There’s no way of denying it: your Pilea Peperomioides is broken in half. Is it time to panic? Luckily not, because you’ve got yourself one heck of a sturdy plant. In this post, I’ll be showing you all your options when your Pilea has accidentally been damaged in shipping, snapped in half, or other ways broken the stem.
Deep breath. It’s not as bad as you may think.
For many of you, I know the process of even acquiring a Pilea Peperomioides may have been lengthy and problematic, and therefore you are extra careful around this green little wonder. But the reality is, you don’t need to be.
I have been growing Pilea Peperomioides for more than 5 years, and during this time I’ve tried more or less everything you can with the plant:
- Chopped the roots up
- Propagated leaves
- Gotten Pilea flowers, and tried to sow Pilea seeds
- Let it grow in the garden over winter exposing it to frost and snow
- Exposing it to grow lights
You name it, I’ve done it.
I, therefore, feel 100% confident when telling you, that if you’ve accidentally broken off a Pilea stem, your plant can continue its growth, just in a slightly different way. Let me explain.
4 solid options for a Pilea Peperomioides with a broken stem
1) Turn your broken stem into 2 Pilea plants
When your Pilea stem has snapped in half, your main concern is going to be whether or not you can somehow fix a broken plant stem.
The answer is yes and no.
If your Pilea stem broke in half, you cannot piece the two bits of the stem together again (probably not a big surprise). So first and foremost, you have to accept that your Pilea will not be the same as before, but let me tell you that it can survive.
You may even be surprised to learn, that people, including myself, willingly cut our Pilea in half to achieve a healthier and/or different-looking plant.
Here’s what happens when your Pilea stem breaks in 2 (or more) pieces:
Pilea Peperomioides follows the principles of apical growth. What this means is, that new growth will always continue in the same direction unless disturbed.
If the plant’s growth is disturbed by for instance a broken stem, the bottom half of the stem that now has no growth center, will start to sprout from the nodes underneath the cut. Here’s what that looks like:
And what about the top half of the plant you may ask?
For the upper part of the Pilea that’s broken in two, your plant now has no root system and this needs to be developed if you want this part to continue living. You have two options:
- Put your Pilea in water and wait for it to root
- Put your Pilea in soil, keep the soil moist until you see leaf growth
With both methods I will recommend that you remove 80% of the existing leaves, to give the plant a chance to spend its energy developing roots and not trying to maintain leaves.
Once the upper part has developed roots, it will continue growing upwards, following the principles of apical growth.
And that is how you can get two viable Pilea plants after facing a broken stem.
2) Remove petioles for leaf propagation
Besides getting the different parts of broken Pilea to grow individually, you can also start different propagation methods. One of the fun, but least efficient, ways of propagating Pilea Peperomioides is using a singe leaf.
3) Propagate cuttings
The most traditional and straightforward way of propagating Pilea Peperomioides is by simply removing the Pilea babies that are visible. This can be done with a knife, secateurs or a pair of hands. I have both text and a video guide for Pilea propagation in this post.
4) Propagate Pilea from roots
Many people are not aware, that removing a bit of Pilea root can become a propagation project in itself. On a piece of root you have nodes that will start to produce growth once they are no longer covered in soil. It’s a lengthy process, but also one of the more fun propagation ways if you ask me.
The easiest way to do this is when repotting your Pilea, where you have access to the entire plant and can easily remove sections of the roots. Put the root bits in soil or place them on soil, and they will continue growing. Fascinating!