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Pilea Peperomioides Care

Pilea Peperomioides Or Chinese Friendship Plant

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If you are interested in Pilea peperomioides care, then you’ll also be interested to know a little of the background behind this lovely plant and some of its unique characteristics.

The Pilea plant is a species of a flowering plant from the Urticaceae family. It originates from the Yunnan and Sichuan provinces in the south of China.

It’s also commonly called the Chinese money plant, friendship plant, pancake plant or mirror grass.

It’s a plant which has spread among amateur gardeners through cuttings without being well-known to botanists prior to the 1980s, when it was classified.

It was a Norwegian missionary, Agnar Espegren, who took several cuttings when he went home in the 40s from China and shared it with his friends and family, which is believed to have led to its spreading throughout Scandinavia and eventually, throughout the world.

This plant is a real eye pleaser- it resembles pennyworts and it can grow up to 12 inches in height and width. It’s a succulent, evergreen, and perennial plant.

It has beautiful dark green, shiny, and round leaves that can grow up to 4 inches in diameter on a long petiole.

The stem color can vary from greenish to dark brown and it’s mostly a simple, upright and straight stem.

Many people choose it as a decoration of their home or office because of the fast-growing foothills that are passed on as a lucky plant or a pilea friendship plant.

The plant thrives when it has a constant temperature and high humidity.

Despite being a real gem because of its attractive shape and easy maintenance, the plant isn’t very common on houseplant markets. It’s also a pet-safe and non-toxic plant.

If you want it, the best way to acquire it is from a friend or an acquaintance or online.

Interesting fact:

This plant grows little babies (pilea pups) so that you can easily propagate it and share it with your friends and family.

Pilea Peperomoioides Care Tips

Pilea Light Requirements

Your Pilea loves a bright and indirect sun exposure. Although it’s a succulent, avoid putting it in direct sunlight because it can damage the leaves.

As with African violets, make sure you rotate this plant 2 to 3 times per week to prevent it from growing lopsided.

It’s great at adjusting at lower light areas; however, the plant’s leaves will deepen their green color and spread out more, with brighter light.


A normal household temperature between 65 to 75 Degrees F will be okay. But, ensure it doesn’t sit near heating objects in the winter time because its leaves may become droopy.

Pilea Watering

Between watering, the soil of the plant has to be dry because, like the plumeria, it doesn’t like to sit in soggy soil.

When the leaves look slightly droopy, water the plant- in warmer months, make sure it’s more often and in colder ones, less.

The plant does well in humid areas, but it doesn’t require any additional humidity. It will do alright in a less humid surrounding too.

Misting the plant in summer is a good idea.

Pilea Soil

Cactus and succulent soil potting mix is great for Pilea as it doesn’t retain water or moisture and it assists draining, which is important for the plant to grow healthy.

You can also add perlite to boost the soil aeration and drainage.


When it’s spring and summer season, it’s good to feed the soil with a general liquid fertilizer once per month.


Repotting your Pilea can be done when it has outgrown its current pot or when you want to encourage further growth.

Before you repot it, choose a pot that has a drainage system or a terra cotta pot- it’s great because it’s natural clay and allows the soil to breathe, unlike a plastic one.

Plus, when you put a bit too much water, it will dry up faster. Prior to the repotting, place stones on the bottom of the new pot to prevent root rot and ensure proper drainage.

Pilea Propagation

The easiest way of propagating pilea is through plantlets which grow from the roots of the mother plant.

They appear from the soil and can be used once they have several of their own leaves.

Cut them off from the roots of the mother plant and transfer them in a smaller pot with proper soil.

You can keep the babies for you, give them as a gift to someone or sell them. Even though this transfer may be a bit shocking for the babies, they’ll quickly adjust.

Another way to propagate them is using the stem plantlets- unlike the ones from the roots; these don’t have their own system and thus, need more attention.

Remove them from the stem and place them in a vase with water. Change the water daily and in some time, when you notice them rooting, transfer them into a pot with soil and water them.

Best Pilea Plant Species

Pilea mollis or Moon Valley

This variety is very popular and comes from Central America.

The most attractive thing about it is the saw-toothed, chartreuse leaves with deep textures reminding of the valleys and craters on the moon.

Pilea cadierei

Also known as watermelon pilea, it’s native to China and Vietnam. It has beautiful dark green oval leaves and every leaf has 4 raised silvery patches.

Pilea libanensis

This is one of the prettiest species of pilea and it features pink-red stems with tiny green leaves.

When you look at its leaves closely, it appears as if they have an overlay of ‘fairy dust’ which makes them give off a magical glimmer.

Other Tips

This plant is an excellent choice for areas with a lot of white walls and white furniture- it will bring a sweet and beautiful burst of greenery.

If you want it to be bushy and compact, cut off the tips of new growth on branches.

As the time goes by, the lower leaves may begin to drop- when this happens, start new cuttings.

Trouble Shooting- Common Issues

Problem: fading leaf color

Cause: Lack of feeding

Solution: Use an all-purpose 20-20-20 fertilizer per month to encourage the leaves’ dark green color.

Problem: pilea leaves curling or droopy leaves

Cause: Overwatering if the bottom leaves are curled and excessive sun exposure if the top leaves are curled.

Solution: Wait for the soil to become dry before watering the plant and move it to an area which is bright, yet it won’t expose the plant to direct sunlight.

Problem: brown spots on the leaves

Cause: Overwatering and/or over-fertilizing & sunburn

Solution: The chemicals from fertilizers can burn the leaves so make sure you’re not using too much.

And, avoid overwatering it- the soil has to be a bit dry before you pour water.  If the plant is directly exposed to sunlight, move it to a more appropriate area.

Thank you for reading this article about pilea peperomoioides care.


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Pilea Peperomioides Care Indoors

Christine Mattner

What started out as purely a desire to keep my indoor plants alive has turned into a full-blown passion for sharing what I have learned over the years about selecting, growing and caring for indoor plants with those who may be new to the wonderful world of houseplants.

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