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Creeping Charlie Houseplant vs. other creeping Charlie plants

creeping-charlie-houseplant-care

Creeping Charlie is an appealing plant that is sure to add to the vibe of your home, but there is much confusion between the real Creeping Charlie and other plants that share the same name. 

When you search for Creeping Charlie houseplant, you usually come across multiple plant species with the same name. 

The most notable plant species having Creeping Charlie as a common name are:

  1. Pilea Nummularifolia
  2. Glechoma hederacea, and 
  3. Malva Sylvestris

Although they might share the same name, they all have distinct characteristics and usage. 

This guide will discuss these three plant species and their distinguishing characteristics.

Scientific nameFamily Common Names
Pilea NummularifoliaUrticaceaeSwedish Ivy, Creeping Charlie 
Glechoma hederaceaLamiaceaeGround Ivy, Catsfoot, Creeping Charlie, Field Balm
Malva Sylvestris MalvaceaeCommon Mallow, High Mallow, Tall Mallow, Creeping Charlie 

Pilea Nummularifolia – The Original Creeping Charlie

Pilea Nummularifolia - The Original Creeping Charlie

Pilea Nummularifolia – the real Creeping Charlie, with bright glossy green leaves and lavender flowers is a feast for the eyes. This lush succulent plant belongs to the Urticaceae family and is often known as Swedish Ivy.

But the funny thing is that It neither belongs to Sweden, nor it is much Ivy. Unlike its name, Swedish Ivy is native to the Caribbean and parts of South America. This edible plant is easy to grow indoors and looks quite attractive in hanging baskets. Although it trails beautifully as an indoor plant, growers consider it a weed when grown outdoors. 

Characteristics of Pilea Nummularifolia

General Information:

Family Urticaceae 
Genus Pilea 
SpeciesP. Nummulariifolia
Common NameSwedish Ivy, Creeping Charlie 
Cultivation Humid Environment and Moist Soil Like Terrarium
Plant Growth Form Perennial Herb, Climber, Vine & Liana
Mature Foliage ColorGreen 
Foliage Shape Round to Oval
Leaf Shape Ovate 
Flower Color Green, White 
Invasiveness Invasive 
Native Distribution West Indies to Peru 
Origin The Caribbean And Northern South America
Table 1.1: General Information Pilea Nummularifolia (Swedish Ivy)

Why Does Creeping Charlie (Pilea Nummularifolia) Make A Good Houseplant?

Pilea Nummularifolia - The Original Creeping Charlie

Creeping Charlie houseplant is an excellent option for your home decor, and here’s why you should have it indoors:

Easy to Plant and Care

Creeping Charlie or Pilea Nummularifolia houseplant needs very little caring at the initial stage of growth. 5-6 hours of sunlight per day is enough for the plant to bloom.

Low Cost

Pilea Nummularifolia is not much expensive. If you are on a budget, fret not! This plant can propagate quickly by cuttings, and you can use any organic fertilizer for this plant. 

Non-Toxic

This plant is non-toxic and can be a safe indoor plant option for your home. However, it can cause allergic reactions sometimes, so keep your pets and children away from the plant, just in case.

Ornamental Use

Pilea Nummularifolia is an ornamental plant and looks very attractive in a hanging basket with its leaves cascading down. Alternatively, you can use this plant as a ground cover, bedding plant, and good cover over stone walls as well.

Is it Edible?

Many houseplant owners question the edibility of this plant. We have good news for them as the NC State University declares the Creeping Charlie indoor plant edible. The leaves of this plant are essential for making tea.

Health Benefits of Pilea Nummularifolia

Pilea Nummularifolia is quite beneficial for our health. It contains copper, iron, and vitamin C, which give it a diuretic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-viral properties.

Risks Associated with Pilea Nummularifolia

Although this plant has its share of benefits, there are certain risks associated with it as well. For example, it contains chemicals that might cause gastrointestinal discomfort. Furthermore, it is highly not recommended to be consumed during pregnancy and has proven to be fatal for horses and cattle.

There are two other well-known plants with Creeping Charlie as a common name: Glechoma hederacea and Malva Sylvestris. But there is a marked difference among them. 

We have discussed these plant species and their characteristics below, so keep reading! 

Glechoma Hederacea – The Aggressive Creeping Charlie

Glechoma Hederacea - The Aggressive Creeping Charlie

The Glechoma Hederacea variant of the Creeping Charlie houseplant is often an irritating weed taking over grassy lawns.

It would be misleading to call it a houseplant. However, it can grow in your home garden, but keeping it indoors? Not a good idea!

Glechoma hederacea belongs to the Lamiaceae family (mint family). Apart from Creeping Charlie, this evergreen plant with bluish-purple flowers is also commonly known as Ground Ivy, Catsfoot, and Field Balm. 

Native to Europe, Glechoma hederacea is an aggressive weed with jagged leaves and comes under the category of invasive In North America.

Characteristics of Glechoma Hederacea

General Information

Family Lamiaceae
Genus Glechoma 
Species Glechoma Hederacea
Common NameGround Ivy, Catsfoot, Field Balm, Creeping Charlie 
Size 5-50cm Tall
Shape Round, Kidney, Or Fan-Shaped
Leaf 2-3 cm in Diameter
Petioles 3-6 cm Long
Stem and Leaf Square 
Odor Distinctive
Invasiveness Non-invasive
Origin Native to Europe and parts of Asia 
Table 1.2: General Information Glechoma Hederacea (Ground  Evy)

Flowers of Glechoma Hederacea

Symmetry Bilateral
Shape Funnel
Color Blue, Bluish Violet to Lavender
Flowering Season Spring 
Table 1.3: Flowers of Glechoma Hederacea (Ground  Evy)

Is It Edible? 

Although this invasive weed is not of much use as a houseplant, it is edible. You can use Glechoma Hederacea for making tea. It is rich in copper, iron and also contains vitamin C in ample amounts. 
As Glechoma Hederacea is not an indoor plant, we will skip right to its health benefits.

Health Benefits of Glechoma Hederacea

With all the hardship Glechoma Hederacea brings to the gardeners, it comes with multiple health advantages. The parts of the Glechoma Hederacea plant, such as leaf, stem, and foliage, are beneficial for human health. 

It is used to treat many issues related to the mucous membranes of the ear, nose, and throat. Also, this weed is helpful for digestive system issues. Not only this, but it can be used as an eyewash to treat watery, itchy, and sore eyes.

Moreover, it is known to have diuretic properties and can soothe irritated skin and abscesses. Recent studies have also given it a thumbs-up for helping with jaundice, depression, palpitations, and being effective against cancerous red blood cells.

Who knew this invasive weed has so many life-saving properties!

Risks Associated with Glechoma Hederacea

With the countless benefits come a handful of risks! 

Glechoma hederacea is known to be toxic to horses and can cause humans to have allergic reactions. It is definitely bad news for pregnant women, people with epilepsy, and kidney diseases. It should always be taken in small doses, as large quantities may cause liver damage.

This brings us to the last variant of Creeping Charlie, the Malva Sylvestris.

Malva Sylvestris – The Taller Creeping Charlie

Malva Sylvestris - The Taller Creeping Charlie

Malva Sylvestris is a Biennial plant. It is occasionally known as the Creeping Charlie plant and grows faster to a height of 0.5 m. The flowers of this plant come in various colors such as reddish-purple, pinkish-purple with dark stripes, and bright mauve purple. Although it cannot be kept as a houseplant, its flowers do give the outdoors a picturesque look!

It is also commonly known as High Mallow or Tall Mallow and is native to western Europe, North Africa, and Asia. This invasive plant species grow well in meadows and fallow fields and can reach a height of 3-4 feet.

Malva Sylvestris have a distinct seed shape with a diameter of 5-7mm. A cheese wheel shape seed makes it unique among other plants. The seed turns brown or brownish green when ripe.

Characteristics of Plant

General Information 

FamilyMalvaceae
Genus Malva
Species M. Sylvestris
Common NameCommon Mallow, High Mallow, Tall Mallow, Creeping Charlie 
Size3-4 Feet High
Cultivation Meadows, Hedgerows and In Fallow Fields.
InvasivenessInvasive 
OriginWestern Europe, North Africa, And Asia
Table 1.4: General Information Malva Sylvestris  (Common Mallow)

Leaves of Malva Sylvestris

ShapeRound
Length2-4 cm
Diameter2-5 cm and 5-10 cm
Table 1.5: Leaves of Malva Sylvestris (Common Mallow)

Flowers of Malva Sylvestris

Color Reddish Purple, Pinkish Purple with Dark Stripes, Bright Mauve Purple
Cluster Axillary
Triangular Calyx 3-6 mm Long 
Ovate Calyx 5-7 mm Long
Table 1.6: Flowers of Malva Sylvestris (Common Mallow)

Fruit of Malva Sylvestris

Fruit Reticulate
Diameter5-6 mm
Table 1.7: Flowers of Malva Sylvestris (Common Mallow)

Seeds of Malva Sylvestris

Color Brown or Brownish Green When Ripe
Length2-5 mm Long
Diameter 5-7 mm
Shape Cheese Wheel
Table 1.8: Flowers of Malva Sylvestris (Common Mallow)

Is It Edible?

Flowers, leaves, and seeds of the Malva Sylvestris are edible, and you can use them for making herbal tea.

Health Benefits with Malva Sylvestris

Just like the previous two Creeping Charlie plants, the Malva Sylvestris plant also has several health benefits. It has the ability to heal wounds, protect against infections, provide relief from insect bites and help with respiratory and digestive issues. It has also proven to be good for treating insomnia and headaches.

Risks Associated with Malva Sylvestris

Although not many risks are associated with this plant, it can interact with other medicines and cause issues. Therefore, it is recommended to check with your doctor before incorporating it into your diet.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How much sun does a Creeping Charlie plant need?

The amount of sun that creeping Charlie plant needs is medium. It does not like to be in full sun for long periods of time. If the creeping Charlie plant does not get enough light, it will begin to stretch towards the light. It also grows much slower if it does not have enough light.

Creeping Charlie plant should be grown in part shade or dappled sunlight. A plant grown in shade will be shorter, bushier, and more colorful than a plant grown in full sun.

Is Creeping Charlie a good houseplant?

Creeping Charlie is a great addition to any home or office and can be combined with other plants in potting arrangements, garden beds, and planters. They can also be used as a stand-alone ground cover.

How long does the creeping Charlie plant live?

Creeping Charlie is a plant that can live for 2 to 3 years. The plant thrives in well-drained soil―preferably rich in organic matter. It will grow in the sun or partial shade.

Conclusion 

Now you know that the real Creeping Charlie is a visually stunning indoor plant with blooming lavender flowers and bright green leaves. In comparison, the other variants are just invasive weeds with the same name that cannot be kept indoors. However, all three Creeping Charlies are excellent for our health if taken in safe amounts.

So, enjoy good health and the blend of stunning colors Creeping Charlie brings to your home by getting the houseplant and not the weeds!

Written by Chris Buckland

Hello, I’m Chris. I’m a houseplant expert. I have been Cultivating and Growing Houseplants for 20 years. Plants are like my children. I love to write about Indoor plants and share my experience. That's why I started writing everything I know about houseplants.

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