A swamp for George

Soleirolia soleirolii - the perfect bathroom plant.

I've been using these lovely creeping emerald droplet-leaves for years now, both indoors and out.

Outside, they do this tight-knit, softening thing - the leaves are slightly tougher and darker, and none the worse for that. I long to take a machete to the cement between my paving stones and let it do its thing.

Some people regard it as a nuisance, but (as I've said many times before) nuisance plants are my kind of deal, for obvious reasons.

Indoors, it's a very different proposition. You can put this plant in almost any sort of container and it will thrive. The warmer it is, the longer the creeping stems will become, and the softer the cushioning.

I have this hideous window in my bathroom, and found a tray thingy in one of the big sheds. I thought I'd make a place for George the crocodile (Schleich toy of the moment) to hang out, and decorate this desolate window-sill (although I'm not sure you can even call it that).

You need:

1 x Soleirolia soleirolii plant - available at good garden centres in little pots. Sometimes it's sold under the name 'Helxine', sometimes 'Mother of thousands', sometimes 'Baby's tears' (ahhhhhh). I've never seen it sold in any of the big shed ones (silly billys, because it would fly off the shelves)

A container - anything you want, but you'll need drainage holes, which is why I had to drill some in my tray. I drilled three large holes with a fat drill bit that had a point on the end of it. It took a grand total of ten seconds...but if you hate stuff like that, then just use an ordinary pot or pots - terracotta is nice.

Some multi-purpose compost - try to find one without too many huge bits of bark in it. But if you can't, then just remove them when you come to fill your pot. This is simply to create the best environment for the creeping stems to attach themselves and put down roots.

A drill, to make holes (if you need them)


Fill your container with compost, right up to to the top. You don't want to be leaving a gap between the top of the compost and the rim of the pot because this plant's M.O is to 'spill' over the edge - it's very very pretty.

Now remove your plant from its plastic and divide it gently into little pieces. How many depends on the number of containers you have to fill, but know that it only takes the merest suggestion of leaf and roots, planted with care and attention (or not) to get this plant started and within weeks it will have covered the surface of the compost.

Of course, you could just buy enough to fill your entire container and have the finished product right there and then...no harm in that, except watching things grow is more fun.

Plant your pieces, making sure that the roots go in your compost, and the leaves remain above it, but generally you can be quite slap-dash and just squish it in.

Water well from above with a watering can that has a rose attached to give you a gentle shower of water, and from below also, by putting your container into another one, filled with water, and leaving it there to soak.

Keep the compost damp at all times (which isn't hard, in a bathroom, is it?)