Pilea Species, Artillery Fern, Artillery Plant, Gunpowder Plant, Rockweed

Pilea microphylla

Family: Urticaceae
Genus: Pilea (py-LEE-uh) (Info)
Species: microphylla (my-kro-FIL-uh) (Info)



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade


Grown for foliage

Foliage Color:

Medium Green


6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

12-18 in. (30-45 cm)


3-6 in. (7-15 cm)


USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

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)

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers



Bloom Color:


White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Blooms all year

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

From herbaceous stem cuttings

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Bartow, Florida

Big Pine Key, Florida

Deland, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida(3 reports)

Gainesville, Florida(2 reports)

Green Cove Springs, Florida

Hobe Sound, Florida

Hollywood, Florida

New Port Richey, Florida

Pensacola, Florida

Plant City, Florida

Port Charlotte, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida

Williston, Florida

Hawaiian Paradise Park, Hawaii

Keaau, Hawaii

Orchidlands Estates, Hawaii

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Monroe, Louisiana

Cincinnati, Ohio

Austin, Texas

Baytown, Texas

Houston, Texas(2 reports)

Humble, Texas

Mcallen, Texas

Richardson, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Brady, Washington

Montesano, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Dec 14, 2018, alfu from Gainesville, FL wrote:

After researching this plant and determining it to be non-toxic, I ate some and it tastes very good. But about two days later came down with a whole body dermal itch and sudden onset acid reflux. I don't know if the two are related, but I'm not trying again. A month later, I still have heartburn.


On Sep 8, 2016, Sandylizzie from Frankfort, NY wrote:

I bought this as a potted plant for my porch here in the Northeast and it's taken me hours of research to identify it. It has very attractive fern-like, light green leaves with teeny, tiny flowers that mature into somewhat messy brown seed clusters.

I wanted to ID the plant because I am considering bringing it in and keeping it over the winter. As it isn't hardy in zone 4 -5b, I don't think I have to be concerned about it becoming another pest here.

This plant definitely produces a lot of tiny seeds, so I would be very careful how I used it in warmer climates.


On Oct 6, 2014, williamca from Plant City, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

This is a highly invasive pest weed. If you ever get it and sooner or later it will arrive with some plant you buy it is impossible to get rid of in zone 9b. It loves hanging baskets, potted plants and will come up in the cracks in the pavers. I pluck it out of the orchid basket and pour hot water on it where I can.


On Feb 23, 2014, brachychiton from Bribie Island,
Australia wrote:

This plant is highly invasive in subtropical Queensland. My friend has it in his plant nursery and it is the biggest pest problem that he has. Just a few specks of this plant on your hands when you're gardening are enough to start a plague in your garden.


On Feb 26, 2012, BarbaraParis from Comerio, PR (Zone 11) wrote:

It is pretty , I like the color but it is horribly invasive .... i cannot get rid of it LOL ... It is everywhere!!!


On Oct 3, 2011, carlogimena wrote:

May I ask who among you can give me an information with regards to the content (chemical) of this artillery plant? It would be a great help in my research study. thank you :)


On May 30, 2010, daleg from townsville,
Australia wrote:

This plant is a pest in tropical areas. Keep it well away from bonsai and orchids, especially if you use porous volcanic rock in your potting mix. The miniscule seeds get everywhere and even a 1 cm plant will set seed.


On Jul 18, 2009, flaflwrgrl from Allthingsplants, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I agree with the positive comments about these beautiful little plants. They can take a wide variety of lighting conditions as well as being perfect for xeri yards!


On May 4, 2008, AlohaHoya from Keaau, HI (Zone 11) wrote:

The Hawaiian form of this plant, Pilea peploides, is one of the most invasive plants around. It turns up in nursery pots and EVERYwhere. I am experimenting with spraying it with clorox to kill it and so far am successful - and waiting to see if it will return on the same rootstock and if the clorox has killed the tiny seedlings. NONE of the common herbicides has any affect on it... There is a commercial herbicide which has a nasty habit of killing the plants it is near!!!


On Apr 3, 2008, 1wish_n_well from Houston, TX wrote:

I gave it a negative because in my Houston yard it's extremely invasive, if I'm seeing these pictures right. Maybe there's a weed that looks just like it? Mine doesn't appear to bloom, but it sure does spread...everywhere. We moved here 3 years ago, took our yard to below ground zero, landscaped, added pavers in a long path. The stuff is everywhere...and, yes, it crops up between the pavers as well as in the beds. Actually it's rather pretty, but I don't have a clue how some of you are containing it in the clumps I see in these pix. So beware. It loves our heat & humidity.


On Mar 24, 2007, KatG from Port Charlotte, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

I just love this plant. It really does look very delicate, but is a tough little devil! It's very neat and keeps a nice shape. I keep a lot of it around my pool area and other than a few dropped seeds growing between pavers, it's just a great addition! It's a beautiful color also and accents darker plants.


On Jan 18, 2004, MotherNature4 from Bartow, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

This tough little plant is surprisingly beautiful and delicate when planted in pots. The fresh foliage is bright green. It comes up unexpectedly in moist shady areas in central Florida. It is commonly found under benches in greenhouses. The tiny flowers are insignificant.


On Jan 17, 2004, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro,
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

This plant is very ornamental and delicate at first look, but grows spontaneously on cracks on rocks, where little organic soil and moisture are acumulated. However, its not considered invasive, since it needs very specific conditions to expand its territory by itself. Cultivated on beds, it behaves well, and adds a nice texture to it..