Chinese Money Plant Guide: How to Care for a Chinese Money Plant

Pilea Peperomioides Guide: How to Care for a Chinese Money Plant

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In the 1940s, a Norwegian missionary was entranced by the unusual beauty of the Chinese money plant and took cuttings home to propagate. Friends and family were equally fascinated by the plant, so he shared cuttings with them. Over time, through friends giving cuttings to other friends, Chinese money plants spread across the world.

Because of this, pilea peperomioides has come to represent friendship and balance. It brings a touch of gorgeous greenery and harmony to interior spaces. This complete guide explains how to grow Chinese money plant indoors, including in-depth care instructions and helpful buying information so you can bring harmony to your home.

Chinese Money Plant Details

Pilea peperomioides

AKA Chinese money plant, missionary plant, lefse plant, pancake plant, UFO plant, pass-it-on plant, sharing plant, Chinese friendship plant
Light: Bright, indirect light
Water: Let soil dry out between waterings
Temperature: 65 – 75 F
Size: 8 – 12 Inches Tall
Pests: Spider mites, mealybugs
Disease: Root rot
Toxicity: Non-toxic

Chinese Money Plant Benefits

chinese money plant peperomioides in window in planter with aloeChinese money plants are a powerful good luck charm. They are famous for bringing abundance, good fortune, and money to their owners. Not only can they bring you good luck, but also balance. They are commonly used in Feng Shui, which strives to harmonize the presence of humans with their surrounding environments.

Between good fortune and harmony, pilea peperomioides are obviously capable of bringing you happiness, but just having them around, and caring for them, can effectively boost your mood. They brighten up interior spaces and give you a sense of fulfillment when you successfully care for them.

They can also make you physically healthier by purifying your air. They absorb gases through their roots and foliage, process them removing pollutants, and then release oxygen, boosting the oxygen content in your home. Having more oxygen enables other bodily functions like easier breathing and better sleep.

Pilea Peperomioides Care

Unless you live in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 9b – 11b, you should grow your pilea peperomioides indoors. Even if you do live in those zones, you may still want to grow your plant indoors so you don’t miss out on its incredible benefits, like decorating interior spaces, purifying air, and bringing luck to households. Below are care instructions for growing this easy-to-manage house plant.

Light

Chinese money plants prefer bright, indirect light. Place your plant in a sunny window, just out of reach of direct light rays. A south-facing window is an optimal spot so your plant can get some morning sun but not direct light during the sun’s peak.

Direct sunlight can scorch leaves. If your plant is in a particularly shady spot it will actually encourage it to grow larger leaves.

Rotate your Chinese money plant on a weekly basis to ensure that all of the plant’s foliage is getting an adequate amount of sunshine. This also keeps your plant from growing in a lop-sided shape.

Temperature & Humidity

Chinese money plants prefer warm temperatures, however, exposure to cool temperatures, above 50 F can encourage them to sprout tiny white flowers. Temperatures below that may stall the plant’s growth.

Your plant doesn’t necessarily need humidity, but its a good idea to mist every now and then to wipe off the dust accumulating on its leaves. During the summer when temperatures warm up you can even bring your pilea peperomioides outside, as long as you keep it in a shady spot, so it can have some fresh air.

Water

watering a pilea peperomioides with a sprayer indoors in front of a window

Your pilea peperomioides’s soil should mostly—not completely—dry out between waterings. To test the soil, stick your finger or a chopstick in to see how moist it is throughout.

During the growing season when the weather warms up, your plant will need more waterings, typically around twice a week, but it does depend on your particular climate. During the fall and winter, you can water your plant less, and you should notice that it takes more time for the soil to fully dry out. At this time, limit yourself to about one watering a week.

If your plant’s leaves begin to droop, it needs more water. Do not overwater or leave standing water on your plant’s soil because pilea peperomioides are very susceptible to root rot, which could kill your plant.

Container & Soil

The container you use should have adequate drainage holes. If you water your plants frequently, opt for a terracotta pot that will absorb some of the excess water and help with faster evaporation. If you let your plants tell you when they’re thirsty, plastic or stoneware pots work really well if they have adequate drainage and you’re using a fast-draining soil mix.

Plant your Chinese money plant in well-draining potting soil. Mix some sand and perlite into the soil to help with water drainage. Chinese money plants also do well in succulent soil.

    Hoffman 10404 Organic Cactus and Succulent Soil Mix

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    Hoffman Cactus and Succulent Mix is professionally formulated to provide needed drainage allowing cacti to flourish while encouraging maximum bloom and root development. The ready to use mix is pH balanced and ideal for use with both jungle and desert cacti. Available in a four quart size with complete package directions providing useful growing information included.

Fertilizer

Apply an all-purpose plant fertilizer to your Chinese money plant during the growing season in the spring and summer. Dilute the fertilizer to half strength and use it on a monthly basis. Don’t feed it in the fall or winter because during that time new growth will be stalled. If your plant’s growth stalls despite fertilizing flush its soil with distilled water to ensure there is not a fertilizer build-up.

Repotting

Repot your Pilea Peperomioides every year until it has stopped spreading outward. (This may be the case if you’re removing pups as they mature.) Size up to a pot that is a couple of inches bigger than the last one. If you don’t feel like repotting, remove the pups from the soil and trim back overgrown roots. That should keep growth under control.

Chinese Money Plant Propagation

Chinese money plants are easy to propagate from cuttings. In fact, the widespread popularity of Chinese money plants can be firmly attributed to their easy propagation, as can their many common names.

propagating pilea peperomioides chinese money plant from a cutting

Chinese money plants do most of the propagation work for you. The plant produces baby plantlets on its stem and in the soil around it that you can replant to make a new plant.

When the plantlets reach a size of about 2-3 inches long use a clean, sharp knife to separate them from the main plant. Follow the stem an inch beneath the soil and slice them away from it. They should already have their own root system, so from there all you have to do is plant them in a new pot of soil. If you cut plantlets directly from the stem, you must place them in water until roots develop. The process should take 2-3 weeks, and once the plantlet has roots you can place it in soil.

Keep the soil moist, and plop your new plant in a warm spot with bright, indirect light. Now you have an abundance of Chinese money plants, I guess they really do work as a good luck charm.

Where to Buy Chinese Money Plants

Pilea peperomioides is one of the most popular houseplants right now because it is easy to propagate, easy to care for, and has unique and interesting foliage. If you’d like your own Pancake Plant, or Chinese Money Plant, or Friendship Plant, or Sharing Plant, you can either make a friend who has a healthy plant and wait for a pup (which won’t take long), or you can buy one online. The easiest way to locate this plant is to search the proper nomeclature, as many plants are called “Chinese money plant” or some variation.

Amazon is the first choice for buying houseplants from large nurseries. The shipping is swift, so your plants are exposed to less weather-related damage en route, and often the prices are better than other online shops. If you have planters you’d like to use, a good choice is this Optiflora set of two.

    Optiflora Set of 2 Pilea peperomioides Plants

Buy at Amazon
    One of the most desirable houseplants, the Pilea peperomioides is an easy-care and beautiful plant. Your pair of Pilea peperomioides will ship in the 2-inch plastic grow pot as shown in the pictures. The Pileas are well-rooted and ready to repot. Pilea peperomioides recovers very quickly from shipping.

Costa Farms plants, which arrive large, healthy, and often in decorative planters, are also available through Amazon. This one is a favorite for all the right reasons.

    Costa Farms Pilea Peperomioides in Mid Century Planter with Stand

Buy at Amazon
    Pilea Sharing Plant is a unique and trendy houseplant, loved for its round leaves that look like little umbrellas or lilypads (some even say flying saucers!). A relatively small indoor plant, it doesn’t usually grow much larger than 18 inches tall and wide, making it perfect for displaying on desks and tabletops. This one ships in a 6-inch decorative white planter with stand.

Plants.com has a potted Pilea peperomioides with an optional tote to gift.

    PILEA PEPEROMIOIDES (CHINESE MONEY) PLANT

Buy at Plants.com
    The Pilea Peperomioides' saucer-shaped leaves are shiny and maintain a healthy green color that is vibrant and beautiful! The Pilea is also known as the Chinese Money Plant because it is known to bring good fortune and wealth to its owner.

And at The Sill, you can get a potted Chinese money plant in three sizes and a range of custom planter colors and shapes.

    Pilea Peperomioides in Custom Planter

Buy at The Sill
    The Pilea peperomioides, also called the pancake or UFO plant, is known for its cute coin-shaped leaves. A self-propagator, the Pilea produces sweet little babies or “pups” on it’s own, which pop up from the soil surrounding the mother plant.

Common Chinese Money Plant Growing Questions

Still have some Chinese money plant-related questions? Fear not, this section has all of the answers to the most common Chinese money plant care queries.

What is the Growth Rate of Chinese Money Plants?

Chinese money plants are slow-growers who maintain a relatively compact size. They are well-suited for container growth, only reaching a height of about 1 foot high at their tallest. Their trademark saucer-shaped leaves can reach as wide as 4 inches in diameter. You can get the leaves to grow wider by placing your Chinese money plant in a shady spot.

What are Common Chinese Money Plant Pests?

Chinese money plants are typically very low maintenance, and if kept in peak, healthy condition you shouldn’t have any pest problems. The two pests that due tend to bug Chinese money plants are spider mites and mealybugs.

Spider Mites

Spider mites are too tiny to see, but if your plant suddenly starts to become sick, with yellowing leaves, deformed foliage, and small bits of white webbing covering it, you probably have a spider mite infestation.

Isolate the plant from your other houseplants. You can make a DIY miticide spray made of 1 gallon of water, 2 tablespoons of dish detergent, and 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Pour the mixture in a spray bottle and then add 1 tablespoon of rubbing alcohol. Shake the whole thing and then spray your plant, fully coating it. Repeat 3 times a day for 3 days to get rid of your spider mites. Wait two weeks and spray again in case spider mites left eggs in the soil.

Alternately, we like an organic plant wash for treating a range of pest and fungal concerns. This one from Lost Coast makes 12 gallons of spray and can be used on any plants, indoors or outside.

    Plant Therapy Lost Coast Organic Fungicide, Insecticide, Miticide

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    Healthy, gentle and effective care for your house plants, yard, garden or commercial farming. Safe for bees, ladybugs and praying mantis. The plant healthy - planet healthy solution you have been looking for! Protect your valuable crops from damaging pests, mold and mildew with Lost Coast Plant Therapy. Eliminates bugs on contact by suffocation and dehydration. Does not leave harmful residue on your plants. Available only in concentrate. 12oz mixes with water to create 12 gallons of application spray.

Mealybugs

Mealybugs are visible on plants. They are about ¼ inch long and have small, cotton-like bodies. They suck the sap from leaves, killing them, and if teh infestation goes on long enough they can even kill the plant.

To get rid of them dip a cotton swab or cloth in rubbing alcohol and knock them off your plant. If this doesn’t work to curb the infestation use insecticidal soap or neem oil. Fully saturate the plant to effectively get rid of them.

What are Common Chinese Money Plant Growing Problems?

Chinese money plants, although low-maintenance, are susceptible to a few growing problems. After all, they are a living thing, if you want a problem-free plant you are going to have to get a plastic one.

Below are some issues you may encounter with your Chinese money plant.

Drooping Leaves

Drooping leaves can either occur because your plant is exposed to too much sunlight or because it’s not being watered enough.

Make sure that your plant is only being exposed to indirect light, except perhaps a couple of hours of direct light in midmorning. Also, alter your watering schedule so that you are watering your plant as soon as its first few inches of soil dry out.

chinese money plant pilea peperomioides in gold planter indoors

Curling Leaves

Leaves may curl if you aren’t rotating your plant on a weekly basis so that all sides of it are exposed to an adequate and equal amount of sunlight. If you start rotating it more regularly and the leaves still continue to curl, the room it’s occupying’s temperature may be too high.

White Spots

If your plant develops white spots it’s probably reacting negatively to the minerals in the tap water you are feeding it. To help it recover, only feed it distilled water, or let tap water sit out overnight so that the additional minerals in it can evaporate.

Brown Spots

Brown spots on a Chinese money plant can just be a sign of old age. Don’t worry, they will eventually fall off of the plant.

Are Chinese Money Plants Toxic?

Chinese money plants are not toxic to animals or humans who consume them. That doesn’t mean you should go chow down on yours, but rest easy that if you, your family member, or pet does, there will not be a negative reaction, except for perhaps an aversion to the less than ideal taste.

chinese money plant indoors with cat

Conclusion

Chinese money plants are one of the best indoor plants you can grow, with beautiful, unusual looking leaves, low-maintenance care requirements, and positive health benefits. The coin-shaped, bright-green leaves of this plant are eye-catching and elegant, brightening up indoor spaces. If you are looking for luck or an unusual plant to decorate your home, try growing a pilea peperomioides.

I hope you enjoyed this guide as much as you will enjoy your new Chinese money plant! If you did, be sure to share it, and comment below with any questions!

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