The Piggyback plant is quite an intriguing plant. This versatile, low-maintenance plant thrives in bright, indirect light and a damp soil surface. It is common in North America and prefers moist environments. Its flowers bloom in spring and summer months amongst the contrasting foliage. This plant can be grown in a pot or outdoors.
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When growing indoors, a wide pot and high humidity are preferred. This plant also has hairy leaves, and new plantlets tend to grow over the leaves once they mature. In their native habitat, these plants are also used for ground cover.
Level of Toxicity
This plant is non-toxic to both pets and humans if ingested. However, if it is eaten in a large amount, it can cause loss of appetite and nausea.
Intro to the Piggyback Plant
The Piggyback plant is a nickname given to the Tolmiea Menziesii. It is also often referred to as the ‘’outh on AAge’plant as new plants grow over mature leaves. This plant has heart-shaped leaves that are dark green. The leaves are usually hairy with uneven edges. Leaf blades also often form buds that develop tiny plantlets near the stems.
The Piggyback plant is well known for its unusual growth habits. These perennial plants are native to North America and are an excellent houseplant option. They can grow all year round if kept indoors and have a medium to fast growth rate. The Tolmiea Menziesii grows on the moist, shaded, and cool forest floor when in the wild.
Growing in the United States
If you live within the United States hardiness zone 7 to 9, you can also plant the Piggyback plant outdoors in late spring and summer.
An Evergreen Perennial
The Piggyback plant is an evergreen perennial that measures one to two feet in height. This plant is also often referred to as the ‘’ickaback plant’’ Sometimes it is referred to as ‘’housand mothers’’ It grows well in partial shade as opposed to bright light and direct sun. It usually blooms in the summer and late spring seasons.
This plant is known to produce purple-ish green flowers. It also thrives when grown in acidic to neutral soil. Today the Piggyback plant can be found from western America to the northern California to Alaska.
Growing The Piggyback Plant Indoors
Plant enthusiasts often feel growing the Piggyback plant indoors is quite a rewarding experience. This is because this plant becomes attractive swiftly without demanding much in return.
The Piggyback plant’s beautiful foliage is the center of attention when grown indoors. IIt’sleaves are lightly lobed, resembling that of ivy. Contrasting color combinations are also apparent between the mature dark green leaves and the fresher light green ones. It can also be grown as hanging plants in hanging baskets.
Piggyback Plant Care and Growing Tips
Let’s look at the Piggyback plant’s requirements when grown indoors and outdoors.
Piggyback plants grow well when kept in bright locations. Direct sunlight or too much shade does not suit them. When growing your Piggyback plant indoors, you can conduct a small test if you are worried about the space being too dark for the plant.
If you can read a newspaper inside the room with your back to the window, the light level is sufficient for the Piggyback plant. It’s best to place your plant about two meters away from a window facing northward. Keeping the plant near a window facing eastward or westward is also possible.
Exposure to Indirect Sunlight Works
You can also keep your indoor or outdoor Piggyback plant under direct sunlight in the mornings, as morning sunlight is usually soft. But keep the plant in a shady spot during the harsh afternoon sun.
Piggyback plants grow well when the soil is moist. Your plant will probably be unhappy if the soil’s moisture level is inconsistent. IIt’sleaves will also become more crisped.
When watering your Piggyback plant, allow the soil’s top layer to dry out before watering again. Watering should also be more infrequent during the winter and autumn months than during the summer.
Symptoms of Underwatering
Symptoms of underwatering in the Piggyback plant include brown leaf edges, dehydrated leaves, and the death of little leaf plantlets.
Symptoms of Overwatering
If you overwater Piggyback plants, their foliage turns yellow and rots. New leaves cease growing, and the plant eventually dies.
Ensure Soil Evenly Moist
If you feel your home is rather dry or if it’s dry outdoors, do occasionally mist your Piggyback plant. Also, ensure the soil remains moist all year round. The soil should never dry out entirely. As the Piggyback plant is also a woodland plant, well-drained, and humus-laden soil is a given.
When your Piggyback plant is still growing, ensure to fertilize it after you water it every four times. In the winter and autumn seasons, fertilize after every six glasses of water. You can fertilize this plant using a good houseplant fertilizer. This will contain all the necessary nutrients for Piggyback plants to grow. An all-purpose fertilizer can also do the job if you cannot find a houseplant fertilizer. Do follow the fertilizer label’s instructions thoroughly before you use it for things to go smoothly. You can also use a liquid fertilizer.
When your Piggyback plant is actively growing, feeding it monthly from the months of May to September is a great idea.
Piggyback plants respond well to high humidity. Using a room humidifier is a good idea when growing plants indoors with low humidity. You can also use a humidity tray to provide your plant with an environment it will like. This also reduces the chances of dehydration within the plant. Keeping your plant on a pebble tray is also a good idea.
Also, remember Piggyback plants don’t like dry air and high heat levels. These plants do well in moist areas and thus can be kept in bathrooms and kitchens indoors.
When outside, Piggyback plants like environments that resemble forests with average temperatures ranging from fifty to seventy-five degrees F.
Methods of Propagation
Piggyback plants can be propagated through leaf cuttings as well as seeds sow. These plants are easy to propagate and can grow indoors and outdoors.
To propagate the Piggyback plant take a mature leaf cutting with the stem. Place this in moist soil until you see signs of growth. Also, these plants don’t live long when they grow indoors, so planting leaf cuttings every year is a great idea.
If you want to repot your Piggyback plant, do so in spring. Place your adult plant in a larger pot and pile it with more soil. Usually, Piggyback plants near the end of their lives within two years. This is when you set the older plants outside on the porch for the remainder of the season. You may pay more attention to the smaller plants and keep them indoors.
Also, when potted Piggyback plants become root bound, their growth is affected, and they begin lacking vitality. You know the plant is root bound when you water it, and the water rapidly seeps out the container’s drainage hole. Repotting your plant is a great idea when root-bound. It’s best to repot in the spring season so the plant can adjust and rebound quickly.
To repot your Piggyback plant begin by lifting the plant from its container. Trim all extra roots and any extra branches. Replant it in a larger container that has rich, well-drained soil. Water the plant and place it in a bright location.
Piggyback plants usually bloom in the summer months or in spring. But when this plant specie is grown domestically, chances are it may never bloom. This can be due to inadequate growing conditions.
However, when this plant does bloom, it has small tube-shaped flowers that are small in size and purple in color.
The Piggyback plant is prone to pests such as whitefly, mealybugs, and spider mites. This plant’s common diseases include heart rot, leaf rot, southern blight, and more.
Examine your plant thoroughly, especially on the underside for the presence of pests. If you detect little green-colored aphids or tell-tale spider mite webs on your plant, you will need to tend to this condition.
You can treat infestations by applying neem oil to your plant or using insecticide.
The Piggyback plant is an exciting plant to grow and care for. These plants make excellent houseplant options as they are low-maintenance and can easily be kept indoors. They also have unique contrasting foliage consisting of mature dark green leaves and little light green plantlets. These unique plants are one of plant enthusiasts favorite choices.