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Beheading a Pilea?

My Pilea mother plant is about a foot tall and has about 6 inches of bare ”trunk”. I was considering beheading it and trying to re-root. Have any of you done this before? Advice? I’ll post photos below in the comments.

Thank you for your help.

Comments (18)

  • SoCal Stewart (San Diego, Ca Zone 10A/10B)
    Original Author
    4 months ago






  • rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
    4 months ago

    Most of the ppl just let it grow tall; mine is about 9-10" now. Bare trunk is normal - oldest leaves just fal off. If you leave some offshoots in there, it will look full. Offshoots are easy to propagate. I never tried beheading, but have seem photos of someone rooting offshoots in water...so if that worked, it may work if you behead the main plant...

    SoCal Stewart (San Diego, Ca Zone 10A/10B) thanked rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
  • Tiffany, purpleinopp Z8b Opp, AL
    4 months ago

    It looks great, slightly stretched but happy. Turning into a nice clump. For my preference, it doesn't look tall enough to cut. The lower leaves are barely above the soil level and the height of the original stem allows light to get to the newer stems.

    SoCal Stewart (San Diego, Ca Zone 10A/10B) thanked Tiffany, purpleinopp Z8b Opp, AL
  • SoCal Stewart (San Diego, Ca Zone 10A/10B)
    Original Author
    4 months ago

    Hmmm…stretched. Etiolated? From insufficient light?

    It lives in an East facing window and gets about an hour of bright, indirect light in the morning before the sun comes up at which point it gets 2-3 hours of direct sun. It then gets bright, indirect light for the rest of the day until sundown.

    What about the appearance points to it being stretched? Yes, there is a lot of bare stem where old leaves have fallen off, but I didn’t realize it was stretched.

    There was a point in early June where it was on a table that was about a foot below the window. I hadn’t noticed any stretching but I was concerned about the light. Its now on a taller plant stand where its been for about 7 months. Maybe it suffered some etiolation that I hadn’t realized & it took someone else seeing something that I hadn’t noticed to point that out. All of the internodes seem fairly close together, but admittedly, this is my first experience with this plant. I’ve had it since April 2020.

    There are no lower leaves on the trunk of the main plant. Totally devoid of leaves from the surface of the soil until about 6 inches up. I think maybe what may look like lower leaves are babies. There are 5 babies in the pot with the mother.

    Good point about the height of original stem allowing all of the babies to get light.

    I’m just wondering now if i need to move it to a South facing window…

  • SoCal Stewart (San Diego, Ca Zone 10A/10B)
    Original Author
    4 months ago

    Tiffany, out of curiosity, what for your preference would be tall enough to cut?

  • Tiffany, purpleinopp Z8b Opp, AL
    4 months ago

    When it's tall enough so the bottom leaves of the cuttings aren't touching the soil, when allowing 3-4" of stem to be submerged to take root.


    It looks great for an indoor specimen. I'm not sure anything needs to be done, your call. With more light, the petioles could be a little shorter, and less distance between the leaves as they emerge from the trunk. The struggle for plants inside over winter is real. ;)

    SoCal Stewart (San Diego, Ca Zone 10A/10B) thanked Tiffany, purpleinopp Z8b Opp, AL
  • rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
    4 months ago

    Not my plants, but this guy that lives in a condo in Toronto...

    His pilea is 'naked' too on the bottom; babies make it looking very full.

    SoCal Stewart (San Diego, Ca Zone 10A/10B) thanked rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
  • SoCal Stewart (San Diego, Ca Zone 10A/10B)
    Original Author
    4 months ago

    WOW! Very nice. A plant to be proud of, for sure.


    It looks like he had to add a stake.


    I may need to move some things around so that mine can get more light.

  • rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    Yes, he used stake since plant grows relatively 'skinny' stem, fast and tall - if you let it. It also reacts to light very fast, so you need to keep turning plant very frequently or it starts leaning toward the source of light. It doesn't need lots of direct sunlight, or leaves start cupping. But it does need good indirect light. I have seen only 1 video (but really didn't look for it! so maybe there are more) where it was recommended to behead, and it branched. If you want to behead (prune), I would do it as tapla suggested...I know you are in warm zone & don't know if that makes any difference in timing.

    SoCal Stewart (San Diego, Ca Zone 10A/10B) thanked rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
  • SoCal Stewart (San Diego, Ca Zone 10A/10B)
    Original Author
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    Thank you for the addl info Rina. Yes, I did notice that one reacts quickly to light & I give it a quarter turn once a week. More often if it seems to need it. I’ll look for the video, but will leave it alone for now. At least until June. I would love it if I was able to induce some back growth or branching down that skinny naked stem.

    I had considered cutting it back by at least half but wasn’t sure if the top would root or just die. I wouldnt want that to happen.

    I also wasn’t sure if the stump would do anything or just sit there looking ugly and ridiculous.

    Either one of those negative outcomes would make me wish that I’d just left it alone.

  • ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5
    4 months ago

    watch a bunch of these.. and im sure one of them will help you decide what to do.. if and when you ever decide to do anything ...


    if you have the option ....many houseplants really benefit form being outside in full bright shade all summer long .... storing the requisite energy they need to make it thru winter indoors .... so as to avoid looking stretched out .. alas.. not everyone has a yard ...


    ken


    https://duckduckgo.com/?t=ffab&q=propagating+pilea&iax=videos&ia=videos

    SoCal Stewart (San Diego, Ca Zone 10A/10B) thanked ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5
  • Tiffany, purpleinopp Z8b Opp, AL
    4 months ago

    Rina, the look on that guy's face is fantastic! His plant is sexy - and he knows it! LOL!

  • rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    Tyler

    Here is the link to a video Planterina posted where she 'talks' to her pilea...& mentions beheading/plant having '2 heads': planterina & pilea... (at abt. 3:05 min)

    There are likely other videos by I don't have a link; but Ken posted a lot of them.


    SoCal Stewart (San Diego, Ca Zone 10A/10B) thanked rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
  • tapla
    4 months ago

    Just a note about aesthetics - a plant with 2 heads or codominant leaders will confuse the eye. When we look at a plant, we usually start at the bottom and move our focus upward. When we get to the bifurcation (the 'Y') we really don't know which side leads to the top. When there are multiple trunks, it's best when the trunks originate at or just above the soil line. Any branching that offers a hint that it wants to become a codominant leader should be guided to a more horizontal attitude so it is perceived by the eye to terminate as a branch. This holds true for all branching plants, not just trees.

    This Japanese maple in the mother/daughter style illustrates the concept. While this plant has 2 trunks, there is no confusion re which is primary.

    Al

    SoCal Stewart (San Diego, Ca Zone 10A/10B) thanked tapla
  • SoCal Stewart (San Diego, Ca Zone 10A/10B)
    Original Author
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    Thank you for that Al.

    I just watched a youtube video where a guy did what I was considering and chopped his Pilea in half. Both top and bottom grew but the bottom now has 4 or 5 heads. All were about the same size, jutting out at different angles from different areas/sides of the trunk and clearly started at about the same time due to his cutting off the top half of his plant. It looked very confusing and I couldn’t help but wonder how all that was going to turn out & look in the future. He was very happy with it though 4 months in.

    Thankfully the guy posted it so I don’t have to make that same mistake.

  • SoCal Stewart (San Diego, Ca Zone 10A/10B)
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    Hey all. Can anyone tell me what this is? I noticed this oddly spotted leaf when I turned the pot. It wasn’t like this before and was all green. Its the only one so far, but it looks like the one next to it might be developing some spots as well.



  • tapla
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    Marginal hydathodes are openings/structures that regulate a physiological process called guttation. Hydathodes are a normal part of the plants' morphology, typically found near leaf margins at marginal dentations. In the nettle family, of which Pilea is a member, laminar hydathodes are found distributed over the leaf surface. Sometimes, in the immediate area surrounding a hydathode, xylem tissue is displaced, which allows water and nutrients to leak into intercellular spaces. If you look closely at the leaf in the image, you'll see a pattern emerge and become more conspicuous in the most distal area of the leaf, which pretty much tells us it's not a pathogen, nor is it related to insect herbivory. While I know the mechanism, I don't know the exact cause. Undoubtedly it's related to high turgidity (root pressure), and the displaced xylem tissue near the structures. Perhaps it is resultant of malformed cells/tissue in the immediate vicinity. Excess water/ insufficient oxygen levels in the grow media commonly result in cultural deficiencies of Ca, which must be sufficiently present in the nutrient stream if cells/tissue are to form normally.

    I would make sure the plant has an adequate supply of Ca in the grow medium (but wouldn't go looking for a source of Ca), I'd use a more holistic approach which includes flushing the grow medium and using a top quality fertilizer like Foliage-Pro 9-3-6). It's important to monitor soil moisture levels carefully. Using a "tell" works very well as a method of determining appropriate watering intervals.

    Al

    SoCal Stewart (San Diego, Ca Zone 10A/10B) thanked tapla