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What are Baby Tears?

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  • Written By: Deneatra Harmon
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 02 November 2016
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Baby tears are the ground cover plants that add decorative appeal in a home or a greenhouse. The moss-like plants, which come in a few varieties, also have been known to grow in conservatories and terrariums. Potting containers and hanging baskets are ideal planting locations for these lush, bright green plants to show off their diminutive leaves and flowers. Moderate conditions such as warm weather and balanced fertilizer help the baby tears grow to around two to six inches in height (about 0.05 to 0.15 m).

Native to Corsica and Sardinia in Italy, the baby tears plant identifies by the botanical name of Soleirolia soleirolii. Common names include Irish moss and “Mind-Your-Own-Business.” When planted in appropriate conditions like humidity and bright indirect sunlight, this plant grows as tall as six inches (about 0.15 m). The leaves and flowers may spread to about 0.25 inches (approximately 0.63 cm). The bright-green leaves of baby tears come in round, heart and kidney shapes, while tiny, white flowers add to the beauty of the garden plant.

Baby tears generally appear as bright-green plants or shrubs, and they sometimes identify by other varieties such as “Variegata” and “Aurea.” The Variegata version produces glossy, silvery green leaves, while the Aurea variety forms small, golden-green leaves. In any case, baby tears are creeping plants that require grooming of their long, trailing leaves to keep them from invading a windowsill or kitchen area.

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These particular types of garden plants adapt to most humid environments, and they are more compatible with drained, moist soil and adequate light. Morning sunlight during the winter season does not hurt the plant, but direct summertime sun can burn its leaves. Baby tears should be placed near a curtain to ensure indirect, yet adequate sunlight. Indoor lighting also works well. Temperatures must range from anywhere from 45 degrees Fahrenheit (about 7.2 degrees Celsius) to no warmer than 75 degrees Fahrenheit (approximately 24 degrees Celsius).

Gardeners recommend peat moss-based soil for repotting and planting baby tears. These creeping plants from the Urticaceae family may be planted in containers during the spring as long as it gets the bright indirect sunlight and plenty of room that it needs to thrive. Using balanced, water-soluble fertilizer during the spring, summer, and fall enhances growth, although fertilizing is optional. Watering should happen regularly to ensure that the soil stays moist, but not waterlogged. The foliage and flowers dry out easily when the plants do not get enough water, and too much water causes root rot.

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