Originally from Corsica and Sardinia, the Baby tears plant, angel’s tears plant or Soleirolia soleirolii plant is a low-growing indoor plant with delicate, oval-shaped green leaves.
It’s also known by a pretty funny name – mind your own business! It grows as a mat-like groundcover, which makes it a perfect addition to hanging baskets and terrariums.
They’re easy to grow and care for, but can only survive outdoors in mild, warm climates, so most people choose to grow it indoors or replace this fast-growing plant each year.
With the right care, environment and attention – which you can find in this ultimate guide – your Baby’s Tear plants will thrive.
How to Grow a Baby Tears Plant
- Water – These plants love lots of water and the soil needs to stay moist if you want them to grow and thrive, but don’t let the plant sit in water.
In fact, in areas where the climate is mild and they get a lot of rainfall, this plant can quickly become as persistent and wide-ranging as weed in your yard!
It is essential to water them regularly, ensuring that the soil around the roots is always wet. On hot days or if it dries out, it will start to wilt very quickly.
- Humidity – Soleirolia soleirolii plants like humidity, around 60%, so they grow well in humid climates or in bathrooms and kitchens, where there’s likely to be more moisture in the air.
You can increase the humidity by misting the plant regularly, planting it in a terrarium or placing it on a humidity tray. If you are growing it in a terrarium, make sure it is getting good air circulation.
- Temperature – In order to grow outdoors, this plant needs temperatures of 50-70 degrees Fahrenheit. They can handle a light frost (especially if growing under the cover of other plants) but freezing temperatures will kill the plant.
- Sunshine – They will grow best in filtered or indirect sunlight, and can even handle full shade, growing well under artificial light.
Ideally, you should situate them indoors in a room that gets a fair amount of light but no direct sunlight, or outdoors on a covered patio or under trees and shrubs.
Direct sunlight will burn the leaves, turning them brown and crisp.
- Soil – Baby Tears plants can grow in almost any soil, although they especially like rich soil that has a high nutrient content, like a good quality potting soil.
If you are growing it outside in your yard, mixing organic content like compost and manure will give you great results.
- Fertilizer – These plants aren’t fussy when it comes to fertilizer and don’t need much – as long as the soil quality is pretty good, they’ll grow well.
You can feed it with a diluted general purpose liquid fertilizer (granular fertilizer can burn the delicate leaves) once every 2 weeks through spring and summer.
Mist down your plant after feeding, as residual fertilizer on the leaves can cause burns.
Why is My Baby Tears Plant Dying?
The most common reason for Baby’s Tears plants to die is incorrect watering. This plant likes lots of water, but leaving it waterlogged will cause root rot. Getting the right watering can help avoid overwatering.
They also react quickly to a lack of water, rapidly wilting and drying out if the soil gets too dry. The best rule to follow is to water the plant if the surface of the soil is dry (once a day if it’s hot, dry weather), but to make sure any excess water drains out.
You can also use a soil moisture sensor to make this a little easier.
Can Baby Tears Grow in Water?
No. As a water loving plant, it may grow for a while in water, but it’s not going to thrive. Water won’t give the plants the nutrients it needs that it pulls from the soil, and living in water will cause root and leaf rot that would have to be continually removed in order for the plant to survive.
How Can I Bring My Baby Tears Back to Life?
Despite their delicate appearance and name, Baby’s Tears is quite a tough little plant! If you have had a light frost and it’s looking burnt, chances are that the roots are still alive.
The plant will spring back to life as soon as it gets warm, as long as there is no heavy frost. Cover it with hessian sacking to protect it at night.
If you have overwatered your indoor plant, simply let it drain well and don’t water it for a few days and it should spring back to life. If you have underwatered it, soak the soil and mist the plant – if it hasn’t been too long, it should come back to life.You can also propagate your Soleirolia soleirolii to restore it, taking heathy parts of the plant out and repotting it to grow a new plant.
Will Baby Tears Spread?
This plant will spread vigorously if watered well and in the right climate, forming a thick green mat under trees and over rocks. It is very useful for suppressing weed growth, as it grows so quickly.
It doesn’t tolerate being walked on, so you will need stepping stones if you are growing it on a pathway.
Do Baby’s Tears Need Sun?
This is a full shade or semi-shade plant, so it doesn’t need any direct sun, as this will burn the fragile leaves. It will do best under trees and shrubs and in other shaded areas of the yard, as well as in rooms that get moderate light. It even grows well under artificial light.
Is Baby’s Tears Poisonous to People and Pets?
This is a child and pet-safe plant that is non-toxic to dogs, cats, horses and other animals.
Repotting a Baby Tears Plant
Because this is such a vigorous and low maintenance plant, it’s easy to re-pot.To repot your soleirolia soleirolii plant:
- Remove the original plant from its container carefully by tipping it upside down into your hand and tapping the bottom of the container to free it.
This will reduce the damage to the fragile roots and leaves. If it is stuck firm, push a stick through the drainage holes to loosen it.
- Repot in a bigger pot using commercial potting soil with some compost mixed in. Choose a pot that is the right size for your space – as large as you want it – as this plant will quickly grow to fill it.
- Water gently to help the roots settle.
How to Propagate a Baby Tears Plant
This is one of the easiest plants to propagate. In fact, wherever the little roots touch the soil, the plant will grow!To propagate your soleirolia soleirolii plant:
- Use a hand trowel to cut a section of your original plant free. Don’t worry too much about damage, as the plant will quickly grow back.
- Place the section into a pot of commercial potting soil with some compost mixed in.
- Water gently to help the roots settle.
- You should start seeing signs of new growth within a week or so.
Maintaining Your Baby’s Tears Plant
As we’ve mentioned, this plant grows quickly and vigorously when it’s in the right climate, so cutting it back can be necessary to keep it in check. You can clip it back as much as you want, trimming it into a shape or size that’s right for your pot or yard.
It’s especially important to trim it back if it’s in a terrarium, as it can quickly overrun other small plants.
If you have an Aurea (golden) or Variegata (white stippling) variety, you need to regularly clip away standard green stems and leaves that appear, or it will revert to a solid green.
Protecting Your Plant from Diseases and Pests
These plants are quite low maintenance, with little risk of any diseases or pests. The main issue is root rot, from overwatering. If your plant is wilting and dying even though the soil is wet, it is probably overwatered.
Simply stop watering and it will revive, or remove a healthy section of the plant and repot it into a new container with good drainage. Only water when the soil surface feels dry.
Now it’s Time for Your Baby Tears Plant to Thrive!
Simply by following this great guide, your soleirolia soleirolii should grow to become a beautiful addition to your yard or indoor plant collection.
Remember to water frequently to keep the roots moist, but make sure excess water can drain out easily. Keep it out of direct sunlight in a humid environment, or mist it regularly to help create the climate it grows best in.
By feeding it twice a month with diluted liquid fertilizer, your baby tears plant will thrive – just remember to prune it regularly to keep it from taking over!