How to Grow and Care for Your Chinese Money Plant (Pilea Peperomioides)?

HomeHow ToCare GuideHow to Grow and Care for Your Chinese Money Plant (Pilea Peperomioides)?

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The Chinese Money Plant, scientifically known as Pilea Peperomioides. Native to the Yunnan province in southern China, the plant was relatively unknown in the Western world until the mid-20th century. It was introduced to Europe by a Norwegian missionary who brought cuttings back home in the 1940s. Since then, its popularity has spread, and it is now a staple in many households, becoming a symbol of good fortune and prosperity.

This plant is admired for its unique, round leaves that resemble coins, hence the nickname “Chinese Money Plant.” It’s also commonly referred to as the “friendship plant” because of the ease with which it can be propagated and shared with friends and family.

What is the Chinese Money Plant?

Pilea peperomioides is a perennial evergreen plant that belongs to the Urticaceae family. Its leaves sit on long petioles, giving it a playful, pancake-like appearance.

  • Botanical Name: Pilea Peperomioides
  • Plant Type: Perennial Evergreen
  • Family: Urticaceae
  • Height: Up to 12 inches tall
  • Foliage: Round, coin-shaped, dark green leaves
  • Bloom Time: Spring
  • Climate: Prefers a warm, humid climate
  • Sun Exposure: Thrives in bright, indirect light
  • Soil Requirements: Well-draining, rich in organic matter
  • Hardiness Zones: USDA Zone 10
  • Flowering: Rarely flowers indoors
  • Seasonal Features: Evergreen foliage year-round
  • Special Features: Easy to propagate, air-purifying qualities
  • Toxicity: Non-toxic to pets and humans

How to Grow the Chinese Money Plant?

  • Choose the Right Plant: Select a healthy Chinese Money Plant from a nursery or garden center. Look for a plant with vibrant green leaves and a strong stem.
  • Choose the Perfect Spot: Place your plant in a location that receives bright, indirect sunlight. Rotate your plant regularly to ensure even growth.
  • Prepare the Soil: Use a well-draining potting mix, ideally one that’s peat-based or coir-based with added perlite.
  • Choose a Pot: Select a pot with drainage holes to ensure excess water can escape. Place a saucer under the pot to catch excess water.
  • Planting Depth: Plant your Pilea so that the roots are covered with soil, but the base of the stem remains above the soil line.
  • Filling the Pot: Fill the pot with the prepared soil, gently pressing down to eliminate air pockets and provide support for the plant.
  • Initial Watering: When you water the Chinese Money Plant for the first time, do so thoroughly. Make sure to empty the saucer after watering to prevent the plant from sitting in water.
  • Repotting for Growth: Repot your plant every couple of years or when it outgrows its current pot. This will give the roots more room to grow and prevent the plant from becoming root-bound.

How to Care for Chinese Money Plant?

Water

Water the plant when the top inch of soil feels dry. This typically means watering once a week, but the frequency can vary depending on the environment. Use room-temperature water. If possible, use distilled or rainwater, as tap water with high levels of chlorine or fluoride can sometimes harm the plant. Water thoroughly until water drains out of the bottom of the pot. Make sure to empty the saucer after watering.

Sunlight

This plant thrives in medium to bright indirect light. Rotate your plant regularly to ensure even growth and prevent the leaves from leaning toward the light source. Avoid harsh, direct sunlight as it can burn the delicate leaves.

Fertilizer

Use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer once a month during the growing season (spring and summer). Reduce feeding in the fall and winter when the plant’s growth slows. Dilute the fertilizer to half the recommended strength to prevent over-fertilization, which can damage the plant.

Soil

The right soil mix ensures proper drainage and root health. Use well-draining, loamy soil. Add perlite or coarse sand to improve drainage. Ensure the soil remains loose and not compacted. The pH level of the soil should be slightly acidic to neutral, ranging from 6.0 to 7.02. This pH range ensures optimal nutrient absorption for the plant.

Prune

The growing season, from spring to early fall, is the best time to prune your Chinese Money Plant. Use clean, sharp scissors to trim leggy stems. This encourages bushier growth and prevents the plant from becoming too tall and spindly. Prune regularly to remove any yellowing or dead leaves. Cut the dead leaves as close to the stem as possible without damaging it. This keeps the plant looking neat and healthy. Pinch off new growth tips to promote a fuller, more compact plant. Never remove more than 25-30% of the plant’s foliage at one time to avoid stressing the plant.

Temperature & Humidity

The optimal temperature range for the Chinese Money Plant is between 60-75°F (15-24°C). Within this range, the plant can grow steadily and maintain its health. While the plant can tolerate slightly lower temperatures, it should not be exposed to temperatures below 50°F (10°C). Prolonged exposure to cold can cause the plant to suffer and may lead to leaf drop or even death.

The Chinese Money Plant prefers moderate humidity levels, ideally between 40-60%. While the plant can tolerate lower humidity levels, very dry air can cause the leaf edges to brown and curl. If the air in your home is particularly dry, especially in winter, increase humidity by using a humidifier, misting the leaves lightly, or placing the plant on a pebble tray filled with water.

Container

You can use plastic, terra cotta, or ceramic containers. The pot should be 4-inches to 8-inches wide, which is generally suitable for the size of a mature Chinese Money Plant. A pot that’s too large can lead to excess soil moisture and potential root rot. The pot doesn’t need to be very deep since the plant’s root system is relatively shallow.

Always choose a pot with drainage holes at the bottom, and use a saucer under the pot to catch excess water.

Types of Money Plant

The term “Money Plant” is often used to describe several different plants that are believed to bring good luck and prosperity to their owners.

  • Pilea Peperomioides: Also known as the Chinese Money Plant, it’s famous for its round, coin-like leaves and is believed to attract money and positive energy.
  • Pachira Aquatica: Commonly referred to as the Money Tree, it has a braided trunk and palmate leaves, thought to bring good fortune and financial success.
  • Crassula ovata: Known as the Jade Plant, it has succulent, oval leaves and is often associated with wealth and prosperity.
  • Epipremnum Aureum: Also called Golden Pothos or Devil’s Ivy, it’s a trailing vine with heart-shaped leaves and is easy to care for.
  • Xerosicyos Danguyi: The Silver Dollar Vine has round, silvery leaves and is another plant that’s often called a Money Plant.
  • Monstera Deliciosa: This plant, with its large, split leaves, is sometimes called the Split Leaf Money Plant and is considered a symbol of good luck.
  • Scindapsus Pictus: Known as Silver Satin, it has silver and green variegated leaves and is a popular choice for indoor gardens.
  • Dracaena Sanderiana: Also known as Lucky Bamboo, it’s not bamboo but is believed to bring good luck and fortune when placed in the home.

How to Propagate Chinese Money Plant?

Cutting

  1. Select a Healthy Parent Plant: Choose a mature and healthy Chinese Money Plant as your parent plant for propagation. Look for a plant with sturdy stems and vibrant, healthy leaves.
  2. Take the Cutting: Select a healthy stem with at least one or two sets of leaves. Look for a stem that is not flowering or actively growing new leaves. Make a clean cut just below a node on the selected stem using clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears. If desired, remove the lower leaves from the cutting.
  3. Place the Cutting in Water: Fill a clean container with room-temperature water. Place the stem cutting in the water, ensuring that the submerged nodes are fully submerged but that no leaves are touching the water.
  4. Provide Ideal Conditions: Place the container with the cutting in a bright, indirect light location. Change the water every few days to prevent stagnation and ensure oxygenation.
  5. Wait for Root Development: Roots should begin to form within a few weeks. Initially, you may notice small white bumps or nodules forming along the submerged nodes. Over time, these will develop into roots.
  6. Potting the Cutting: Once the roots are well-developed (at least 1-2 inches long), the cutting is ready to be potted. Gently remove the cutting from the water and place it in the prepared hole in the soil. Pat the soil around the cutting to secure it in place.
  7. Provide Care for the New Plant: Place the newly potted cutting in a location with bright, indirect light. Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Water when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch.

offshoots

  1. Identify the Pups: Look at the base of your mature Chinese Money Plant. Pups are small plants that grow from the roots or stem of the parent plant.
  2. Separate the Pups: Ideally, wait until the pups are at least 2-3 inches tall and have a few leaves of their own. Gently dig around the base of the pup to expose the roots. Using your clean knife or scissors, carefully cut the pup away from the parent plant. Make sure to include as many roots as possible with the pup.
  3. Prepare the New Pot: Select a small pot with drainage holes. Fill the pot with a well-draining potting mix.
  4. Plant the Pup: Use your finger or a small tool to make a hole in the center of the soil. Place the pup in the hole, ensuring that its roots are covered with soil and the plant is upright. Gently pat the soil around the base of the pup to secure it.
  5. Water and Care: After planting, water the pup thoroughly. Ensure that excess water drains out of the bottom of the pot to prevent root rot. Place the newly potted pup in a location with bright, indirect light.

Common Pests & Plant Diseases

Common pests include aphids, spider mites, mealybugs, and scale insects. Common Plant Diseases are Powdery Mildew, Root Rot, and Leaf Spot. They have a huge impact on the Chinese Money Plant (Pilea Peperomioides), not only affecting the growth of the plant but even causing the death of the plant.

It should be inspected regularly to prevent them from affecting the Chinese Money Plant. Avoid overwatering and ensure good drainage to prevent root rot. Remove fallen leaves and debris to avoid attracting pests. Maintain optimal light, humidity, and temperature to keep your plant healthy and resilient.

FAQs

How often should I water my Chinese Money Plant?

Water when the top inch of soil feels dry, typically once a week in summer and less frequently in winter.

Can Chinese Money Plant tolerate low light?

It can adapt to lower light but prefers bright, indirect sunlight to avoid leggy growth.

When should I fertilize my Chinese Money Plant?

Fertilize every few months during the spring and summer with a balanced liquid fertilizer.

How big does a Chinese Money Plant get?

Indoors, the Chinese Money Plant typically grows about 8 to 12 inches tall and wide, but it can reach up to 18 inches in optimal conditions.

Why are the leaves of my Chinese Money Plant turning yellow?

Yellow leaves can be a sign of several issues, including overwatering, underwatering, or poor drainage leading to root rot. Ensure the plant is not sitting in water, the soil drains well, and you’re following a consistent watering schedule. Also, check for signs of pest infestation, which can cause yellowing leaves.

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