A PILEA PLANT A CHIENESE MONEY PLANT NAD ITS BENEFITS

Pilea-Peperomioides-1

Pilea peperomioides is an easy to grow modern looking houseplant. Also called the Chinese Money Plant or Pancake Plant, it’s straightforward to care for and simple to propagate. Whether you’re a newbie to houseplants or a seasoned expert, a Pilea peperomioides plant is sure to be a welcome addition to any indoor plant collection.

By the end of this article you’ll know how to care for your Pilea plant, understand what you need to keep it strong and healthy and learn how to take cuttings to share with friends and family (it’s not known as a pass-it-along plant for nothing after all!).

It originally came from China and has flat round coin shaped leaves. Together these things gave rise to it’s common name of the “Chinese Money Plant“.

Each of its lily pad like leaves float on dainty looking stems that will bob around independently in a gentle breeze. Towards the upper part of every single leaf will be a white, or lighter shade of green, dot where the stem meets the leaf and holds it in place.

Benefits of Pilea Plant:

  • t’s really (really) easy to care for
    Truly one of the easiest going and good natured houseplants around.
  • The plant grows fast
    This plant really gets a move on and when conditions are right, growth is rapid.
  • You can propagate more very easily
    One of the easiest houseplants to multiply. You’ll have your own mini Pilea family in no time.
  • They make great presents
    Cute and unique they’re super simple all occasion give always. You’ll be able to propagate so many you’ll easily have a steady supply to gift.
  • You shouldn’t experience (too many) problems
    Easy going and tolerant, it takes most things in it’s stride.

In most of our other houseplant profile articles at this point we tell you about the different varieties you can buy. However in this case it’s just P. Peperomioides that you’ll find in the shops. I’m sure in time we will start to find lots of different cultivars, but for now it’s all about the the all green variety. Up next is the care instructions for you to follow which if you stick too will hopefully help keep your plant looking great for years.

Just a guide for caring of Pilea plant:

The light requirement is one of the essential pieces of care to get correct, so spend some time here making sure you get it right. Lots of websites will tell you these plants don’t like direct Sunlight, but this isn’t totally true.

Look at your Pilea closely and you’ll see a lot of succulent like qualities – tough waxy leaves, thick stems etc. These are all indications the plant will cope with strong bright light and even some direct sunlight. In fact they actually demand this and will suffer pretty quickly in low light conditions.

If you don’t give enough light the leaves will bend and curl rather than remaining flat and coin like. If you happen to give too much light the leaves will gradually take on a purple hue or have a washed out appearance. If the light level increases rapidly, for example if you’ve been keeping it in a low light condition and then moved it into direct sunlight, burn spots can occur. Make sure you move your plant gradually so it gets used to the changing conditions.

Don’t hide your Pilea Peperomioides away from bright sunlight. They actually quite like a bit of sun! (in moderation)

Unless you’re providing bright light from above, such as from an overheard skylight or grow light, they will not grow straight up. The central stem will lean towards the light source and all the leaves will start to face the window. To prevent this rotate your plant one quarter of a turn every week. You can actually use this trait to your advantage to create three distinctive “looks”.

Watering of Pilea plant:

Our plant likes to be thoroughly watered and then left alone until it almost dries out before watering again. Bare in mind if you’re giving good levels are light and the temperature is reasonably warm you may need to water a few times a week. Less when it’s Winter or cooler.

When things get too dry the plant tends to have a droopy look about it as the stems lose strength and everything starts to flop. If you’re usually bad at watering your houseplants, look out for your plant giving you this hint. That said, if you’ve overwatered, your plant may also do it’s drooping thing. So if you see your Pilea doing it’s flop, make sure you’re double checking the soil before reaching for the watering can.

  • Drooping and Moist soil means overwatered – Wait for things to dry out.
  • Drooping and Dry soil means under watered – It’s time to get watering.

Humidity

Most homes and workplaces will have a decent level of humidity and it’s not likely something you need to be thinking about. However your Chinese Money Plant will struggle in excessively humid locations. Mix that in with low light and cool temperatures and you have the perfect recipe for the leaves going yellow or various mold or root rot problems. This isn’t the ideal houseplant for dank bathrooms or kitchens.

Feeding

Pilea Peperomioides will produce a fair amount of growth and a load of pups on a regular basis so they will need feeding occasionally to keep everything working as expected. But don’t overdue it. Once a month using a standard houseplant or cacti based fertilizer is all it needs.

Temperature

This plant needs temperatures no lower than 13 °C (55°F) and it needs to be warmer than that for it to actually grow. So this translates into avoiding cold places and keep it away from any risk of frost.

Repotting and Soil

These houseplants need space and will frequently outgrow their pots, either because the mother plant has grown larger, or because she has produced so many offsets that the container is full. When we first got our baby plant it need repotting twice in the first year due to how much it grew. Once a year was enough in the following years. Make sure you don’t upsize it into a giant container, just one or two sizes bigger than the previous pot is perfect.

When picking the soil for your Pilea, A standard all purpose potting mix is all these plants need

In terms of the soil that Pilea peperomioides needs, you can just use a standard all purpose potting mix. Look for one labeled as suitable for houseplants or garden plants. Good drainage is always a plus as this will help aerate the soil and give the roots space to grow and room for new pups to form.

The potting mix does need to hold a reasonable level of water as these are thirsty plants. So do yourself a favour and avoid very porous mixes otherwise you’ll be watering almost daily trying to keep up with the demand.

Propagation

One of the major benefits of this plant is how easy it is to propagate through cuttings and removing the constant supply of offsets and runners that it generates.

You can grow Pilea Peperomioides from seed, but this is pretty difficult. Lots of people sell seeds online, but they seem to lose vigour pretty quickly, so fresh will yield the best results. However because you don’t know how long ago the seed you’re buying was collected it can be hit or miss. New plants from seed are quite slow to get going and then it takes even more time for the seedling to reach a decent size. Growing it from seed therefore doesn’t really make sense unless you have no access to a mother plant from which you can harvest from.

Let’s assume you’ve opted for the easier option and want to work with the pups. Here’s how to get a load more Pilea Peperomioides going, and it’s super easy.

Firstly have a look down at the type of growth you can see at the soil level of your Pilea. Once the main plant gets to a certain level of maturity you will see lots of growth points or “offsets”. The main stem will be the biggest and you can either see smaller versions growing or little wooden stems with small leaves emerging.

In the photo below you can just see the main stem in the background which belongs to the mother plant. The growth points in the red circles are the offsets that it’s produced and these can be removed and grown on. It’s really easy to do. Trust us.

Offset baby propagation for Pilea plant

You have two options. You can try and remove the entire offset along with its root system. However Pilea plants tend to get quite congested and with all the leaves and stems growing so close together this can be fiddly to get right. If you’re feeling confident give it a go and see how you get on. If things go wrong and you only end up with the main stem and no roots read on as you can still use what you’ve come away with.

The next option, is to remove / dig out a little of the soil surrounding the offset’s main central stem as close to the mother plant as possible. Once you’ve gone as far as you can without damaging the mother plant, cut it off with a sharp knife. The photo below on the left shows the result – A good chunk of the wooden brown stem, but no roots.

Next, you just put the offset into a container of water. Make sure the stem is actually submerged but the green growth sits above the water level.

Rooting of Pliea plant using water

In just a few short weeks you’ll have a full network of new roots as shown in the photo above on the right. At this point remove it from the water container and pot up into a similar soil mix to what it was growing in previously.

The offset should root and fully anchor into the soil in another couple of weeks at which point it’s safe to give away. Or allow it to take it’s place as a fully fledged new addition to your own houseplant Family, or as they say on Instagram #plantgang.

Can you root just a Pilea leaf and it’s attached stem? Yes you absolutely can. However if you only have the stem which attaches to the leaf rather than part of the main central brown stem, then it’s likely it will never develop into a normal plant. i.e. you will just have that sole leaf forever.

Speed of Growth

As you’ve likely gathered from reading our article so far, these plants are fairly vigorous and will grow reasonably fast. It’s hard to be accurate because you will have different growing conditions to what I have, but it’s fair common to expect your plant to double in in size ever year. Very young plants are likely to triple in size during their first year.

Height / Spread

Most people will want to grow their Pilea at a small to medium size. But it’s obvious from the many photos out there that they can become very tall over time if you let them. The main plant will tend not to spread out too much, but if you allow the offsets to grow in place rather than remove them, they will eventually give a fuller, wider look.

Flowers

Pilea Peperomioides is grown for it’s cute look and unusual pancake like leaves and not for any showy blooms that it occasionally produces. But it’s perfectly true that well grown and mature Pilea’s will eventually give you some flowers. They’re politely unremarkable and don’t smell but they’re still quirky in their own special Pilea way.

Is Pilea Peperomioides safe around pets?

Is Pilea peperomioides safe around cats? Yes it is. It’s also safe to have around dogs, children and most other pets too. If your pet has too much interest in the leaves then you may want to move it to a new place as boisterous play can cause damage.

Anything else?

Your Pilea peperomioides can be grown to give three different appearances, or “looks”. Below we’ll look at each one and explain how to get it. The creation of the looks is long term and once you go for one style it’s quite hard to change it, so think carefully what you’re looking for. You can of course propagate a few plants and grow them all differently.

  • The Compact but Full Look
    If you want your baby Chinese Money Plant to stay looking cute but to become very bushy and full then keep the majority of the offsets growing next to the mother plant rather than removing them. They will slowly grow and give bulk to the overall appearance.

    Example of the Compact but Full Look.
  • The Tall and Straight Look
    To gain height and stop the central stem from becoming crooked or leaning over, you’ll need to grow it with overhead light. If that’s not possible, then rotate your plant’s pot by one quarter (1/4) every week or so. This means each month that passes your entire plant should have rotated around in a full circle.

    Once it starts to get older and taller, keep rotating but you may also need a stake alongside the central stem to help keep it upright.

    Example of the Tall and Straight Look.
  • The One Sided Face Look
    This is when all the leaves face one side. Very easy to achieve. All you need to do is leave the plant where it is and not rotate the pot at all. All the stems and leaves on the opposite sides will bend and wrap around the plant and everything faces one direction.

    Example of the One Sided Face Look.

How to Care for the Pilea Recap

  1. Bright Light Avoid prolonged intense midday and early afternoon sunlight as well as very dark areas.
  2. Moderate Watering Once or twice a week in Summer and once a week or less in Winter or if growing in lower light conditions.
  3. Temperature Average room temperatures are fine. No lower than 13 °C (55°F).
  4. Feeding Fertilize your Pilea once every month or so.

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