How to Plant Baby Tears as a Ground Cover

Best Growing Conditions

Baby tears will grow in any light situation, although it may be a little more leggy in deep shade than full sun. The plant does well in a variety of soils: it prefers a slightly acidic to neutral pH. It does require a constantly moist soil and will not do well in drought conditions. It will produce more of its tiny white flowers in full sun.

Where to Grow Baby Tears

A Mediterranean plant, baby tears can be grown as an outside ground cover in USDA Zones 9 and above. If frosted, it may blacken and die back to the roots, but will quickly recover once the weather warms. It cannot tolerate foot traffic. In warmer areas, it may do better in dappled shade than full sun.

Baby Tears Varieties

Current options for baby tears include:

  • Soleirolia soleirolii – standard variety, shiny lime green leaves.
  • Soleirolia soleirolii ‘Aurea’ – this plant grows a little lower than the species and does not spread as widely. The leaves are yellowish green. It does better in dappled shade.
  • Soleirolia soleirolii ‘Variegata’ – also known as Argentea or Silver Queen. The foliage is silver green to silver gray.

Propagating Baby Tears

This herbaceous perennial roots readily from pieces of stem. Although it may produce seeds, there are no commercial sources. In most cases, gardeners who want to plant baby tears buy a flat of starts from a nursery, divide some they have grown or obtain divisions from a friend or neighbor. In the right conditions, the plant will spread rapidly.

Consider Barriers

Since baby tears can be invasive, you should consider whether you need a way to keep it contained. If you are planting in something like a strip between the sidewalk and the street, it’s not likely to be a problem. However, baby tears grown as a ground cover next to a lawn can spread, unless the foot traffic is high enough to keep it down.

Planting Baby Tears

The small strands of baby tears may look delicate, but they root readily in moist soil. Tease out individual stems with some roots attached. Place the roots in the prepared hole and dribble a little soil over them. Press the soil down gently and water in well. Spacing depends on how fast you want to cover the ground; you can space as closely as four inches apart.

29 Shares

Many of you may or may not be familiar with a tiny plant called Baby’s Tears. It seems as if this plant is too old-fashioned or it’s “Grandma’s plant” or something because it seems really hard to find. Granted, maybe it sells out quickly so none is available, but the blank stares I get when I ask for it seems to mean that it is a relatively unknown or forgotten plant.

But I have finally located some Baby’s Tears at a garden center near me. I will put up a video which may become a series, my Come Plant Shopping With Me videos. Sometimes I get so inspired when I go Plant Shopping…not to mention going overboard. I need to expand my growing area!

In this Pin Image above, I took a close-up view of the tiny flowers that are blooming on the Baby’s Tears presently. They are incredibly tiny but I can see the pale pinkish tone of them. What you see here is as big as they get, but it is still interesting to see. I found one remaining pot of the Baby’s Tears at Stockslager’s and they had one extra that was, for the most part, dead or dying. She told me I could have it free if I would like, so I took it home as a rescue plant. Couldn’t help myself since I am a shopper of the “Death Row” area of Lowe’s and Home Depot. ( Someone used that phrase in the comments on a video, but I can’t find it again to give them credit. So funny!)

Stats for Baby’s Tears

  • Houseplant or Zone 9-11 outdoors
  • Herbaceous perennial meaning it dies down in cold weather and regrows again in its zone
  • Soleirolia soleirolii or Helxine soleirolii or Corsican carpet plant, Corsican curse
  • Insignificant blooms May to June ( mine didn’t read the instructions)
  • Mats to 1/2 to 1 inch tall, lesser light causes it to grows 4-6 inches in looser form
  • Bright light, but not sun. Outdoors mine grew in morning sun up til noon overhead sun.
  • Quickly spread into mats
  • Roots easily since each branch touching soil sends out roots
  • For UNCOVERED terrariums, it will mold in enclosed one.

Full disclosure (My Bad)

When I brought my second free pot of Baby Tear’s home, I planted both right away. I planted the good one first, then the bad one so that I wouldn’t cross-contaminate the one that was healthy. It appeared to me that the plant was a victim of too cold of temperature or dried up for some reason. So I did plant it in a terrarium. However, to get it fully hydrated, I covered both of these terrariums for the first night.

Unfortunately, I uncovered the “good” one next morning, but forgot about the other one. In my defense, one was not next to the other because I didn’t want to let anything get on the newer plants. To make a long story short, by the third day I remembered “Oh, get the cover off that “bad” Baby’s Tears.

Uh-Oh. It was covered in white web-like mold strands. I grabbed my cinnamon bottle to shake it all over the plant. Well, I hadn’t used the flip top. I unscrewed the top and shook. Need I say that the poor plant got a HUGE dose of cinnamon.

We will see what happens with this one, shall we? I hope it survives. Maybe it could have been OK with the right dose of cinnamon, but will succumb to Cinnamon Poisoning because of my “dosage.” Next time, Kim, stay calm!

But my other “good” pot as transplanted into its own terrarium (large open top) is doing fine and is spreading. See how nice it looks? It is the one blooming and I can see growth just in the few weeks I have had it. I also put some stones and wood that I treated myself. But I will tell you more about that in another post and video. It appears to have worked. My tiny pieced of wood still have lichens though. Hopefully that is a good thing.

I grow these outdoors in my hypertufa pots too. This picture below is one I could locate with the Baby’s Tears. Those are mini-hostas growing with a blanket of Baby’s Tears around them. These get morning sun and full sun until about noon and it passes over and then is shaded by the house through the rest of the afternoon. I felt that it grew wonderfully. My little hostas bloom each year. I left the Baby’s Tears outside and they died here in the Ohio winter. I wish I had dug them all up.

So if you even see Baby’s Tears for sale, snag them right away or you may never see them again. It is so delicate that one can almost see the fluids running through the stems in these close up photos. That image at the top is from a terrarium that I had sea shells inside. Do seashells get holes in them like that? Why? Just curious.

Angel’s Tears – Indoor House Plants

Angel’s Tears (Soleirolia Soleirolii) plant gets its name from the tiny, round leaves cascading down slender, fragile stems. This elegant beauty has been potted in a plastic hanging pot. It grows effortlessly in almost all parts of the world. These attractive plants can be grown indoors at shady spots or near bright sunlit windows or patios. It is an active grower and even if you have a small plant, it grows up to be really fast. The Baby’s Tears plant is also called Irish moss and mind-your-own-business. This plant is not toxic to dogs or cats.

Scientific Name: Soleirolia soleirolii
Common Name: baby’s tears, angel’s tears, mind-your-own-business, peace-in-the-home, pollyanna vine, polly prim, mother of thousands and the Corsican curse.

How to grow and maintain Angel’s Tears:

Light:
Angel’s Tears thrives in shade or part shade. Outdoors, it spreads rapidly in moist, fertile soil on the north or east side of a house. Indoors, place it in a bright window, however, don’t allow it to receive direct sun. The golden and variegated forms of baby’s tears are even more susceptible than the green form to browning and burning from sun exposure.

Humidity:
This plant thrives in high humidity. C Look at these simple tips for raising the humidity for houseplants.

Temperature:
Normal room temperatures between 60-75°F/16-24°C.

Planting:
Plant either in a pot, hanging basket or on the ground in a shady spot. These will grow faster if given more water but can survive quite dry conditions.

Soil:
Any great preparing blend; African violet potting mix functions well to maintain moisture which this plant desires.

Fertilizer:
Feed every 2 weeks spring through summer with balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer diluted by half.

Water:
Keep the potting medium moist at all times. It won’t tolerate dry soil. Water every day in all seasons but reduce watering in winter.

Repotting:
Re-pot when the plant kind of overflows from its pot.

Propagation:
The easiest way is to divide. In plants that are well cared for, these ferns can grow very fast and you can propagate more plants every year.

How to Grow Baby’s Tears

Botanical Name: Soleirolia soleirolii

Baby’s Tears plant gets its name from the tiny, round leaves cascading down slender, fragile stems.

Other common names for this plant include: Mind-Your-Own-Business and Irish Moss.

This fast-growing evergreen has a low, spreading habit that spills beautifully over the sides of a container. It won’t grow far though, because the creeping stems need to have contact with the soil.

Given enough light, it may produce tiny, single flowers in the leaf axils. It typically blooms in summer.

Growing in a thick mat of tiny leaves, this captivating plant loves moisture.

Although this creeping plant seems well-suited for the moist environment of a terrarium, it is invasive and will crowd other plants. I’d recommend putting it in its own pot. Trim with scissors any time to keep it under control.

Repot S. soleirolii in spring, when it outgrows its pot — a wide, shallow pot will do. It makes a beautiful groundcover when planted under tall potted plants; however, it’s a good idea to combine Baby’s Tears with plants that prefer constant moisture.

If you just can’t walk past a plant without fussing with it, this one is for you. Water it, mist it, and prune it to your heart’s content.

Buying Tips

  • Baby’s Tears is formerly known as Helxine soleirolii and is still sometimes labeled by growers with that name.
  • Don’t be afraid to buy a small plant, this one grows fast.
  • Some colorful varieties are available. ‘Aurea’ has golden-green foliage… ‘Variegata’ has silvery green variegated leaves.

Baby’s Tears Care Tips

Origin: Italy

Height: Up to 6 in (15 cm)

Light: Will grow in low light, but prefers bright, indirect light. Keep out of direct sun, which will scorch the leaves.

Water: Keep the potting medium moist at all times. It will not tolerate dry soil.

Humidity: This plant thrives in high humidity. Check out these easy tips for raising the humidity for house plants.

Temperature: Normal room temperatures 60-75°F/16-24°C

Soil: Any good potting mix; African violet potting mix works well to maintain moisture which this plant craves.

Fertilizer: Feed every 2 weeks spring through summer with balanced water-soluble houseplant fertilizer diluted by half.

Propagation: Baby’s Tears has shallow roots and can be propagated by division. Divide plant into smaller clumps by gently pulling it apart. Be sure there are roots attached. You can just set the separated plants on top of potting medium, water, and they’ll readily take root.

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