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    How to Grow and Care for Chinese Money Plant

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    Pilea peperomioides green foliage that has been misted.

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    Pilea peperomioides, also known as the Chinese Money Plant, is a great indoor plant for beginners. It’s easy to care for, doesn’t need bright light to thrive and can even be grown in a pot with slightly acidic soil! Read on for more information about this terrific houseplant... Pilea Peperomioides is a small plant native to Sichuan and Yunnan provinces of southern China.

    What is a Chinese Money Plant?

    Chinese money plant, Pilea peperomioides, is one of the best indoor plants. It is an evergreen perennial, very easy to care for, thrives in bright, diffused light, grows fast, and is very low maintenance!  It is a flowering plant that grows with thin petioles or stems producing circular leaves. Although it can bloom, the flowers are often inconspicuous.  The uniquely round leaves give it its other common names: UFO plant, pancake plant, and missionary plant. 
    The Chinese money plant was first discovered in the early 1900s by George Forrest and spread amongst amateur gardeners via cuttings without being officially classified by botanists. It wasn’t until 1980 that Pilea’s true classification appeared in Kew magazine. 
    Note Icon
    Chinese Money Plant is an endangered plant in the wild!
    Peperomia peperomioides is endangered in its native habitat. 

    Chinese Money Plant Care Guide

    Pilea peperomioides
    Chinese Money Plant, UFO Plant, Pancake Plant, Missionary Plant, Friendship Plant
    Urticaceae (Nettle Family)
    Flowering evergreen perennial
    Balanced liquid fertilizer during spring and summer
    Bright indirect light for 4-6 hours a day
    Well-draining and nutrient dense soil - Slightly Acidic and Neutral
    Bulbs (Rhizomes), Cuttings
    70-80 degrees Fahrenheit
    South-facing, West-facing or East-facing. Avoid north-facing.
    10, 11, 12
    Not toxic to dogs, cats, or horses
    Botanical Name
    Common Names
    Plant Type
    Growth Rate
    Sun Exposure
    Soil Type & Soil pH
    Temperature (Ideal)
    Window Location (Ideal)
    USDA Hardiness Zones
    Image of flowers
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    Chinese Money Plant Care Tips

    Chinese Money Plants are super easy low maintenance plants making them trendy amongst plant parents today. Their coin-shaped foliage and fast growth rate makes them a great plant for beginners and advanced gardeners alike. Typically grown for its unique foliage, Pilea peperomioides thrives in bright, indirect sunlight. It’s pretty forgiving when it comes to water and soil growing well in most commercial soil mixes and roughly needing watering once a week.

    💧 Water

    Chinese Money Plants, like most other tropical plants, have moderate watering needs. They like their soil to be moist, but not soggy or waterlogged. You will want to let the topsoil dry in between waterings. As a general rule of thumb, roughly once or twice a week will work depending on how quickly water evaporates. If your plant is in a sunnier area, you may need to water more frequently.
    You can always use your finger and press into the soil. If you feel the soil is moist, best to wait another day or two before watering.
    Letting your Chinese money plant sit in soggy soil can lead to rotting roots and fungal disease which can kill the plant. If you see yellowing leaves, it’s likely that you’re overwatering your plant. On the other hand, if you see drooping, curling, or crispy, brown leaves, you aren’t watering your Pilea peperomioides enough! 
    Most houseplants are sensitive to a build-up of chemicals from tap water. We recommend you use distilled or rain water when possible. If you use tap water regularly, we recommend you flush out the soil every once in a while by letting water run all the way through the soil for 5-10 minutes.

    ☀️ Sunlight

    Chinese Money plant prefers medium to bright indirect light with at least 4-6 hours of exposure. If growing indoors, you can place it near a south-facing, west-facing, or east-facing window for proper lighting. Avoid north-facing windows as they receive the least amount of light. You can always supplement with a grow light if you don’t have enough in your home. 
    Make sure to avoid over-exposing your Chinese money plant to direct sunlight for too long because it’ll cause the leaves to burn and become discolored.
    Given their even growth habit, you may need to rotate your peperomia regularly to keep the growth looking symmetrical. Pilea’s leaves will grow towards the light source which can make your plant look like it’s leaning if you don’t rotate enough. 
    If Pileas don’t receive enough light, you’ll start to see leggy and stunted growth and the leaves will become smaller.

    🌡️ Temperature and Humidity

    Native to the tropics, Chinese Money Plants thrive best in warm temperatures and high humidity conditions. They grow well in USDA hardiness zones 10, 11, and 12 and prefer temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Most ambient room temperatures will work, but you may want to be mindful during the winter months to keep your indoor temperatures warm enough.
    Don’t let the temperature drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit for too long as that’ll stunt the growth of your Chinese Money Plant. 
    Chinese Money Plants prefer moderate to high humidity levels. During the winter months, humidity can be lower, so we recommend supplementing by grouping your plants together, using a small humidifier, or placing your Chinese Money Plant plant on top of a pebble tray filled with water. 

    🌱 Best Soil Chinese Money Plant

    Planting Chinese Money Plants in the right type of potting soil is a critical part of ensuring healthy growth. Overwatering and soggy soil is one of the most common problems with this houseplant.
    You can use commercial houseplant mix supplemented with perlite and sphagnum moss to help encourage aeration. They prefer slightly acidic to neutral soil, so you adding peat moss will help with that as well as nutrition retention.
    Make sure to plant your Chinese Money Plant in a container with drainage holes. They do well in terracotta pots that help wick away excess moisture. 

    🌻 Fertilizer

    Chinese Money Plants aren’t heavy feeders, but if you choose, you can feed it with a liquid, balanced fertilizer during its growing season in spring and summer months. 
    Avoid fertilizing during its dormant period in fall and winter.
    For a natural and organic plant food, you can also supplement with coffee grounds or eggshells. Coffee grounds are naturally acidic making them a perfect option for Pilea peperomioides.

    ✂️ Pruning and Maintenance

    Chinese Money plants are fast growers, especially in the right light conditions. Pruning, especially during the growing season in spring and summer, will encourage new growth creating a bushier Pilea! This can also be a great time to consider propagating your Pilea. 
    You may want to trim any unkempt growth. When pruning, make sure to use sterilized gardening shears.
    Given the circular leaves, they can easily accumulate and collect dust. We recommend using a damp cloth to wipe off the leaves every once in a while.

    How to Propagate Chinese Money Plant

    Chinese Money Plant baby plantlet coming off of a main woody stem of the mother plant.
    Image Source:Chinese Money Plants are easiest to propagate via offshoots.
    Chinese Money plants can be very easily propagated through a top cutting or by division! They make for great gifts for friends and were given the name friendship plants because their offshoots and plantlets are commonly given to friends. 
    When you start to see little plants sprouting from the soil near your mother plant, then your plant is ready for propagation! In order to propagate, prepare a sterilized sharp knife, gloves, pilea friendly soil, and a new container. 
    It’s often easiest to take your Pilea out to make sure you’re able to cut off the plantlet correctly, but if you’re able to softly whisk away the soil and see the little plant’s stem coming off of the mother stem, then you’ll be able to cut off without taking the plant all the way out.
    Using a sterilized, sharp knife, cut the mini stem including your baby plant from the mother pilea plant. 
    Place the new stem into a small container filled with soil or water. You’ll want to make sure that just the stem is submerged and all the leaves are above the surface of the soil or water. 
    Place in an area with bright, indirect sunlight and wait. If you’re propagating in water, you’ll want to refresh the water every few days. 
    Pileas start to root pretty quickly, so you’ll see roots develop after a week or two.
    Once the roots have grown at least one to two inches, transplant your little plant into its home container and follow a proper care schedule.
    You can also propagate your Chinese Money plant with a trunk cutting. For this method, use sterilized shears or a sharp knife and cut off a woody-looking trunk of the money plant. Although this seems terrifying if your plant has one trunk, do not worry! Doing a trunk cutting will encourage your pilea to produce more new growth and eventually will regrow the plant in the right conditions. 
    Take your trunk cutting and place in soil or water. It’ll take a week or two for it to root and you can then transplant it into a home container. 

    How to Repot Chinese Money Plant

    Chinese money plant in a nursery pot with proper propagation tools near it.
    Image Source:Pilea peperomioides grows fairly quickly, so you'll know you need to repot when you see roots poking out of the drainage hole.
    You’ll know it’s time to repot your Chinese Money Plant when you notice its roots poking out of the drainage holes at the bottom of your pot. As a rough rule, Chinese Money Plants will need a repotting every two to three years.
    Repotting is important to not only allow your plant to grow, but also to refresh the soil and nutrients in it. 
    Step By Step Repotting Instructions
    • To repot, take your plant out of its container.
    • Prepare a new pot roughly 1-2” bigger in diameter and fill it up ⅓ of the way with fresh potting mix.
    • Shake off excess soil off the roots and inspect the root system. If you see any mushy, brown roots, you’ll want to trim them with sterilized shears. This is a sign of root rot.
    • Plant your orchid into a new container and backfill with soil.
    • Deep water after planting to allow your Chinese Money Plant plant to settle into its new container.

    How to Fix Chinese Money Plant Problems

    Chinese Money Plant in a gray pot on a table with a couch behind it.
    Image Source:Chinese Money Plant is susceptible to common houseplant diseases and pests.

    Chinese Money Plants can be susceptible to common houseplant problems and pests. In particular, given their finicky water requirements, over or under watering tends to be the most common cause of issues with your Orchid. The most common problem with Chinese Money Plants is root rot or rhizome rot due to overwatering or improper soil.

    Why is my Chinese Money Plant dying? Root Rot

    If this is your first time experiencing root rot, read our full guide on root rot.
    Root rot is a common issue with most houseplants including Chinese Money plant. It’s usually caused by moist or waterlogged soil for prolonged periods of time. Symptoms can include rapidly yellowing leaves, stunted growth, and a rotten brown base. If you’re seeing these symptoms, here’s how to treat root rot.
    • Remove the plant from the pot and gently remove the soil so you can see the root system.
    • If the roots are brown and mushy, you must take action immediately.
    • Clean off the roots with sterile water.
    • Take sterilized scissors and trim any mushy roots.
    • You can use a diluted hydrogen peroxide solution to disinfect the roots.
    Once cleaned up, repot your plant in fresh houseplant soil mix.

    Chinese Money Plant Leaves are Yellow

    Yellow leaves are oftentimes a sign of overwatering. If the Chinese Money Plant’s roots are left in soggy and poor-draining soil, the leaves will start to turn yellow due to chlorosis. You will see lower leaves start to turn yellow first. You’/ll want to let your top inch or two of soil dry in between waterings.
    Make sure you plant your Chinese Money plant in well-draining potting mix with perlite and into a container with drainage holes.

    Chinese Money Plant Leaves are Curling or Turning Brown

    If your Chinese Money Plant leaves are curling or turning brown, it’s likely a sign of underwatering or dry conditions. Curling leaves are a sign that your plant wants to prevent excessive water loss and is thirsty!
    You’ll want to make sure you’re watering your orchid frequently enough and not letting all of the soil completely dry out.  Avoid direct sunlight as this can cause moisture loss fairly quickly. 
    Brown leaves are usually a symptom of dry environment or low humidity. You’ll want to make sure your environment is consistently humid. Direct sunlight can also cause leaf burn turning your leaf edges crispy brown. If you're seeing brown leaf edges, you can use sterilized shears to trim the leaves.
    Less common cause of brown leaves can be due to overfertilization or water quality. If you’ve been fertilizing too frequently, we recommend pausing to let your plant rest. Build up of chemicals such as fluoride from tap water can also cause browning leaves. We recommend to use distilled or rainwater in this case.

    Chinese Money Plant Leaves are Dropping

    Dropping leaves is due to chronic overwatering or soggy soils. However, it can also be due to drastic environmental changes. You will want to make sure to keep your Chinese Money plant away from cold drafts like exterior doors, windows or air conditioners.

    Mealy Bugs

    Are you seeing white fuzz on your orchid leaves? It may be a sign of a mealy bug infestation. Mealybugs are small, white insects that eat away at orchid tenders preferring younger, newer growth like leaves, sheaths, and young flower buds. At first sign of infestation, you’ll want to immediately quarantine your orchid. You can use cotton balls dipped in rubbing alcohol to remove mealy bugs manually. Do not wipe, remove them.
    For a somewhat quicker solution, you can make mix three parts liquid soap and one part water and use a spray bottle to spray the plant. Leave the solution on there and rinse the plant after 20-30 minutes. You will likely need to repeat this every 3-4 days until your infestation is gone.
    For an organic solution, you can also use neem oil. Apply neem oil every seven days by spraying your entire orchid until infestation disappears.

    Fungus Gnats

    Fungus gnats are tiny fruit-fly sized insects that infest moist soil, potting mix and other mediums. They are gray to black-gray in appearance and their long legs and antennae can give them a mosquito like appearance. Because Calatheas love humid environments and moist soil, they can be particularly susceptible to fungus gnat infestations. Although harmless to humans, fungus gnats love to feed on the plants’ thin roots. 
    How to spot fungus gnat infestation on my Chinese Money plant?
    You’ll find them primarily on the surface of your potted soil. In an early infestation, fungus gnats are unlikely to do much damage. But because fungus gnats reproduce rapidly, laying up to hundreds of eggs on the soil surface, what was once a small infestation can turn into a severe infestation fairly quickly.
    Symptoms of a fungus gnat infestation include stunted growth, yellow, or dropping leaves.
    The best way to rid of fungus gnats is to use sticky card traps, cider-vinegar traps, or flypaper. These are similar methods to contain fruit flies. 

    Spider Mites

    Spider mites are ectoparasitic arthropods that feed on plants. They prefer hot weather along with dry conditions, and they feed on a wide range of plants. Spider mites can be red, yellow or orange, depending on species. They are tiny, but they can be seen with the naked eye. Spider mites attack plants through their leaves, sucking the nutrients out of them. They leave stalks behind as they feed. While feeding, spider mites create webbing, and drain the life from plants causing leaves on infested plants to turn yellow and brown. They can cover and kill an entire plant within a week or two if left uncontrolled in your garden.
    If this is your first time managing spider mites, read our in-depth guide on how to get rid of spider mites on indoor plants.
    How to spot a spider mite infestation on my Chinese Money plant?
    Spider mite damage is different from that of cutting insects. There won’t be a hole in a leaf, but rather large discolored areas made up of tiny dots or stippling. You may notice that your plant leaves are covered in a web-like substance as previously stated or you may notice small specks on the leaves, or if the infestation has gone further you might see leaves or whole portions of your plant start to curl and wither.
    To treat spider mites, quarantine your plant to prevent spread. You can wash your plant with water to clear our some of the infestations initially and then use insecticidal soap or neem oil to spray your plant and wipe off spider mites. Repeat this process daily until the infestation is gone.

    FAQ on Chinese Money Plant

    How long do Chinese Money plants live for?
    A healthy Chinese Money Plant can live up to a whole decade!
    How do I make my Chinese Money plant bushy?
    Regular pruning and trimming can encourage new growth to occur making your plant more bushy over time.
    How big will a Chinese Money plant get?
    Chinese money plants are fairly small reaching up to one foot tall and wide.
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