A Baby’s Tears plant, Helxine soleirolii, is native to Italy, Corsica, Sardinia, and throughout the northern Mediterranean area. For a very small plant, it has a great many common names: Bits and Pieces plant, Corsican Creeper, Peace in the Home plant, Friendship plant, Mind-Your-Own-Business plant, and Paddy’s Wig. It is also referred to as Irish moss; however, a Baby’s Tears plant is a type of nettle and not a type of moss at all.
Baby’s Tears Plant Description
A Baby’s Tears plant was used as a mossy ground cover long before it became a houseplant. Outdoors, it grows close to the ground in a creeping fashion, producing mounds of small, green leaves and tiny white flowers. This very little plant spreads quickly when planted in a warm, shady spot out of the direct sun. Although it only grows about 2″-5″ tall, a Baby’s Tears plant can spread out over six feet and is often considered an invasive plant.
Indoors this delicate looking plant resembles a mat or carpet of tiny, green, round or bean-shaped leaves on fragile looking stems. As the plant grows, it spreads over the surface and drops down the sides of its pot. When the stems are long enough, you can even put the plant in a small, hanging basket. The Baby Tears “Argentea” (Helxine solerirolii argentea) has silvery leaves and the Dwarf Baby’s Tears plant is often used as a terrarium plant.
Quick Care Tips for a Baby’s Tears Plant
As an indoor plant, a Baby’s Tears requires attention and is not very forgiving. If you want it to grow well it need:
Bright, indirect light but no sun
Barely moist soil but be careful not to over water
Minimum temperature 45°F (7.2C)
Heavy feeding in the spring and summer only
Use a loose soil that drains quickly
If your Baby’s Tears plant starts to decline, you can easily propagate it by plant division or using stem cuttings from healthy parts of the plant.
Baby’s Tears plants like bright, indirect light but no direct sun.
Keep the soil of a Baby Tear’s plant moist but never soggy. If the soil stays too wet, the roots and stems die.
Feed every two weeks in the spring and summer when a Baby’s Tears plant is actively growing. Use a balanced fertilizer diluted to 1/2 the recommended strength.
Normal household temperatures or even a little cooler are best, 60°-75°F (15.6°-23.9°C) is ideal.
High humidity and good air circulation help a Baby’s Tears plant to grow well and prevents brown leaves.
A Baby’s Tears plant gets tiny, white, star-shaped flowers in the late spring.
Baby’s Tears plants are susceptible to whitefly, scale, and aphids. You can read about these plant pests in the Glossary of the website.
Root-rot, due to over-watering, is the main disease to that affects this plant.
Baby’s Tears plants require a well-aerated, quick draining, potting soil that contains a good amount of peat moss.
These are small plants and are usually are found in 4″ or 6″ pots.
Trim a Baby’s Tears plant with a sharp scissors to maintain its shape and fullness.
Propagate by plant division and stem cuttings. You can read more about these propagation techniques in the Glossary of the website.
Poisonous Plant Info
A Baby’s Tears plant is non-poisonous and looks perfect in a child’s room.
A Baby Tear’s Plant is a great terrarium plant, sometimes even too good. If you’re not careful it will rapidly overtake everything else in the terrarium.
Baby’s Tears plants do get very tiny, white, star-shaped flowers in the late spring. The flowers are pretty inconsequential.
A Baby Tear’s plant does very well outside in shady, rock gardens, spreading like a fluffy green carpet. They are frost sensitive and will die back in the winter. Baby’s Tears plants should be kept moist whether growing inside and outside.