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PlantFiles: Baby's Tears, Angel's Tears, Mind-your-own-business
Soleirolia soleirolii

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Family: Urticaceae
Genus: Soleirolia (so-ley-ROH-lee-uh) (Info)
Species: soleirolii (so-ley-ROH-lee-eye) (Info)

Synonym:Helxine soleirolii
Synonym:Soleirolia corsica
Synonym:Parietaria soleirolii

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

22 members have or want this plant for trade.

Category:
Groundcovers
Perennials

Height:
under 6 in. (15 cm)

Spacing:
9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

Hardiness:
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade
Partial to Full Shade
Full Shade

Danger:
N/A

Bloom Color:
White/Near White
Inconspicuous/none

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring

Foliage:
Evergreen

Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
From softwood cuttings
From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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There are a total of 13 photos.
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Profile:

20 positives
6 neutrals
7 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

RatingAuthorContent
Neutral Daedalus On Nov 7, 2012, Daedalus from Arroyo Grande, CA wrote:

This is a question in response to Nhulberg posting of 11/29/09 regarding the control of Baby's Tears. There is no information on how much sulfate of ammonia to mix in a 2 gallon sprayer. The 20 pound bag I purchased from OSH only give instructions for spreading the ammonia sulfate on lawns and shrubs. Does anyone have proportion mixing instructions for a much smaller area or a 2 gallon sprayer?

Positive Pats1 On Jun 21, 2011, Pats1 wrote:

Hi, I live in the UK (in the suburbs of Greater London) & am really grateful for the plant Mind Your Own Business in the shady areas of our garden where grass struggles to grow. Its so much tidier than grass, needs very little mowing, reminds me of curly hair as opposed to grass which reminds me of straight hair. When in Paris, France, we stayed at a hotel which had an inner courtyard garden where Mind Your Own Business was grown instead of grass with the flower beds planted with Busy Lizzies. I thought it looked beautiful. If only Mind your Own Business would grow in less shady areas, I would trade my grass lawn for a Mind Your Own Business Lawn!

Negative bristolgarden On Oct 27, 2010, bristolgarden from Bristol
United Kingdom wrote:

This plant is my worst nuiusance. My area is generally damp and mild so presumanbly ideal growing conditions for this plant. So it spreads everywhere and I am convinced that it has smothered some of my favourite prennnials. When it reaches the lawn it spreads and smothers the grass so that if I weed it out it leaves bare patches. Television gardening experts say that it can be controlled in lawns by digging up the lawn and reseeding. It also regenerates after weedkiller. And yet, I have just returned from a garden shop selling pots of it. I use a professional lawn treatment company and they refuse to treat a lawn badly affected by this plant. I note the positive comments on the site generally come from extreme climatic areas such as Seattle or Nevada or where it has been seen or grown indoors. I recommend to all gardeners in mild damp areas to avoid this pest with determination. Stronger than that, avoid at all costs!

Positive jskyieeyes3 On Sep 18, 2010, jskyieeyes3 from Saint Cloud, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

i keep this plant as a hanging basket. the colors are very pretty, and as the basket has filled out, i've enjoyed it taking on the look of a "bad hair day." after reading how invasive it is, i doubt i'll ever plant it in the ground. i like it in the hanging basket better anyways. =)

Positive suewylan On Jul 28, 2010, suewylan from North Fork, CA (Zone 7b) wrote:

I love the texture and cool feel. There is not enough water here in the Sierra Foothills for it to be invasive, so there is only a patch under my faucet.

Negative Nhulberg On Nov 29, 2009, Nhulberg from San Jose, CA wrote:

Evil plant. Ranks right up there with Oenothera, Pampas grass, Scotch broom and other plants that LOOK niche at first, but then the spread, and spread. You can't get rid of it.

As other posters said, it needs a constantly moist enviornment. But, mine has that...now I can't get rid of it.

Years ago I reduced my baby's tears by 90% by applying aluminum sulfate. I just hunted down this advice from longtime garden writer Bob Chapman on OSH.com:

"Baby's Tears invading gardens

This low growing invasive plant is difficult to control. As powerful an herbicide as Roundup is it won't faze baby's tears. Finale, another effective herbicide, will kill baby's tears. Finale can be purchased online at Biconet.com if not available locally.

A word of caution: Finale will harm all desirable vegetation so protect against spray drift when spraying by placing a barrier of cardboard or plywood between the desired plants and the baby's tears. Do your spraying in the morning to lessen the chance of spray drift.

An inexpensive way to kill baby's tears is by mixing sulfate of ammonia and water in a two-gallon sprinkler can with an attached nozzle and sprinkling this solution on the leaves. Sulfate of ammonia is an inexpensive (about $3), quick-acting source of nitrogen and is sold in twenty-pound bags. "



Positive DayBloomer On Mar 30, 2009, DayBloomer from Elizabeth City, NC (Zone 8b) wrote:

I grew this plant years ago indoors in a small pot. It was beautiful and did very well. I hope to have another pot of it sometime soon as I left that one behind at a previous job by accident.

Positive VanInDallas On Oct 18, 2008, VanInDallas from Dallas, TX wrote:

I first discovered baby's tears at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. There they have what they call a courtyard (but it has a glass roof, so I would call it an atrium). Anyway, in this wonderful courtyard there is a beautiful carpet of baby's tears as ground cover, with statuary and broken statuary on top. Absolutely gorgeous. Really contrasts nicely with the statuary and since it's so fine textured it doesn't detract from the art. I've loved it ever since. Nothing like it in the right spot.

Negative tina41 On Mar 27, 2008, tina41 from Emeryville, CA wrote:

It's a cute plant, and also it is one of the few plants in the Urticaceae that we grow in our gardens, so it is said that it is one of the few plants that Red Admirals (butterfly species) can use to lay their eggs. I;ve never see any larvae on it, though. It basically likes shade. It will take some sun in this area, but if it gets too dry it dies back (but returns when the rains start.)

But as a perennial plant lover I hate this plant. Once it gets started, it spreads like mad and once it is established you can't get rid of it -- and it covers thicker and thicker so no other plants get anything you might apply to the soil surface. As others have noted, nothing kills it. I have tried Roundup and iron. Came back every time. Ammonium Sulfate didn't seem to do much either.

Youall who think it's beautirul, be warned! By the time you realize you would rather not have it, or you want less of it, it will be too late! You won't be able to get rid of it, ever. Oh, you might decrease it a bit. It might seem to die back. But it will come back when times are good.

It looks beautiful in an area with established woody plants where you don't want to grow anything else and don't want to fertilize (because obviously it will gobble up all the fertilizer before it gets to any other plants, since its roots cover the surface of the ground). It will keep out weeds very well if it gets deep enough. It also builds up around the bases of the plants so you have to pull it off if they are susceptible to moisture around the root zone.

Oh one last thing, an instructor I had for a ground cover course once, many many years ago told us that if you want to "seed" this plant over an area, just pull some up, chop it up with a razor blade, and sprinkle it over the area where you want it. In other words, it can sprout from leaves or pieces of them. So if you are trying to get rid of it, watch what you do with the plants you root or pull out! (Though I admit I have never tried seeding it as described.)

This info is based on 20 yrs experience as a professional gardener in a wide variety of gardens in the SanFrancisco Bay area.

Positive Kal22 On Jan 3, 2008, Kal22 from Milltown, WI wrote:

I liked this plant, it took me a while to grow it but when it did it wouldn't stop. As long as it had plenty of water.

Neutral Vaelor On Feb 11, 2007, Vaelor from Melbourne, VIC
Australia (Zone 9b) wrote:

On and off for ten years, I've tried to grow Baby's Tears in various areas of Victoria, Australia (9b). I'd tried everything from buying a healthy potted plant from a nursery, to taking a cutting from friends who have it growing like wildfire in their own gardens. Without fail, it would die on me within a week or two.

Finally, after some research here on Dave's Garden as to its optimal conditions, I managed to save my current plant on the very verge of death, and now it's slowly sprouting up healthy new growth, and looking like it's going to become a strong healthy plant very soon.

I never realized how very picky this plant can be - take heed where it says this plant should NEVER be left to dry out! I now leave this pot sitting in an inch of water in a soft shady spot, and it's the best thing I've ever done for it. Sun, heat, and dryness spell instant death for Baby's Tears!

Positive Bellisgirl On Feb 8, 2007, Bellisgirl from Spokane, WA wrote:

Hi! Ive been growing this growndcover for about six years now. I bought it in Seattle, having no idea what it was or how to take care of it. Ive since found out that this plant isnt exactly hardy in my area (I live in zone 5); but im able to grow it anyway. It is in a sheltered site by the foundation of my house. It looks dead once the ground thaws out here, but emerges later in the spring. I have, so far, not found this plant invasive, but this could be just because I live in a colder zone.

Negative resqme1065 On Sep 11, 2006, resqme1065 from Marietta, GA wrote:

I would not reccommend this plant. I have no idea where it came from but it is spreading all over my yard. It is impossible to kill as the little root runners form a dense mat. This plant is impossible to pull up as well due to the thick mat of roots.

It takes over your grass as well as your garden. Several days ago I used round up and the plant looks unaffected.

It is pretty! However I can't come up with anywhere I'd want it to grow.

Positive Joandavis On Sep 4, 2006, Joandavis from Las Vegas, NV wrote:

I live in Las Vegas, Nevada and had 3 flats of Baby Tears setting on the north side of my house for a couple of years. I was originally told they do not grow in Las Vegas, After three years they had spread and did just what I wanted. The last couple of years they have been dying out. The thatch that is left will not come back. Do I need to remove the old thatch to try to get them to come back? The soil in spots is clay like, in others it is sandy. I have added peat moss to the sandy spots to help hold the moisture, which did seem to help some. During the summer I water it once a day with the hose and the sprinkler system waters twice a day (mornings),. In the winter, I water every other day. It has not invaded my grass because the sun is too hot. What do I need to do to make this come back? It will not grow under a China Berry tree. I think the tree draws all the water out of the soil. That is the spot where the peat moss helped some.

Positive isom On Mar 22, 2006, isom from Mission BC
Canada (Zone 8b) wrote:

Makes a great ground cover around the base of larger houseplants such as Ficus benjamina but it does get crushed easily (found one of my cats liked to lay in it - probably 'cause it was cool in summer). I've got one in a large planter outside, near the house, & it's stayed green & lush all winter without freezing (zone 7b). It would make a good ground cover as long as it wasn't trod on.

Positive misswu On Nov 3, 2005, misswu from philadelphia, PA
United States wrote:

I live in an apartment and this plant is so beautiful indoors. There was no information with the plant when I got it so I had to experiment to see what it prefered and what it did not. It almost died but I found that it likes lots of light and lots of water as well as a good misting.
My problem is that it is now fall and I noticed it seems to be reacting to the weather, with lots of dead and dying foliage. I just cut it back pretty far, hopefully it will be ok.
has anybody had a similar experience?

Neutral MontGard On Jul 22, 2005, MontGard from Salinas, CA wrote:

Possible solution to invasive Soleirolia (Helxine) soleirolii: I moved onto property in Monterey, California three years ago and discovered that my lawn was invaded by very healthy looking Baby Tears. This lawn is moderately shady and composed mostly of bluegrass, a poor choice for California. I shopped the local nurseries and websites for a solution, and nothing suggested worked, including Ortho WeedBGone (broadleaf killer Mecoprop, et al.), MossOut (Iron suggestion never made sense to me, since "Irish Moss" isn't moss), Roundup (killed the grass of course, but the Baby Tears thrived), and digging out the sod and replacing about twelve rolls (came back in various places, in spite of the fact that I cut out margins of up to one foot on all sides). Then for some reason I tried triclopyr (Ortho BrushBGone for poison ivy/oak) and surprisingly it killed the Baby Tears very quickly with no harm to the grass, but unfortunately many months later it started appearing again in the area treated. I have since moved from this property, and do not know if further treatment with triclopyr would have helped. If so, I would be disappointed that I wasted so much labor, and puzzled that a chemical marketed for woody plants might work on this delicate little thing that nothing else kills. By the way, I suspect that this was planted at one time adjacent to the lawn, but wasn't adequately watered there, but thrived in the watered lawn. So for those who successfully grow this pretty little plant, I cannot report for sure whether there is a chemical to spray if it starts invading your grass. [I have no financial interest in Ortho or any other chemical or gardening company.]

Negative narrowfocus On May 30, 2005, narrowfocus from Birmingham
United Kingdom (Zone 8a) wrote:

I really hate this plant- it's taking over our garden (Midlands, UK), and I can't kill it! Not without destroying all of the plants I want to keep, anyway. It even grows over the top of mulch membrane. The only good thing is that it is quite pretty and even. I'd prefer corsican mint, though.

Negative ejohnhowley On Sep 11, 2004, ejohnhowley from Porthcawl
United Kingdom wrote:

I seriously thought that this pernicious little invader was some form of Speedwell.

I live on the South Wales Coast and this plant is slowly taking over the town.

John Howley

ps - Apparently this little blighter is edible - anyone heard about that?
J

Positive tulip523 On Aug 22, 2004, tulip523 from Hackettstown, NJ (Zone 6a) wrote:

I am growing this plant in a container. I find it to be ever so easy to maintain. Like others have said it grows great in shady area's or low sun light,and keeping moist is important. I keep it outdoors but when we are going to have downpours I bring it inside because it is in a container that houses my hens &chick. I plan on bringing it in for the winter and transplanting some of it to other containers. I love that it is invasive.

Positive turquoise On Jul 27, 2004, turquoise from Vallejo, CA wrote:

These we always growing in my grandmother's garden under her back porch. They flourished in the shade. They can tolerate the heat but they have to be moist which can be some work. But they look so wonderful between flagstone steps leading into your secret garden and so cool and soft on bare feet on a hot summer's day.

Positive tobias79 On Jul 11, 2004, tobias79 from Stroby Egede, zone 7
Denmark wrote:

This plant grows well as ground cover in shade, in my garden here in Denmark (northern Europe), zone 7.

The tiny leaves dies back after the first severe frost nights in autumn, but grows back in spring. This winter (2003/2004), this ground cover plant survived 10 degrees F (-12C) unprotected, and an average temperature in january/february of 34/30 F(1/-1 C) with no trouble at all.

Positive AussieLynne On Jul 5, 2004, AussieLynne from Melbourne
Australia wrote:

We love our baby tears, they are planted at the bottom of our palms in giant pots, the baby tears drip over the side in a cascade of soft green drapery.

Positive jrenee25 On May 29, 2004, jrenee25 from San Antonio, TX wrote:

I picked up this plant at Home Depot because I wanted a hanging basket plant for my shaded front porch. No one seemed to know anything about it except it's name. I took it home and hung it up by my front door, where it has florished with very little intervention from me (except watering a couple times a week). A bird built it's nest in it, and even though it has had the constant traffic of a mamma bird and two squirmy, active baby birds, it has held up surprisingly well. A great plant for someone who does not have a lot of time to invest in pruning or maintaining a plant but wants something that looks like they did!

Neutral aks017 On Apr 2, 2004, aks017 wrote:

I have read that this makes a good houseplant, and would like to try it. But I can't find it anywhere around here (Central Florida). Any ideas on where I can find this? And has anyone else tried it as as indoor plant?

Positive wnstarr On Mar 22, 2004, wnstarr from Puyallup, WA (Zone 5a) wrote:

Edgewood, Washington
Baby tears make a great ground cover under larger plants. I have it in planters on the deck to keep the soil from splashing out when I water the plants in them. It also is growing around the deck and around the koi pond. It is a maintainence free plant, to cover larger areas set a potted baby's tears down and it will soon be overflowing onto the soil. Lift the pot and repeat, in no time you will have the area where you want it covered and it only cost you one 4 inch pot. Plant is very hardy, it has survived our winters here even when the ground has snow and layers of ice on it. Will look like it is gone, but come Spring it will reappear just a lush as ever. Personally I love this plant, it gives a nice established look to new gardens by the way it will cover the stones and edging of your garden.

Positive dessert12 On Mar 22, 2004, dessert12 wrote:

I love my babys tears. I was only watering it once a week like my other plants when it started to die I decied to water more often. Now I water every day. I do not plan to put this in my garden now that I know that is spreads so wildly. But I will have a container of it in the garden. Maybe in my bird feeder. We have very humid summers here and I think it will do well.

Positive youreit On Mar 16, 2004, youreit from Knights Landing, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

In the early fall, I finally planted my 5 small clumps of Baby's Tears [one died when I forgot to water them in the hot summer] after months of caring for them in their original container. I put them on the north side of a built-up, man-made, shady creek area, in heavy clay soil with just a tad of gardening soil. I can't believe they survived. They are starting to spread [which I WANT them to do] and even have wee, almost microscopic flowers. It sounds like I'm one of the few who wouldn't mind if they became invasive, though.

Positive deckwench On Sep 28, 2003, deckwench from Seattle, WA wrote:

This plant grows wonderfully in the shade around my pond in the Seattle area. I would like it to do what it does at the local nursery-- drape out over the edge of the black pond liner, and disguise it. I am trying to find it in seed so that I can fill in some small areas which have not done well with potted versions.

Neutral sandra8950 On Aug 30, 2003, sandra8950 from San Francisco, CA wrote:

I just bought baby's tears, and planted chunks under my back porch---but I have no clue how to take care of this plant or if I even did the right thing. The natural soil is very clay (heavy) so I mixed it 50/50 with planting soil but it seems very heavy and cement-like still. I don't want it to die on me.

Negative familyof6 On May 30, 2003, familyof6 from Long Beach, CA wrote:

This is the most INVASIVE plant I own, and I'd like to find a way to control or kill it. It's so fragile, when I try to pull it out, the stems break and the roots stay. (Just like weeds!)

My mom says she can't grow this plant, but I have planters full of it.

Positive clendnn On Apr 30, 2003, clendnn from Pleasanton, CA wrote:

Good groundcover for shady, badly-drained clay soil - spreads almost explosively despite the poor conditions. I put a 4" pot of it there and forgot about it, so it simply climbed out of the pot and established itself.

Neutral PotEmUp On Oct 23, 2002, PotEmUp from Fremont, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

A nice undercover for shady area. Does not handle traffic. Can be invasive - spreads from pieces of stem. Freezes to a black mush, but readily comes back.

Regional...

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Jones, Alabama
Arroyo Grande, California
Capitola, California
Clayton, California
Emeryville, California
Fairfield, California
Fremont, California
Garberville, California
Knights Landing, California
Long Beach, California
Los Angeles, California
Merced, California
Monterey, California
North Fork, California
Pleasanton, California
Salinas, California
San Francisco, California
Vallejo, California
Bartow, Florida
Saint Cloud, Florida
Haleiwa, Hawaii
Henderson, Nevada
Las Vegas, Nevada
Hackettstown, New Jersey
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Kingston, Oklahoma
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Westerly, Rhode Island
Anahuac, Texas
Lake Jackson, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Lake Forest Park, Washington
Puyallup, Washington
Spokane, Washington



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