Soleirolia soleirolii is a lively evergreen plant native to the Mediterranean area. It has a prostrate or creeping habit and rapid growth; the stems are thin and tender, and bear very small leaves. In a short time it forms dense carpets a few inches high. In summer it produces small white-pinkish round flowers, of little ornamental value. Generally the leaves are dark green, although there are numerous varieties with light leaves, S. Aurea, or silver, S. argentea. This plant, also known as Helxine, is very suitable as a ground cover variety or as a houseplant, to be used in hanging containers.
This small plant prefers not very bright positions, if cultivated in the garden it prefers shade or half shade. Temperatures below -10 ° C cause serious damage to the leaves, but the aerial part of the plant will quickly grow again the following spring. The helxine they can be grown indifferently in the home or in the garden. At home it is good to keep it away from heat sources, to avoid getting too dry air.
The minimum temperature they can withstand is around 4 ° C.
During the hottest days these plants should not be exposed to the sun.
Soleirolia soleirolii cultivation land must be kept constantly humid, but not too wet. In the house water all year round, avoiding letting the soil dry too much; in the garden water abundantly from March to October, thin out the waterings in the cold months, if the plant should lose the aerial part suspend the watering until spring. It is advisable to avoid wetting the delicate leaflets, which are easily damaged. Avoid soaking the specimens of Soleirolia soleirolii outdoors when the temperatures are cold, to avoid root problems.
In the vegetative periods, provide fertilizer for green plants every 10-15 days.
Cultivate the helxine in a soil rich in organic, well-drained, moist and slightly acid pH. Plants grown in containers should be repotted at least every two years, as they tend to grow a lot; the operation must be carried out in the spring period; in the garden place them in a place where they can find adequate space to be able to expand, since these plants, if they find a suitable habitat, can also take on an invasive character.
In spring it is possible to divide the clumps; from portions of even a few square centimeters, with well developed roots, new plants can be quickly obtained. The portions should be placed, with great delicacy, in single containers, filled with rich and light soil.
They are however plants that reproduce with great ease, so it is not difficult to obtain new specimens.
Soleirolia, Helxine - Soleirolia soleirolii: Pests and diseases
The main cause of death of these plants is generally drought; it can however happen that they are hit by red spider mites or that the development of roots is compromised by root rot, deriving from an excess of watering, or, even from a soil that is too compact and poorly draining. However, they are rather resistant plants and are not easily attacked by pests and diseases.