Caring for Pilea Peperomioides
I love a Pilea. Actually, I have three as I love them so much. Its look is so refreshing, and to me, it adds a modern touch to my home with a beautiful decorative concrete pot. It is a complimentary plant to Scandi decor but it can suits any style.
Pilea peperomioides also referred to as Chinese Money plant, is a semi-succulent plant from the nettle family Urticaceae, found in southern China.
There are relatively easy to look after, and they grow quite fast. You can put them anywhere in your home as long as they have some light.
“You can spread love and gift little Pilea babies to your friends from your mother plant !”
|Urticaceae||Southern Chin||15 – 25º+|
|No||Bright indirect light||Canopy|
|Light, not soggy||No||Fast|
|Not really||To be overwatered||Spring/Summer|
Pilea’s Golden rules
Do not leave your plant in a cold draft or near a cold window;
Do not leave your plant next to a heater fan;
Do not leave your Pilea in full hot sun in summer, the leaves will be burnt;
Do not overwater it or let it dry out for a long period of time;
Do not leave the roots in constant contact with water for an extended period.
Enjoy it, it is so cute
They are easy to look after
Light and Location
Pilea thrives best in bright indirect sunlight. Do not place it in direct sunlight as it will scorch the leaves. A South facing window with indirect light is perfect for your plant. Do not discard a North facing window, if you get sufficient light, your plant will still grow. It is possible to adapt your plant to a lower light level but it will spread out more and its leaves will get darker green. Mine have been happy in any location as long as they have sufficient light.
Peperomioides are very responsive to the light, and you will find that if you do not turn your plant every week, they will grow their new leaves towards the light.
Water your Pilea once a week. They don’t like soggy soil, let it dry slightly between watering. If the leaves start to drop, it means your Pilea is thirsty. As the weather gets warmer, increase your watering as your soil may dry more quickly. They are semi succulent and they will forgive you if you forget to water them.
You always have to take into account the environment of your home. If you keep your house very warm in winter, watering once a week is fine. My recommendation is for a house’s temperature of around 20 to 22º. It is important to remember that your Pilea does not like wet soil for too long.
I advise you to add some gravel at the bottom of your decorative pot to make sure that the roots are not in contact with water.
Credit: The Stem
Temperature & Humidity
They love temperature between 15 to 25º+. Do not leave your plant below 10º outside or it will die. Our home environment is perfect for them. Remember as most plants, Pileas do not like to be against a heating vent or in a regular draft.
They are semi-succulent and do not require humidity.
Repotting & Compost
The best time to repot a Pilea is in Spring, but if your plant is pot bound and is cramped in its container, you can report it in winter. They like to be root bound, and a size up for your pot should be sufficient. I always choose Terracotta pot as it allows the plant roots to breathe well in the soil due to its porosity. They are a great choice if you tend to overwater your plants and they absorb the water excess which prevents root rot.
Be careful, Pileas have very fragile stems. Be very gentle as you may lose a few leaves when you repot it.
When I repot my Pilea, I use cacti and succulent potting mix.
I mix 1 part of horticultural charcoal with 9 part of cactus compost.
The cactus compost is excellent for these plants as they do not hold too much water and have good drainage. The first time I repot one of my plants, I always add Rootgrow which is a mycorrhizal fungi. It is entirely natural and plants friendly fungi.
The horticultural charcoal is less dense and gets rid of impurities. It airs the soil and helps to increase the drainage and to grow healthy roots. It adds a source of carbon to plants, speeds water drainage, allows good airflow in the subsoil and inhibits the growth of bacteria and fungi”.
Fertilise your pilea once a month during the growing period.
I fertilise my plants all purpose plant stimulant from Empathy or worm castings. It is 100% natural plant food. It stimulates healthy and vigorous growth for all plant. Always follow the directions when applying.
The best time to propagate a Pilea is in Spring. You will notice that your plant has a few plantlets when it gets bigger. Dig gently around the seedling and cut the bottom, as deep as you can, with a clean, sharp knife. You can either put them in water and wait for the roots to form or plant them straight in the soil. I recommend planting them in the soil as growing roots in water are harder to take than in the soil.
My propagation mix is:
95% Westland cacti and succulent potting mix.
The soil needs to be moist. You should start to see roots from 4 to 6 weeks.
Trunk & Growth
When you Pilea is getting mature, it will develop into a small tree.
They grow relatively quickly. In winter, they grow more slowly but still at a good rate. They tend to grow upwards. With time, your pot should be covered of little plantlets around your mother Pilea. You can leave them together, cut them or propagate them.
Branching your Pilea
A Pilea grows upward. To change the shape of your plant and encouraging branching, you can pinch the new top leaves. You can also cut the top and propagate it in water with roots hormones. It will promote branching.
Dropping leaves means that they need to be watered. It could also be the cause of over watering your Pilea. If you have root rot, your Pilea will drop its leaves. Change your watering regime. If it has been overwatered, let your plant dry and change your watering regime.
Yellow bottom leaves and falling leaves can be normal. Your plant will lose its leaves for time to time. You have nothing to worry if your Pilea looks healthy. You can remove the yellow leaves. Soon your Pilea will have new leaves. If your younger leaves are turning yellow, you are overwatering your plant. Let it dry and water again.
Curling leaves could be that you are overwatering your plant. Change your regime, and it should resolve itself. Curling leaves for a Pilea is usually not a problem unless you see your plant becoming unhealthy. You need to make sure that your plant have adequate light too. I read that curling leaves from the bottom could suggest too much water and curling leaves from the top could be too much sun.
Brown leaves suggests that your plant has received too much fertiliser. It could also suggest that your plant has been burnt by too much sun. Always make sure your Pilea is not overwatered.
Powdery mildew can kill the leaves’ tissue. You will end up with your leaves dropping and your plant not growing properly. You can resolve this problem by using an organic fungicide.
Spider mites are tiny insects which are very difficult to detect. If you see red spots on the leaves with a tiny webbing, use a fungicide.
Thrips are very small insects that feed on the leaf of your plant. They will weaken your plant and transmit diseases as they fly around.
Mealybugs are very destructive insects. They reproduce very quickly. These bugs like to eat from the sap of your plant which won’t help with its growth. You could detect them if you see spots on the leaves, yellow leaves or dropping leaves.
Whiteflies are again very tiny and leave a powdery white wax on your plant. They are bad news as they will damage your plant. They can cause your leaves to drop, and your plant will start looking unhealthy.
All those problems can be resolved with a good organic fungicide. I use an organic Fungicide which works miracles on all the above. There is also no chemicals which is a bonus to me.
truly yummy things
It is also a sourcebook for houseplants and outdoor plants with a manual to keep them beautiful for many years to come.
I am a firm believer in recycling old furniture and sustainable products for your home. I like to think that truly beautiful things in our home has the power to improve our mood and make us smile without always spending a fortune.