Whether as a decorative houseplant or as a classic green groundcover – the bobbed head (Helxine soleirolii) can now be found in almost all plant lovers either in the house or in the garden. As a noble-looking green plant, the plant impresses with its thread-thin shoots and shiny green leaves, which are arranged in a dense cluster. The care of the bobbed head, which comes from the nettle family, is very easy. Therefore, the herbaceous, evergreen plant from Corsica and Sicily is also well suited for beginners.

The bobbed head – location and soil conditions

Optimally placed and ideally cared for, the bob haircut thrives both indoors and in the garden. The plant can develop best in a bright location, but partially shaded areas are also suitable for cultivation. However, bob haircuts do not tolerate direct sunlight and should not be too warm inside the apartment. Places near the heating are therefore less suitable. During the summer months the plant should only be exposed to the midday sun if the pot is placed at a sufficient distance behind the window. Otherwise heat can accumulate, which can lead to diseases of the bob haircut. If the plant is in the shade, it should be considered that it does not grow flat, but rather in length.

Bobbed heads thrive particularly well in hanging baskets or wide planters. The plant feels comfortable in a fairly wide temperature range. Thus, cultivation is possible between 5°C and 30°C; However, temperatures between 18 and 24°C are ideal. The plant is very robust, so that in winter it can withstand phases of temperatures close to the frost line. If the Bubikopf is cultivated in a sheltered location, the plant can therefore also be used as a ground cover during the winter months. The plant thrives best with an optimal substrate:

  • Humic mixtures of peat and compost are particularly suitable.
  • Conventional garden soil can also be mixed with sand or some peat dust.
  • The loosening of the soil is particularly important.
  • The bob haircut thrives best in slightly acidic soil.

Watering, fertilizing and overwintering

In terms of optimal watering, the bobbed is a real specialty. While most plants do not need moisture in the winter months, the bobbed must be watered all year round. It is important to ensure that the soil is always slightly moist. The substrate must not dry out. However, the bob haircut must be protected from waterlogging; Residual water in the coaster must therefore be avoided at all costs. Especially in winter, when the plant is cool, these can cause damage and lead to root rot, for example. When watering, it is important to ensure that watering occurs exclusively from below. Otherwise, there is a risk that the leaves will rot. In addition to optimal watering, the plant needs a suitable fertilizer.

Basically, the nutrient requirement of the bobbed head is low, but if the plant should grow particularly luxuriantly, a regular supply with an appropriate fertilizer is advisable. A medium-concentration liquid fertilizer can then be added to the irrigation water every 14 days. Fertilization takes place exclusively in the period between autumn and spring. The optimal application of the fertilizer solution is particularly important. The liquid must not touch the plant leaves, as there is a risk that the plant will burn itself. To ensure that the plant is not injured, the plant should be rinsed with clear water after fertilizing. Overwintering is uncomplicated:

  • The bobbed hair tolerates temperatures close to the frost line; then the plant should be sheltered from the wind.
  • In particularly harsh winters, the bob haircut can also be brought into the house.
  • Overwintering indoors requires particularly bright locations.
Tip: A semi-shady location can lead to the bobbed head fading.

Cutting the bob haircut

Bobbed hair can be cut back without any problems. A distinction is made between a care cut and a shape cut. In many cases, no cutting is necessary at all. If the plants are kept as traffic light plants, for example, the shoots can simply grow downwards.

However, if the plant grows too much, a targeted cut can be beneficial for the optimal growth of the plant. Too dense growth is particularly recognizable by the wilted shoots in the center of the plant. Then the growth should be cut back. When pruning, shoots that have grown very long and hardly have any leaves can also be taken into account. Such shoots are the sign of an unfavorable choice of location; bobbed heads that are too dark are usually affected by these shoots. Therefore, after the cut, the location should be changed to lighter areas. In addition to the grooming cut, the bob haircut can also be cut back for decorative reasons:

  • Bobbies naturally grow into a spherical shape, which is why round topiary cuts are particularly recommended.
  • You can use simple household scissors for the cut.
  • Slightly heart-shaped cuts or angular shapes are also possible.
  • It should not be cut back too much to avoid damaging the plant.

The bobbed head: cultivation and propagation

The propagation and cultivation of the bobbed hair is easy. In many cases, pulling the cuttings is necessary because the plant begins to ail, usually from the bottom up. Then the cuttings are set while the mother plant is discarded. This works best in spring or summer.

There are basically two options for propagation: dividing the plant or using cuttings.

If you want to achieve a particularly bushy growth, it has proven useful to put several specimens in one pot. Humic soil is suitable for cultivation, which should be slightly acidic and loose. The cuttings are placed on the substrate and only slightly pressed. Now the planter is placed in a pot with water. The soil then remains optimally moist. The plant container and the water bowl are then placed in a bright and warm place without direct sunlight.

In order to enable optimal growth conditions, it has also proven useful to increase the humidity. This can be done by using a freezer bag to cover the pot. However, you have to ensure that there is sufficient ventilation to prevent mold from forming. That’s why it’s important to lift the hood for a short time once a day. The cuttings thrive best at a temperature between 20 and 25°C. Under these conditions, the first roots appear after just one week. Now the water bowl under the planter can be removed. Irrigation is now done with daily watering, which must always be done from below. The plant is only fertilized after a year. In addition to propagation by cuttings, adult plants can also be divided:

  • For this purpose, the root ball of a bobbed haircut is divided into several sections.
  • When dividing, care must be taken to ensure that as much of the fibrous roots and rootstock as possible are retained.
  • The best time for this propagation is spring.

Effectively combat pests and diseases

The bobbed head is very robust and therefore only rarely affected by diseases and even more rarely by pests. The plant reacts to various diseases, which lead to unsightly growth, especially if it is not cared for properly. If the planter is too dark, long shoots will form on which only a few or almost no leaves can be found. Then a change of location to a brighter area is indicated. But excessive watering of the bob haircut can also lead to various diseases, especially root rot. For this reason, excess water must always be drained from the translator. If, on the other hand, wilted leaves are observed in the middle of the plant, the plant is growing too densely. Then the bob haircut needs to be cut. Pests rarely occur with bobbed hair. However, sometimes the infestation of aphids is observed. Then there are different treatment options:

  • Spray the plant with water
    • in the case of bobbed hair outdoors, a gentle jet with the water hose
  • Place indoor plants under the shower head
  • Note that wet leaves will cause the plant to stunt
  • For this reason, ensure that the leaves are thoroughly dried afterwards
  • Alternatively treatment with soft soap solution


The bob haircut can be used in many ways both in the house and in the garden. The plant looks particularly decorative in a hanging basket. The plant also looks very elegant in a bowl, combined with a few colorful petals as a splash of color. If the bobbed hair is to go outside, balcony boxes, for example, are well suited. In the garden bed, it is suitable as a green carpet and ground cover. When placing the plant in a group of diverse foliage plants, it is best used as a foreground plant. But the bob haircut is also suitable for very special decorations. The plant is particularly effective when planted in a wicker basket with other green or leafy plants. In the Easter season, the bobbed head looks particularly pretty in a small basket or in a bowl, in which you also fill colored eggs. So you can design small nests, which are also well suited to give away.

Historical background and naming

The bob haircut originally comes from the Mediterranean region, for example Corsica and Sardinia. Here the plant feels really comfortable in the subtropical climate – dry, warm summers and damp, mild winters. The plant is particularly widespread there on good forest soil and in the shade of trees. However, the bobbed head can also be found very often between stepping stones, in wall joints and on rocks. The bobbed head was first described by the botanist Esprit Requien in 1825. The botanist Joseph Francois Soleirol, who collected the plant near Cervione (Corsica), honors the plant with the name (Helxine soleirolii).

The Bubikopf is a robust and easy-care plant that can withstand a wide temperature range and thrives optimally with careful watering. Propagation is uncomplicated and can be done by cuttings or simply by dividing the root ball. The bobbed head looks just as decorative in the garden as a ground cover, on the balcony in flower boxes or inside the apartment in hanging baskets. On the one hand, a targeted cut promotes growth, but on the other hand it can also be used for shaping – this way the plant looks even more decorative.

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