Pilea peperomioides, or the Chinese Money Plant, can be seen in homes around the world and are easily recognizable due to their unique coin-shaped leaves.
As history has it, the Chinese Money Plant is known for being lucky, so they make popular gift plants – especially at housewarming parties.
Owning, growing, and keeping a Chinese Money Plant at home is said to bring prosperity and good luck to owners, so there’s no wonder why so many choose to gift them to loved ones.
There’s a special place for peperomioides in any home; the far-left corner of the house from where you enter. This position is supposed to attract good luck, positive energy, wealth, and fortune – so find a window or balcony with bright indirect sunlight for the best results.
Below, we take a deeper dive into the attractive Pilea peperomioides so that you can use your green thumb to grow, propagate, and care for one of these lucky specimens yourself.
Table of Contents
Chinese Money Plant Overview
|Scientific Name||Pilea peperomioides|
|Common Name||Chinese Money Plant / Pancake Plant / Friendship Plant / UFO Plant / Coin Plant / Missionary Plant|
|Origin||Yunnan and Sichuan Provinces of Southern China.|
|Size & Dimensions (Mature)||Mature Pilea Plants can grow up to 12 inches in height and almost the same size in width.|
|Features||Dark green, circular-shaped leaves are easily distinguished from similar houseplants.|
How to Grow Pilea peperomioides (Care and Conditions)
Whether keeping it as an indoor fixture or planting it outdoors in your garden, the Chinese Money plant will thrive with a straightforward care regimen.
Being the foundation on which your plant will either thrive or suffer, the Pilea peperomioides are fast-growing plants that require just the right kind of succulent or cacti potting mixes.
The soil mixes should be fluffy and light, as any soggy soil without proper drainage can cause root rot.
A coir-based or peat-based potting mix with a pH balance between 6.0-7.0 works best with these plants.
Chinese Money Plants require a consistent but infrequent watering schedule.
Only the top two inches of soil should be wet with each watering to ensure it does not remain soggy for prolonged periods. The soil needs to dry completely between waterings, with all excess water leaving through the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot.
At the same time, the soil shouldn’t be allowed to dry out too much, so be sure to check the water content of your soil frequently to avoid drying and drooping leaves.
The temperature and humidity in an average home suit the Chinese money plant perfectly. Unless the temperature drops below 50°F (10°C) or the plant is directly exposed to heating vents, your plant will thrive indoors.
Short but regular exposure to the colder weather during winter helps the plant to bloom on schedule.
The Chinese money plant can survive in a wide range of humidity, but it thrives in medium to high humidity with a generous misting from time to time.
Pilea peperomioides only need a limited amount of fertilizer during the spring and summer months and little to no fertilizer during winter.
Special, all-purpose, and balanced fertilizers that contain all the right nutrients (generally a 20-20-20 mix) can help your plant grow efficiently. A generous amount of liquid fertilizer during the summer and spring months will be helpful for indoor plants.
Light exposure is very important to these plants.
Pilea peperomioides like the sun, but only when it is indirect. These plants need to be placed somewhere they can be exposed to bright indirect light for most of the day. Too much light, especially direct sunlight, can keep Pilea from thriving.
In low-light environments, the leaves will tend to spread out more and turn darker in color; but with just the right amount of sunlight, they will thrive and shine.
Indoors, the plants will grow evenly in all directions as long as the pots are rotated once or twice every week, making sure that all the parts of the plant get adequate sunlight.
You can also supplement light needs with a small indoor grow light or some other type of artificial light source.
Different Types of Pilea Varieties
Chinese Money plants aren’t just easy to care for – they’re the perfect houseplants to help bring a playful accent to your interior and highlight your style.
Several varieties of Pilea are small, compact, and unique and make awesome showcase houseplants.
Pilea Cadierei Minima
Pilea cadierei Minima is a relatively rare variety known as the Aluminum Plant – easily recognized by its gorgeous green leaves with a metallic silver sheen. The variety is more compact, growing to only about half the size of its parent plant.
Also known as the Artillery Plant, Pilea Microphylla is a variety that prefers slightly moist soil and the morning sun. This indoor fixture plant also makes a unique ground cover for outdoor gardens, making it versatile enough to keep a place in or out of any home.
The Pilea ‘Dark Mystery’ looks out of this world, with dark, textured leaves sending a silver streak down the middle of each. Dark Mystery Pilea is multi-talented and makes a popular and particularly attractive plant for indoor hanging baskets.
The Silver Tree Pilea has gorgeous, eye-catching purple and brown leaves with a silver stripe in the middle. It naturally grows as a creeping vine under the canopy of the moist jungle.
Although Chinese money plants can be seen in homes in almost every country, some varieties are uncommon or rare. If you can get your hands on a select variety, it might be worth considering propagation – which we cover below.
Propagating Pilea peperomioides
As easy as Chinese money plants to care for, they are also simple to propagate. All you need is a healthy and mature plant – the mother plant – that has started producing suitable offshoots to propagate new plants.
While there are different ways to propagate Pilea, we recommend taking the following steps (with a clean knife).
- A mature p. peperomioides will have multiple small offsets at the base, also known as baby plants or baby Pilea. The offshoots are located just below the main stalk and can easily be cut off with a sharp knife. You should cut your Pilea babies as close to the soil as possible, right at the base of the stalk.
- Next, the offshoot must be kept in a glass or tumbler of water, submerging only the central stem (main stem) and the shoot. Additionally, the glass needs to be kept in a location with bright light for around a week or two.
- When the roots of the plant begin to sprout, the offshoot is ready to be planted in a small pot with fresh soil and a good drainage system. Keep sufficient soil moisture for a few weeks through regular watering and misting for the root system to thrive.
Eventually, your cuttings should develop new leaves and show new growth, transforming into tiny plants. Be sure to keep an eye on your Pilea baby – they can be quite sensitive to overstimulation.
The winter months are the prime growing season for Pilea, so new cuttings should be planted and repotted before the cold sets in.
Potting and Repotting Chinese Money Plant
These fast-growing plants can fill your pots in the blink of an eye!
The best time to re-pot Pilea peperomioides plants into a bigger pot is in the summer or spring. Any ceramic or plastic pot works perfectly for Chinese Money plants as long as it has a good-sized drainage hole for the excess water to leave the soil.
If you’re using terracotta pots for your plants, be sure to water them more frequently than usual, as terracotta absorbs water and dries soil more quickly.
During your yearly repotting, remember to change or add fresh soil as needed and remove the offshoots at the base of the plant for propagation.
Common Problems with Pilea peperomioides
The Chinese Money Plant is an easy plant to care for, but you can’t avoid some of its most common problems: spider mites, fungus gnats, aphids, mealy bugs, and scale.
The good news is that these pests aren’t too hard to handle, even for a beginner.
The best way to manage a new or light mealybug infestation is with a stream of water.
Soaking a cotton ball with Isopropyl Alcohol and rubbing it on the infected stalk can also do the trick if the infestation is more severe.
Scales are insects that look like tiny shells and appear in clusters on your plant. You can remove scales by applying neem oil or rubbing alcohol to the affected area.
To get rid of spider mites, you may choose to use insecticidal soaps or Isopropyl Alcohol – whichever you prefer.
If you see root rot in your plants, it may be because you are overwatering them. You can also spot root rot when you notice brown or yellow leaves on your plant – especially if the soil is continually moist.
Sticking to a strict watering schedule will help with this problem, as efficient root growth depends on consistent care regimens.
Always transplant your plants into a new pot after treating root rot.
If brown spots appear on your plants, it is often also because of overwatering. The leaves of your Chinese money plant can also start to fall off if this goes on for a long time.
Leaves Curling or Browning
If you see the leaves curling up or getting brown, it could mean that your plant isn’t getting enough sunlight.
You might consider moving the plant to another location in the house, preferably beside an open window for a few days.
Creative Ways to Present Pilea Plants in your Home
These compact and small plants make the ideal houseplants to keep anywhere in your home. Tabletops, furniture, desks, or wall mounts are all good choices for indoor Pilea.
Since Chinese money plants prefer a steady dose of sunlight, the perfect place for them is near a window or on a windowsill.
Most Pilea plants grow with low foliage and are perfect for displaying on your shelves or open cupboards. These plants are small and can be contained inside small pots, which can make for a great way to display multiple plants in a group.
As long as there’s adequate sunlight available, Chinese money plants can flourish nearly anywhere in your home.
Other Useful Information About Pileas
The peltate leaves of this plant grow with small foliage, and they change slightly in color as the plant starts to grow.
Are Pilea Plants Toxic to Cats?
Pilea peperomioides are considered non-toxic and harmless for cats.
Is the Chinese Money Plant Toxic to Dogs?
These plants are considered harmless to dogs and human beings, as well as any other animals, as they are non-toxic and safe.
What are the Benefits of Pilea peperomioides Plants?
Pilea peperomioides plants are not just a gorgeous addition to your home; they bring the residents good luck, prosperity, and wealth.
They also help clean the air inside your rooms, cleaning up existing toxins and replacing them with oxygen.
How to Get Pilea to Grow Tall?
There are three ways to get your Pilea to grow faster.
1. Increase Nutrient Intake
2. Reduce Rotations
3. Increase Access to Light.
* Low light levels are not ideal for Pilea.