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Pilea cadierei: the aluminum plant

photo credit: TANAKA Juuyoh (田中十洋) Aluminum Plant / Pilea cadierei / アサバソウ via photopin (license)

Origin and characteristics
The original evergreen perennial plant of Indochina, the Pilea Cadierei is a plant with oval, oblong or lanceolate leaves with the typical silver streak that reaches the size of about 10 cm. The plant is very branched and therefore tends to create a bush that does not exceed 30 cm in height and 20 cm of expansion.

Cultivation
The Pilea Cadirei is a plant that loves light but not direct exposure to the sun, needs a humid environment whose temperature must be between 24 ° C and 10 ° C winter.
It should be watered every 4-5 days in winter and every 2-3 days in summer, to ensure that it always has the right amount of water you must check the soil, which must always be moist but not soaked. In summer, water can be vaporized on the leaves to increase the humidity level.
Concerning fertilization it is good to add fertilizer in the water of watering every 15-20 days during the summer. On the other hand, from March to April it must be repotted, it does not require a particular soil but you can mix it with sand to ensure good drainage of the water and place on the bottom of the pebbles or pebbles so that the water does not stagnate and rot the roots. Flowering takes place in the summer but it is not very flashy and to keep a nice bush uniform it is advisable to regularly check for any new shoots.
The multiplication can occur by cutting, just cut a branch, remove the leaves closer to the base and give the tip to put in the ground an oblique cut. Then plant the branch in a soil of peat and sand in equal parts and take care to keep it in an environment with a temperature of about 20 ° C, after about a month and a half will sprout and you can then repot it.

Diseases and pests
Cure from diseases and pests is very important, as the attention to the amount of water that is supplied to the plant, the state of the leaves can provide a prompt response in case of deficiency or excess irrigation. The same applies to the lack of light, a symptom of insufficient lighting is certainly a scarce vegetation while excessive exposure to light causes a discoloration of the leaves.
Botritys fungus looks like a gray mold present on the leaves, caused by the presence of too much humidity in the environment where your plant usually lives, to eliminate it you must first remove the damaged leaves, then treat what remains with a specific fungicide. The plant will then be moved to a drier place to allow the soil to dry.
Stains on the underside of the leaf may indicate the presence of mealy cochineal, to remove it you can use a cotton ball soaked in alcohol.
To eliminate any mites, however, it is good to spray water on the leaves, they in fact proliferate if there is not enough humidity, if once removed manually see that continue to proliferate you can use a specific insecticide.
The aphids are small animals yellowish white, in this case to eliminate them you can rely on a specific pesticide that can be found on the market in specialized stores.

Curiosity
The name Pilea derives from the Latin pileus, or felt cap, and from the older Greek word pilos, something made of felt, is believed because of its velvety appearance or the shape of the feminine flowers that resemble a hat. Another way it is called is "aluminum plant", because of its silvery striations.

 

 

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