Pilea glauca ‘Aquamarine’ – Care Secrets of a Serene Beauty

Pilea glauca remains a much loved – if a little enigmatic – plant species.

With dainty metallic gray-green leaves, and warm red stems, its unique character lends itself to many names like “ Pilea Aquamarine”, or “Pilea Silver Sparkle ” (but technically it doesn’t have a confirmed name).

In fact, it seems no one can really agree on what exactly this plant is. You might even know it by Pilea glaucophylla or Pilea libanensis.

But regardless of its name, one thing that’s undeniable is that it is absolutely stunning, and luckily for us, a dream to care for.

Pilea glauca (Aquamarine)

What is Pilea glauca?

This trailing plant looks wonderful when maintained as a bushy houseplant, and makes a worthy addition to just about any terrarium/vivarium setup.

It makes a fantastic ground cover, and works as a cascading plant if mounted high on a background or hardscape.

(Not to mention it’s perfect for smaller builds – I challenge you to find a container it won’t fit in). 

Native to the rainforests of South America, Pilea glauca is super easy to grow and has no unreasonable care requirements beyond those of a typical tropical plant.

So let’s dive in!

Where to Buy Pilea glauca

See the links below to purchase from reputable terrarium plant shops and marketplaces (may include affiliate links). 

US – See on Etsy
UK – See on Etsy

Pilea glauca Care & Growth

Plant TypeVine
LightingBright, indirect light
Temperature55-80°F (12-26°C)
WateringRegular, even moisture
HumidityHigh humidity (60-90%)
Growth3-4 inches

Lighting

While this plant can handle a couple of hours of direct sunlight per day, it will do best with lots of lovely bright, indirect light.

  • Too much exposure to sunlight and you risk scorching the delicate foliage.
  • Not enough bright light and you’ll get a very leggy plant, all stem and few leaves.

If you’re in the Northern-Hemisphere a North-facing window sill would be best, as it gets exclusively indirect sunlight throughout the day, and an East-facing window would be great too (with a little direct light in the mornings).

If you can’t supply this, you can use the next best thing – artificial light.

A grow lamp works a treat and is a great failsafe. 

Watering

Despite its succulent leaves, Pilea glauca is a tropical plant at heart and therefore will thrive with regular, even moisture.

Though (just like a succulent) it’s also prone to rot if left in over-saturated substrate for too long, making excellent drainage the be-all and end-all.

If you’re keeping yours as a houseplant, make sure to choose a pot with drainage holes. Water when it’s feeling a little dry to the touch and tip away any excess water in the drainage tray.

Just don’t leave it to dry out completely between waterings – it’s definitely a moisture loving plant and you’re more likely to run into under-watering issues than overwatering.

In a terrarium/vivarium build you’ll need to add a little water at a time so you don’t drench the system (it’s much easier to add than remove water), and make sure to choose a well-draining soil.

Which leads us nicely to…

Substrate

This adaptable plant isn’t overly picky when it comes to substrate.

A light, well-draining mix with good water retention should be the ideal combination for growth. It’s a good idea to use a balanced fertilizer every month or so too (if you’re growing in a pot). 

Of course, the importance of getting the substrate just right is much more critical in a closed system than as a houseplant.

For a terrarium build, I like to use coco coir as a base, and then add in supplements such as orchid bark, horticultural charcoal and tree fern fibre.

This will boost aeration, drainage and water retention – overall, helping to keep your plants roots happy.

I also like to add earthworm castings to the mix as a natural fertilizer (as you can’t really add much liquid fertilizer to a terrarium once it’s built without soaking the substrate). 

Temperature & Humidity

Pilea glauca is often grown as a houseplant, so it’s very forgiving in terms of temperature.

Seriously, anything around 55-80°F (12-26°C) will do just fine.

And with humidity, anything above 60% will be appreciated – but I’d aim higher if possible.

You don’t need expensive solutions to boost humidity in the home. I like to leave full watering cans around the room to evaporate – it works fantastically.

But, while it can tolerate average humidity and cooler temperatures, it’ll really thrive in a hot and humid environment (it’s from Latin America after all), making it an absolute perfect fit for a tropical terrarium/vivarium setup.

My plant has had nothing but untamed growth after popping it in a terrarium. 

Growth

The trailing foliage of Pilea glauca can rapidly form a thick ground cover for a terrarium. Pruning it back will keep it compact and dense, but it can be nice to let it naturally weave around a container. Depends on what kind of look you’re going for really.

Same goes if you’re keeping yours as a houseplant, trim as you please!

If delightful little silver leaves weren’t enough, look out for the most adorable little pink flower clusters you ever did see. 

And they’re about as impressive as they are attractive.

These inconspicuous flowers can – and will – explode pollen into the air after watering (hence another name it goes by “Gray Artillery Plant”).

I have all of my fingers crossed that I’ll get some blooms this spring/summer.

Propagation

Pilea glauca is an incredibly easy plant to propagate through stem cuttings.

Simply snip off a healthy new growth with at least one node and a couple of leaves, then plant it stem first into the substrate.

Or, you can simply just “chuck it in” a terrarium and let it work its rooting magic by itself, no planting, no nonsense.

They can be propagated in water, but it’s by far the least effective. When I tried it, only a few of the cuttings in water rooted and most didn’t make it.

They’ll do much better in a tropical environment with lots of moisture.

Varieties & Similar Plants

So little is known about Pilea glauca and its origins, there has been no cultivars or varieties identified just yet.

It’s a pretty unique Pilea to be honest.

However, it shares a strong resemble to Pilea depressa with its abundance of tiny leaves and trailing growth habit.

There are over 700 types of Pilea and as general rule, they’re typically suitable for terrariums.

Some of my favorite terrarium picks are Pilea cadierei, Pilea involucrata, and Pilea Mollis (Moon Valley). And of course, who doesn’t have a spare Chinese Money Plant pup lying around? They were practically born to be popped in a terrarium!