The Aluminum plant is an evergreen perennial from the nettle family. Native to Asia, this houseplant is prized for its unique foliage coloring. The plant is easy to care for and grows well in both soil or hydroponically.
Aluminum Plant Appearance
What makes this plant stand out are the silver streaks on the green foliage, making it look like the leaves were embellished with metallic paint. The stems of the Aluminum plant grow in clusters with a spreading growth habit. The plant will reach a mature size of between 12 and 24 inches tall. Aluminum plants do bloom, but the small flowers are insignificant compared to the beauty of the foliage so people often pinch the flowers off to redirect the plant’s energy.
Aluminum Plants Sunlight Requirements
Provide bright, indirect sunlight for at least four hours per day for optimal growth. Avoid excessive or direct sunlight as it will damage the prized foliage and its coloring. Low lighting conditions are acceptable but do provide some natural light or supplement with an LED light.
Aluminum Plant Care: Proper Watering
The Aluminum plant prefers a consistently moist soil. Water your plant when the top ¼ inch of soil feels dry. Maintain this watering schedule from spring until fall. In the winter the plant needs much less water and occasional misting gives enough hydration.
Soil and Fertilizer Requirements
The Aluminum plant has specific soil requirements for optimal growth. The soil needs to be well-draining, but also rich in nutrients for the plant’s health. To ensure the plant receives what it needs, choose a high-quality potting soil with nutrients already added in the right proportions. During the growing season, feed your Aluminum plants once per month with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer. Withhold feedings in the winter when the plant goes dormant.
Temperature and Humidity Levels
Proper Aluminum plant care requires you to maintain temperatures around 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 Celsius). Avoid low temperatures which will damage the foliage. Provide medium to high humidity for your plant. Supplement low humidity with either a humidifier or by using a pebble tray. Misting the plant periodically also helps.
Pruning Your Aluminum Plant
Prune the plant thoroughly once per year to encourage healthy, new growth. Cut the plant back to half its current height, always trimming just above a pair of existing leaves for bushier growth.
Create new Aluminum plants by taking cuttings from a mature, healthy plant. Take a three to four-inch cutting, snipping just below a node or set of leaves. Remove the bottom leaves to expose the nodes, if needed, and ensure there are two top leaves remaining. Plant the cutting in a pot filled with a high-quality potting soil or root the cutting in a small container filled with water. If using soil, keep the soil moist but not soggy. If growing in water, change the water once or twice a week. Keep the cutting in bright, indirect sunlight. Roots will form within a few weeks.
Common Pests and Diseases
Watch your Aluminum plants for signs of aphids, mealy bugs, and spider mites. Sticky honeydew on the plant, excreted from the insects after feeding on the plant, is a common sign of an infestation. For spider mites, tiny webs amongst the plant’s leaves are a common indication. Manage infestations by either placing the plant in the shower and spraying it thoroughly to dislodge the insects or mix ½ a cup of rubbing alcohol with 1 quart of water and pour into a spray bottle. Mist the plant generously with the rubbing alcohol to kill the pests.
Root rot and leaf spot are common issues with the Aluminum plant. Both are caused by excess water, either in the soil or on the foliage. Reduce waterings if root rot is present and trim away any roots that appear dark or mushy. For leaf spot, prune any affected leaves and ensure you water the plant directly into the soil and not onto the plant itself.
The Aluminum plant is a showpiece of a house plant with extraordinary foliage coloring. The plant’s care needs are straightforward and provide visual interest year round. Choose this plant as a conversation piece for your home or office space.
Aluminum Plant FAQ
The Aluminum plant grows outdoors in USDA zones 9b to 11.
Watering frequencies will depend on the temperatures and humidity of the plant’s environment. That being said, the average watering schedule is once or twice per week.
Aluminum plants don’t like to be root bound. Their roots grow quickly so check your plant’s roots once per year, in the spring, for crowding. If the roots have no more space to expand, repot the plant in a pot one size up from its current pot.
If your plant is dropping a significant amount of leaves at once the cause is often due to overwatering. Reduce watering immediately and allow the soil to dry out before adding any moisture. Ensure the plant is placed in a warm area with bright, indirect sunlight. If the plant’s soil is excessively soggy, remove the plant from its pot and shake off the heavy soil. Repot the plant in fresh soil and water lightly.
Yes, during the fall and winter, the plant goes dormant and growth slows. During this period, reduce waterings to only when the top two to three inches of soil feels dry.