Houseplant Spotlight: Pilea Peperomioides
Easy to care for and a prolific grower, the Pilea Peperomioides or Chinese Money Plant may not improve your financial situation but it will improve your mental well-being with its simple elegance.
A light-loving plant, Pilea Peperomioides prefers a spot where it can benefit from lots of indirect sunlight without being directly in the path of the sun. Direct sunlight is actually quite harmful because it will scorch the leaves. A spot that is a bit shaded is ok as well. The leaves will be darker green in a shaded location. Wherever you place this plant, make sure it isn't too far away from a good source of light.
Rotate your Pilea at least once a week. These plants reach towards the sun while they grow and if they are left in the same position for an extended period of time, they will grow lopsided. For an even growing, robust looking plant, turn it each time you water it.
The favored room temperature of this plant is between 65-75F. If you live in a cold area, make sure your Pilea is not near a heating vent in the winter since that it cause it to lose its leaves.
The basic rule of thumb is to let the soil dry mostly between watering. The time it takes for this to happen will vary depending on the season and how much dry or humid it is in your house. The soil shouldn't be left too wet but also should not be allowed to dry out completely, either. A common problem and reason for these plants to die are by overwatering. Any water that collects in the bottom dish should be emptied out.
In general, regular weekly watering is good but make sure you are paying attention to the soil and the plant and not watering it mindlessly. After having this plant for a while, it is likely you will learn its tells. When the leaves start looking a little droopy, the Pilea is asking for water.
A monthly application of fertilizer during the spring and summer is enough to keep this plant healthy and happy. An all-purpose fertilizer is fine.
A high-quality, well-draining, organic potting mix with sand or perlite in it is best. The sand helps with drainage and reduces the chances of root rot from overly wet soil. Alternately, a high-quality cactus and succulent potting soil is a great choice as well.
Initially found only in the southwestern Yunnan province of China, Pilea Peperomioides is now wide-spread around the world. In its original habitat, it grew on limestone boulders in shaded forests. Accustomed to indirect light and dry conditions, it makes the perfect houseplant. Now, it is a rare species in its native home due to deforestation but it is appreciated throughout the world as a popular and distinctive houseplant.
It is known by several common names, including Chinese Money Plant, Pancake Plant, or UFO Plant. It all depends on what you think the flat, broad, leaves resemble closest.
Repotting and Reblooming:
This plant grows from cuttings, of which it produces in large amounts. The mother plant will produce babies from its stem and also in the soil. Let the baby get to be at least 3” tall before removing it so it will be strong enough to survive on its own.
When your plant produces babies in the soil, carefully cut the stem 1” down, being careful not to hurt the little roots it is growing. Transplant the baby into a pot with moist soil and in a few weeks, it should be anchored and starting to grow on its own.
Pilea babies that are growing from the stem should be cut off with a sharp, clean knife and placed in water to get some roots started. In 1-2 weeks, little roots will grow and it can be transplanted to soil.
The Pilea Peperomioides is a quirky plant that brings joy to all that see it with its unique form and easy dignity. Its quick growing nature and preponderance for creating little plant babies make it easy to share the wealth too!