Species advice

Pilea peperomiodes care

Also known as the Chinese money plant, these cheerful fun plants are great fun, and their babies make fantastic gifts for friends and family.

When in the right spot for light, they grow proud and straight, with funky pancake-shaped leaves.

Here’s what makes mine happy…

Light for pilea peperomiodes

Bright, indirect light – ideally from immediately above. Ours sits immediately in front of a north-facing windowsill, meaning it gets lots of light, year round (but not enough sun to scorch the leaves during the summer months).

To point to Darry Cheng’s advice in his excellent book The New Plant Parent, think of the plant’s view of the sky – and ideally this comes from above, to encourage it to grow straight. Also: buy the book, it’s invaluable!

Watering pilea peperomiodes

Pileas can be thirsty, especially during the growing season and if in a sunny spot – however they also seem to like to dry out between waterings. Wait till the soil is mostly dry, then give it a good drenching, making sure excess water drains away.

Soil and potting

Free-draining soil is important: a mix of houseplant compost with extra perlite seems to work well. I also use terracotta pots, to help wick away moisture, and reduce the risk of over-watering.


Pileas seem to be pretty easy-going about humidity, and can thrive in regular air conditions.

Pilea pup

Propagating pilea peperomiodes

One of the most charming things about pileas is their ease of propagation. When suitably snug in their pot, they put out new shoots, which poke up through the soil. These can be removed with a cut with a clean knife or pair of scissors, and will propagate easily in water or damp soil And you have a new plan!

Common issues with pilea peperomiodes

White specks on the back of leaves – tend to be the leaves excreting minerals from the water. (Do check they are static, not pests!)

Drooping – as with many plants, pileas droop as a result of overwatering (which kills off the roots, meaning its unable to take up water) or underwatering. Check the roots for signs of rot. If any are black and mushy, remove those and replant in fresh soil. If there’s no root rot, and the soil is dry too, and you’re 100% certain you’ve not overwatered, try upping the amount of water you’re giving it, ensuring as always that it’s free draining.

Yellow spots – can be a mineral deficiency. I fertilised mine with a magnesium/calcium plant fertiliser, and all new leaves were a healthy green.

Small leaves on long stems – a sign that it’s not getting enough light, and in all likelihood is reaching for it. Move it closer to a window and see what the newer leaves look like

Happy growing!

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