Helxine, Baby’s tears, a ground cover plant with itsy bitsy leaves


Helxine (Soleirolia sp.) is a cute carpet-forming plant that grows both indoors and in the garden. Sometimes it’s called Angel’s tears or Baby tears.

Key facts for Helxine:

Type – creeping perennial

Height – 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm)
Exposure – part sun, shade

Soil: light, humus-rich   –   Foliage: evergreen

Planting helxine

For helxine, plant indifferently in either spring or fall. It grows just as well in the ground as it does in pots on a terrace or balcony.

Proper exposure for helxine:

Helxine soleirolia, Baby's tearsHelxine shouldn’t normally survive temperatures lower than 15°F (-10°C) in winter, but worry not, it’ll sprout back from the root in spring.

  • Helxine loves rather cool and will abhor areas that are too sunny, especially those that tend to feel scorching heat in summer.
  • The best place for it will be in full or part shade.
  • The milder the climate in summer, the more sun it can take.
  • Water very often for the first few weeks after planting, especially if planting in spring.

Indoor Helxine:

Helxine in a potHelxine will also do fine as an indoor plant, as long as these few conditions are met:

  • light, but definitely not behind a window that’s in full sun.
  • regular watering as soon as the surface soil is dry.

Propagating helxine:

Propagation helxineA very easy plant to multiply, you simply split the clump of helxine into as many plants as you want in spring.

  • What matters is to separate portions of the plant with both stems and connected roots.
  • Replant in in good garden soil or in fresh potting mix.
  • Water regularly.

Caring for helxine

Once it has settled in well, you won’t need to care for it at all. It’ll self-propagate and spread as months and years come and go. A few tips will help you grow a particularly lush and long-living plant. Here are our techniques to spur nice growth for your helxine in every season:

  • Potted helxineWater regularly over the first year, and then only in case of prolonged dry spell or heat wave.
  • Adding lawn fertilizer in spring is advantage for the growth of your helxine.
  • Stop all watering in winter, and don’t add any fertilizer either.

This is definitely an extremely resistant plant, since there are no known parasites or diseases…

All there is to know about helxine

Helxine hails from the western shores of the Mediterranean, Corsica and Sardinia. It has adapted perfectly well to climates that aren’t as mild further north.

Ground cover helxineSince it grows pretty fast, your helxine will reach its (small) adult size in no time. The blooming is really insignificant, but that’s OK because the leafage is what we all appreciate in helxine. It can actually replace grass for a lawn that you won’t need to mow anymore!

Helxine is part of same family as nettle and the fascinating Pilea houseplant. Its covering properties are such that many people plant this ground cover plant instead of grass for their lawn. This neat-looking plant pleases many owners of Japanese-style Zen gardens, too.

Smart tip about helxine

It loves shade, but if you grow it indoors it does need sufficient light to grow and spread.

Images: CC BY 4.0: Daniel Cahen, CC BY-SA 2.0: Laurent Houmeau, Stéfan; dreamstime: Andres Jacobi, Olga Miltsova; Pixabay: Marijana