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Piggyback Plant Care (Tolmiea Menziesii)

Updated: December 30, 2022

Botanical Name: Tolmiea menziesii

Piggyback Plant is an indigenous, evergreen, perpetual herb located along the western coast of North America. It develops a foot high as a ground cover in wet woods, near streams, and marshes. The blossoms appear in loose racemes in the spring and have tiny conical brownish-purple blossoms, which attract butterflies and bees.

The birch, leaf-shaped foliage makes a thick ground cover, and matured leaves create plantlets at the stem base at which foliage joins the stem. These are the ones that drop to the ground and take root. Seeds and rhizomes could also be used to propagate the plant.

Does The Piggyback Plant Have Any Other Names?

Other common names for the Piggyback plant include:

  • Pickaback plant
  • Youth-on-age plant
  • Thousand mothers plant

Different Types of Piggyback Plants

There are several types to choose from. These include:

  • Variegata: has a creamy yellow tinge to it
  • Taff’s Gold: is a prominent yellow-splattered variation

Main Uses of Piggyback Plants

This plant can be used as a ground cover in a shaded, wet to moist region or as a house plant in a dangling container. And because it is known for attracting bees and butterflies, cultivators can use the plants to enhance pollination in their garden.

How to Prune Piggyback Plants?

Following the first dense development, your hanging plants will develop raggedy and inconsistent foliage. This is because of young plantlets failing to gain a foothold and establish a fresh leaf layer over the existing, as they would in the gardens. Basically, cut the bushy stems off using a clean pair of shears.

Best Soil for Piggyback Plants

When growing your piggyback plant, you will need to use a loose, well-draining soil mix. It must hold moisture yet must never become soggy or too damp. The piggyback plant requires proper drainage, so ensure you select a pot with plenty of drainage holes at the bottom. You could also choose a vase made of terracotta or clay to assist in draining extra water from the soil.

How Much Light Do Piggyback Plants Need?

Piggyback plants prefer moderate shade or indirect light. They could withstand some direct sunlight throughout the morning hours but must be maintained out of direct sunlight throughout the afternoons. Pale foliage with long gaps between them suggests that the plant is not receiving adequate sunshine.

How Often to Water Piggyback Plants

During the development season, water constantly to keep the soil adequately moist but not soggy. Water less frequently during the winter because development is sluggish. However, never let the plant’s soil entirely dry up.

Ideal Temperature Conditions for Piggyback Plants

The piggyback plant can thrive in various temperatures, although the mean daily temp should be higher than 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Temps at night must range between 50- and 60-degrees Fahrenheit.

Humidity Conditions for Piggyback Plants

Ensure a relative humidity of at least 50 percent surrounding the plant. To increase humidity, mist leaves with room-temp water or employ a pebble tray. The presence of brown foliage tips indicates that the atmosphere is excessively dry.

Best Fertilizer for Piggyback Plants

Throughout the vigorous development phase from May to September, piggyback plants benefit from certain top fertilization. It is adequate to apply an all-purpose solvent fertilizer once every month. Following this stage, development decreases. Therefore, fertilize it just once every two months till the next growth cycle.

How to Propagate Piggyback Plants

Piggybacks are perennial plants, which are cold hardy to USDA Zone 6, although they do not survive long. The plant will die in around two years. To maintain your species stable, you must propagate on a routine basis, ideally once every year. You can propagate either through leaf cuttings, seeds, or Rhizomatous division.

Leaf Clippings

  1. Make a tray with wet potting soil
  2. Choose mature foliage and robust plantlets
  3. Pull every leaf and clip it off, leaving a half-inch stalk intact
  4. Using a toothpick, make holes in your potting soil
  5. Drive every stalk into a hole and carefully place the leaf down until the place in which the stalk meets the leaf blade touches the soil surface
  6. Keep the tray in a light spot and the soil wet
  7. In 1-2 weeks, roots will emerge, and the old foliage will die. Once the plantlets are firmly rooted, move them into appropriate pots.

Rhizomatous division

Remove an enlarged plant from its container and split the root ball into many portions, including a stem or two intact. Plant them in pots and water them on a routine basis.


Sow your seeds in seed starting trays and protect them with a plastic or glass sheet. Maintain the soil wet, and you will see small plants emerging across the place. Once they have 4-5 leaflets, pot them separately.

Growth Rate of Piggyback Plants

It has a medium to fast development rate and may be cultivated indoors all year or outside in early spring if you live in USDA hardiness zones 7-9.

Ideal Pot Size for Piggyback Plants

Piggyback plants could be cultivated in pots, but they are more commonly found in hanging vases. Pots broader than their depth are great because the Piggyback plant’s roots extend along the soil surface. Waterlogging can be avoided with proper drainage by picking a pot with more holes at the bottom.

Repotting Tips for Piggyback Plants

Whenever the plant becomes root bound, its development diminishes, and it loses energy. If all of the water tends to rush out via the drainage hole immediately after watering the plant, this is yet another sign that it is root bound and needs to be repotted.

Repotting is usually accomplished in the spring because the plant’s active development will assist it to recover fast. Remove the plant from the container and delicately trim it, eliminating any unwanted branches and roots. Put it at the centre of a bigger pot with rich, well-draining soil. Regularly water it and place it in direct sunlight.


Is The Piggyback Plants Edible?

Although the Piggyback is non-toxic, it does not imply that it is safe to ingest as some plants may trigger allergic reactions in some persons.

Are Piggyback Plants Toxic to Cats And Dogs?

As per the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), Piggyback plants are not poisonous to dogs or cats.

Is The Piggyback Plants Poisonous?

No! The Piggyback is entirely safe to keep around children and animals, but contact may cause minor skin itching, irritation, and redness.

Do Piggyback Plants Prefer to Grow Indoors or Outdoors?

The piggyback plant is a well-known low-maintenance houseplant. For this reason, whether cultivated indoors or outdoors, it necessitates simple maintenance.

What Are the Common Pests and Diseases Affecting the Piggyback Plant?

Piggyback plant’s succulent leaves are appealing to aphids and spider mites. Therefore, keep an eye out for small, green aphids and spider mites on the backside of your plant’s foliage. If you discover indicators of an infestation, use neem oil or a light insecticide to cure your plant.