Pilea Peperomioides Care & Propagation 'Chinese Money Plant'
In the running for the most Instagrammed plant of the last few years, the Pilea Peperomiodes is a personal favourite of mine because of its fast-growing nature and ability to produce an abundance of pups which can then be shared with family and friends.
With round green saucers for leaves which hang delicately on the end of a long, thin stalk, you can see why people refer to this as the UFO plant. Also known as the Chinese money plant, the friendship plant, missionary plant, pancake plant or pass-it-on-plant.
As an added bonus, the Pilea is one of our pet friendly options for those of you with furry friends who like to nibble on your plants.
If you’re looking for a pop of green and a plant that looks out of this world then this is the guy for you - just be prepared for him to bring his whole family too!
HOW TO CARE FOR PILEA PEPEROMIOIDES:
Light: Be careful of direct sunlight in the summer as your plant’s leaves can burn and blister, bright indirect light will promote the best growth and prevent your Pilea from dropping its lower leaves.
Water: Wait until the plant dries out and then water thoroughly but do not let it sit in water. Pilea will start to droop when they are thirsty. Cut back significantly on watering during the winter.
Food: Apply a weak fertiliser up to two times a month during the growing season.
Humidity: Pilea will tolerate a normal home humidity but thrive in higher humidity.
Winter can be a hard time for you Pilea, the lack of sun and warmth can cause its leaves to drop and turn brown – to avoid this, try placing your plant in the sunniest and warmest spot that you can. Don’t worry if it does lose some leaves, it will bounce back in the warmer months with new growth and more babies!
HOW TO PROPAGATE (GROW MORE) PILEA PEPEROMIOIDES:
Option 1 - Separating pups.
If you haven’t propagated before, then the pass-it-on-plant is the perfect place to start! It’s all in the name; if you treat this guy right then through out the growing season he should push out smaller ‘pups’ around the base of the plant, which you can separate and either keep for yourself or pass on to friends.
These ‘pups’ may also be ‘referred’ to as ‘offsets’ or ‘plantlets’.
Step 1: Pick a pup that is mature enough to survive on its own, I would suggest a minimum of 4cm. The more mature the plant, the better chance it has to survive and thrive on its own.
I would also recommend propagating during the warmer months of the year so that it has the right conditions to encourage root growth.
Step 2: Remove the soil from around the base of the pup that you have as much access to the root as possible.
Step 3: Use a clean, sharp pair of scissors or knife to cut the baby Pilea away from the mother plant.
Step 4: You can either plant the pup directly into a well-draining soil, or water propagate until the root system grows stronger.
If you chose to pot in soil, keep it moist but not soggy for the first couple of weeks and then water once the topsoil has dried out. Pilea will start to droop when they are thirsty.
If you are water propagating, then change the room temperature water once a week until you are ready to move to soil.
Now just watch and wait until your baby Pilea grows big enough to make its own offsets and start all over again!
Option 2 – Leaf cuttings.
Another way to grow more Pilea is to take a leaf cutting, this process takes longer than separating pups because the leaves don’t have their own root system to start with. Not all of your leaf cuttings will take so I recommend doing several at once to improve your chances.
Please be aware that single leaf cuttings WILL NOT produce more leaves unless you take a section of the mother stem with them.
Step 1: Pick a healthy leaf and stem from your Pilea, using a clean knife careful cut the leaf from the mother plant – taking with it a small portion of the mother plants stem (don’t cut too much or you will damage its stability or risk it breaking).
Step 2: Pop your cutting into a clean jar of room temperature water (I like to use glass so that I can monitor the root growth). Change the water every week.
After a few weeks you should start to see some root growth – be patient, it could take several months for the root system to be established enough for you so move the cutting to soil.
Step 3: Once the roots are a minimum of around 3 inches long you are ready to move to soil (you can also wait until they are more mature, the longer you leave it the stronger the plant will be and easier the transition will be for it).
Use a well-draining potting mix and keep the soil moist but not soggy for the first few weeks to help the cutting adjust to going from water to soil. After that treat as you would a mature Pilea and wait for the topsoil to dry out between waterings.
Are Pilea Peperomioides toxic to pets?
Nope! These guys are completely pet friendly.
Why are my Pilea's leaves drooping?
Drooping leaves are usually a sign that your Pilea needs water - if it is dry give it a thorough water. If the soil is still moist then it could be a sign you have overwatered it and you should leave it to dry out completely (if the soil is truly over saturated it might be worth changing the soil or carefully taking it out of the pot and using tissue paper so soak up some of the excess water).
Why are my Pilea's leaves turning yellow?
Yellowing leaves could be a sign of overwatering - make sure you wait until your Pilea's soil has dried out before watering again. Lower leaves turning yellow could also be a sign of natural aging and are nothing to worry about.
Make sure that the soil your Pilea is in is well draining, if you notice that the water sits on top of the soil for a while after you water your plant then you want to think about changing the soil and adding in some perlite or orchid bark for better drainage.
Why are my Pilea leaves brown and crispy?
Pilea don't enjoy being in drafts or near radiators so it could be because of the location of your plant. They don't enjoy cold temperatures in general and a lot of people find that their Pilea suffer and drop a lot of leaves during the winter time. Losing a few leaves is almost inevitable over winter, but in the Spring your plant should bounce back with lots of new growth as long as you keep it somewhere warm and sunny.
Should I separate the babies from my Chinese Money Plant?
That is completely up to you! Leaving the baby Pilea in the pot with the mother plant won't have any negative effects and will create more of a full and bushy appearance, but it is also great fun separating them and growing more plants!
Why are my Pilea leaves curling?
There is no easy answer for this - it could be a combination of many of the things mentioned above: Incorrect watering, extreme temperature change (eg. radiator or cold draft), a nutrient deficiency or pest problem.
In order to work out what the problem is you will want to check and alter your plant care for each potential problem.
A nutrient deficiency can be solved by making sure you are fertilising your Pilea monthly with a well balanced fertiliser.
Check both sides of your plants leaves for pests (most like to hide underneath so they won't be obvious at first glance). Also check down the stem and at the base of the plant. If you do find any pests I recommend using Neem oil as a solution, I use this as both a pest preventative and to eradicate problems when I find them.
What are the small bumps on my Pilea leaves?
Blister-like bumps can be caused by over watering or pests, check your plant over for any potential problems and try slowing down on the watering - the bumps won't go away but your new growth should be healthy and bump free.
Small white dots on the leaves are probably its stomata (pores) and a build up of mineral deposits. Completely normal!
Why are my Pilea leaves so small?
Pilea leaves emerge small from the top of the plant and grow bigger with age, if you are noticing that the mature leaves aren't growing as large as the ones before them it could be a couple of things.
Lack of light: Pilea want bright, indirect light to thrive and if they aren't getting enough sun then their leaves won't reach their full size potential. If it is winter then there is little you can do other than buy a grow light or wait until Spring for normal growth to resume.
Nutrient deficiency: As I mentioned before, you want to make sure that you are fertilising your Pilea monthly with a well balanced fertiliser so that it has everything it needs to grow big healthy leaves.
This is a Pilea I have at home, it took roughly two years for it to grow this big from an 8cm diameter pot. I decide to leave most of the pups in the pot with the mother plant to create this really full and busy appearance.
Here is an example of a leaf cutting with no mother stem, although it will grow roots, it will never be able to produce more leaves to grow into its own plant and will eventually die.