Pilea (Chinese money plant) - Expert tips
How to care for Chinese money plant: Expert Tips for Thriving Plants
Are you ready to discover the secrets of the mysterious and trendy Chinese money plant? With its round, coin-shaped leaves and easy care requirements, the Pilea plant is quickly becoming the must-have houseplant of the moment.
Fun fact! It was initially believed to bring its owner good luck, money, and fortune. We still want to believe this, though! Wouldn’t that be amazing?
There are many common names for Pilea Peperomioides, including the Chinese money plant, pancake plant, coin plant, and UFO plant. It is a perfect low-maintenance houseplant and is suitable for a wide range of plant enthusiasts, from beginners to experienced growers. We think it’s an ideal gift for every plant parent!
Take a look at this article for tips on how to keep your Pilea looking beautiful and long-lasting.
Pilea care: 10 expert tips for growing it successfully
- Keep the soil moist but not soggy. Be careful not to overwater your Pilea, as this can lead to root rot. Wait until the topsoil has dried out somewhat before watering it again.
- Pilea plants are sensitive to fluoride, which is commonly found in tap water. To prevent leaf spotting, you can use filtered water or let water sit for 24 hours before watering.
- Provide your Pilea with bright, indirect light. This plant thrives in bright, indirect light but is sensitive to direct sun, which can cause its leaves to turn yellow or fade.
- Keep the leaves clean. Pileas are prone to attracting dust and dirt, which can block their pores and prevent them from breathing properly. Wipe the leaves regularly with a damp cloth to keep them clean.
- Keep the humidity high. These plants prefer a humid environment, so consider using a humidifier or placing the plant on a humidity tray.
- Fertilise regularly. Pileas are heavy feeders and benefit from regular fertilisation. Use a balanced liquid plant food every two to four weeks during the growing season.
- Prune, if needed. Pileas grow quickly and may become leggy or overgrown if not regularly pruned.
- Repot as needed. Pilea plants prefer to be slightly pot-bound, but be sure to repot them into a slightly larger pot when they outgrow their current one.
- Watch out for pests. They are prone to attracting pests such as aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites. Keep an eye out for these pests and take appropriate action if you spot any.
- Be patient. Pileas may take some time to establish themselves in their new environment. Be patient and give your plant the time it needs to grow and thrive.
Pilea prefers bright indirect light. Avoid placing it in direct sunlight, which can cause the leaves to burn or turn yellow. A spot near a north- or east-facing window is ideal, as it will provide the plant with the indirect light it needs without exposing it to harsh sunlight.
To prevent your Pancake plant from growing in all different directions instead of up, it is recommended to rotate her at least 2-3 times a week. It grows towards the sun!
This plant can adapt to lower light, but the leaves will turn a darker green and spread out more. It may also grow more slowly, and the leaves may become pale or yellow.
Water the Chinese money plant approximately once a week, but check that the first 2-3 centimetres of soil are dry to touch before watering. The cooler the air, the less you need to water it. If you doubt whether the soil has dried enough, use a water meter to measure soil moisture.
If you notice that your plant's leaves are turning yellow or falling off, it’s likely it has been overwatered. It is pretty sensitive to too moist soil. Gently pull off the yellowed leaves close to the soil to allow the plant to concentrate on its healthy growth.
Chinese money plants prefer temperatures between 16-24°C. At its lowest tolerance, the temperature can be as low as 10℃. Too low a temperature can cause the plant to become stressed and the leaves to turn yellow or drop off. In addition, too high a temperature may result in wilting and yellowing of the plant, and it dries out more quickly.
To avoid temperature-related problems, keep your plant in a location with a stable temperature and avoid exposing it to sudden temperature changes or drafts.
A Chinese money plant will grow and thrive best in an environment with a humidity level between 40-60%. While the plant can tolerate a minimum humidity of 30%, it may start to show signs of stress, such as wilting or yellowing leaves, if the humidity drops below this level.
To maintain optimal humidity for your plant, consider using a humidifier or placing a water tray near the plant.
As time passes, the soil in your Pilea pot can become compacted and depleted of nutrients, which can negatively impact the plant's health and growth. To keep your plant healthy and happy, repot it every few years to provide it with fresh soil. This will help the plant to continue growing and thriving.
There are several signs that can indicate it is time to repot your Chinese money plant. These include:
- Roots are growing out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot.
- Soil that is becoming compacted or dry, even after regular watering.
- Leaves that are starting to yellow or droop, even with regular watering and care.
If you notice any of these signs, it is likely time to repot your plant to provide it with fresh soil and give it room to continue growing.
The best time to repot your Chinese money plant is during the spring or summer when the plant is actively growing. This allows the plant to adjust easily to its new environment and continue growing strong. However, if necessary, you can also repot your plant in the winter.
Chinese money plants need well-draining soil that is rich in nutrients. Although they can tolerate a wide range of pH levels, Pileas prefer slightly acidic soil between 6.0 and 6.5. Avoid using soil mixes that are too heavy or dense, as this can cause root rot. Use organic PLNTS Potting Soil that is ideal for all types of Pilea plants.
To help your Chinese money plant grow strong and healthy, fertilise it regularly with a liquid fertiliser. This will provide the plant with the nutrients it needs to thrive and encourage it to produce new leaves and stems. Fertilising your Chinese money plant is best done in the spring and summer when it is actively growing. Fertilising is not necessary during the fall and winter when the plant is dormant.
Feed your Pilea once a month with the PLNTS Nutrition plant food. Be sure to follow the instructions on the fertiliser label and avoid over-fertilising, as this can lead to plant stress and other problems.
Pilea Peperomioides flowers are delicate white coloured that are nestled among their vibrant green leaves. The flowers are typically less than 3 cm in diameter and have five petals arranged in a star-like shape. The flowers may not always be visible if you grow Pilea in a pot because the leaves hide them.
It is rare for Pilea plants to flower indoors because they are not exposed to the same environmental conditions as they would be in their natural habitat. In the wild, they grow in warm, tropical climates with plenty of filtered light and moisture. When grown indoors, the plant may need more light or moisture to encourage blooming. Furthermore, indoor plants are often grown in smaller pots, which may not provide enough space for them to bloom.
However, it is possible to encourage blooming by providing the right conditions and care. This includes providing the plant with plenty of light, water, and nutrients and maintaining a stable temperature and humidity level. Additionally, pruning the plant can help to encourage new growth and blooming. Your Chinese money plant may surprise you with beautiful flowers with the proper care.
It is important to note that not all Chinese money plants will flower indoors, and some may never produce flowers.
Pileas are relatively easy to propagate through stem cuttings or by separating offsets, also known as plantlets (or babies).
The easiest way is to propagate with plant babies. You can see little baby plants popping up from the soil. Follow their stem about 1 cm and cut the baby with a sharp knife. Put the baby in a small cup of water for them to grow strong roots of their own. Change the water frequently to keep it fresh. You can put them in the soil if the roots are longer than approx. 3 centimetres. And congratulations, you now have a new plant!
Propagation with stem cuttings is also easy, but it does require some care and patience.
Here is an easy step-by-step guide to propagating a Chinese money plant:
- First, choose a healthy and mature Chinese money plant to propagate. The plant should have strong, firm stems and be free of pests or diseases.
- To propagate the plant through stem cuttings, use a sharp knife or scissors to carefully cut a stem about 10-15 cm long. Make sure to cut just below a leaf node, as this is where new roots will grow.
- Next, remove the lower leaves from the stem cutting, leaving only a few leaves at the top.
- Fill a small pot with well-draining soil, such as a mixture of peat moss and perlite. Moisten the soil slightly, then make a hole in the centre with your finger.
- Dip the bottom of the stem cutting into rooting hormone powder, which will help to stimulate root growth. Place the cutting into the hole in the soil and gently press the soil around the cutting to secure it in place.
- It is best to place the pot in a warm, well-lit location but avoid direct sunlight.
- Keep the soil moist but not soggy, and be patient - it may take several weeks for the cutting to develop a strong root system.
- Once the cutting has developed a good root system, it can be transferred to a larger pot and cared for as a mature Chinese money plant.
Most common pests and diseases on Pileas
Pileas can be susceptible to certain pests and diseases. Spider mites, mealy bugs, and fungus gnats are common pests that may attack the plant. Regularly inspect the plant for signs of pests; if you notice any, promptly remove them with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. You can also use a natural insecticidal soap or neem oil to control pests on your Pilea.
To prevent pests on your Pilea, keeping the plant healthy and happy is important by providing it with the right amount of light, water, and nutrients. A weakened or stressed Pilea is more susceptible to insect infestations.
When you face pest or disease problems, we recommend you check our PLNTS doctor page for the best solution.
Pilea Peperomioides frequently asked questions
Is Pilea poisonous for pets or children?
Pilea are generally non-toxic for humans and pets. However, when ingested in very large quantities, they can cause a mild digestive reaction. But no human or pet is going to have Pileas for dinner, right?
How to look after a Chinese money plant?
Chinese money plants are easy to look after, even a beginner plant parent can do it. The most important thing is to place it in a well-lit location and avoid shadier places, as this will result in leggy growth. Fertilise regularly and only water when the soil is slightly dry.
How big can it grow?
The height and width of Chinese money plants typically range from 30 to 45 cm. However, it can grow much taller in the right conditions. Keep in mind that the size of the plant will depend on the size of the pot and the care it receives.
How fast does it grow?
Chinese money plants are quite fast-growing, growing between 5 and 10 cm a year on average.
How to prune my Chinese money plant?
You can prune your Pilea when it’s too leggy, too big, or drooped and no longer stands up. You can simply cut back the long stem. Cut off the upper part of the stem from where you can get a new beautiful-looking plant (it can be put in water or rooted in the soil). It is best to keep the lower part about 10-15 cm high (but it can be lower also). As a result, it grows new leaves or produces new baby plants.
It is also good practice to remove all dead or damaged leaves also. Avoid removing healthy leaves, as this can cause too much stress to your plant.
Why is my Pilea Peperomiodes leaves curling?
Pileas curl their leaves for self-defence. It may be due to environmental stress - low humidity, low temperature or too much sun. Simply check your conditions, and if you're facing one of these issues, make some changes.
Another common reason is improper watering routine. If your soil is wet and leaves are curling, it may be due to overwatering and vice versa.
In addition, various pests and diseases cause leaf curling, but then there should also be visible damage on the leaves.
Why is my Chinese money plant drooping?
Your Chinese money plant could be drooping due to underwatering. If a plant does not have enough water, it can no longer hold its leaves upright. But it also can be due to overwatering and root rot. Simply look and touch your plant's soil - if it’s wet and soggy, it’s probably due to overwatering. If it is ash dry, it’s probably due to underwatering, and you need to water it as soon as possible.
Additionally, a lack of light can also cause your Chinese money plant to droop. Then leaves will turn yellow also. Make sure your plant gets enough filtered natural light.
What to do when my Chinese money plant is too tall and leggy?
If you have a tall and leggy Chinese money plant, you can trim back the leggy stems, move it to a brighter location, and rotate it regularly (to give all the leaves equal light). Don’t forget that you can propagate new plants from “leftover” stems!
Buy Pilea online at PLNTS.com
At PLNTS.com you can buy different types of Pilea plants, like the Pilea Peperomioides in all its varieties and the Pilea Moon Valley. There is a Pilea for everyone!
Whether you like your Pilea big from the start or prefer to grow them from tiny BabyPLNTS into full-grown PLNTS - buy Pilea online at PLNTS.com!