The piggyback plant (Tolmiea Menziesii) is also known as the Youth on age plant as it grows new plants on its mature leaves. The attractive heart-shaped leaves are medium to dark green and hairy with jagged edges. At the base of each leaf blade, buds form which develops into plantlets as well as along the trailing stems.
Moreover, the plant will bend its stems and root into the potting
soil. This feature makes the plant suitable for hanging baskets and
pedestals to showcase in the home or office. In addition to the
beautiful green foliage, there are the spectacular variegated varieties
to add more interest and beauty.
These plants are great for the indoors as they are able to tolerate cool and low light conditions being that they are native to the west coast of North America -- one of the few common plants originating in the United States. In shady places these plants are grown as a ground cover, as they reach a height of 12 inches and grow naturally under the canopy of large trees in the forest. One of the keys to success with the Tolmiea Menziesii plant is to avoid direct sunlight.
Provide your plant cool temps with shade and damp soil and you will discover this plant to be both enchanting and dramatic as it portrays the mother plants riding the baby on her back.
Soil: Use a general-purpose potting soil that drains well and holds moisture to keep the soil damp.
Light: Provide bright indirect light near a bright east or south window and avoid direct sun.
Temperature: Provide daytime temps above 50ᵒ to 80ᵒF/10ᵒ to 27ᵒC. Keep nighttime temperature about ten degrees cooler. The plant enjoys spending time outdoors during the spring and summer months, but should brought back inside in early fall.
Water: keep soil evenly moist and never be allow the root ball to dry out. Check often to see if the top of the soil is dry to the touch. If it's dry, then water freely until it begins to drip from the bottom of the pot. Discard the remaining water as the plant does not like wet feet.
Humidity: Keep the humidity high to prevent the leaf margins from turning brown. A room humidifier is ideal for piggyback plants, or place on a pebble tray. Avoid spraying with water to prevent spotting the foliage.
Fertilizer: Fertilize plants once per month during the months of May through September with a balanced houseplant fertilizer.
Pruning: Pinch back old leaves and stems to promote new growth and keep your piggyback plant compact. Prune damaged leaves and stems as necessary.
Repotting: Repot plants the in spring every 1 to 2 years when they outgrow their containers. Move to a pot which is one size larger in diameter in order for your plant to continue to grow.
Propagation: Propagate using the small plantlets which form on the mature leaves. Place plantlets in a 4-inch pot of a good quality potting soil and water thoroughly and place in a plastic bag and tie it. keep them warm to help roots to develop then remove from bag.
Pest: Plants are susceptible to mealybugs and red spider mites. Proper humidity levels help to control the pests.
Warnings: Keep out of the reach of children and pets. The hairy leaves of the piggyback plant may cause skin irritation in some sensitive individuals. Always wear gloves while handling.