Chinese Money Plant Info: Learn How To Grow A Pilea Plant

Chinese Money Plant Info: Learn How To Grow A Pilea Plant

By: Liz Baessler

The Chinese money plant is a beautiful, unique, and easy to grow houseplant. Keep reading to learn more about growing a Chinese money plant and Pilea plant care.

Chinese Money Plant Info

What is a Chinese money plant? Also known as lefse plant, missionary plant, and UFO plant, Pilea peperomioides is frequently just called “pilea” for short. It is native to the Yunnan Province of China. As legend has it, in 1946 the Norwegian missionary Agnar Espergren brought the plant back home from China and shared cuttings among his friends.

To this day, the Chinese money plant is easiest to find in Scandinavia, where it is very popular. If you live elsewhere in the world, you might have some trouble finding a plant. Pilea is slow to propagate, and most nurseries don’t find them profitable enough to carry. Your best bet is to find someone willing to share their cuttings in person. If that fails, you should be able to order cuttings directly from sellers online.

Chinese money plants are relatively small and very well suited to container life. They grow to a height of 8 to 12 inches (20-30 cm.). They have a very distinctive appearance – green vegetative shoots grow up and out from the crown, each ending in a single saucer shaped leaf that can reach 4 inches (10 cm.) in diameter. If the plant grows healthily and densely, its leaves form an attractive mounding appearance.

How to Grow a Pilea Plant at Home

Pilea plant care is relatively minimal. The plants are hardy down to USDA zone 10, which means most gardeners will be growing a Chinese money plant in pots indoors.

They like lots of indirect light but do poorly in direct sun. They should be placed near a sunny window, but just out of reach of the sun’s rays.

They also like sandy, well-draining soil and should be allowed to dry out between waterings. They need very little feeding, but will do well with occasional additions of standard houseplant fertilizer.

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Pilea Peperomioides, Chinese Money Plant, Friendship plant or just Pilea. This precious plant has quite a few nicknames, and even though the Pilea Peperomioides is hardly a mysterious plant, it’s been the talk of the town (around the world) more or less since 2015 when it started to gain popularity.

Over the past few years, I have received thousands of questions about Pilea Peperomioides, and I’ve also experimented with and propagated hundreds of them. If you’ve followed me on Instagram (@sproutandharvest) you will without a doubt have seen quite a few Pilea posts from me. From tiny cuttings to single leaves and plants more than 1 meters tall and super bushy. There’s almost nothing I haven’t seen or tried with the Pilea.

In this plant care guide for Pilea Peperomioides, I’ll do my best to share all the tips and knowledge I’ve gathered over the years. My goal is for you to learn how to keep the plant happy, healthy and green all year round – and if you end up in this article because of issues you might be having with the plant, then I hope I can help you sort it out.

Ready to learn? Then stay tuned, and use the index below to jump directly to any section in this guide that’s most relevant for you.

Pilea Peperomioides (or Chinese Money Plant) Care Guide

Pilea Peperomioides or the Chinese Money Plant has a unique appearance that shows off glossy, coin-shaped leaves. This easy care beauty is a fast grower, and “rebarkably” pet friendly plant.

Fuss Factor*: 2

Light: Does best in bright indirect light – the brighter the better! Rotate every so often to ensure even growth.

Watering Frequency: Allow the top 2-3 inches of soil tp dry out between waterings. Drooping leaves are an indication it’s time to water.

Soil: No special requirements. Does best in organic, well-draining soil.

Humidity: Will thrive with average household humidity.

Pests: Can be affected by mealy bugs and scale.

  • Do not leave in direct sunlight for prolonged periods as leaves may burn.
  • Yellow leaves indicates there is a watering issue.
  • Pilea have pores on the leaf’s underside. Sometimes the plant releases excess minerals through these pores which will appear as white spots on the leaves. These are non-harmful , merely a result of hard water. Try using filtered or distilled water.

Zones: Houseplant approved, but can be placed outdoors in warmer zones 8-11

*Fuss Factor: We grade our plants on level of care from 1 to 5.

  1. Low Maintenance Marvels – great choice for new plant parents
  2. Easy to Care For, Easy to Love
  3. Relatively low maintenance, but will need some regular attention
  4. Apply TLC, you’ll love the results
  5. Recommended for Helicopter Plant Parents – Labor intensive, but so worth it

How to Grow Chinese Money Plant From an Offset

Since we grow Chinese money plant as a houseplant, when it blooms there are no insects to pollinate the flowers to produce seeds. Propagation for these plants is done via offsets.

Chinese money plant regularly produces offsets which are brand new plants that grow from shoots that grow laterally from the parent plant. They are called clones because they are genetically identical to the parent plant.

To create a new plant, take a sharp knife and carefully cut the offset from the parent plant and then repot it into its own pot. It is best to choose an offset that has its own leaves and roots which ensure the new plant will have the best chance of surviving after being cut from the parent plant.

If the offset that you cut has few or no roots, you can root it directly in soil. Just push the part that was under the soil in the original pot into the soil of the new pot and keep the soil moist. When you see new leaves growing, you will know that new roots are also growing because a plant with no roots cannot grow new leaves.

It’s not a good idea to root plants in water. The roots that grow are very weak because they haven’t had to push against soil which strengthens them. When you root in water and then try to plant your cutting or offset, those weak roots very often break and there’s a good chance that your new plant will die. Always root directly in the soil for strong roots and no need to transplant which can also stress the plant.

© 2020 Caren White


Pilea is no longer the height of house plant popularity, but it became such a trend because it looks fantastic in a home. That’s not going to change anytime soon. Pilea care is so easy to learn, and the unusual shape of the leaves makes the plant look so unique, that there’s really no reason not to try growing it.

Pay attention to it, listen to what it’s telling you about your watering regime, and the two of you will get along fine. If you get into taking cuttings, you’re going to be addicted to this plant in no time. We’re sure you’ll find space for one in every room of the house.

Watch the video: How to Propagate Pilea peperomioides or Chinese money plant. How to Grow Pilea peperomioides?