PILEA PEPEROMIOIDES Chinese Money Plant Ultimate Care Guide

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The Chinese money plant is native to southern China and was introduced to the United States in the early twentieth century. It’s easy to propagate, so it spreads quietly among houseplant lovers (thus its nickname, the pass-it-along plant). Social media has made it increasingly popular.

Pilea peperomiodes is a low-maintenance plant that is suitable for beginners because it tolerates neglect in terms of watering and feeding.

However, if you care for this plant properly, it will repay you with rapid growth, glossy green leaves, and many pups at the base. Read on to learn how to get the most out of your Chinese money plant.

It can be trained to grow upwards into a tall, majestic plant with multiple clusters of green “pancake” like leaves along its trunk, or it can develop into a beautiful trailing plant with several clusters of green “pancake” leaves along its trunk.


The beauty of buying one Chinese Money Plant is that after only a few months, you can have a slew of these plants and experiment with different ways to grow them.

You can let them trail, train this plant with stakes, allow certain pups to grow all around the base, or clean the growing plantlets (pups) out. You can share your Chinese Money Plant pups with friends and family.

Pilea Peperomioides Care

As I always advise, try to match your local growing environment to a plant’s natural habitat. Pilea Peperomioides, the plant native to the Cang Mountain range in Yunnan Province, China, where the temperature consistently modifies the relative humidity high.

Infographic on how to care for PILEA PEPEROMIOIDES / Chinese Money Plant
Infographic on how to care for PILEA PEPEROMIOIDES / Chinese Money Plant

Chinese Money Plant Light Requirements

When thinking of plant care for the Chinese Money Plant, it thrives in bright, indirect light. Put it somewhere bright – this plant will take a bit of direct sun, but don’t let it sit in midday or afternoon sun, as this will scorch the leaves.

I’ve tried different light exposures, and I have to say that this plant loves a lot of bright light, but it mustn’t be direct sunlight.

It is best placed near a north-facing window. I tried one rather grown Pilea in a South-facing room with enough light but still far from a window, and it was doing okay, but not quite as well as the ones beside the north-facing window.

As a result, I attempted to relocate that plant closer to the window, where it received a few hours of direct morning light.

It seemed to be doing well at first, but then the leaves began to fade in color and droop. According to these symptoms, even the few hours of direct morning sunlight were blistering the plant leaves.

Rotate your Chinese Money Plant once a week, or whenever you water it, to ensure that all sides of the plant receive equal amounts of natural light.

It will also assist you in keeping your plant straight and balanced rather than inclined toward the light!

Fun Fact: Chinese money plants are relatively small and very well suited to container life

Chinese Money Plant Humidity Needs

When it comes to humidity, the Chinese Money Plant is fairly versatile. However, it does exceptionally well in high-humidity environments (40 to 80 percent RH).

Humidity is important for this plant, and there are a few things you may do to boost the humidity surrounding your plants:

  • Sort your plants into groups based on their species. Plants that are grouped will aid in raising the humidity levels in the area.
  • It will help if you mist your plant. I use distilled water to spritz all plants that thrive in high humidity. Because tap water is so hard, I don’t want calcium deposits on the leaves. Ensure that the water droplets fall into the topsoil rather than merely on the leaves to ensure that misting is effective.
  • Use a tray with Leca and water. Lightweight Expanded Clay Aggregate (LECA) are baked clay balls that absorb a small amount of water and expand significantly. The absorbed water evaporates readily to increase humidity.

Filling a Leca-filled tray with just enough water to reach the top surface of the pebbles will help keep the humidity around the plant at a higher level.

However, it is critical that the pot’s bottom not become submerged in water, as this will cause the roots to stagnate. In the long run, this will result in root rot.

  • Invest in a humidifier, especially if several plants require high humidities (the aroid group of plants).

I combine the practices of grouping, using Leca, and using humidifiers for my plants. I use growing cabinets with artificial light and humidifiers for select plants (but not the Chinese Money Plants).

Watering & Fertilizing Chinese Money Plants

Using the senses in my fingers to feel for humidity levels has served me better than following a schedule. On the other hand, the Chinese Money Plant has been quite consistent in its watering requirements.

I water all of my Pileas weeklies, regardless of age or size. Remember to wash your hands between tests to limit pathogen cross-contamination. However, Before watering this plant, ensure it is required by doing a moisture check.

I have all of my Chinese Money Plants in terracotta pots. When I had Pileas in plastic pots, I discovered they needed less water.

That’s because terracotta is more porous, while plastic is not. Even though both pots have drainage holes, the water absorption is very different.

The porosity of terracotta allows the soil to dry out faster.

Because there is no porosity in a plastic container, if the soil does not drain adequately, there is a risk of stagnation and root rot.

Terracotta pots for indoor plants are one of my favorites. When plants are repotted into terracotta pots from plastic pots, they recover quickly!

Let your plant soil dry up between waterings, then vigorously soak until the water drains into the saucer. You can discard the accumulated water in the catch tray after an hour.

Pilea Peperomioides plant grows quickly, which necessitates feeding. To get this right, I use a half-diluted liquid fertilizer to fertilize my every two weeks between Spring and Fall and once a month during the winter.

Consider adding an Epsom salt solution (magnesium sulfate) twice yearly – in Spring and Fall.

Repotting Pilea / Chinese Money Plants

When you think about Pilea peperomioides, care sometimes the plant needs a larger pot in the Spring. Choose one size larger than the current one. If your Chinese Money Plant is now in a 6-inch pot, you should report it to an 8-inch pot rather than a 10-inch pot.

Make sure your Pilea plant is in a pot with drainage holes and that the potting mix contains Perlite. To enhance the drainage properties of the soil, I mix two compost parts with 1 part of Perlite.

Since the Pilea plants grow fast, you’ll be tempted to repot it into a bigger pot quite often, but I recommend you resist the temptation and wait for the start of the growing season – Spring.

Like several aroids, this plant enjoys being rootbound to some degree. Once the roots start growing out of the drainage holes, it’s time to repot.

Suppose your Chinese Money Plant is infested with pests like fungus gnats or thrips. In that case, remove it from its pot, remove as much soil as possible without injuring the roots, and thoroughly rinse the roots before repotting with some Leca for a while before reverting to the compost/perlite mix.

This allows your roots to recover. Remember to feed the plant if you’re using Leca.

Propagating The Chinese Money Plant

Although stem cuttings can be used to propagate P. Peperomioides, there is little incentive to do so. You’d have to wait for the stem cuttings to root, which can take a long time and isn’t always successful.

Instead, look after your Pilea plant, and it will provide the greatest propagation strategy. Healthy Chinese money plants’ roots and stems generate baby plants (pups).

Chinese Money Plants Root Pups

Plantlets that sprout from the mother plant’s roots are the easiest technique to propagate P. peperomioides.

These small pups should be produced regularly by a healthy, large Pilea plant with lots of pot space. Once they have a few leaves, they pop up from the dirt and are ready to use.

Because root plantlets already have their root system, you must use a sharp and clean knife to cut their link to the mother plant roots.

Then place them in smaller pots and maintain the soil mildly moist. Voila! You can keep, give away, or sell brand-new baby Pilea peperomioides plants.

The transition to their own pot may surprise the pups initially, but they normally begin growing immediately because they already have a root system.

Chinese Money Plants Root Pups

Propagating Chinese Money Plant From Stem Plantlets

On their stems, this Pilea peperomioides plant produces pups. Because stem pups lack their own root system, they require more care than root plantlets, but they’re still quite simple to grow.

Take the pups from the mother plant’s stem with that same clean, sharp knife to reproduce your P. peperomioides plant from stem plantlets.

You can either put the tiny plant in a vase with water or in a standard pot with moist soil.

Most houseplant enthusiasts prefer the first choice since a small plant in a tiny vase looks charming.

You may also use this procedure to determine if your Pilea plant babies are rooted properly. You can relocate the babies to their own pot or keep them in water indefinitely after noticing some root growth. It doesn’t matter!

Be patient, no matter which method you pick. It may take some time for your Pilea plant baby to develop its root system, especially during the winter when most houseplants are dormant.

Once you see some new plant leaves, you may be sure the plantlet is healthy, happy, and rooted.

Propagating Chinese Money Plant From Cuttings

Although stem cuttings can be used to grow the Pilea peperomioides plant, there is usually little reason to do so. You’d have to wait for the stem cuttings to root, which can take a long time and isn’t always successful.

Top Tip: Be Careful When Pulling or Cutting Pups From The Mother Plant. Place Pups Into Jars Of Water To Finish Rooting.

Training or Trailing Your Chinese Money Plant

You’ll notice the Chinese Money Plant tipping over once it grows and attains some height. By rotating your plant once a week or every time you water it, you may prevent it from leaning toward the light.

However, you must determine whether to stake or trail your plant at some time. If this is your first and only plant, you’ll most likely want to stake it so it can grow higher.

If you do that, instead of removing the pups at the base, I recommend leaving them in the pot to continue to grow.

This will allow you to build a solid foundation as the mother plant develops in height.

It’s natural for the elder bottom leaves on the main trunk to turn yellow and fall as the plant grows in height and age. That’s why you’re letting the pups grow at the base to fill the hole left by the falling bottom leaves.

If you let your plant trail, be aware that the instant the trunk collapses, it will not be pretty, but don’t be alarmed.

Your Chinese Money Plant’s stem and leaves will bend and tilt toward the light as it grows! So give it a few weeks to start resembling a good trailing plant.

How to Trail a Chinese Money plant


According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, P. peperomioides plant is not poisonous to cats, dogs like other plants, or any other type of pet or person.

Of course, just to be safe, keeping plants out of reach of pets and youngsters is still recommended.

FrequentlyAsked Questions

Are Pilea peperomioides easy to care for?

Pilea peperomioides is a relatively easy plant to care for. Ensure watering, fertilizing, and lighting requirements are met these Pilea (Chinese money plants) are easy to care for

Do Pilea peperomioides need direct sunlight?

Although Pilea peperomioides require bright light, care should be taken to avoid direct sunlight. The Chinese money plant requires good light levels, but too much can scold and blister its delicate leaves.

How do you encourage Pilea babies?

Pilea plants can be helped to produce babies, otherwise known as pups, by ensuring good care of the Pilea. When Pilea plants are not stressed, they will readily produce baby plants. Ensure good soil, moisture, room, and light.

Should you Mist Pilea?

Pilea requires humidity of 60% to be productive. If your home is drier than this, then misting your Pilea two to three times weekly will help to raise the humidity. A small bowl of watered Leca will also help raise the humidity around Pilea.

Does Pilea like small pots?

When potting Pilea, you must match the pot to the size of the Pilea plant. Pilea cuttings will require a much smaller pot than a mature Pilea plant. Managing moisture content is paramount for your Pilea to be happy.

Can I put a Chinese money plant in the bathroom?

The Chinese Money Plant, or Pilea peperomioides, require indirect light and humidity of around 60%. A bathroom is a good choice due to higher humidity levels than average in the home, Also, the privacy glass usually used in bathrooms defuses the light, which is perfect for Pilea.

How long do Pilea plants live?

Pilea Plants can live longer than 10 years, provided they have adequate growing conditions. Concentrate on lighting, humidity, feeding, and good space within the pot. Pilea plants kept in bathrooms will usually do much better as this is closer to their natural environments.

How do you make Pilea bushy?

The secret to making Pilea bushy is providing proper lighting, feeding, warmth, and space. This will give the Pilea plants what is required to produce pups. These pups grow from the mother plant causing the Pilea plant to become far bushier.

Why is my Pilea leggy?

Pilea gets leggy due to a lack of light. Not providing bright indirect light will cause your Pilea plant to start growing and stretching in search of light. This makes the plant weak and top-heavy. If the Pilea is too leggy, cut off the plant’s top and allow it to push out new growth.

When should I repot my Pilea?

Pilea should only be repotted when required. You can repot a Pilea yearly; providing growth justifies the repotting. Otherwise, this can be stretched to every two years. After two years, you should repot Pilea to provide new room for root growth and extra nutrition.

In Closing

Pilea peperomioides plant, aka the Chinese Money Plant, is an absolute delight to grow and propagate. If taken care of, you can soon have a whole area of your home covered in money (plants). If only making spendable money was as easy.

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