| Plants of the genus Pilea are useful
in providing some interesting foliage patterns and colors in the vivarium.
They like the growing conditions that are available in tropical forest
vivariums, which certainly doesn't hurt matters. The only thing that they
need besides the warmth and humidity is bright light. The light should
be just bright enough to maintain colors and compact growth without causing
leaf burning or bleaching. In most vivariums, that would probably mean
maximum light exposure unless it's directly under extremely powerful light
sources such as metal halide lighting.
The plants will do best if they are maintained
at a temperature between 65°F (18.3°C) and 85°F (29.4°C).
Temperatures should not go below 55°F (12.8°C). If the vivarium
substrate is suitable they can easily rooted on site. If fact, taking young
tip cuttings from commercially grown plants that have been grown on a bit
at home may be the best way to avoid introducing pesticides and other noxious
chemicals from that the plants may have been exposed to.
They can take waterlogged situations but prefer
a well aerated substrate. Poor aeration at the roots can result in poor
leaf growth. The plants do like to be kept evenly moist, but can
dry out a bit between waterings if necessary.
If growing tips are pinched regularly, then
the plants should remain nice and densely branched. If they start to become
rather leggy, then tip cuttings can be used to restart them.
Some Pilea that are may be available
FOR THE VIVARIUM
P. cardierei (aluminum plant) A popular upright growing plant with
raised silvery patterns between green veins on the leaves. The variety
'Minima' has smaller leaves and stays more compact.
P. involucrata (Panamiga, friendship plant) Has dark green leaves
that turn coppery in bright light. The variety 'Moon Valley' has textured
leaves that are dark bronze with bright fresh green edges.
P. microphylla (artillery plant) This plant is named after the way
it expels clouds of pollen. The plant has a ferny appearance, with tiny
P. nummularifolia (creeping charley) A creeping plant with small
pale green leaves.
P. pubescens 'Metallic Blue' has pointed leaves that are completely
P. spruceana The variety 'Norfolk' has roundish bronze leaves with
two sliver stripes along the midvein. The bronze color gets darker with
good light. 'Silver Tree' is a more upright grower with dark pointed leaves.
The leaves have a broad sliver stripe running down the center.