Creeping Charlie Plant Care

Overview

There are two plants that are called creeping Charlie. The first is an easy-care houseplant with attractive light green leaves (often variegated white or yellow) with small lavender flowers. The second plant is a common lawn weed, glechoma hederacea, also called ground ivy. The following directions refer to the care of the houseplant not the lawn weed. Creeping Charlie makes an excellent office plant as it thrives in low humidity and can tolerate lower temperatures, although it does need bright light. It is also easy to propagate by cuttings and you can easily make enough new creeping Charlies to give as gifts.

Step 1

Choose a decorative container that is slightly wider but twice as deep as your creeping Charlie root ball.

Step 2

Fill the bottom one-quarter with gravel or small stones to aid drainage.

Step 3

Mix equal amounts of potting soil and compost together. Add 1/4 cup of horticultural sand for every 5 cups of potting soil/compost mix. Make enough to fill the container.

Step 4

Fill the container with the potting soil/compost/sand mix leaving enough room for the creeping Charlie root ball. Plant the creeping Charlie at the same depth it was growing.

Step 5

Place your creeping Charlie in bright indirect sunlight or in a spot where it receives less than 3 hours of direct sun a day. The room should have temperatures between 65 to 75 degrees F. Be sure to rotate the plant one-quarter turn once a week to maintain even growth.

Step 6

Pinch back the tips of your creeping Charlie vines for a bushier plant. Do this once every 6 months to maintain the shape. Grasp a vine between your thumb and finger. Use your thumbnail to gently pinch the vine while applying a downward pressure. You can also use a small pair of scissors for this. Do not remove more than one-half of the plant at any time.

Step 7

Use scissors to snip off dead or dying vines. Cut the vine back either to the crown or 1 to 2 inches into healthy growth.

Step 8

Keep your creeping Charlie's soil evenly moist. Allow the top 1/4 to 1/2 inch to dry slightly before watering.

Step 9

Fertilize with a water-soluble general purpose houseplant food once a month from March/April through September/October. Follow package directions for rate of application.

Step 10

Repot your creeping Charlie every other year or if you think it is becoming root-bound (the roots are growing out of the drainage hole or circling the inside of the pot). Mix new potting medium every time you repot. Only move up a pot size if the plant is increasing in size; otherwise just replace the soil.

Tips and Warnings

  • Creeping Charlie can be short-lived, even with excellent care, with a life span of 3 to 4 years.

Things You'll Need

  • Decorative container slightly larger than root ball
  • Gravel or small stones
  • General purpose potting soil
  • Compost
  • Horticultural sand
  • Scissors
  • Water-soluble commercial or organic houseplant fertilizer

References

  • University of Missouri Extension: Caring for Houseplants
  • Plantcare.com: Plectranthus Care
  • "Simon & Schuster's Guide to Houseplants;" Alessandro Chiusoli, Maria Luisa Boriani; 1986

Who Can Help

  • University of Illinois: General Guidelines for Houseplant Care
Keywords: growing creeping Charlie, caring for creeping Charlie, caring for houseplants, creeping Charlie