How to Grow Tolmiea - Planting & Caring

By Sharon & Team   /   Grassy Category   /   2023

Tolmiea, or piggyback plant, is an easy-to-grow houseplant that gets its common name from its habit of producing plantlets along the stems of the leaves. These plantlets can be used to propagate new plants, making Tolmiea a great choice for gardeners who want to expand their collection without having to go through the hassle of buying new plants.

How to Grow Tolmiea - Planting & Caring

Growing Easiness

Is it easy to grow Tolmiea plant? known to be easy to grow, the tolmiea plant is a great choice for beginner gardeners. With its ability to thrive in both sun and shade, this plant is versatile and can be placed just about anywhere in your yard. Watering needs are minimal, so you won't have to worry about over- or under- watering. Fertilizing is also not necessary, making the tolmiea plant a low-maintenance option.

Plant Size

How big can it be? Common Tolmiea grow to be about 15-20 cm in height, and about 40 cm in diameter. They are relatively small plants. Tolmiea are not very large, only growing to be 15-20 cm in height and 40 cm in diameter.

Growth Rate

How fast is the growth? known as the piggyback plant, the Tolmiea menziesii plant is a member of the Saxifragaceae, or rockfoil family. The piggyback plant is a herbaceous perennial that is native to the woodlands of the Pacific Northwest, specifically in the area between British Columbia and northern California (Hitchcock, 1950). The piggyback plant gets its common name from the way in which its young plants seemingly piggyback on top of the larger leaf of the adult plant (Tolmiea menziesii, 2018). The piggyback plant is a small plant, usually only growing to be about six inches tall. The leaves of the plant are about two inches wide and are rounded with toothed edges. The leaves are a deep green color on top and a lighter green color on the underside. The piggyback plant blooms in the summer, with small white or pink flowers that grow in clusters (Tolmiea menziesii, 2018).

Tolmiea Basic Knowledge

Plant Form Grassy
Family Saxifragaceae
Origin West Coast of the United States

Lifespan, Perennial or Annuals

How long is the lifespan? The reason it is not lasting long is because it dries out in the center. To make it last, you have to divide the plant more or update it regularly.

Ideal Temperature

What is the ideal temperature? If the temperature is too high, the leaves of the Tolmiea plant will grow more quickly, but the plant will also age faster. The most comfortable temperature for the plant is 59-64.4 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 41-50 degrees Fahrenheit at night.


What about the humidity? Since it is a moderate plant, it can withstand dry air. However, during winter, it should be kept away from radiators and in a pan with wet expanded clay. Also, it should be regularly sprayed.

Light Requirement

What amount of light this plant needed? Eventually, the Tolmiea will need some shade from the direct sun rays. Too much sun will make the leaves look faded. The Tolmiea does best with bright, scattered light and can tolerate some penumbra, but the plant's bright colors are better manifested in lighter conditions, especially in the winter.

Soil Composition

What is good soil for Tolmiea? If you want to make your own potting mix for Tolmiea plants, you'll need to combine one part leafy soil with one part sand. Another option is to mix together 1 part sod land, 1 part coarse sand or perlite, and 2 parts peat or humus. Tolmiea plants need a pot with a hole for drainage, and they prefer a potting mix that drains well.

Watering Time

How much I must water Tolmiea? Unless the soil is constantly wet, the Tolmiea plant will suffer. Water about 2 times a week in the summer, and every 8-12 days in the winter. Drying of the earth leads to wilting and yellowing of the leaves.

Fertilizing and Nutritient

About fertilizer. Because Tolmiea is a succulent, it is best to use a liquid fertilizer that is high in phosphorus. You can use a fertilizer with a 3-1-2 or 4-1-2 ratio. Apply the fertilizer to the soil around the plant, being careful not to get any on the leaves. Feed once a month in the summer, or every other week if the plant is growing rapidly.


How to reproduce Tolmiea? The reason it's easy to propagate this way is because the leaf petiole is shortened. You don't have to worry about the plant getting too big because it can be rooted in water.


Why Tolmiea won't bloom? So, it is best to remove the spent flowers in a timely manner to prevent the plant from wasting its energy on fruit production.

Transfer or Repotting

How much I must water Tolmiea? While many plants are content to stay in the same pot for years, others, like Tolmiea menziesii, will quickly outgrow their current home. If you have one of these rambunctious plants, you'll need to repot it every year or two. The best time to do this is in the spring, just as the plant is starting to wake up from its winter dormancy.

Caring The Tolmiea

How to care the plant? Sometimes, the Tolmiea plant is also known as the piggyback plant. It's a type of houseplant that's easy to care for, making it a popular choice for plant beginners or those with a busy schedule. Tolmiea plants prefer to grow in hanging baskets in a bright, indirect light. These plants are known for their ability to rebloom, so they'll continue to produce new flowers throughout the growing season. To keep your Tolmiea plant healthy, water it when the soil is dry to the touch and fertilize it monthly. Be sure to remove any dead leaves as they occur.

Pests & Challenges

What is the challenge when caring Tolmiea plant? Common problems include: the leaves turn yellow and wither, their edges curl and wither in a very dry and hot atmosphere. Also, the leaves stretch, turn pale and grow dim in low light. Lower leaves with age turn yellow and die – this is a natural process. Dead leaves should be removed in a timely manner. The stalks rot at the base with excess watering.

Toxic & Poisonous Type

Are Tolmiea poisonous? When a pet or child eats a Tolmiea plant, it can cause stomach upset, drooling, and vomiting. The sap of the plant can cause skin irritation. If the sap gets into the eyes, it can cause watering and redness.