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How to Grow Baby’s Tears — Soleirolia

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Soleirolia–commonly called Baby’s tears–is a low-growing subtropical plant. Soleirolia grows outdoors in moist, shady spots. Indoors baby’s tear can be grown in terrariums or in containers out of direct sunlight.

Soleirolia is a mat-forming evergreen perennial with creeping, fleshy stem that grow to 6 inches (15cm) in length. The leaves are 1/4 inch wide.

Soleirolia can tolerate a wide range of conditions outdoors. In warm winter regions, it can be grown as a perennial groundcover. It grows best protected from direct hot summer sun. Soleirolia can be invasive if not controlled; it can be difficult to eradicate where unattended.

Soleirolia is a genus of one species. It is native to moist, shaded sites in Western Mediterranean islands.

Get to know Soleirolia

  • Plant type: Subtropical groundcover
  • Growing Zones and range: Zones 9-10
  • Hardiness: Tender; where temperatures fall below 23°F (-5°C), grow Soleirolia as a houseplant.
  • Temperature: Average home temperatures; minimum of 45°F (7°C)
  • Light: Prefers bright, indirect light
  • Height and width: Creeping, dense mats to 2 to 4 inches (10cm) tall; forms dense, mounding mats
  • Foliage: Tiny green leaves grow along pink, succulent stems; plants grow mounded.
  • Uses: Outdoors in shady, moist areas; hanging baskets; indoors in a terrarium
  • Common name: Baby’s tear, Irish moss
  • Botanical name: Soleirolia soleirolii (Helxine soleirolii)
  • Family: Urticaceae
  • Origin: Western Mediterranean islands

Where to plant Soleirolia

  • Grow Soleirolia in bright, indirect light.
  • Plant Soleirolia in a mix of peat moss and soil.
Soleirolia soleirolii (syn. Helxine soleirolii) or Baby's Tears
Soleirolia soleirolii (syn. Helxine soleirolii) or Baby’s Tears

How to water and feed Soleirolia

  • Water Soleirolia to keep the soil evenly moist. Extra humidity is a must; mist plants often.
  • Fertilize Soleirolia infrequently, only once or twice a year.

Growing Soleirolia as a houseplant

  • Give Soleirolia limited light to bright light; direct sun will burn the leaves.
  • Provide an average temperature, high humidity, and evenly moist soil or grow in a terrarium.
  • Fertilizer Soleirolia regularly during spring and summer. Use a liquid all-purpose fertilizer.

Soleirolia common problems

  • The center of the Soleirolia will turn brown if the soil dries out or if the plant gets direct sun.

Soleirolia propagation

  • Propagate Soleirolia by dividing clumps and potting them in an potting mix.
  • Soleirolia can also be propagated from cuttings.

Soleirolia varieties to grow

  • Soleirolia soleirolii (syn, Helxine soleirolii), baby’s tears, Irish moss. Slender, mat-forming perennial with pale green short-stalked leaves to 1/4 inch (6mm) across; produces 4-lobed white flowers in summer. There are several cultivars: ‘Golden Queen’ has gold-green leaves; ‘Silver Queen’ has silver-variegated leaves; ‘Argentea’ has silvery leaves.

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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