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Pilea Mojito Care: How to take care of your variegated Pilea

Pilea Mojito Care: How to take care of your variegated Pilea

Pilea Mojito Propagation

From a distance, Pilea Mojito may look like any other normal Pilea Peperomioides, but an attentive eye will notice the different leaves that offer a beautiful splash of freshness to the otherwise green plant.

 

It was only a matter of time before the first variegated Pileas became a commercial item.

Here in the Nordics, Pilea Peperomioides has gotten so common that you have been able to buy them in supermarkets for the past two years or so. I myself have had them for more than 5 years, and finally seeing variegated cultivars filled me with excitement.

But the variegated Pileas aren’t that new, I’m just a bit late to the show. In fact, have a look at forums like Reddit and Quora and you’ll see beautiful examples of Pilea Mojito babies from around the world.

In this post I’ll be talking more about the Mojito cultivar, and since I’m still a new owner of one, there will be some questions left unanswered until I can give plant care recommendations based on my own experience.

Let’s dive right in!

What is Pilea Mojito?

Pilea Mojito is one of the first variegations of the popular indoor plant Pilea Peperomiodes. The other new cultivars are called Pilea Sugar and Pilea (White) Splash. What sets this cultivar apart, is the fact that the leaves have stunning speckles or patches in green nuances, making the plant extra special.

Pilea Mojito leaves
The beautiufl leaves of Pilea Mojito

Pilea Mojito Care, is there any difference?

Yes and no.

Pilea Mojito grows in the same way as Pilea Peperomioides. This means offshoots are removed in the same way and you can more or less treat the plant the same way.

However, variegated plants, in general, need more sunlight. The reason for this lies in the cause of the variegation. Although the variegated leaves fill us with fascination, it is in fact a mutation that does little to help the plant.

Variegation occurs when the plant is not producing sufficient amounts of chlorophyll for the entire leaf to turn green.

Green plants have the ability to make their own food. They do this through a process called photosynthesis, which uses a green pigment called chlorophyll. Chlorophyll’s job in a plant is to absorb light—usually sunlight. – Source: National Geographic

In essence: A variegated plant has to absorb more light to produce the same amount of food as a non-variegated plant.

From Pilea Peperomioides plant care we know, that it prefers indirect light as opposed to direct sunlight.

So where does that leave us with the Mojito cultivar and what I mentioned above with an increased need for light?

I will begin my journey into Pilea Mojito plant care by offering it a high amount of indirect light and limited direct sunlight. This decision is based on the fact mentioned above, that Pilea thrives best in indirect light.

I have taken cuttings that will enable me to experiment with different light settings – can’t wait for them to root and get bigger to start harvesting results!

As for soil and watering, I will care for my Pilea Mojito the exact same way as I do for my other Pileas:

  • Water when the leaves start to lose their elasticity
  • Turn the plant every week, unless you want it to lean
  • Feed with fertilizer regularly during the growth period (spring through summer)

Taking care of a Pilea Mojito is not much different from a normal Pilea. So if you have already succeeded with that one you will most likely do just fine with this cultivar.

 

Variegated leaves can revert back to normal

It’s not uncommon for variegated plants to go through reversion;

Reversion is the name given when a cultivar known for a particular leaf shape, colour, or other striking characteristic ‘reverts’ back to a different form found in the plant’s parentage. Source: Royal Horticultural Society

I have yet to read about Pilea Mojito owners discussing reversion on their specimens, but we have to assume that this is just as likely to happen for a Pilea as for other variegated plants. It all depends on how stable a cultivar we have, and that we most likely won’t know when buying.

How do you keep the variegation?

Variegation is achieved through mutation and selective propagation.

Simply put: gardeners select variegated sections of a plant to be used for cuttings, and continue to propagate the variegated parts until reaching a cultivar that is stable in its variegation.

Has this been achieved with Pilea Mojito? It’s too early for me to say in terms of my own plant ownership and is most likely a case-by-case situation as it depends on where you get your plant from.

When reversion happens, it is recommended to remove the part of the plant to avoid the strong chlorophyll-filled leaves from taking over.

However, in the case of Pilea Mojito, we are not dealing with a plant with an abundance of leaves that will grow back after trimming, and you cannot remove a section in the same way as if it was a fast growing shrub.

My approach?

See Also
Pilea Plant Care Guide

  • Test 1: If or when a leaf revert,s remove the leaf (it won’t grow back)
  • Test 2: Leave the plant to do its thing and see if the reversion becomes a pattern after the first non-variegated leaf appears
  • Test 3: Harvest cuttings that display the most attractive variegation for selective propagation

 

Pilea Mojito propagation guidelines

Taking cuttings from a Pilea Mojito is no different than a normal Pilea. Here are my best tips for Pilea propagation:

1) Remove an offshoot

Use a knife, secateurs, or simply your fingers to grab a cutting from your plant.

Offshoots can pierce through the topsoil or grow directly on the stem. Either way, you simply cut off the shoot without having to worry about damaging the plant – it will not suffer, and doing so won’t stunt its growth.

I prefer to take cuttings that are somewhere between 2-5 cm, but you can do any size. Keep in mind that tiny offshoots will take a long time to turn into something.

2) Place Pilea Mojito cuttings in water or soil

There is no right or wrong when it comes to rooting a cutting, and you can either place it in water or put it directly into soil.

With water, you can follow the rooting progress, which can be helpful if you are not quite sure what to expect or when to transplant.

With soil, you are skipping an unnecessary step of rooting but you do have to be more aware of not letting the soil dry out as new roots are very sensitive. To reduce the risk you can place the pot with soil in an enclosed space or put a plastic bag over it to retain moisture.

Here’s a video of me taking a cutting and transplanting it directly into soil:

 

Share your plant care tips for Pilea Mojito

If you are a Pilea Mojito owner and have experience or plant care tips you’d like to share, please leave a comment below – I’d love to hear from you!

 

Sources

National Geographic on chlorophyll
RHS on reversion

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