you should put the plant in a spot that gets less direct sunlight, preferably in a terrarium or indoors.
Dark Mystery pilea plant can bring beauty to your home as well as improve your indoor air quality. Aside from its beautiful dark leaves, this plant also blooms tiny beautiful pink flowers, which look even lovelier.
By providing a moist environment and placing the pot in a warm, bright, and well-aerated place, you can ensure the health and longevity of your pilea Dark Mystery plant.