Piggyback or Friendship Plant - Knowledgebase Question

pine bluff, AR
Question by orpha
June 23, 2006
How old does the Friendship or Piggy Back plant have to be before it blooms? I'm not sure if these are two different plants or the same plant with two different names. Where did the plant come from?

Answer from NGA
June 23, 2006


Named after the Swedish botanist Tolmie, Tolmiea menziesii (piggy back plant) occurs in moist forests and streambanks from Alaska south to northern California. The piggy back plant is a favorite plant for plant lovers of all ages. Its popularity is due to its durability and relative ease to grow. The piggy back plant has bright green leaves and trailing stems. What makes this plant novel is its ability to develop new plants at the base of every leaf, which can be easily rooted to start additional plants. It's often grown in a hanging basket to best display its long, delicate stems. It flowers at 2-3 years of age, if growing conditions are right.

The piggy back plant may be grown in bright, moderate or low light. To avoid burning tender leaves, place your plant in indirect sunlight. An east or west window in your home will provide the best exposure for the piggy back plant. May is the best time to move your plant outdoors for the summer months. Place your plant in filtered shade, and be sure to bring it back indoors by early September. The piggy back plant will grow in a wide range of temperatures, but the average daily temperature should be above 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Night-time temperatures should be between 50 to 60 degrees.

The soil for piggy back plants should be evenly moist. The most successful growers check their plants daily and water only when necessary. If the soil feels dry, apply enough water so that some of the water drips from the base of the container. Discard the excess water. Fertilize piggy back plants monthly between May and September, and every six to eight weeks during the remaining months. Use a liquid fertilizer for house plants, and be sure to follow the manufacturer's recommendations.

Friendship plant is Pilea involucrata, a completely different plant.

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