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Also known by the scientific name Pilea peperomioides, Chinese money plants have experienced a massive increase in popularity over the last few years. And it's easy to see why. These quirky house plants originate from Southern China and are unique in appearance, with large round leaves growing out from stalks.
While pilea peperomioides are technically flowering plants, it is unusual for a Chinese money plant to bloom indoors.
On top of their attractive look, Chinese money plants are incredibly easy to look after, making them the ideal plant for beginners.
- Other Names for the Chinese Money Plant
- Repotting Pilea peperomioides
- When Should I Repot My Chinese Money Plant?
- Choosing a Pot for Your Pilea peperomioides
- Pilea peperomioides Soil
- Step-By-Step Guide to Repotting a Chinese Money Plant
- Chinese Money Plant Care Tips
- How Do I Know When a Pilea Plant is Ready for Propagation?
Other Names for the Chinese Money Plant
Pilea peperomioides is known by many names, most of which describe the plant's circular leaves. UFO plant, pancake plant and coin plant are examples. Other common names include pass-it-on plant and friendship plant, both referring to how easy pilea plants are to propagate. Finally, the common name missionary plant is a reference to how the plant became so popular here, having been brought to Europe by a Swedish missionary in 1946.
Repotting Pilea peperomioides
Like most plants, a mature pilea plant will occasionally need moved into a bigger pot. You might also decide to repot your Chinese money plant into the right container to complement the room.
Repotting pilea peperomioides is important for encouraging healthy growth, and keeping your pilea happy. But if you've never repotted a plant before, or aren't sure how to go about transplanting this particular variety, it can seem a little daunting. After all, you don't want to end up accidentally killing your beautiful Chinese money plant!
Don't worry if you're a little nervous, repotting pilea peperomioides is a relatively simple task. Follow our guide, and your UFO plant will soon be flourishing in its new container.
When Should I Repot My Chinese Money Plant?
Repotting can be stressful for plants, so it shouldn't be carried out too often. When you bring a new pileas into your home, it should be fine in its nursery pot for at least a year, maybe two. Place the plastic pot inside a decorative pot to complement your decor and show off your new plant at its finest.
Chinese money plants like being slightly root bound, so there's no rush to move them into bigger pots. Hold off until spring to allow the plant to actively absorb nutrients from the new soil and afford it plenty of space to grow and spread during the growing season.
Signs your pilea peperomioides is ready to be repotted include:
- The roots are growing out the drainage holes underneath the pot or popping up above the soil level.
- Yellowing, droopy leaves.
- Old soil is becoming compacted or letting water flow through with no resistance whatsoever.
- It's been more than two years since the plant was last repotted.
Choosing a Pot for Your Pilea peperomioides
There's a lot to think about when choosing a new pot for a plant:
- How big does it need to be?
- What is the best material for the pot?
- Does the pot have proper drainage?
Choose a pot that is only 2-3cm bigger than the current container. As mentioned above, pilea plants like to be root bound and, if the pot is too large, the roots won't be able to take all the nutrients from the soil.
Bear in mind that Chinese money plant roots are relatively small compared to the size of the plant. The new container should be around 5cm wider than the plant's root ball.
Chinese money plants grow just fine in ceramic or plastic pots, and are happy enough in nursery pots with decorative covers. However, they positively thrive in terracotta pots, preferring the breathable material. A terracotta pot is porous and removes some moisture from the soil, which is great if you're prone to over-watering house plants!
More important than the material of the pot is drainage. Ensure the pot has at least one drainage hole. Drainage holes allow excess water to flow freely away, reducing the risk of root rot developing.
Pilea peperomioides Soil
Chinese money plants don't like sitting in soggy or overly wet soil, so choose a well-draining potting soil for house plants. You might even want to add a little cactus soil or perlite into the potting mix to help excess water drain freely.
Step-By-Step Guide to Repotting a Chinese Money Plant
- Gather everything you'll need; the plant, new pot, soil, etc.
- Grip the plant at the base, just above the soil line to gently ease it from its current pot.
- Carefully remove as much soil as possible and loosen the roots.
- Check the root system for any damage and snip away any signs of root rot.
- Add a few cm of fresh soil to the bottom of the pot.
- Place the plant in the pot, on top of the potting soil.
- Add more potting soil around the root ball and level off at the base of the plant.
- Gently press down on the soil to stabilise the plant in the larger pot.
- Water the plant thoroughly, allowing excess water to drain thoroughly before returning the plant to its spot.
Chinese Money Plant Care Tips
Once you've successfully repotted your Chinese money plant, a little TLC is essential for promoting new growth and ensuring it becomes a healthy mature plant.
How Much Water Do Pilea Plants Need?
As a general rule, Chinese money plants need watered every 7-10 days. However, this can vary depending on the size of the plant and whether it's in a terracotta or plastic pot.
To determine if the plant needs watering, dip your finger (you can use a chopstick, if you prefer) into the soil. When the top layer of soil feels dry, it's time to give your pilea a drink.
Chinese money plants hate over-watering, so ensure water can drain freely and don't leave the plant sitting in water for too long. It's easier to correct under-watering than over-watering, so err on the side of caution if you're unsure.
Tap water is fine for pilea peperomioides plants, but let it sit on the side for a day before using it to water plants. Doing this lets the water reach room temperature so the cold won't shock the plant and allows chemicals like fluoride to evaporate.
How Much Sunlight Do Pilea Plants Need?
A Chinese money plant thrives in bright indirect light. Keep it out of direct sunlight to prevent scorching those striking leaves. Pilea peperomioides can tolerate partial shade, but you'll find the leaf colour is darker and growth is slower than in bright natural light.
Pancake plants can start leaning towards the light, so you may wish to rotate the pot occasionally to promote even growth. Wiping the foliage with a damp cloth helps them soak up light and keeps the leaves nice and shiny.
Do Chinese Money Plants Need a Humid Environment?
As tropical plants, pilea peperomioides love humidity. Chinese money plants kept in the kitchen or bathroom should take in enough moisture from the air. But if your preferred spot is in a drier room, you might need to boost humidity levels artificially.
The easiest way to do this is by misting the leaves every few days, but you can also place a tray of water nearby or run a humidifier.
Feeding a Chinese Money Plant
Pilea isn't a heavy feeder. But it does benefit from a monthly application of fertiliser over spring and summer. Use a liquid feed to provide plenty of additional nutrients and encourage new growth.
Over-feeding can stress pilea plants, so start with a small amount and add more until you reach the optimum amount. Bear in mind that larger plants usually need to be fed more often than small plants.
Propagating Pilea peperomioides
Get your Chinese money plant care schedule right, and you'll be blessed with plenty of opportunities to propagate new plants for free.
How Do I Know When a Pilea Plant is Ready for Propagation?
Spring is the best time to propagate pileas, so the new plants have plenty of time to establish and grow before the dormant season.
The most obvious sign that your Chinese money plant is ready to propagate is that small baby plants, or pups, start sprouting from the soil around the mother plant.
Even if your plant is yet to produce offshoots, it can be propagated from a leaf cutting. Check the plant is healthy before taking a cutting, as the new plant will be a clone of the mother plant.
How to Propagate a Chinese Money Plant
Once the pups emerge from the soil or the stem, wait a few weeks until one is big enough to survive on its own, then use a sharp knife to cut it away from the main plant.
Check the pup for roots. If it doesn't yet have any, place the offshoot in a small glass of tepid water. Stem cuttings are more likely to need rooting in water than those that grow from the root. Ensure the leaves don't touch the water, and top the glass up every few days. After around two weeks, you should start to see the roots develop, but be patient, as this step can take up to a month.
When the roots are long enough, repot the baby plant into a small pot filled with well-draining soil. Once the new plant is mature, it will start producing pups of its own.
Less reliable than propagating from offshoots, leaf cuttings are a simple way to propagate younger plants or to maximise the number of pilea plants in your collection.
Cut a healthy leaf away at the base of its stalk, nicking a small part of the main plant's stem too. Place the stalk in a glass of water, ensuring the bottom is submerged, and the leaf remains dry. Change the water weekly while you wait for the action to begin.
After a couple of weeks, you'll see roots start to develop. A few weeks later, a pup will appear, growing underwater from the root system. Let the brand new plant grow for a few weeks more until it reaches around 7-8cm tall with roots 2-3cm long. At this stage repot the new pilea peperomioides plant into a small container with well-draining soil.
Leave the original leaf cutting attached when you repot the new plant. It can still provide nutrients for the baby plant and should be left to fall off on its own.
How to Know if Pilea peperomioides Propagation Has Been Successful
New pilea plants can take a while to settle into their new environment. Be patient and take good care of the baby plant, watering it regularly and keeping it in a bright spot out of direct light. It can take over a month, but eventually, you'll notice some growth and new leaves appearing on the plant. When this happens, you know you've successfully propagated a new pilea peperomioides plant.