Baby Tears Plant (Soleirolia Soleirolii)

The days of using artificial plants to decorate a vivarium are slowly becoming obsolete. Instead, more and more people are choosing to take the natural approach. Real greenery is being added to all different types of enclosure in order to create a more realistic and functioning system.

Amongst the many vivarium plants that are being considered for use in tanks, the Baby Tears Plant is finding a comfortable place within the hobby. In order to guarantee a high success rate for this plant’s survival, it is imperative to know how to properly take care of it. This article will take a closer look at Baby Tears Plant, providing a complete understanding and care guide to growing one.

Quick Stats:

Scientific Name: Soleirolia Soleirolii

Family: Urticaceae

Common Names: Baby Tears, Angel Tears, Bits & Pieces, Bread & Cheese, Corsican Creeper, Corsican Curse, Friendship Plant, Helxine, Mind-Your-Own-Business, Mother Of Thousands, Paddy’s Wig, Pollyanna Vine, Irish Moss

Habitat: Tropical

Height: 6in

PH Range: 5.0 to 6.0

Temperature: 50°F to 70°F

What Is A Baby Tears Plant?

Baby Tears Plant is a species of flora in the nettle family. It is a fast-growing evergreen, known for its low growth and spreading habit. When grown inside a bucket-like container, the plant will usually be seen cascading over the sides. Unlike some other vines, Baby Tears will not grow too far out.

This evergreen perennial’s creeping stems will need to remain in contact with the soil most of the time. This is a relatively hardy plant that can be grown by beginners without much difficulty. Despite its easy-going nature, it will require constant attention to keep healthy and lush. Especially if it is being grown indoors or inside of a terrarium.

Baby Tears Plant (Soleirolia Soleirolii) Care Guide

Baby Tears Plant Facts

Baby Tears Plant is scientifically known as Soleirolia soleirolii. Its Latin name was given after the botanist Joseph François Soleirol. The botanist collected specimens in Corsica and after discovering this species, was the first to introduce it to the plant trade.

Aside from its botanical name, this plant has also acquired an assortment of different nicknames. Baby tears, angel’s tears, bits and pieces, bread and cheese, Corsican creeper, Corsican curse, friendship plant, helxine, mind-your-own-business, mother of thousands, paddy’s wig, pollyanna vine, and Irish moss are all common names used to identify the plant. Despite the similar label, Baby Tears is not to be confused with Sagina Irish moss.

Description

Baby Tears is a delicate looking species known for its myriad tiny leaves. The leaves are usually apple-green and grow attached to a thread-like stem that root as it runs. The lush, dense, rich green foliage resembles a carpet as it spreads over the sides of its pot. Most people describe it as having a moss-like appearance. An interesting quality of Soleirolia soleirolii is its ability to take the shape of other objects.

As it covers the ground it will run over fallen logs, pieces of woods, rocks, or any other object and cling to their shape.  This way the features of the landscape are picked out. In addition, Baby Tears Plant produces tiny white star-shaped flowers in the late spring. Even though the flowers are not very noticeable in general, they will most likely not bloom when grown inside a vivarium.

Habitat

Baby Tears Plant is a species native to the northern Mediterranean region. Although it originally grew in and around Italy (as well as other nearby islands), it is now being cultivated around the world. It does exceptionally well in places that are known for their boggy climate. According to scientific records, it has been documented growing from the northeast of Ireland in counties Down and Antrim.

In the wild, Soleirolia soleirolii can be easily seen growing on shaded banks, damp paths, roadside walls, gardens, and churchyards with dappled lighting. Baby Tears Plant will remain green and vivid in very warm temperatures, but will usually die back with the least bit of frost. The ideal temperature for optimal growth falls anywhere between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

PH Preference

Baby Tears Plant tends to thrive with a slightly acidic pH. A pH of 7 is considered neutral. A pH below 7 is acidic and a pH above 7 is alkaline. The ideal pH for Soleirolia soleirolii will range anywhere between 5.0 and 6.0.

Vivarium Type

When trying to decide what type of enclosure to grow Soleirolia Soleirolii in, the best advice that can be given is to keep in mind its natural habitat. It is a plant that will do well in a variety of vivarium types. However, the proper setup and theme of the enclosure can make a big difference to the overall look and health of the plant. Be sure to go with setups that are moist and high in humidity. Here are recommended vivariums it will do well in:

  • Paludariums – Half aquatic/ half terrain-based enclosure.
  • Terrariums – Fully terrain-based enclosure with little to no aquatic features.

Vivarium Placement

One of the best qualities of the Baby Tears Plant is its versatility as far as placement. This plant can be placed almost anywhere in a vivarium. The final decision will always be up to the individual growing it. This species is known for its carpeting nature, which can be an incredible asset inside of a tank. It can be placed towards the bottom of an enclosure or near a wall and allowed to cover the surface. Doing so can help cover up unwanted equipment or areas of the enclosure that are otherwise empty.

In addition, Soleirolia soleirolii can also be placed within a pot, at the top of the tank and allowed to cascade down. Since the plant will not grow very large, this works well when placed both at the front as well as the back of the vivarium. Last but not least, Baby Tears is a terrestrial-based plant. Therefore, it should not be placed fully submerged in water. It is important to keep this in mind when using the vine in an enclosure with aquatic features.

Substrate

Baby Tears Plant is not too complicated when it comes to the specific substrate it needs. The number one most important factor is that the mix is able to maintain an adequate amount of moisture. Common potting soil should work well. However, if for some reason the soil is constantly becoming dry, try adding some peat moss or perlite. The peat moss will help maintain some water in the mix, while the perlite provides drainage.

Lighting

Soleirolia soleirolii is not too strict when it comes to lighting. This plant prefers bright, filtered light. Although it is capable of receiving short periods of direct sunlight, it is not really recommended. A plant that is left unprotected in the sun will develop scorched, brown leaves.

When growing Baby Tears Plant inside of a vivarium, artificial lighting will work just fine. Most hobbyists lean towards using LED lights. Such lights provide the option of cooler colors that resemble a bright, yet shaded day. These will make sure the plant is getting all the light it needs, without being harmed. Avoid any type of light that has high levels of UV rays. This will be like placing the vine under direct sunlight.

Buy Baby Tears Plant

Buying a new plant might seem like a pretty straight forward thing to do. Most people simply pick up the first option out of the selection and call it a day. However, buying the right plant can make a huge difference. Making sure that the plant being bought is healthy is essential for its success in a vivarium. Vegetation that is already in poor conditions, will have a very hard time adjusting to new environments. Always make sure to buy from a reliable and honest establishment. Whether it is an online store or a physical location should not matter.

On the contrary, online stores may need to be researched a little bit harder to make sure that they are legitimate and are sending the correct plants. In addition, always check the foliage closely for yellowing, wilting, black spots, or any signs of damage. Pay close attention and look for any pests or fungal diseases. Inspect both sides of the leaves to avoid missing any red flags. Click the image below to find out more about the current price of this plant:

Baby Tears Plant Care and Propagation

Baby Tears Plant is known for being quite vigorous growers. Even though the plant does not grow very large in height, it compensates for that in width. Given the proper amount of water and light, Soleirolia soleirolii will take off. Not only will it grow quite fast, but it also has a very lush, compact, and vibrant appearance. One of the main key components will be to make sure that the plant is receiving enough water. Periodically pruning the vine and removing dead foliage will also promote the health and growth of Soleirolia soleirolii.

How to grow

Baby Tears Plant is one of those species that will almost propagate itself. Whenever a stem makes contact with the soil, it will automatically begin generating roots. In doing so, the plant is able to spread without any limits. Nonetheless, if you wish to manually propagate Soleirolia soleirolii, you can do so through the process of division. Simply take an adult plant and break it into smaller chunks by gently pulling it apart. Make sure that there are still some roots attached. Then, the new plant should be set on a different location, given water, and allowed to grow. You should not worry too much about damaging the plant since it will regenerate rather quickly.

Watering

Baby Tears Plant is a plant that requires lots of water.  The soil this species is planted in should remain moist pretty much all of the time, except for when the temperature is cooler. In colder temperatures, the plant should only be watered once the soil has dried at the surface. Even though Soleirolia soleirolii typically require lots of moisture, be sure not to over-water the plant. If the soil becomes, sodden, and completely saturated for long periods of time the roots could begin to rot.

Plants Similar To Baby Tears

Adding diversity to an enclosure is key to an aesthetically pleasing setup. Try mixing up the look of your vivarium with different flora that can easily co-exist in the same types of environment. Furthermore, if for some reason you find this vine hard to acquire or would like to consider something similar to this plant… Here are some other vine plants you might find may do well with or in the place of Baby Tears Plant:

Asparagus Fern (Asparagus Aethiopicus)
Aluminum Plant (Pilea Cadierei)
Radiator Plants (Peperomia Spp.)

Conclusion

Baby Tears Plant is a remarkably resourceful plant that will be a great addition to almost any vivarium. Whether you are just getting started or simply looking for something new to add to your planted tank, this flora will not disappoint. Since the foliage is extremely small, Soleirolia soleirolii is ideal for secluded or hard to reach areas of an enclosure. I would consider this plant as an intermediate level when it comes to care and reproduction. It will not be hard to keep in an enclosure, but it will require some upkeep and close attention. Have you ever grown Baby Tears Plant? If so, what was your experience like?