Chinese Money Plant Basics

Chinese Money Plant (pilea peperomioides)

The Chinese Money Plant (pilea peperomioides), a popular easy care house plant got its nickname from its coin-like leaves. Its tolerance for a variety of lighting conditions and minimal care make it a good beginner houseplant. Pilea are known for growing “pup” plants that you can give away to friends, spreading your plant love.

Chinese Money Plant Care Basics

Pilea will tolerate a variety of lighting situations but do best in bright indirect light. Avoid putting it in direct sunlight so you don’t burn the leaves. My pilea is thriving slightly outside of the bright indirect light – it gets medium indirect light from sunrise to sunset from a east-facing sliding door. Pilea actively reach for the light, so it’s best to rotate your Chinese Money Plant every few weeks to avoid it all growing in one direction.

Do not overwater your pilea. Waiting until the top inch of soil is dry or even until the plant is slightly droopy to water is fine. Overwatering can cause root issues and leaf drop. If you notice water spots on those signature coin-shaped leaves you may try watering from below. Place the bottom of the pot in a tray of water and let the plant soak up the water until the soil surface is damp. If you choose to do this, make sure to still top water occasionally to wash away salt deposits.

A Chinese Money Plant will do well in average house temperatures and humidity and with once-monthly fertilizing

Why are the leaves falling off my pilea?

Leaf drop is a common problem with houseplants and can have many causes. Plants, like most of us, don’t love change. Just bringing a plant home from the nursery and into a new environment can stress the plant. It can take the plant a while to adjust to it’s new environment and leaf drop during this period is normal. The plant should recover on its own.

Leaf drop can also be caused by overwatering or from temperature changes. Drafts, being near a cold window or too close to a heat or air conditioning register can all trigger leaf drop.

Chinese Money Plant (pilea peperomioides) in pot

How to Propagate the Chinese Money Plant

You will notice that your momma Chinese Money Plant may have little baby plants growing off of its main stem or somewhere within the same pot. These pups can be left where they are or repotted to make a new plant to keep or give away.

To propagate pups that pop up in the soil,  dig them out of the soil leaving as much root attached as possible. These can then be planted in a new pot and cared for following the same care guidelines.

If the pup is coming off the plant (no roots) then you can clip it with clean pruning shears from the plant and place the stem in water. Roots should appear and once they are a few inches long, you can then transplant them into soil.

It’s best to wait until the pups are a few inches tall to increase their chance of thriving. A baby Chinese Money Plant in a cute planter is a great gift! I also love using inexpensive terra cotta pots – they’re easy to find and their porous nature make it harder to overwater by accident.

Another option is to keep these pups in the same pot to give your houseplant a fuller appearance.

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