Pilea is native to China’s southwestern Yunnan province, with significant green coins appearance of its leaves that lay on top of each other. The plant gets its pseudonym – the Chinese Money Plant – from its leaves’ appearance. Many people see Pilea as a plant that brings abundance, money, and good fortune to the owner, increasing its popularity as a hostess or housewarming gift.
As a popular plant during the 60s and 70s, Pilea is back and more popular! Now, this beautiful plant is capturing endless hearts on Instagram. The plant looks incredible when paired with a minimalist design as it also gives instant warmth to your home, courtesy of those modern-looking, unique, smooth leaves, which remind you of small pancakes or large green coins.
It used to be hard and rare to find Pilea, and as such, many growers called it “pass-it-on-plant.” People can get Pilea from anyone with the pant and give away one of the plant’s sprouts.
Many growers know Pilea for its coin-shaped, bright green leaves. The plant thrives well in dry conditions and enjoys low-light settings. Pilea is ideal for beginner plant owners since the plant requires low maintenance and can grow quite fast.
Common Pilea Varieties and Types
The Urticaceae family of Pilea varieties is more than 600, and they are all tropical plants. Several growers use these plants as border-edging or ground cover plants since they favor the outdoors, even though many are perfect for excellent houseplants in hanging baskets or pots.
Right now, many people know about these plants and prefer them as their houseplants. However, getting the plant as a new grower can be confusing since Pilea has several family plants. That is why our team did some digging and compiled information about the most common Pilea types and varieties.
We hope this piece will help if you are interested in purchasing Pilea and have questions about what type to get.
The Urticaceae family of Pilea is also known as the Nettle family. Growers know that species within this family have tiny stinging hairs under their leaves that can cause a painful rash for anyone who contacts it. However, no one will experience these stinging hairs in Pilea. There are several common fruit trees and rose families in Urticaceae, which are within the order Rosales.
What Pilea Genus Have In Common
Since the genus Pilea has more than 600 tropical plant species, these plants vary incredibly from one species to another, including trailing, upright, and bushy varieties. They prefer temperatures above 50 degrees F, well-draining soil, and high humidity.
People have cultivated several of these smaller varieties as houseplants since the plants are easy to care for. The indoor varieties thrive well without much attention and can stay small with about 12-inches in height.
Early spring is when Pilea enter their growing season, and spring and fall will see them growing more quickly. However, the plants’ growth can slow significantly through the winter and even go dormant when the colder months arrive.
Pilea has a predisposition towards etiolation or legginess with the trait of brittle, long stems, resulting from the plant attempting to reach out towards the light. As a result, several Pilea plants can begin to look leggy after some years, even when you give it utmost attention to keeping it compact or bushy.
Generally, growers can propagate Pilea using root cuttings. As such, it is simpler to restart some species every year by cuttings instead of dealing with the older plants’ unkempt legginess.
Pilea Depressa (Baby’s Tears) is native to the Caribbean, Brazil, and Mexico and simple to grow. Depressa resembles a terrarium that can tolerate high humidity and thrives well in normal indoor humidity levels. Pilea Depressa plump, round, green, and tiny leaves that are not as big as a fingernail. It is easy to propagate Pilea Depressa’s rigid stems, and growers can also root them at each node touching the soil.
Baby’s Tears will also grow well when you keep them from direct sunlight, like other Pilea plants. The plant requires little pruning, and many people find it famous for hanging baskets where the plant’s leaves and stalks can hang down.
Pilea Nummulariifolia (Creeping Charlie) is another popular Pilea variety, and people must not confuse the plant with Swedish Ivy or Plectranthus Verticillatus.
The plant grows well in hanging baskets indoors, and it is easy to care for. Pilea Nummulariifolia is native to the West Indies and South America, and many growers consider it invasive when planted outdoors since it grows incredibly fast. While Creeping Charlie is a low crawling vine, you can find it in the US southernmost states and attach to anything in its path.
This Plea type has glossy green, bright, and medium-sized foliage with scalloped edges. The leaves have a wrinkled or puffy appearance due to the sunken veins of each leaf.
Growers must prune Creeping Charlie more often than any other Pilea species since it boasts carpeting, rapid growth. You will also need to cut back the plant regularly to keep overtaking all the things around it. The plant grows well in hanging baskets and prefers indoor moisture and humidity.
Pilea Microphylla (Rockweed or Artillery Plant) is known widely as the Artillery Plant and is easy to care for. The plant is native to Brazil and Mexico. As such, Pilea will grow well indoors when you provide it with the required humidity, and not many people know about it.
The Artillery Plant’s leaves are plump, round, and succulent even though they are small. These leaves create a stunning umbrella-like canopy of foliage that spreads out, and the plant can grow up to about 12-inches tall.
Growers sometimes call Pilea Microphylla the Artillery Fern even though it doesn’t belong to a fern family. The plant got the artillery from how it pops its green, small flowers to eject pollen and seeds, enabling it to self-seed for a broad area, like an artillery shell.
The artillery Plant requires monthly fertilization and bright, indirect light like other Pilea species, a short-lived perennial. If you are planting it, allow it to dry out a bit between watering. You can also put it in humid areas of the house or mist it since it loves humidity.
Pilea Mollis & Pilea Involucrata
Pilea Mollis (Moon Valley) and Pilea Involucrata (Friendship Plant or Panamiga) are identical since Mollis is a cultivar of Involucrata. These are plants created using selective breeding. As such, the variation of Pilea Involucrata is Pilea Mollis.
They hail from Central and South America, and they make perfect houseplants. When you need to plant them in high humidity and warm temperatures, they only need primary houseplant care. People love the two varieties for their almost quilted, fuzzy textured leaves with sawtooth edges. The foliage color varies. However, it has purple or red undersides with bronze or deep maroon veins and typically bright green at the edges.
Both Friendship Plants and Pilea Involucrata form dense mounds of textured leaves as creeping plants. The Friendship Plant is not an upright plant-like Pilea Mollis, even though it can grow to an average height of six to eight inches tall, with Moon Valley getting to 12-inches tall.
The two plants require indirect, bright sunlight to grow well and are healthy when close to a south-facing, sunny window. However, ensure that they don’t get direct sunlight as it can scorch the delicate leaves.
How to Grow Pilea Plants from Seed
It is almost like a modern-day myth to attempt planting Pilea from seeds. Since several growers worldwide have gradually got their hands on one of the most popular houseplants, they have wondered if the plant’s flowers would turn into seeds after encountering its fascinating small flowers. But, even if the flowers can turn into seeds, can they grow Pilea from seeds?
You can start the process by choosing suitable pots or containers. It is possible to start seeds in almost all container types; it is around two to three inches deep with some drainage holes. You can also grow seedlings in a paper cup, milk cartons, or yogurt cups if you are a DIY fan.
The following essential thing is the potting soil. Ensure to go for the potting soil designed for seedlings’ growth. We recommend not re-using potting soil from the houseplants or using soil from the garden. Instead, ensure to start a sterile, fresh mix that will provide disease-free, healthy seedlings.
When it comes to planting your Pilea seeds, you can commence the process by sprinkling some of the small ones on the soil surface. Next, you will need to bury the larger seeds. Essentially, it would help if you moistened the newly planted seeds after planting them.
The next step is to cover the containers or pots with a plastic dome or wet paper to speed germination. Thus, you will be able to keep your seeds moist before germination. Then, you can remove the cover once you notice the first signs of green.
When you notice the seedlings growing, ensure always to keep your soil moist. However, don’t make it soggy. Let the soil dry a little amid watering sessions. Then, use liquid fertilizer to feed the seedlings regularly.
Pilea seeds enjoy plenty of light. So, let the plant enjoy about fifteen hours of sunlight a day. Also, ensure to choose a south-facing window to provide the plant enough exposure if growing in a window. Prevent your Pilea from learning into the light by rotating the containers regularly.
Adjust your Pilea plants and ensure they are about one inch above the seedlings’ top when growing under lights. Remember that your seeds require darkness to rest. Then, raise the lights when you notice the seedlings growing taller.
How to Propagate Pilea Plants
Before we go on with this discussion, we need to emphasize that spring is the best period to take Pilea cuttings, even though you can take cuttings of the plant all year round. We know that spring is the best period when Pilea makes most of the babies and grows the fastest.
You can multiply your plant by propagating through cuttings, and the perfect candidate for this is Pilea. Essentially, this plant got its nickname ‘Friendship Plant’ since people passed the plant from one person to another through cuttings. Therefore, planting on local nurseries or plant shops shelves was quite challenging for a long time. Fortunately, that is no longer the case.
Here is how to propagate Pilea.
- Check the plant’s base to find and identify baby or small offsets Pilea plants. You can find these small offsets under the central stalk. You may need to hold off a bit if your Pilea doesn’t have any. You will see them sprouting up pretty soon.
- The next step is to cut a base offset using a clean blade or knife. Ensure that you get one closest to the soil.
- Prepare a jar or glass of water to place the offset stem. Ensure that only the shoot or branch is submerged. We recommend not to submerge the leaves since they can rot. Therefore, it is advisable to eliminate some leaves.
- Prepare a place with indirect, bright light to put it and then wait. We recommend keeping the water fresh by changing it every few days. You will notice roots sprouting after one or two weeks.
- When you have about an inch long root, put them in a small container or pot with fresh soil. Press down gently on the soil after being potted. Ensure to have moisture in the soil for a few weeks before your Pilea takes root.
Pilea Plants Growing Conditions
Pilea plants are low-maintenance species that grow well in a bright spot close to a window. However, we recommend keeping the plant from direct sunlight to prevent leaf burn from too much direct sun. The leaves can also fade from intense light, leading to the plant’s overall health to suffer. Thus, prepare the right spot for the plant.
The plant requires a pot with drainage holes and well-draining potting soil. You will need to water more during hotter, warmer weather and ensure that the soil mainly dries out before watering.
When you notice the leaves drooping, you need to know that it is a sign that your Pilea plant needs water. Many growers claimed that people could prevent their Pilea plants from getting lop-sided by rotating the plant once a week since they can grow towards the light.
The round discs can collect dust, and it is advisable to wipe the leaves every few weeks. Use any of these fertilizers because they will help your Pilea grow a lot.
Water your Pilea regularly from spring to autumn. However, allow the top few centimeters of the compost to dry out between watering times. Also, let the excess drain away after that. Your plant cannot tolerate staying in soggy, cold compost.
During winter, ensure not to water too much. Instead, use a diluted or weak house plant food to feed the plant once a month. You can even mist the leaves even though it is not essential.
How to Plant Pilea
Pilea plants prefer bright light without direct sunlight. As such, the light shade will encourage larger leaves, and direct sun can scorch the leaves. While these plants can produce pink stems with tiny flowers at a cool temperature, they are also hardy to freezing.
You don’t need to take your plant out of the plastic container after buying the plant, except when it is root-bound. Instead, prepare a more decorative pot to place it. When you notice the roots emerging out of the bottom of the container, you can then repot the plant. Use a 2:1 soil-based compost mix to plant it. You can also use perlite and multi-purpose or peat-free compost. Ensure that the container or pot has drainage holes.
Indoor Planting Method
- Choose a well-lit, warm spot indoors for the plant. Ensure that the space is not too close to direct draughts or sunlight.
- Use a reasonable premium potting mix to fill the pot. This mixture was formulated specially to suit outdoor or indoor plants.
- Gently take your Pilea from the pot and eliminate any tangled or matted roots while teasing the roots.
- Use potting mix for backfill after placing it in a hole and firm down gently. Ensure not to water the leaves while watering the plant.
- Keep the potting mixture slightly moist after the first watering. Essentially, you can reduce watering during winter.
Outdoor Planting Method
Pilea is a tropical plant and is hardy year-round between USDA zones 10 and 12. As such, many growers love to grow the plant outdoors. Therefore, you can set the plant outdoors for extra sunshine and avoid exposing it to temperatures below 50 degrees if you live in zone 1 to 9.
When the outside temperatures are warm, you can give your Pilea fresh air and light. Then, bring back the plant inside when you have cool temperatures. Your plant will benefit a lot from getting a feel of the outdoors. First, however, ensure to have your Pilea in the proper lighting conditions.
Pilea plants may not survive through the colder periods of many places and, as such, prefers warm temperatures. Therefore, you can have a container outdoors in the summer and move the plant indoors during winter and fall, even though the plant can be outdoors all year long in a few locations with optimal environments for the plant.
Daytime temperatures with nighttime temperatures of around 10 degrees and daytime temperatures between 70 degrees and 80 degrees work well for the Chinese Money Plant. The plants are hardy between USDA zones 10 and 12.
Essentially, it is unlikely you can have your Pilea outside throughout the year when you are in the contiguous United States, except you live in the southernmost regions of Florida or Texas. However, Pilea plants will thrive excellently well in a container outdoors for some months of the year in many areas.
You only need to be sure that the temperature will be at the proper level to bring the plant outdoors in the warm months. If not, we recommend that you get it back indoors in the evening.
Pilea Potting & Soil
Ensure to prepare a potting mix with perfect drainage to care for your Pilea plant properly. You won’t need to deal with excess moisture in the soil that can damage the plant’s roots when you have well-draining soil. The perfect potting medium for growing your Pilea must be a combination of perlite, peat moss, and potting soil.
Allow the well-draining potting medium to dry out partially between watering periods. You will have constantly damp roots when the soil is too dense. With that, you can put your Pilea at the risk of fungal disease or root rot. However, your plant will have healthy growth when you ensure the potting mix retain some moisture.
Mix equal portions of perlite, peat moss, and light houseplant soil to have the perfect potting mix for Pilea. With this medium type, the plant will enjoy better air circulation with the water draining quicker. We recommend you repot the plant using a light potting mix when the water takes a while to drain or tends to pool on the soil surface.
Pilea Water Requirements
Watering is the most crucial aspect of planting Pilea plants. The plant requires watering only when the top one to two inches is dehydrated. Next, drench the soil until water drains out of the bottom and thoroughly wet Pilea. Finally, ensure to water your plant as often as the soil dries out.
Allow the soil dryness to be your guide instead of sticking to a strict watering schedule. First, check for dryness by firmly pressing on the soil. If you notice any moisture, you can wait until the soil dries before embarking on watering the plant. Generally, water your Pilea less frequently in winter and more often in summer.
Ensure to water the soil when watering your Pilea plants thoroughly. The roots will stay hydrated properly to stay healthy with deep watering. Ensure to allow the water to drain out completely each time you soak the soil. As such, the good idea is to ensure you don’t have any water gathering in the saucer under the container.
In essence, you will avoid watering shallowly and often when you water your Pilea plants correctly, as this watering type will create a damp environment on the soil surface. You can put Pilea at the risk of white plant soil mold or fungus gnats when you use shallow, frequent watering. With that, Pilea can suffer from underwatering, and the roots will not get sufficient moisture.
Regarding watering your plant, it is always best to err on the caution side. Pilea plants can tolerate a bit of drought instead of overwatering.
Pilea Light Requirements
Pilea plants require plenty of indirect, bright light to grow well. Prepare an east-facing windowsill to place the plant where it can get enough morning sunlight. Protect your plant from direct sunlight to avoid scorching the leaves. Growing the Pilea in a low light environment means losing the plants’ attractive appearance and growing leggy, long stems.
You will have the fastest-growing Pilea plants when you grow them in a sunny location. You can grow your plant outdoors on a deck, patio, or balcony during the summer. However, ensure to keep Pilea from the sun’s rays or in a shaded spot.
When you notice that the leaves have brown spots, it signifies that Pilea is getting too much sun. Ensure to trim them off to enhance your plant’s aesthetics. In addition, change the container to a shaded spot, away from direct sunlight.
Pilea plants can grow slower, even though they can grow as low-light plants. The slow growth can lead to sparse foliage and long stems. You can encourage a bushier growth habit through pruning. You can also place Pilea in a brighter space if possible.
Best Pilea Fertilizer
Use a diluted houseplant fertilizer to feed your Pilea plants to provide sufficient nutrients. Regular fertilizer helps improves the plant’s health, keeps the foliage vibrant and green, and boosts growth. An all-purpose fertilizer is the best kind of fertilizer for Pilea plants. Effectively, the growing season of summer and spring is the period to feed the plant.
There is no need to feed Pilea extensively. Generally, it will be adequate to dilute a 20-20-20 fertilizer type by half.
You must know that mineral salts can stem in the potting soil. These salts can affect Pilea’s growth and cause root burn with time. Therefore, ensure to flush the soil as often as possible. Gently water the soil for about two or three minutes to eliminate excess minerals. You can put your plant in a bright spot after allowing all the water to drain.
You may experience Pilea’s slow growth during winter, like most houseplants. As such, desist from fertilizing the plant from fall until early spring. Your plant only requires regular misting to increase humidity and occasional watering when the soil is dry.
Best Pilea Companion Plantings
Since many growers use Calathea plants for indoor decoration purposes, the plant will pair well with Pilea. People often use it in businesses and homes, and it is a plant that tolerates indirect lighting. As such, it makes it ideal for office buildings and indoor usage. Since Calathea is generally easy to care for and looks stunning, providing bright green plants to liven up indoor spaces, the plants are famous for indoor purposes.
Calathea requires indirect, bright sunlight to thrive well.
This plant enjoys moist but not wet soil.
Water Calathea every one to two weeks and ensure to allow the soil to dry out halfway down between watering periods.
- Purifies the air
- A great eye-catcher for indoors
- Healthier and better indoor climate
- Provides fresh oxygen
- Not for beginner houseplant growers
- It is somewhat toxic
Spider Plants is one of the most adaptable houseplants, making it a perfect companion for your Pilea. The plant is also easy to grow. As such, you can make a statement growing it as a hanging plant or on the mantle or tabletop. The plant makes for a healthy addition to your home, especially for its tremendous air purifying qualities.
Spider Plants prefer indirect, bright sunlight, even though they can tolerate lower light conditions.
This plant will thrive well in any well-draining, nutrient-rich soil.
Spider Plants can tolerate accidental overwatering since they are thirsty plants. Ensure to water once a week.
- Air-purifying plant
- It can remove harmful chemicals like toluene, formaldehyde, or xylene from the air
- Safe for children
- They are hard to kill
- They can help speed up recovery
- The plants can grow slack and limp
- They can be slightly hallucinogens for cats
The Anthurium flowers are some of the longest-lasting ones on earth, meaning that you will have lasting dazzling color in your home for several months. In addition, the plant boasts open heart-shaped bloom, inspiring abundance and happiness.
Anthurium can grow and survive in low light conditions and requires bright light to bloom.
The plant needs well-drained, porous aerated soil rich in organic matter content.
Anthurium needs light watering even though it grows well in high humidity.
- Easy to care for
- Purifies the air
- Remain attractive for a long time
- It is pretty
- Easier to transport
- The plant’s root can develop root rot
- Limited growth
- Frequent cleaning
Pilea Diseases and Common Problems
Pilea Leaves Turning Yellow
You don’t have to worry about the situation where the older leaf of your Pilea is dropping and turning yellow because the plant will produce new leaves soon. However, you may have to deal with insufficient drainage or overwatering when you notice plenty of splotchy yellow leaves with drooping petioles. It could be that your plant has no drainage holes, is in heavy soil, or is too big of a container.
Also, a lack of fertilizer can cause yellow leaves. However, since these yellow leaves won’t revert to green, you can safely eliminate them.
The ideal means of fixing this problem is to stop watering your Pilea and let the soil dehydrate more between watering sessions. We recommend repotting the plant if the soil is highly saturated. Don’t leave out proper drainage.
Leaves Turning Brown
Your plant’s leaves can get some small brown spots and imperfections over time. You may not worry too much about this situation as it is normal.
However, too much direct light can cause crispy brown, dry spots on the leaves. You can quickly fix this problem by making your window sun diffuser, protecting the plant with a sheer curtain, or placing the plant away from the window.
You may also have a case of fertilizer burn from brown spots because of too much fertilizer. You can fix this problem by diluting the fertilizer by half the next time you apply it to the plant or hold off on fertilizing altogether.
Leaves Falling Off
It may not be a serious problem when the plant drops a rare leaf when they mature from the bottom. However, it could signify a problem when you notice more leaves falling off suddenly. A watering concern, either too little or too much, could be the cause. You can fix the issue by allowing the water to dry out before watering your plant. Going forward, ensure to adjust your watering schedule.
Pests and Diseases
Watch out for scale, mealybugs, spider mites, and aphids. In addition, botrytis, powdery mildew, leaf-spot disease, and stem or root rot are common diseases associated with Pilea.
Pilea Treatment and Maintenance
Pilea plants require a container with drainage holes and well-draining potting soil. The soil must dry out completely between watering times and water more in hotter, warmer weather. In addition, your Pilea may need water if the leaves start to look droopy.
The pot you choose must have drainage holes at the bottom so the roots won’t stay too wet, and water can pass through easily. A great choice is terracotta pots since they allow the plant roots to breathe well in the soil and are quite porous. Ensure to use appropriate and moderate pot sizes when you repot your plant.
Provide your Pilea with some light feeding in the summer and spring months, semi-regular watering, and bright light to thrive well. In addition, it is easy to propagate Pilea, and you will have plenty of offshoots from a healthy plant, which can give you more plants after separating them. Keep these plants for yourself or share them with friends because you won’t need to buy another Pilea when you have one.
Where to Buy Pilea Seeds Online
You can get your Pilea seeds online at:
Where to Buy Mature Pilea Online
Online retails to buy mature Pilea plants are:
Question: How big do Pilea get?
Answer: Pilea plants can grow to about 8 to 12 inches with a distinctive appearance.
Question: Are Pilea easy to care for?
Answer: It is easy to care for Pilea, and it can thrive well enough.
Question: Does Pilea plant need sun?
Answer: Since Pilea leaves can burn due to too much direct sun, the best thing is to keep Pilea out of the direct sun.