Are you looking for a unique and trendy houseplant to add to your collection? Look no further than the Chinese money plant! Also known as the pancake plant, friendship plant, coin plant, or UFO plant, this beautiful plant is loved for its round, coin-sized leaves and unique appearance.
The Chinese money plant is not only aesthetically pleasing but also easy to care for, making it a great choice for both experienced and novice houseplant lovers. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the best practices for caring for your Pilea peperomioides, including light, water, and food requirements.
Pilea peperomioides care requirements
Chinese money plants are known for their low-maintenance nature. They can reach a height of about 12 inches at maturity, so it’s important to provide them with ample space to grow and develop new leaves. When happy and healthy, these plants may even produce small white flowers on pink-tinged stems.
To ensure that your Pilea peperomioides is thriving, look out for the following signs of a healthy plant: rich green leaves with a crisp texture, long petioles (leaf stems) that are not elongated or pale in color, and no brown outer edges on the leaves. These indicators will let you know that you are providing the optimal care for your plant.
The best potting soil for Chinese money plants
To keep your Chinese money plant healthy, it is important to use well-drained potting soil. Avoid using garden soil and opt for a high-quality organic potting soil instead. Look for one that is based on peat moss or coir fiber and perlite.
If you purchased your Chinese money plant from a greenhouse or nursery, it is likely already planted in suitable potting soil. In that case, there’s no need to repot the plant unless it outgrows its current pot.
The best kind of pot for Pilea peperomioides plants
When it comes to choosing a pot for your Chinese money plant, plastic or glazed ceramic pots are the best options. Avoid using terracotta pots as they dry out quickly and are better suited for plants that prefer drier conditions. If you prefer the look of a terracotta pot, you can hide the plastic pot inside or seal the inside of the terracotta pot with a spray sealant before planting your Pilea.
No matter what type of pot you choose, ensure that it has a drainage hole in the bottom. Pilea peperomioides does not like to have its roots sitting in water, so good drainage is essential. Additionally, avoid letting water sit in the saucer for more than a couple of hours to prevent root rot.
Ideal light level for Pilea peperomioides
Proper lighting is crucial for the health and growth of your Chinese money plant. While not extremely picky, these plants prefer moderate light levels. Ideally, place your Pilea in an east- or west-facing window. These locations provide the right balance of light for optimal growth.
If your window doesn’t receive direct sunlight or if you have a north-facing window, consider using a tabletop grow light to supplement the light levels for your Chinese money plant.
How often to water Chinese money plants
Watering frequency for your Pilea peperomioides depends on various factors, such as the pot size, pot material, humidity levels, and the quality of the potting soil. Instead of following a strict watering schedule, pay attention to the weight of the pot. After thoroughly watering the plant, wait for the pot to become lighter before watering again.
To water your Chinese money plant properly, take the pot to the sink and run water through the soil until at least 20% of the water drains out of the bottom hole. This helps flush out excess fertilizer salts and prevents salt burn on the leaves. Avoid leaving the plant sitting in water and be mindful of the plant’s watering needs based on your home’s conditions.
When and how to fertilize Pilea peperomioides
Fertilizing your Chinese money plant is important but should be done in moderation. To avoid overfertilization, feed your plant only once a month during its active growth period, which typically falls between early spring and early fall. Use a liquid organic houseplant fertilizer diluted to half of the recommended strength and water the plant with it.
If you notice a white crust on the soil or on the outside of the pot, it indicates a buildup of fertilizer salts. In this case, pause fertilization for a few months and ensure proper flushing of water through the pot during each watering.
How to divide a Pilea plant
Regular division is essential to prevent overcrowding in your Chinese money plant. These plants produce small daughter plants called offsets or pups that can be separated from the parent plant when they are an inch or two tall.
To divide the offsets, carefully expose their roots and separate them from the parent plant using sharp snips or a clean knife. Each offset should have a few roots, but they don’t need to be extensive. After dividing, immediately pot up the offsets in fresh soil. If any roots break off during the process, place the base of the broken offset in a cup of water until new roots develop.
Potting up a Chinese money plant
When your Chinese money plant outgrows its current pot, it’s time to pot it up into a larger one. Choose a new pot that is only one or two inches larger in diameter than the old pot. Gently loosen the roots and prune any damaged or rotten ones. Spread the roots in the new pot and fill in with fresh potting soil, making sure not to bury the plant any deeper than it was in its previous pot.
Caring for your Chinese money plant is a rewarding and enjoyable experience. By providing the right lighting, watering, and fertilization, you can ensure the health and growth of your Pilea peperomioides. Don’t be afraid to divide your plant and share the offsets with friends and family. With the right care and a little luck, your Pilea will thrive and bring joy to your home.
For more information about growing Pilea peperomioides, check out some of our recommended houseplant books. And if you’re interested in other houseplant topics, browse through our articles on repotting orchids, fertilizing houseplants, and caring for air plants.
Have you had the pleasure of growing a Chinese money plant? Share your experiences in the comments below! And don’t forget to visit Ames Farm Center for all your gardening needs.