If you are interested in growing an easy-care plant that looks unique, cleans the air, and propagates with ease, look no further than the money plant. Learn how to grow pilea plants with these simple tips.
I was inspired to purchase my first money plant from Martha Stewart. She did a whole show on houseplants and spoke highly about them so I had to try growing one.
And let me tell you how much I LOVE my money plant. I started with one small plant that I probably paid a few dollars for and now have 4 separate plants from that first plant.
And it’s still growing.
The mother plant continues to produce baby plants, so once a year, I divide them off and repot them in terracotta pots.
But I can’t keep them all. Some I’ve kept for decorating my home and purifying the air. While others, I’ve given some away to my friends and family.
Because they propagate with ease, they make perfect indoor plants for gifting.
Want to learn more about these easy-care indoor plants? Read on because pileas are really fun to grow.
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About Pilea Plants
Pilea is a genus of plants in the family Urticaceae, with the common name of Chinese money plant, friendship plant, and pancake plant, depending on the variety.
Pilea peperomioides plant has been referred to as the coin plant because of its unique look with coin-shaped leaves. It is believed to bring good luck to those who care for them.
Pilea peperomioides are native to Central and South America but have become popular houseplants due to their ease of care and unique, flat, coin-shaped leaves. They are fast-growing plants that prefer indirect bright light and well-draining moist soil.
Keep an eye on the watering though as over-watering can lead to root rot. So it’s a good idea to allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings.
Propagation can easily be done by rooting stem cuttings in water or dividing baby pileas from the mother to make new plants.
Types of Pilea Plants
There are several different pilea plant varieties that include:
- Pilea Perperomioides Plant
- Pilea Cadierei
- Pilea Involucrata
- Pilea Mollis
- Pilea Microphylla
- Pilea Nummulariifolia
- Pilea Depressa
Do you grow any of them? If so, let me know in the comments because I’d love to hear about your favorites!
Chinese Money Plant Care
The pilea plant is a great houseplant that is relatively easy to grow with very little maintenance. I highly recommend growing them if you are just starting out with indoor plant care.
Here is what you need to know to grow happy and healthy pilea plants.
Pilea plants prefer bright indirect sunlight but can tolerate a little bit of sun. Intense direct sunlight can cause their leaves to burn.
My pileas are kept in the sunroom on the north side of my house and seem to be pretty happy there.
When I cared for it at my former home, I kept them out of direct sunlight between two windows on the south side of my home. So they got a lot of light there, but it was not getting directly hit by the sun at all.
It is important to water pilea plants regularly, but allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. Over-watering can stress the plant and lead to root rot. So be careful not to overwater.
But how do you know when the right time to water is? It’s not on the same day every week. If you do that to a pilea, you’ll overwater it for sure.
For best results, when you do water, allow excess water to drain out into a drainage dish or the sink.
Use a well-draining potting mix in a pot with a drainage hole to prevent water from sitting in the soil for too long.
And I recommend removing your money plant from the plastic pot from the nursery too. Replant it in a pot that is one size larger so the roots have room to grow.
Just make sure that pot has drainage holes before repotting. If the container needs drainage holes, grab a drill and make one.
You can wait to repot it in a different pot, but those plastic nursery pots retain water more easily and if you are the kind of indoor gardener who likes to water often, the plant will get oversaturated and stress out.
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Pilea plants are comfortable in average room temperatures (65-75°F) but can handle brief temperature fluctuations.
I move my pilea plants outdoors when all danger of frost has passed. It stays outside all summer long until it comes back inside before the first frost in fall.
While they are outside, I keep them in a location that is covered and out of direct sunlight. So a covered porch or along the house under a roofline is perfect for them.
Pilea plants prefer high humidity, but can adapt to low humidity too if necessary.
To increase humidity levels in your home, you can do one of the following:
- place a tray of water near the plant
- mist the leaves occasionally,
- add a humidifier
- or group several plants together to create an indoor microclimate.
Fertilize pilea with a slow-release fertilizer in early spring and again in summer based on the package recommendations (always follow label recommendations).
Stop fertilizing in early fall and winter when the plant goes dormant.
5 Reasons You Should Grow Pilea
If you are not convinced yet as to why you should grow a pilea plant, here are 5 reasons you should run, not walk, to the nursery to buy your first one.
- It’s a great indoor plant for beginners. Pilea plants are relatively low maintenance and easy to care for, making them a great choice for beginners or those with busy schedules.
- They have a unique appearance. The round, coin-shaped leaves of the friendship plants make them a visually interesting addition to any indoor space.
- Pilea has air-purifying qualities. Coin plants are known to help purify the air by removing pollutants and producing oxygen.
- Pilea plants are easy to propagate. Pilea plants can be easily propagated from stem cuttings or division, allowing you to create new plants for yourself or to share with friends.
- They are versatile plants that can be grown in a variety of settings including in pots, hanging baskets, or as part of a dish garden. But they can also be used as ground cover in terrariums.
How to Propagate Pilea by Stem Cutting
Propagating pilea is a simple process that can be done using stem cuttings. Here’s how to do it:
- Cut a stem with a few leaves from the parent plant using clean, sharp scissors or a knife.
- Remove the lower leaves from the stem cutting, leaving only a few at the top.
- You can dip the cut end of the stem into rooting hormone powder but it is not necessary.
- Place the stem cutting in a glass or jar filled with water, making sure that the cut end is submerged.
- Change the water every few days to prevent bacteria buildup.
- After 2-4 weeks, roots should begin to grow from the cut end of the stem.
- Once the roots are 1-2 inches long, the stem cutting can be planted in fresh potting soil.
- Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged, and place the newly planted pilea in bright indirect light.
It is also possible to propagate pilea directly in soil, but rooting in water first is easier with greater success.
Propagating Pilea by Division
Making new pilea plants from division is super easy and makes a great gift idea if you want to give them away.
- Make sure you are dividing healthy Chinese money plants that are free from pests and disease.
- Remove the pilea plant from its container.
- Using your fingers, gently split off the pilea babies from the main plant.
- Repot the mother plant in fresh potting soil.
- Then pot up each baby plant in smaller pots with fresh potting soil too.
What If You Don’t Want to Divide Your Pilea Plants?
If you don’t want to divide your Chinese money plant into smaller plants but want to maintain optimal plant health, it’s a good idea to repot it in a bigger pot.
This will keep the coin plant from getting rootbound in its existing container and will help keep the plant healthy.
Why Does My Money Plant Have Yellow Leaves?
If your money plants starts to develop yellow leaves, it’s possible you are overwatering your plants, which means the soil moisture is too high.
When this occurs, cut off all of the yellow foliage. Remove the plant from its container and gently take off the soil from the plants root system. Then repot it in fresh well-draining soil, do not water it right away – give it a few days – and keep an eye on the watering after.
This is not a plant you should water on the same day every week. You want the soil to dry out between waterings.
The best way to know when to water, is to stick your finger down 1-2 inches of soil. If it feels dry, it is OK to water. But if it feels wet, leave it alone and check it again in a few days.
More About the Money Plant
Are you growing the coin plant? Do you have a favorite pilea plant variety? I would love to know more in the comments below.
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I’m a master gardener who’s been gardening and growing things for over 25 years and author of the best-selling book, The Bricks ‘n Blooms Guide to a Beautiful and Easy-Care Flower Garden. With a deep passion for gardening, I enjoy helping others find their inner green thumb with all things plants and flowers, as well as finding ways to bring the outdoors inside their homes.
Get the inside scoop about my background as a master gardener, education, and experience, as well as why I started blogging here.