Moon Valley Pilea (Pilea Mollis)

Pilea mollis, also commonly referred to as Moon Valley Pilea is an interesting species of low-maintenance foliage, suitable for a variety of vivariums.

It grows in sprawling matted formations and makes a great background plant to any terrestrial setup.

This plant is safe for pets to interact with and can survive a wide range of conditions, with proper acclimation.

This makes it a great choice for beginner vivarium enthusiasts and those looking for an easy-going addition.

Quick Stats:

Scientific Name: Pilea mollis

Family: Urticaceae

Common Names:  Moon Valley Pilea, Artillery Plant

Habitat: Tropical Rainforest

Height: 6 to 8 inches

pH Range: 6.5 to 7.5

Temperature: 70°F to 85°F

Lighting: Bright

What Is Moon Valley Pilea?

Pilea mollis is a species of the flowering plant usually found in tropical locations in Central and South America.

Popularly known as Moon Valley Pilea or Artillery Plant due to its habit of firing its seedpods hugely into the air, planting itself well out of reach of other tropical terrarium plants.

It grows in sprawling matted formations, fresh lime-green leaves, and small white flowers, serving as a great background plant in a terrarium.

The Moon Valley Pilea mollis | Complete Plant Care Guide

Moon Valley Pilea Facts

The stems of Pilea mollis are often described as “spindly”, the stems coated with dense, soft hairs and short rooting structures which means it requires frequent watering.

The hairs found on the stems attract moisture, allowing the plant to draw more water from the atmosphere when needed.

Its fast-growing and low-maintenance foliage makes it a great choice for vivariums with animals that require access to vegetation.


Each stem of the Pilea mollis is covered in soft, hair-like structures, creating a furry appearance.

The foliage is a fresh, lime-green color with small white flowers. Each features small and pointed, oval-shaped leaves growing 1 to 2 inches long.


Pilea mollis is native to Central and South America and is usually found in tropical rainforest habitats. Particularly in the understory of the rainforest receiving dappled light.

pH Preference

This species prefers acidic soils or substrates, ideally in a range of 6.5 to 7.5.

It is particularly beneficial to use substrate specifically created for tropical plants as it often contains nutrients like iron. This will typically help to promote healthier growth.

Vivarium Type

The Pilea mollis is quite an easy-going species. With that in mind, it will not be too complicated when it comes to choosing the type of enclosure it is grown in. It is best to try and replicate the plant’s natural habitat as much as possible.

Doing so will make it easier to provide this foliage plant with its basic needs. The proper setup and theme of the enclosure will make a big difference to the overall look and health of the plant.

Be sure to choose 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 enclosures with little to no aquatic features.

Vivarium Placement

Pilea mollis is a wholly terrestrial, low-maintenance plant which means it can be placed in a variety of locations.

Plant the stems of Pilea mollis around the base of hardscape structures and taller canopy plants.

Place the plant at the back of the tank to serve as a background plant as it is low-growing and provides excellent coverage for small invertebrates.


Pilea mollis can grow on a variety of substrates including traditional terrarium soil mix, gravel, coconut coir, and even on driftwood.

When planting the Pilea mollis, be sure to pack the substrate around its stems and roots, as this species prefers to have its roots in dense, moist environments.

Ensure the substrate allows drainage, so excess water can easily be removed.


The terrarium lighting required by Pilea mollis should be kept in the low to medium range as it is adapted to thrive under dappled light in its native habitat.

An LED light or artificial bulb that produces a bright and warm light should be sufficient to promote healthy growth.

However, avoid direct sunlight as this could potentially dry or burn the foliage.

Buy Moon Valley Pilea

When it comes to buying a Pilea mollis, there are a few things to keep in mind. Making sure the plant is healthy when purchased 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.

Click the image below to find out more about the current price and other relative info about this plant.

Moon Valley Pilea Care & Propagation

Pilea mollis is an easy-going species of foliage that requires minimal care. When caring for this plant, ensure the substrate is moist and always mist the foliage and stems for humidity.

If small, white flowers appear in the axils of the foliage, this is a sign of healthy growth. Pilea mollis can be propagated through division, although it is not essential.

To divide, isolate a portion of the existing plant at the crown and gently pull away, followed by replanting or potting up the divisions as desired.

How To Grow

Pilea mollis is a tropical plant that prefers humid and warm conditions.

To cultivate this plant, be sure to keep the substrate moist, never allow it to dry out completely, and provide dappled light for at least four hours a day.

Make sure the plant receives good air circulation and use a mister to increase humidity levels.


Water Pilea mollis thoroughly and allow the substrate to dry out slightly between waterings.

Mist the foliage regularly with a mister to provide enough humidity for the plant.

To avoid over-watering, always use a pot with a drainage hole and make sure to empty the tray of any stagnant water.

Plants Similar To Moon Valley Pilea

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 the Moon Valley Pilea hard to acquire or would like to consider something similar to this plant… Here are other tropical plants you might see will do well with or in place of Pilea mollis:

Spathiphyllum "Peace Lily" Care Guide | Tropical Terrarium Plants
Dieffenbachia "Dumb Cane" Care Guide | Tropical Terrarium Plants
Dracaena braunii "Lucky Bamboo" Care Guide | Tropical Plants


Pilea mollis is a perfect plant for any terrestrial vivarium, easy to care for, and aesthetically pleasing. Its fur-like stems are perfect for humidity-loving vivarium setups and the green foliage provides a great foundation for any terrarium.

This species can be a great addition to your vivarium, but be sure the substrate is packed around its stem and roots to ensure healthy growth.

Frequently Asked Questions

No, Pilea mollis is not toxic to dogs.

Yes, Pilea mollis can bloom with the right care and environment. They may produce small clusters of white flowers that grow just above the foliage.

To properly care for Pilea mollis, keep the potting soil moist but not soggy, provide indirect light, and fertilize every month during the spring and summer months. It is also important to prune dead or damaged leaves as needed.

Pilea mollis typically grows to a height of 6 to 8 inches.

Possible causes for a Dying Pilea mollis Plant include:
1. Overwatering
2. Too much direct sunlight
3. Pests or Disease
4. Not enough nutrients in the soil
5. Poor drainage
6. Incorrect temperature or humidity levels

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