One of the things you can do to beautify the design of your interior is to introduce houseplants. Decorating your home with indoor plants offers many benefits. It adds visual appeal, helps improve air quality, minimizes stress and more.
If your home garden is full or want to introduce plants in your living space, consider getting a friendship plant. This guide will tell you how to grow and take care of this special houseplant. You’ll also learn how you could propagate this plant and “share” it with friends, neighbors or anyone who has a green thumb or is interested in taking care of plants.
What is a Friendship Plant?
A friendship plant is a tropical plant native to South and Central America. It thrives on the edges of the tropical forests, which means that this plant requires a lot of humidity like its native habitat. People frequently grow this plant in terrariums that mimic its highly humid home.
A friendship plant also has other names, including moon valley friendship plant, pancake plant, missionary plant, UFO plant, Chinese money plant and pilea plant.
Why People Call it a Friendship Plant
George Forrest, a Scottish botanist, first collected this plant in 1906 and 1910 in Yunnan Province, Southern China, specifically in the Cang Mountain Range.
Back in 1945, a Norwegian missionary named Agnar Espegren rediscovered the friendship plant species. During this time, he was residing with his family in Hunan Province. He then traveled to Kunming where he stayed in this location for a week.
Here, Espegren got a live sample of the famous houseplant, presumably from a local market. He then placed it in a box and brought it to Calcutta together with his family where they stayed for approximately a year. The Espegren family traveled to Norway only in March 1946. They then discovered that the plant is surprisingly still alive.
Agnar Espegren began traveling around Norway and providing sprouts of the friendship plant to friends. By doing this, the plant was able to spread around Norway, and then to England, Sweden and beyond.
The ease of propagation along with the high success rate of rooting is the reason behind the name of the plant — and why it’s easy to share with plant-loving friends and relatives.
How to Grow a Friendship Plant
A friendship plant isn’t widely available in garden shops or plant centers, possibly due to the fact that they grow too slowly to be profitable. If you can’t get a plantlet from a friend, your other option is to purchase this houseplant from an online seller on Craigslist, Etsy, eBay or Amazon.
Once you have the friendship plant, make sure to put it in a well-draining potting soil along with a pot with drainage holes.
How to Take Care of a Friendship Plant
When you’re taking care of a friendship plant in your home, make sure to keep this houseplant away from sunny windows. If you have north-facing windows, this should provide the plant with just the right amount of light.
Just like the bonsai money tree, humidity is the key to keeping the friendship plant healthy and happy. If your home is too dry to provide humidity, house your friendship plant in a terrarium.
A terrarium is a collection of plants that can thrive in sealed containers. The goal is to water the houseplant, and then seal the container. The terrarium then turns into a self-sustaining small world where there’s a constant recycling of water between the inside atmosphere, the soil and the plants. This makes the environment incredibly humid — and ideal for your friendship plant.
If you do not have a terrarium or can’t find a store in your area that sells this product, don’t fret. Another option is to mist your friendship plant every day. Misting your plant covers the leaves with fine water droplets that offer humidity as they evaporate.
Another thing to remember here is that the friendship plant grows fast. The process usually takes about a month. You’ll find ovate leaves growing in opposite leaves. If you want to keep the plant compact, don’t forget to pinch off growing tips.
As for temperature, place your friendship plant in an average to warm room temperature (65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit). Make sure to keep this houseplant away from AC or heating vents, as well as drafts from windows and doors.
How to Share a Friendship Plant
Now comes the fun part. The reason behind the popularity of the friendship plant is its ease of propagation. A healthy plant will produce plantlets, which you can safely separate from the mother plant.
Follow the stem approximately an inch beneath the soil. Then, use a sharp and clean knife to cut the baby plant free. Put the baby friendship plant and keep the soil moist until the plant becomes well-anchored and starts to produce new leaves.
Take note that new plantlets will also grow straight from the stem. You can cut them free, place them in water until roots develop in a couple of weeks, and then follow the directions mentioned above.
The friendship plant is a popular and fun plant that you should grow in your home. You can share this indoor plant with your plants or pot them up to fill your living space with lots of green elements.