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Photo: Baby's Tears

General description

Common Name: baby's tears
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Urticaceae
Zone: 9 to 11
Native Range: Western Mediterranean
Height: 0.25 to 0.5 feet
Spread: 3 to 6 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Color: White
Bloom Description: Creamy white
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flowers: Flowers not Showy
Leaves: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest
Uses: Groundcover, Will Naturalize
Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 9-11 where it is easily grown in rich, organic, consistently moist but well-drained soils in part shade to full shade. Performs best in bright but indirect light. Best in climates with daytime temperatures of 60-65 degrees F. and night time temperatures of 50-55 degrees F. Plants are intolerant of frost. Leaves remain evergreen in USDA Zones 10-11, but may lose foliage (becomes deciduous) in USDA Zone 9 over winter because of frost, with new growth reviving in spring. Plants are intolerant of direct sun (foliage will often scorch), high temperatures, droughty soils, or poorly-drained wet soils. Best in shady conditions. Once established, this groundcover can be difficult to eradicate. Intolerant of foot traffic. Works well indoors as a houseplant because it thrives in low-light conditions. Likes high humidity. Water freely in summer but reduce watering in winter (keep slightly moist). May be grown as an annual in areas with cold winter conditions.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Soleirolia soleirolii , commonly called baby's tears, is a creeping, mat-forming, evergreen perennial of the nettle family. It is native to certain islands in the western Mediterranean, primarily including Corsica and Sardinia. It is typically grown for its ornamental foliage. Upward growth is only 1-2" (sometimes to 5") tall, but plants spread aggressively and indefinitely (to 3-6' wide) by many-branched fragile stems which root in the ground as they go. Shiny, rich green to lime green rounded leaves (to 1/4" diameter) form a dense, moss-like, quick-spreading groundcover. Miniature, creamy white flowers (May and June) lack petals and are ornamentally insignificant. Plant spread is sometimes characterized as invasive and weed-like, but plants are small and rather easy to uproot. Unfortunately any small stem section not removed will often regenerate. 'Aurea' is a popular golden-leaved cultivar. Genus and species names are in reference to Captain Joseph Francois Soleirol (1796-1863) who reportedly collected plants in Corsica in the 19th Century. Synonymous with and formerly known as Helxine soleirolii.

Properties

Height
1 - 8 cm
Color
  •   
Soil type
Any
Sunlight
Partial shade
Full shade
PH
Neutral
Moisture
Moist but well-drained
Hardiness
Needs protection