How to Care for Pilea Peperomioides (Chinese Money Plant)

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How to care for Pilea Peperomioides, Chinese Money Plant Care Guide

Pilea Peperomioides, also known as the Chinese Money Plant, is a rare and treasured fast-growing houseplant that features coin-shaped green leaves. These leaves are attached to long, thin leaf stems that radiate from the central trunk of the plant. This unique foliage gives Pilea Peperomioides a distinct and eye-catching appearance, making it a bold and valuable addition to any houseplant collection.

Originating from the Yunnan Province in Southern China, Pilea Peperomioides is an Asiatic perennial herb. It is native to the region around the foot of the Himalayas mountains. The plant is believed to have been discovered in the 1940s and subsequently brought to Scandinavia, where it gained popularity. From there, it spread throughout the Nordic countries and eventually made its way to other parts of the world. Pilea Peperomioides has a very compact growing habit. It usually reaches a height and width of approximately 12 inches, making it a suitable choice for various indoor settings, including shelves, tabletops, and windowsills.

Overall, Pilea Peperomioides is treasured for its unique and attractive appearance, rapid growth, and intriguing backstory. Its popularity has continued to grow as more plant enthusiasts discover and appreciate its charm, making it a coveted addition to any indoor plant collection. The best thing is that this houseplant is easy to care for with just a few care tips below. 


Pilea Peperomioides is generally considered to be a non-toxic plant. It is not known to be toxic to humans or pets, which makes it a safe choice for households with cats, dogs, or other animals that may be prone to nibbling on plants. However, it's always a good practice to monitor pets or small children around plants and prevent any ingestion or contact that could cause discomfort or allergic reactions. If you suspect that your pet has consumed any plant material and is showing signs of illness, it's best to consult a veterinarian for guidance.

General Care


Pilea Peperomioides thrives in moderate to bright indirect light. Intense direct sunlight should be avoided as it can scorch the leaves. Placing the plant near a north or east-facing window where it can receive bright but indirect sunlight for a few hours a day is ideal. On the other hand, it is important to note that inadequate light can result in leggy growth or reduced overall health of the plant. Finding the right balance is key to promoting optimal growth and maintaining the plant's vibrant appearance. You can use a grow lamp if your room does not have enough light. 


This plant thrives in slightly moist but not waterlogged soil. The general guideline for watering Pilea Peperomioides is to allow the top inch (2.5 centimeters) of the soil to dry out before watering again. Insert your finger into the soil to assess its moisture level. If it feels dry at that depth, it's time to water the plant. On average, this plant requires watering once every 7 to 10 days, but the frequency may vary depending on factors such as the size of the pot, the ambient temperature, humidity levels, and the specific conditions in your home. When watering, thoroughly soak the soil until water drains out from the bottom of the pot. Discard any excess water from the drainage tray or saucer to prevent the plant from sitting in standing water, which can lead to root rot. We recommend that you use only distilled or clean rainwater as Pilea Peperomioides is sensitive to chlorine and other chemicals commonly found in tap water.

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Light and water are the most important factor to grow Pilea Peperomioides
Photo by Dima Berlin

Soil and Fertilizer

Pilea Peperomioides thrives in well-draining soil that retains some moisture but still drains well. A good potting mix for Pilea Peperomioides consists of a blend of high-quality general potting soil, peat moss, perlite, and a small amount of organic matter like compost or coconut coir. This type of soil mix allows for proper drainage while retaining enough moisture for the plant's roots.

Regarding fertilizing, this plant benefits from regular but moderate feeding during the growing season, which is typically spring and summer. You can use a balanced, water-soluble houseplant fertilizer. Follow the instructions on the fertilizer packaging for the recommended dosage and frequency. It's important not to over-fertilize the plant, as excessive fertilizer can lead to salt buildup in the soil, causing damage to the roots. A general guideline is to fertilize once every 4 to 6 weeks during the growing season and stop fertilizing during the dormancy period in the cold months. 

Temperature and Humidity

Pilea Peperomioides prefers average room temperatures ranging from 60 to 75°F. It can tolerate slightly cooler temperatures, especially during the winter months, but it's best to avoid exposing the plant to temperatures below 50°F, extreme cold and heat, or sudden temperature fluctuations.

Maintaining a moderate level of humidity is beneficial for Pilea Peperomioides, but it can adapt to a range of humidity levels commonly found in indoor environments. Ideally, a relative humidity level between 40% and 60% is suitable for this plant. However, it can tolerate lower humidity levels as long as it's not excessively dry. To increase the humidity level, you can use a pebble tray, or a humidifier or place your plant in a humid room (like the kitchen or bathroom). Remember to balance the humidity levels with proper air circulation to prevent the development of mold or fungal issues. Good airflow around the plant is essential for its overall health.

Chinese Money Plant, Pilea Peperomioides, How to care for Pilea Peperomioides, Chinese Money Plant Care Guide
Pilea Peperomioides prefers average room temperatures ranging from 60-75°F.

Extra Care

Potting and Repotting

When potting, always prioritize drainage. Proper drainage is crucial for the health of all houseplants. Pick a container with at least one drainage hole, preferably made of porous materials like cement, ceramic, or terracotta. 

As Pilea Peperomioides grows, it may outgrow its current pot, and its roots may become crowded. Signs that your plant needs repotting include roots growing out of the drainage holes, stunted growth, or difficulty maintaining proper moisture levels in the soil. Repotting every 1 to 2 years, preferably in the spring, is generally recommended. It's important not to over-pot your Pilea Peperomioides by placing it in a pot that is excessively large. This can lead to moisture retention and potential root rot. Instead, select a new pot that is only about 10% larger or just one size up from the previous one. This allows for adequate space for root growth without overwhelming the plant.

Pruning and Shaping

Pruning and shaping Pilea Peperomioides can help maintain its compact and attractive appearance. Pruning and shaping can be done throughout the year, but it's often best to perform these tasks during the active growing season in spring and summer. This allows the plant to recover and respond to pruning by producing new growth more quickly.

  • Removing dead or damaged foliage enhances the plant's appearance and promotes overall health.
  • To control leggy growth, simply trim back the longer stems to a desirable length. Make the cuts just above a leaf node (the point where a leaf attaches to the stem), as this is where new growth is likely to emerge.
  • Pinching can be used to promote branching and create a fuller, more compact plant shape. When the plant has grown several pairs of leaves on a stem, pinch off the topmost pair of leaves using your fingers or sharp pruners. This encourages lateral bud growth, resulting in multiple branches and a denser appearance.
  • Trim longer stems to maintain a more compact silhouette and remove any excessive growth that disrupts the desired shape.
How to Care for Pilea Peperomioides, Chinese Money Plant Care Guide, Piliea Peperomioides, Chinese Money Tree
Pruning and shaping Pilea Peperomioides need to be done in growing seasons.


  • From divisions or offsets (also called plantlets): Pilea Peperomioides naturally produces small plantlets or offsets that emerge from the base of the plant. These can be separated from the parent plant and potted individually. Carefully remove the pup from the main plant, ensuring it has some roots attached. Plant it in a small pot with well-draining soil, and provide appropriate care, including watering and light conditions.
  • From a single leaf cutting: Select a healthy leaf from the parent plant and cut it off at the base, making sure to include a short section of the stem. Plant the leaf cutting horizontally in moist soil, burying the stem section, and leaving the leaf exposed. Keep the soil lightly moist and provide bright, indirect light. After some time, new plantlets will emerge from the base of the leaf, which can be separated and potted individually. Leaf cuttings can also be propagated in water following similar steps. 

Common Problems

While Pilea Peperomioides is generally a relatively easy houseplant to care for, it can still face a few common problems. 

  1. Overwatering: Overwatering is one of the most common problems with Pilea Peperomioides. It can lead to root rot, yellowing leaves, wilting, and even plant death. To prevent overwatering, allow the top inch (2.5 cm) of soil to dry out between waterings.
  2. Underwatering: On the other hand, underwatering can cause the leaves of Pilea Peperomioides to droop, curl, or become crispy. It may also result in stunted growth. 
  3. Root rot: Excessive moisture and poor drainage can lead to root rot, which is characterized by mushy, brown roots. To prevent root rot, ensure your Pilea Peperomioides is potted in well-draining soil and a container with drainage holes. 
  4. Leaf yellowing: Yellowing leaves on Pilea Peperomioides can indicate various issues. It could be a result of overwatering, underwatering, nutrient deficiencies, or even exposure to direct sunlight. 
  5. Pest infestations: Pilea Peperomioides can be susceptible to pests such as spider mites, mealybugs, and aphids. Keep an eye out for signs of pest infestation, such as webbing, tiny crawling insects, or sticky residue on the leaves. 

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