Baby Tears plant aka Soleirolia soleirolii [so-ley-ROH-lee-uh, so-ley-ROH-lee-eye], is a plant in the nettle family (Urticaceae).
It’s a creeping herb with bushy growth-producing many tiny white flowers (not to be confused with Sagina Irish moss or Pilea plants).
The easy to grow plant is native to the northern areas of the Mediterranean but has appeared in other parts of the world, including Ireland where it obtained several common names.
Some of the most commonly used names include Paddy’s wig and Irish moss – even though it’s not a moss.
There are a couple of true moss plants going by the common name Irish moss.
Other common names for Soleirolia soleirolii or Helxine soleirolii include:
- Angel’s tears
- Bread and cheese
- Bits and pieces
- Corsican creeper
- Corsican curse
- Friendship plant
- Pollyanna vine
Adding to the long list of names, most people call it baby’s tears.
No matter what you call it, use proper care to keep it alive for many years.
Baby Tears Plant Care
Size and Growth
The Corsican creeper provides suitable ground cover in USDA hardiness zones 9 through 11.
It rarely reaches more than 4” inches in height, but it can spread a couple of feet, providing a matted carpet of tiny green foliage.
In cooler climates, grow it in a container and bring it in for the winter.
While it appears fragile, this low growing plant grows quickly and can overtake other plants.
When grown near a wall or structure, it may even start to climb.
Flowering and Fragrance
Baby tears produce a multitude of tiny white flowers and round leaves during the spring.
Unfortunately, it rarely flowers when cultivated.
It’s mostly grown for its foliage.
The green leaves of this little plant resemble a dense mat or carpet of tiny leaves.
Two color variants are available, ‘Aurea’ with golden foliage, and ‘Variegata’ with white stippling.
Light and Temperature
Baby’s tears grow best in locations with bright locations, but best in bright indirect light or partial shade and not direct sun.
The plant can’t tolerate frost.
If grown in a cold climate, bring it inside for the winter to avoid turning the plant into a pile of black mush.
During the summer, it can tolerate the extremely warm temperature and a high humidity level.
As an outdoor plant, baby tears grow best in temperatures of 50° – 70° degrees Fahrenheit (10° C – 21° C).
NOTE: Baby tears require more water during periods of extremely hot temperatures as the heat dries out the plant and soil.
Watering and Feeding
Instead of watering the soil from above, pour water into the saucer and allow the root ball to soak up the moisture.
Check the moist soil frequently to ensure it remains at optimal levels but do not let the potting mix get soggy.
The dainty baby’s tear requires medium to high humidity and good air circulation.
A commercial potting soil lightened with peat moss or perlite provides a healthy growing medium.
During the winter, the plant may not need as much water, but it still needs watering to avoid drying out.
Feed the plant using a diluted liquid fertilizer during the spring and summer.
Cut back the feeding in the fall and stop feeding in the winter.
Soil and Transplanting
Plant baby tears in rich soil with good drainage.
If the soil drains too fast, add organic material such as peat moss or compost to help the soil hold moisture.
The root system is thin, making transplanting difficult, instead of transplanting the plant, trim offshoots and propagate them.
Baby tears plants don’t need grooming but prune new shoots to manage the growth and keeps it from overtaking the garden.
How to Propagate Angel’s Tear
Propagate using offshoots or small cuttings.
To propagate with cuttings, remove the shoots and plant them in small pots.
Keep the young plants moist and mist them daily.
Within several weeks, the new plants should take root.
The following spring, the plants may need transplanting.
When transplanting the young plants, select a permanent container to avoid needing to transplant the plants a second time.
Another option is to propagate with offshoots.
Place a saucer next to the mother plant and set a piece of cotton wool in the center of the saucer.
Moisten the wool and then drape shoots across the wool.
The shoots should eventually take root in the cotton.
After they take root, transplant them into individual pots.
Bread And Cheese Plant Pests or Disease Problems
If the plant has leggy growth, it’s not getting enough sunlight.
Move the plant to a brighter spot.
If the plant doesn’t produce new growth, the roots need more water.
If the tips of the roots appear white, soak the entire pot in a larger container of water for a couple of hours.
If the foliage in the middle of the plant starts to wither, the center of the plant needs more sunlight.
Use cuttings to propagate baby tears and allow the mother plant to die off.
While most regions don’t list the plant as invasive, it’s an aggressive grower.
The root system spreads quickly and may take over other plants in the garden.
Use caution if planting outdoors around other plants and manage the spread of the plant.
Suggested Uses For Friendship Plant
People often grow baby’s tear plant for ground cover, as they add a bright green carpet below the taller plants.
Just remember the plant may invade the rest of the garden if allowed to grow uncontrollably.
The bushy growth also makes for lovely hanging baskets, house plant or terrarium plant.
Place it in on a shelf or table, as the short plant needs a pedestal to get sunlight.
They make great terrarium plants, look great in small hanging baskets, in rock gardens, or in a fairy garden.