The Pilea peperomioides, more commonly known as Pilea, has a variety of alias, including the Chinese Money Plant, Coin Plant, Pancake Plant, UFO Plant, and Friendship Plant. This easy-care houseplant is grown for its unique foliage, which inspires most of its nicknames. The name friendship plant is a nod to another trait of this plant – it’s very prolific and easy to propagate. Native to southern China, Pilea plants are fast growers that prefer the mild climate found at the base of the Himalayas. Pilea care is simple, and this plant makes a lovely and low-maintenance addition to a home.
Types of Pilea
Pilea peperomioides is the most common type of Pilea and what most people mean when they reference Pilea. This cultivar is known for round foliage with a coin-like shape that grows perpendicular to the stem. A mature, full plant has a rounded appearance as the leaves create a spherical globe of greenery. Other varieties of Pilea have different types of foliage, often with intricate and colorful patterns and a bumpy texture. The plants look different, but Pilea care is generally similar across all cultivars. Some of the most common Pilea houseplant varieties include:
- Aluminum Plant (Pilea cadierei)
- Pilea Baby Tears (Pilea depressa)
- Black Leaved Panamiga (Pilea repens)
- Chinese Money Plant (Pilea peperomioides)
- Creeping Charlie (Pilea nummulariifolia)
- Dark Mystery Pilea (Pilea involucrata)
- Gray Baby Tears (Pilea libanensis)
- Jamaican Pilea (Pilea grandifolia)
- Moon Valley Friendship Plant (Pilea mollis)
- Norfolk Friendship Plant (Pilea spruceana Norfolk)
- Silver Tree Pilea (Pilea spruceana Silver Tree)
Counterfeit Money Plants
One of the more common nicknames of the Pilea peperomioides is the Chinese Money Plant. The large, round leaves resemble coins, inspiring the name. Money plant is a name also used to refer to other plants that are not Pilea peperomioides. Some of the other plants that may be known as Money Plants include Golden Pothos, pennywort, and Money Trees.
Pilea Light Needs
Medium to bright indirect light is ideal for proper Pilea care. Avoid direct sunlight, which can burn the lovely foliage. Plants grown in low light will become leggy, and the foliage may not reach full size. Rotate the plant every few weeks so each side receives even sunlight to prevent the foliage from reaching and leaning towards the light.
How Often to Water Pilea
Let the soil mostly dry out before watering Pilea. This easy-care houseplant has medium water needs, and it will need a drink when the top couple of inches of soil are dry. Saturate the soil until water drains through the pot. Empty the cover pot or saucer so there is no standing water.
Best Soil for Pilea
Rich, well-drained soil is best for Pilea care. This plant does not like to be soggy, so soil that allows water to drain is best. Acidic to neutral soil will support continued growth, although most potting mixes intended for houseplants will work well.
Temperature for Pilea
Pilea is not very picky about temperature, and most homes are warm enough to keep this leafy plant happy and healthy. Temperatures between 55° and 85° F are ideal. While this plant makes a wonderful addition to a screen porch or outdoor space during the summer, wait until the temperature is consistently above 50° F before moving it outside.
Average humidity provides excellent Pilea care. This plant can easily handle increased humidity, although plants grown in damp environments may need water less often. Low humidity may be a problem, so monitor the foliage for dryness along the edges. Plants grown in low humidity may need a humidifier or a pebble tray with water.
Help your Pilea push out new foliage by fertilizing the plant in spring and summer. Feed the plant using a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer applied every four weeks when the plant is actively growing. Pilea plants are dormant during the cold months, and growth significantly slows. Do not fertilize Pilea plants when dormant.
Remove dead or damaged growth as needed; otherwise, Pilea plants do not require much pruning. Trim back leggy growth and place the plant in a sunnier spot to create a more full-looking plant. Shape the plant in the early spring, after the first springtime dose of fertilizer.
Do Pilea Bloom?
Pilea peperomioides bloom, but it’s rare for houseplants to flower. Although, with proper Pilea care, your houseplant may bloom. Colorful flower stalks emerge near the base of the plant and feature clusters of tiny blooms. The flowers are green to start and transition to white or pale pink.
When to Repot Pilea
With proper Pilea care, this plant is a fast grower, which means it must be repotted annually. Roots emerging from the drainage hole are a sure sign your plant needs a new home. Multiple offshoots crowed in the pot are another sign that it’s time to repot.
Repot Pilea in the spring, at the start of the growing season. The type of container does not matter, just as long as the pot has a drainage hole.
Pilea plants are easy to propagate and are sometimes known as the friendship plant because you’ll end up with so many plants that you’ll have to gift them to friends and family. Pilea can be propagated through offshoots.
Offshoots or pups are small plants that emerge from the mother plant. These tiny plants share the same root system as the main plant and can grow through the soil or appear on nodes, often areas where leaves have fallen away. Offshoots can be removed from the main plant when they stand a couple of inches tall.
Remove the pup by clearing away soil or wait until it’s time to repot so that you can get a better look at the roots. Cut the stem or roots connecting the pup to the main plant and move the offshoot to a pot with fresh soil. Keep the soil consistently damp for a few weeks before getting on the same watering routine as an established plant.
Is Pilea Pet Friendly?
Pilea plants are pet-friendly. The round foliage may entice a curious feline, so you may need to locate the plant in an area that is not easily accessible. It’s always best to discourage cats and dogs from chewing on houseplants, but your furry friends are not in harm’s way if they munch on Pilea leaves or stems.
Pilea Styling Tips
Small Pilea plants look darling on a countertop or desktop, making it easy to admire the ornamental foliage close up. Pilea naturally trail, so place a mature potted plant up high or in a macrame hanger. Choose a container that fits your style or creates the look you want. A neutral pot makes the foliage stand out, while a showy container complements the unique leaves.
Pilea Care Tips
Whether you want a low-maintenance beauty or a quirky-looking stunner, the Pilea peperomioides is a good choice. Pilea care is simple and straightforward. These leafy plants like plenty of sunlight and to dry out some between watering. Follow these guidelines, and you’ll have a lush and healthy plant.