Chinese Money Plant (Pilea peperomioides)

Pilea peperomioides have quite an amazing back story. First “found” by a Norwegian missionary in China not so long ago and they eventually made their way to England and now here in America, all from the beauty of plant sharing. It’s so inspiring to see one little plant stretch across the globe through the gift of generosity!

Chinese money plants, now commonly referred to as friendship plant due to how easy they are to propagate and share, are hardy, unique and grow in such a quirky sort of way. Truthfully they grow best when treated a bit like a succulent. They need to dry out quite well before being watered deeply and grow quickly towards the sun. For more even growth you can rotate the plant once or twice a week a quarter turn.

 
 
Chinese money plant (Pilea peperomioides) - houseplant care guide by Revive Nursery

Common Name

UFO plant, friendship plant, chinese money plant, pancake plant

Botanical Name

Pilea peperomioides

(py-LEE-uh p-EP-ur-oh-mee-oy-dees)

Origin

Souther China

Type

Foliage

 
 

Sunlight

MEDIUM indirect sunlight.

Indirect sunlight simply means the sunlight is filtered in some way. Whether through a shear curtain or just being pulled further away from where direct sunlight can be found. Most homes are comprised primarily of indirect sunlight.

 

Water

Low: WATER ROUGHLY ONCE a week to every two weeks.

Though I never suggest sticking to a hard and fast watering routine watering about once a week to two weeks gives you a good idea of how much water it may use. There are so many factors in determining the proper watering requirements and every home is different.

The very best way to know if you need to water your plant is by feeling to soil. For Chinese money plants the soil should dry out completely, or nearly completely before you water.

The best way to tell is by becoming familiar with the weight of the plant. Pick it up after you’ve watered it, wait a week and pick it up again. Notice how different it feels. Wait another week and notice how incredibly light weight it’s become. After a while you’ll becoming much more familiar with you plant and quickly be able to tell when it needs watered.

You can also get a good indication of how moist the soil is by looking for droopiness within the leaves. They begin to “bow down” a bit when they are thirsty. Use this as a indication that you need to feel the soil to check.

Avoid soggy soil at all costs! Never let a plants roots sit in water.

Water a less in the winter and fall, this is because your plant is getting less sun and therefore will need less water in order to photosynthesize.

When you water bottom watering is suggested.

pilea peperomioides (chinese money plant) houseplant care guide #revivenursery.png
 

Humidity

No need to fuss with additional humidity.

I can't think of a single plant that wouldn’t prefer a little additional humidity. Our homes typically range between 30% and 40% humidity whereas most plants prefer 60% - 70%+. That being said I have found that watering appropriately is far more important and if you don’t fuss with additional humidity for your pilea it’ll be just fine.

If you do want to make your plant even happier I suggest grouping it with other plants or adding a humidifier nearby.

 

Soil + Pot

CONTAINER POTTING MIX IN A TERRA-COTTA POT.

A general, all-purpose potting soil is perfectly fine here, as in most situations I have found. However to improve drainage I have used a 1/2 potting soil and 1/2 cacti/succulent mix.

Make certain whatever pot you use has adequate drainage. Terra-cotta or clay is always my top suggestion for this reason!

IN order for your Chinese money plant to produce pups (those little baby plants) it needs to be in a tighter space. So repotting once every two years at most is all that would be typically required. That being said watch for signs that it may need a larger pot like a must faster use of water or roots peaking out of the drainage hole.

You don’t absolutely have to wait until spring, though this is when your plant is coming out of a resting period and would appreciate the new nutrients that adding fresh soil will offer. In addition, because the plant is gearing up for new growth it is easier for it to recover from the stress of repotting.

 

Fertilizer

All purpose liquid concentrate

Proper fertilization is essential and easy to misunderstand. Always err on the side of too little plant food as opposed to too much! I recommend using an all purpose houseplant fertilizer, liquid concentrate at half strength every time you water in the summer and spring. Use once a month (at most) during the fall and stop you all together in the winter.

Remember that if you use a soil that has a slow release fertilizer already in it (most do) wait to add more until 4-6 months after potting it in new soil.

Watch your plant closely as you use it and adjust as needed. Over feeding a plant can cause the plant to die whereas underfeeding usually won’t.

 
Pilea peperomioides houseplant care guide - How to propagate Chinese money plant
 

Propagation

All pilea are known for how quickly they root and Chinese money plants do this in an incredible way! They are self propagating and produce pups or offshoots. Pups are those adorable little plant babies they push out. To root these pups cut them at the surface of the soil while the pup is still relatively young for better success. Then follow directions below.

You can also take a leaf cutting by cutting the stem close to the stalk of the plant.

IN WATER

After you’ve taken a cutting place it in a jar of water so it stays fully submerged. I suggest rooting several cuttings at a time for a fuller plant. Keep in water until roots are well established, about two weeks, though you should start to see roots forming within one week.

Keep in a mildly light space and away from direct sunlight. You can pot the rooted cuttings in their pot new, little pot or add them back to the mother plant for a more lush plant.

IN SOIL

Rooting pilea in soil is the recommended method. If you are rooting a pup then allow the pup to callouse over a bit before planting. To do this simply leave on your counter for 3-6 hours sometimes more time is necessary, wait until the bottom looks a little matte and closed over. Then poke your cutting in soil so the exposed, leafless tip is fully covered in soil. Keep the soil moist as it develops new roots. You can also opt to use a rooting hormone. To do this wet the tip of the cutting and dip in the rooting powder before you pot it.

 

Pests + Common Problems

YELLOWING LEAVES

Too little or too much water, though it is usually too much. Feel the soil to be certain.

If you also spot little brown spots in addition to the yellowing on the leaves or small, dark new leaves it is likely under-watering or at the ver least un-even watering.

If you are confident you are watering correctly but are still getting yellowed leaves underfeeding could be the issue. Follow fertilizer instructions above.

Slow or No Growth

During colder months this is to be expected as there is less sun to photosynthesize.

If this is not the case be certain it is getting adequate sunlight and water. You can also add fertilizer to your plant care routine to improve growth. Be wary of overfeeding and watch for any warning signs.

Leggy growth

Increase the amount of sunlight it gets and make certain you are watering appropriately. Prune any leggy growth to encourage a fuller plant.