Indoor plants low light large

The piggyback plant is a durable perennial low light plant, which will tolerate most household conditions. Its name is derived from the plant's unique reproduction method. Small buds develop at the base of each leaf where it meets the stalk, and new baby plants form on the mature leaf as if riding "piggyback." Even more spectacular variegated varieties are available, and they perform equally well in low light conditions.


Growing no more than a foot tall, the piggyback plant has bright green, hairy maple-shaped leaves. Each leaf has five to seven toothed lobes, which are rough to the touch. Plants grown in a low light environment rarely flower. When they do bloom, small greenish-purple colored flowers are borne on the end of long stems above the leaves. However, the flowers are insignificant and the true value of the piggyback plant is its beautiful foliage. The piggyback plant trails beyond its container, as the weak stems are strained under the weight of the leaves.

Other Names:

Piggyback plant's botanical name is Tolmiea menziesii, but it is also called by a number of common names. Mother of thousands, thousand mothers, pick-a-back and youth-on-age are the most well-known.


Native to the west coast of North American, the piggyback plant is accustomed to cool, moist and low light areas. They grow naturally under the canopy of large trees, particularly in redwood forests. This makes them fantastic indoor low light plants, as they cannot tolerate bright, direct sunlight. Although the plant doesn't grow very tall, it will slowly trail into a column, displaying its long, delicate stems. Piggyback plant is ideal for hanging baskets and planters. Smaller plants are best started in small pots and then transferred to 8- or 10-inch hanging baskets as they become larger.


Piggyback plant is happiest in heavy soil with good drainage. Any standard, high-quality organic potting mix will be sufficient.


Valued for their tolerance of low light which would kill many other houseplants, the piggyback plant prefers filtered shade. It can survive as far as 8 feet away from a well-lit window, but its recommended that you place the plant as close to the light as possible. An east- or west-facing window will provide ideal conditions for Tolmiea.


The piggyback plant will survive a wide range of temperatures, but it prefers daytime temps above 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Nighttime temperature should be between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit for the best results. The plant may be placed outdoors during the spring and summer months if the recommended average temperatures are maintained, but should brought back inside in early fall.

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