PIGGYBACK PLANT

FAMILY: Saxifragaceae | GENUS: TOLMIEA menziesii

TYPE
  • Perennials
SUN EXPOSURE
  • Partial Shade
  • Full Shade
  • Filtered Light
WATER
  • Regular Water
  • Ample Water
PLANTING ZONES
  • TS (Tropical South) / Zone 10
  • TS (Tropical South) / Zone 11
SPECIAL FEATURES
  • House Plants

Plant Details

Native to the Coast Ranges from California to Alaska, this plant gets its common name from the little plantlets that appear atop its hairy leaves once they've matured. Attractive, triangular to heart- shaped, shallowly lobed leaves of variable size (to 5 in. long) are borne on leafstalks that also vary in length. Leaves are solid medium green. Tiny, rather inconspicuous reddish brown flowers are held atop 1- to 2-ft.-tall stems. Flowers are small and inconspicuous. 'Taff's Gold' has foliage irregularly mottled in yellow to chartreuse.

Where it's winter hardy, piggy- back plant makes a nice, spreading, foot-tall ground cover for moist shade; plantlets formed at the junction of leafstalks and leaf blades root where they touch soil. Most people, however, grow it as a houseplant, usually in a hanging basket.

Outdoors, grow in cool, moist, rich soil. Indoors, give bright indirect light (no hot sun). Let the soil surface go dry to the touch between waterings. Fertilize every other week in spring and summer and monthly in fall and winter with a general-purpose liquid houseplant fertilizer. Easy to propagate: Just detach a leaf carrying a plantlet and place on top of moist potting mix so that the juncture between stem and leaf is in contact with soil. Pins or a U-shaped wire will help keep the leaf in position. Keep the soil evenly moist. The leaf will gradually die, but the plantlet will root.

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