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Pilea Dark Mystery plant care guide

Want to add a Pilea Dark Mystery to your houseplant collection? They are beautiful and easy to care for! Here’s my complete Pilea Dark Mystery plant care guide!

I was recently perusing the shelves at Home Depot, looking for a new plant for my home office. I wanted something that would do OK with medium light (about 8 feet from the window) and would have interesting texture.

I adore plants with dark folliage, so the Dark Mystery plant just lept off the shelf at me!

I checked the tag and it said “my name is Pilea”. I was VERY puzzled because I have several pilea plants and NONE of them look like this – in color or leaf shape.

But, a quick google led me to the Pilea Dark Mystery. Into my cart it went, and I am happy to report that a few months later it is doing great on the shelf in my office!

pilea dark mystery plant care guide

More about Pilea plants

pilea dark mystery plant in a ceramic pot

What is Pilea Dark Mystery?

Pilea Dark Mystery is a gorgeous houseplant with triangular leaves with a serrated edge. The leaves are a purple-brown color and point in all directions, almost like flames. They are really unique and beautiful!

Other names for Pilea Dark Mystery include:

  • Pilea involucrata
  • Pilea hitchcockii
  • Lizard tail Pilea

Pilea Dark Mystery origins

This plant originated in the rainforest of Equador.

Is Pilea Dark Mystery rare?

I got my Dark Mystery plant at Home Depot. If a plant is available at a big box store, I consider that it is not rare! It it produced and sold by Costa Farms, which is a very widespread plant brand.

That being said, they are certainly unusual looking!

Is Pilea Dark Mystery toxic?

Pilea are not considered toxic to cats, dogs, or people. So, they are considered a pet-safe plant. However, you still want to try to keep them away from your pets so they don’t get ruined!

Of course, if your pet ate an entire plant, they might vomit just like they would throw up grass. But you don’t have to worry about pilea being poisonous.

Does the dark mystery plant bloom?

Yes, this plant will get small, pink blooms in the right conditions. If it blooms, you know that it is really happy!

How big does dark mystery plant get?

This plant grows a max of about 8 inches tall. It can grow bushier/wider, but usually does not grow taller than that.

pilea dark mystery plant in a ceramic pot

Pilea Dark Mystery plant care guide

Pilea Dark Mystery plants are easy to care for once you get them in the right conditions.

Pilea Dark Mystery watering

These plants like to stay fairly moist. I find that they need to be watered a bit more frequently than the average houseplant. Water them when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch.

Read my guide on drilling drainage holes in pots!

How often should I water my Pilea Dark Mystery?

Water your plant when the top inch of soil feels dry to your finger. This could be once or twice a week. The more sun and heat the plant gets, the quicker it will dry out!

Should I mist my Pilea Dark Mystery?

These plants are native to humid areas, so they do well with high humidity. You can mist them, group them with other plants, or run a humidifier if you have dry air (especially in winter).

pilea dark mystery plant in a ceramic pot close up

Pilea Dark Mystery lighting needs

Dark Mystery Pilea need bright, indirect light. They do OK with medium light, but will grow faster and larger with more light.

Do not put your plant in direct light – such as in the sun outdoors or a very very sunny window. Direct light will sunburn the leaves and kill them off!

Can I keep Pilea Dark Mystery outdoors?

You can keep your Pilea outoors assuming that the temperatures stay over 50 degrees and they are in bright, indirect lighting.


The Pilea Dark Mystery prefers temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid exposing your plant to temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit or above 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

pilea dark mystery plant in a ceramic pot close up

Pilea Dark Mystery soil + potting

Pilea have pretty simple soil needs – the most important thing is that the soil is well draining and will not stay soggy or overly wet.

What is the best soil for dark mystery Pilea?

These plants prefer a rich, well draining soil. Consider adding peat moss to the soil or a bark made for African Violets. Be sure that the pot has proper drainage to avoid pooling water and root rot!

Does Pilea Dark Mystery like to be root bound?

Pilea in general do not like to be root bound and will stop growing – and can even die off – if they become root bound. If you see that the roots look crowded, move it to a pot that is 1-2 inches wider in diameter.

Repotting Pilea Dark Mystery

Repot your Pilea Dark Mystery every year or two, or when the roots begin to outgrow the pot. Choose a pot that is one size larger than the current pot, and use fresh potting soil.

Pilea Dark Mystery fertilization

You should fertilize your Dark Mystery plant during the growing season – this is generally warm spring and summer months.

It is suggested to use a general houseplant fertilizer, but only at half of the recommended dosage on your fertilizer. You can do this once in the spring and once in the summer.

pilea dark mystery plant in a ceramic pot close up

Pruning Dark Mystery Plant

Over time, the old leaves will die off on your plant. Gently remove them for a clean look!

Any healthy pruned branch cuttings can be placed in water to propagate.

How to propagate Pilea Dark Mystery

It is extremely easy to propagate Pilea Dark Mystery stem cuttings in water.

  1. Identify a healthy branch, preferably with new growth
  2. Snip the branch with sharp scissors
  3. Remove any lower leaves
  4. Place in water so at least 1 – preferably 2 – nodes are underwater
  5. Change the water once a week and top off as necessary
  6. See roots form in 2-4 weeks
  7. Once the roots are 2-3 inches long, plant in soil
pilea dark mystery plant in a ceramic pot close up

Troubleshooting Pilea Dark Mystery

Why is my Pilea Dark Mystery leaning to one side?

Pileas are famous for growing towards the light! To fix this lean, you have two options.

  1. Move it to a brighter spot so it doesn’t have to stretch to get the light
  2. Rotate your plant once a week a 1/4 turn so it balances itself out!

Why is my Pilea Dark Mystery dropping leaves?

Leaf drop is usually caused by improper watering, not enough light, over fertilization, or a sudden drop in temperatures. Assess your situation to see what might have happened and try to reverse it to save your plant.

Is Pilea Dark Mystery prone to pest infestation?

Pilea Dark Mystery is not especially prone to pests, but infestation can occur. Keep an eye out for common houseplant pests such as spider mites, mealybugs, and scale insects. If you notice any pests, isolate your plant and treat it with an insecticidal soap or neem oil.

Pilea Dark Mystery Free Printable Care Guide

Join the (free!) KeepYourPlantsAlive+ community to access this exclusive printable plant care guide! Once you sign up, you can right click & save the JPG care guide. Or keep scrolling for more!

Pilea Dark Mystery Plant Care Guide

Any more questions about the Pilea Dark Mystery?

Thanks for reading!

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