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Home » Aluminum Plant (Pilea Cadierei ): Plant Care and Growing Guide – House Plants Expert

Aluminum Plant (Pilea Cadierei ): Plant Care and Growing Guide – House Plants Expert

by Elyssa Goins
This article was fact checked.
Helpful: 100%

The Aluminum plant is an easy-going house plant that is generally simple to please. So long as the Pilea cadierei plant gets the water and sunlight it wants it will continue to be a stunning addition to your indoor garden for years to come.

Featuring wide bushy leaves that are marked with silver patterns, this native to China and Vietnam does wonderfully as a house plant.

Pilea Aluminum Description

Pilea Aluminum in a pot

With the aluminum plants easy going nature and lack of any real growing problems, it will bush out from its container in leaves of silver and green for up to four years before it dies. The leaves are normally squat and broad, the body measuring up to 12 inches (30 cm) long and up to 8 inches (21 cm) wide.

The root system is extensive and will break containers if it needs more room. This root system must be observed on an annual basis in order to re-pot before pot breakage occurs.

How it looks: 

The individual leaves grow from the ground to their standard size, branching out in an umbrella fashion. These leaves are the plant’s beauty. The silver patterning on each leaf is unique, creating a beautiful tapestry of different shapes on the overall plant.

There are rare occasions when one of these plants will actually flower, but these flowers are small and plain looking. Stems should be trimmed back to half their length in the spring in order to encourage healthy, continued growth.

Flowering and pruning:

 This plant does not flower as a given rule. However, encouraging healthy leaf growth requires annual pruning to half of the stem’s normal length. This encourages the plant to continue producing leaves at a healthy rate, and prevents the plant from becoming too stringy looking.

In the event that your plant does flower, pinch the flowers off at the buds. They are a waste of energy for the plant.


Origin:North Africa.
Names:Aluminum Plant (common). Pilea Cadierei (botanical/scientific).
Max Growth (approx):Height 1 – 2 ft.
Poisonous for pets:Toxic for cats and dogs.

Green and White Shiney Leaves

aluminum plant

Aluminum Plant Care

Temperature:Pilea cadierei requires a year-round temperature between 60-75 ºF (15-23 ºC). It can tolerate short periods of time outside of this temperature range, but continued exposure will kill the plant.
Light:This plant requires at least four hours of indirect, but bright, sunlight a day. Do not permit this plant to be exposed to overly bright or direct sunlight. Too much sun will burn the leaves and cause the green parts to turn brown.
Watering:The Aluminum plant needs to be watered differently during different times of the year. During spring and summer, the top quarter inch of the soil should be kept moist. During fall and winter, allow the top quarter inch of soil to dry out before watering again. Do not permit water to stand in the saucer underneath the plant.
Soil:This plant prefers a sandy soil mixture to live in. Combine one part clean sand (or perlite) with two parts peat to provide the required soil content for continued health.
Re-Potting:Check the root density of Pilea cadierei every spring. If the roots are becoming overly dense, transplant the plant to a size larger pot. If you do not, the root system will break the container in an attempt to find more room to grow.
Humidity:Normal air humidity will please this plant. If your home is overly dry during the winter, mist the leaves every other day with plain water.
Propagation:This plant is propagated through cuttings. Take the cuttings in the early spring. Allow them to rest in a water source for one week, or until roots form. Then transplant to their own container of sandy soil mixture.

Common Problems

  • Bugs will occasionally eat the green parts of the leaves. Be alert for insects and remove them as needed.
  • Blight (plant disease) can occasionally be set up in a plant. It will usually begin in one leaf, turning it brown and rotten. Remove this stem from the plant to prevent it from spreading to the entire plant.
  • Leaves that have been exposed to too much direct sunlight will sunburn and turn yellow. Trim sunburned leaves off of the plant and move the plant to a shadier location immediately.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do Aluminium plants live?

These plants can live up to 4 years if you care for them properly. 

Why are they called Aluminium plants?

The name was given to them based on their unique appearance. The leaves have a metallic silver pattern on them, as if they’ve been splashed with aluminium. 

Why is my Aluminium plant dying?

There could be numerous reasons as to why your plant is dying, but because of their laid-back approach, the most obvious reason would be that you’re overwatering it. If the plant is sitting in water, experiencing root rot or showing moldy soil, you should repot it with fresh soil and cut back on its water.

Why are the leaves dropping on my Aluminium plant?

Believe it or not, this is perfectly normal. As your Aluminium plant grows and matures, it will drop some of its older leaves to make room for new ones. This is a natural process and suggests that you’re caring for your Aluminium plant in the right ways. You should only be worried if the appearance of its leaves begins to change. If they begin to brown, they may be getting too much sunlight, or if they’re yellowing you may be overwatering.

Is the Aluminium Plant safe for pets and children?

This plant is toxic for cats and dogs but should be fine around humans. If your pets are permitted to roam free, you may want to position this plant out of their reach.

How big will my Aluminium Plant grow?

This plant can reach up to 1-2 ft. This makes it a perfect decorative plant – it’s not going to take over your space and you can fit it pretty much anywhere!


The Aluminium plant is a fantastic example of a statement piece. It’s interesting, and unique leaves create a fantastic decorative look, and it’s relatively small, so it can brighten any area!

The Aluminium plant is seriously easy-going. Place it in a bright room to receive indirect sunlight throughout the day. Do not put this plant in direct sunlight if you want to preserve its lovely leaves – sunlight can burn the leaves and cause them to brown.

This plant doesn’t need a rigid watering schedule, but during the summer months, you should make sure that the top layer of soil is moist and during winter, you should let this layer dry out. The plant should never be sat in the water, which indicates that you’re watering it too much.

The Aluminium plant is not fussy about the humidity of its surroundings, despite its origins in hot North Africa. Room temperature will suit this plant and you shouldn’t have to intervene to adapt to the humidity. However, if your home is particularly dry during winter, feel free to mist the leaves with clean water.

Although this plant is easy to take care of day-to-day, you should keep an eye on its size and root density. Because the root system is large and complex on the Aluminium plant, the roots can break containers if it’s outgrowing their pot. You should monitor the plant’s root growth and density and repot it before this happens.

We have several articles about houseplants. You can check Spider Plant, Truncate Living Stone, Bird Of Paradise Plant, Flaming Katy, and Aloe Vera.

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Michael Kalafatas
Michael Kalafatas
1 year ago

Hellow from Greece . I love your site.

Mary Lloyster
Mary Lloyster
Reply to  Michael Kalafatas
1 year ago

Thanks! Did you also collect plants?

1 year ago

My Aluminium plant is drooping
Previous ones began dropping them gradually die
What could be the issue.
No change in leaf colour though

Mary Lloyster
Reply to  Cathy
8 months ago

The most likely issue is watering. If the plant perks up after watering that’s your signal of when to water. If it droops and stays down my guess would be its over watered. Back off your schedule 50% and see what happens. Fingers crossed!

10 months ago

Hi Mary, Thank you for this very helpful post, I couldnt understand why her leaves were turning brown and thought it was from a lack of sunlight so I put her outside. Thank goodness I came accross your site before I could cause anymore damage to my beautiful plant. She is back in the house and under close observasion, Wish me luck!

9 months ago

Hi. I don’t think leaves of Pilea become 12 inches as you mentioned.

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