Plants have the capability of bringing life to any place, be it your room or the backyard. Pilea plants with their cute leaves and small appearance can fit into any living space – the living room, the balcony or even the kitchen.
Also known as the Chinese money plant, the Pilea peperomioides belongs to the Utricacea family and is very famous and commonly found indoors in many homes.
Pileas are beautiful succulents and are mostly drought-resistant—making them an absolute gem to keep indoors. They need minimal maintenance, thus making them easier to maintain compared to other tropical plants.
When it comes to propagating Pilea, there are multiple ways you can go about it. You can choose the method of propagation through seeds, stem cuttings, leaf cuttings as well as water propagation.
But all these different modes of propagation have different requirements. Go through this article to find out exactly how to propagate these beautiful plants.
Table of Contents
How to Propagate Pilea?
The proper time to propagate Pilea plants is either during spring or in early summer. Propagating new plants during spring is ideal because it is the “leafing season”. During the leafing season, one can get the best and healthiest growth out of the plants. As has been mentioned earlier, Pilea can be propagated in two ways—namely, water propagation and soil propagation. For the first method—soil propagation, one can go for shoot propagation, stem cutting, and leaf cuttings. Also, It is important to remember the key factors while taking care of a newly propagated plant, such as soil, water, sunlight, temperature, humidity, and pest control. Maintaining these factors results in the healthy growth of the plant.
Pro tip—Remember not to touch the plant once you transfer it to new soil.
Things you are going to need for Pilea propagation
Here are a couple of things you are going to need for successful Pilea propagation. Make sure to have these things ready before you actually start with the process. It will make things much easier for you.
- Sharp sterile scissors or knife
- Transplanting shovel or home gardening shovel
- Small pot
- Potting mix
Pilea Propagation Through Soil
Propagating your existing plants is a good and fun way to get some new healthy plants for yourself.
Some of the most common methods are:
- Shoot propagation
- Stem cutting propagation
- Leaf-cutting propagation
Out of these three methods that have been mentioned above, the stem cutting method seems to be the easiest and the most convenient way to propagate the plant.
While all these methods are fairly similar to one another, they do differ slightly. Keep in mind that you must follow the exact steps of propagation for each method.
Propagating Pilea through off-shoots
Pilea plants form small buds in parts of their roots, and these buds then grow out of the soil as an offshoot or a “baby plant”.
While these plants are at first attached to the parent plant via their roots, you can detach them simply by cutting them with the roots intact and then you can repot them.
This results in the growth of an individual plant.
It is important to take caution as to not damage either the parent plant’s or the baby plant’s root or body, else the plant might not survive repotting.
There are the steps to cultivate shoots
- First off, begin by checking if your offshoots are ready to be cut. Despite Pileas being hardy plants, I would recommend you choose a baby plant that is at least 2-3 inches(5-7cm), before you cut them. Once the baby plant is of the ideal height, you can go ahead.
- Begin by detaching the parent Pilea from its pot. Do this by holding the hard stems towards the end of the Pilea and tip the pot towards the ground. Gently pull the plant out so that the whole root system comes out.
- Carefully dig out the baby plant and locate the point of convergence of the roots of the two plants.
- Use your sterile scissors or knife to cut the root at the convergence point without cutting any other part.
- It is important to preserve the rest of the baby plant’s root for a healthy plant, so remember not to damage the plant or root in any case.
- Remove the excessive dirt by shaking your newly detached Pilea offshoot. (You need not rinse your Pilea offshoot with water unless you’re using the water propagation method.)
- Place the offshoot in a new pot and top with a potting mix, but remember not to overfill the pot.
- Water the plant with fertilizer solution and keep the soil moist. Avoid overwatering, else the roots will rot.
- Give the new plant about a month to settle after repotting.
- It is advised to do the repotting during spring as the growing season helps the plant to get accustomed to the new place.
Once all the steps are completed, you practically get a new plant. Now you have two cute little Pilea plants!
Propagating Pilea through stem cuttings
The stem cutting method is an intricate way of procuring a new plant. Owing to its efficiency and simplicity, it is my favorite method of propagation.
You see, the stem is the body of the plant, thus connecting it directly to the leaves as well as the roots. Hence, the chances of succeeding in propagating a new plant from the stem are much higher than any other method.
The steps to propagate pilea through stem cutting
- Cut a piece about an inch in size of the stem from the top and cut off the leaves (if any) with sterile scissors.
- Place the freshly cut piece ‘cut side down’ in the new pot filled with the potting mix.
- Spray the potting mix with the fertilizer solution.
- Cover the pot with a polythene bag to create a greenhouse effect. It is important to retain the heat and humidity in the pot by having a greenhouse effect.
- Keep the pot in check and remove the polythene bag for sometime every 2-3 days so that the plant doesn’t get too humid.
- After a week or two, you will see roots growing from the cut. And viola! You have your new plant!
Pro tip—Do not disturb the plant unless it is fully accustomed to the new pot.
Now all you have to do is to wait for your new plant to grow up.
Propagating Pilea through leaf cutting
The leaf-cutting method is also another great way of propagating Pilea plants. This method is possible because Pilea plants are succulents.
There are very few plants that can be propagated through leaf-cutting and luckily succulents fall in that category.
However, do not forget that you need a mature and healthy plant to propagate and always remember that spring is the best time to do so.
The steps which you should follow to propagate the Pilea plant through leaf-cutting are:
- Locate a healthy leaf at the base of the stem.
- Cut the leaf in half, preferably across the width.
- Put the freshly cut leaf piece half an inch deep in the soil, cut side down, in the potting mix curated with a rooting solution.
- Water the mix till it is wet to touch with the fertilizer solution.
- Cover the pot with a polythene bag for the greenhouse effect as explained earlier.
- Leave it in indirect sunlight and let it rest.
- In a few days, you’ll see roots growing from the leaf.
- Wait for the plant to grow and transform into a healthy adult plant.
Soon you will be able to witness a baby plant grow in the pot. Under any circumstances, you are not to rush the process as it takes a while for the plants to attain maturity and grow properly.
Pilea Propagation Through Water
Propagating Pilea plants through soil can be a little tiring and time-consuming. At the same time, we are talking about potting, repotting, soil mixing and more which, if honestly said, involves digging and getting your hands in the soil and mud to an extent.
However, if you do not want to get your hands dirty, there is another way to propagate your plants.
The method of propagation of your plant through water does not involve mud and soil and hence is easier and ‘cleaner’ than the previous method.
Pilea Water Propagation: Step-by-step Guide
- First, you need to procure a healthy stem from a Pilea plant.
- Dip that stem in a cup of water and add a few drops of rooting solution.
- Leave it for a couple of weeks.
- Once you start to see roots growing from the piece of stem, transplant it to a new pot.
- Use a fertilizer solution to water the new baby plant, and soon it will start growing new roots and leaves.
- Also, always remember to keep the level of humidity in check around the new plant.
However, It is important to note that water propagation might not always give you absolute results. Even though succulents love water, unless the right conditions are met, the roots won’t grow.
Also keep in mind not to over-water the new plant. Once the new roots start growing, overwatering can damage the roots and along with it disrupt the natural growth of the plant.
Transplanting your Pilea: Important points
There are a few points to keep in mind while transplanting your baby Pilea plant.
The newly transplanted plants need a certain amount of care to flourish and just like babies, these plants will not survive if too much or too little is provided of what it requires to grow.
However, you do not need to sweat it as the below points will help you take care of those baby plants in the best way possible.
- Pilea plants do not need direct sunlight. Instead, what they require is indirect sunlight and that too an adequate amount of it. Thus, you need to place your plant in such a position, that it should get indirect sunlight throughout the day.
- Pilea plants love humid environments even after they start growing and hence it is very important to maintain the required level of humidity. Keep in mind that excessive humid areas can have adverse effects on the baby plants.
- When repotting, always use a new and different pot. It is important to know that even though Pilea plants are water-loving plants, it does not imply that its roots will not rot in stagnant water. So you should always avoid overwatering.
- As it has been pointed out numerous times in this article, try to propagate your plant during the spring season because it is the growing or leafing season for this plant.
- Use a fertilizer solution to spray the plant in the growing season as well as when new plants are growing. This will help them grow faster and healthier.
- A rooting agent is an important part of propagating plants asexually. Try to use a rooting agent for stem and leaf cuttings—this will help in faster rooting.
Taking Care of newly propagated Pilea
You see, once you successfully propagate a new plant there are several things you need to take care of in order to make sure that your baby plant is healthy and growing.
These things may seem boring or tiring but once you remember the key factors it becomes easier every day, and there is nothing as fun as watching your newly propagated plant grow up to be green, leafy, and healthy just like you wanted.
Pilea plants require a good amount of indirect sunlight so when you place them in your room, remember to put them in a place where they get light throughout the day.
The important point here is that an excessive amount of direct sunlight might result in scorched leaves whereas a lack of sunlight will result in insufficient growth and pale complexion of the plant—and that is not something you would like to happen to your plant.
Pilea plants are tropical plants and are thus used to climates where the temperature reaches 86-104℉(30-40℃). The ideal temperature for growing these plants is 64-77℉(18-25℃) .
It is to be noted that the temperature is directly related to the sunlight and humidity of the climate for these plants.
What that means is, if the plants are provided with heat drafts or cold drafts without taking the climate and season into account, that might result in adverse effects.
Since these are summer plants, it is expected of them to look slightly dull during the winters. However, if you are able to provide artificial climate control, do so in the growing season.
When talking about humidity, which is a really important aspect of growing Pilea plants, keep in mind that Pilea plants are supposedly accustomed to a humid environment.
These plants must have a moderately humid environment between 50-70%, to flourish and grow healthy.
That being said, do keep in mind that whenever the humidity level rises above a certain point the plant will look droopy or withered. The lack of humidity will make the plant look pale and dull on the other hand.
As pointed out earlier in this article, you must maintain the right amount of water in the plants. These plants are water-loving succulents and thus love to get a good amount of water, especially if placed in terracotta pots.
If you notice that the pot is dry, do not worry. Pilea plants are succulents and they have enough water stored in their roots. You must keep these Pilae plants in well-drained pots to avoid root damage.
It is important to keep the soil moist and not wet. Extremely dry soil will stagnate the plant growth and wet soil may cause root damage. Watering and maintaining these succulents are pretty basic and easy.
Being epiphytic, these types of succulents in their natural habitat grow on other trees and thus their roots have the ability to dig deep into the barks of the host tree to suck up moisture and nutrients.
Hence, while making the potting mix, note that you need to keep it true to the actual habitat of these plants. Mixing large grain soil with the potting mix and loosely packing the mix while transplanting the plant helps in proper growth.
Do not use tightly packed small grain mix or smooth soil for the potting mix. It will retain too much water, thus resulting in root rotting.
Pro tip— Add Vermiculite to the potting mix to lighten up the soil texture.
When you propagate plants you must provide fertilizer to both the parent as well as the baby plants. Even when you propagate during the growing season it is important to provide enough nutrients to the plants to keep them healthy after propagation.
Fertilizers are much more important in the case of indoor plants.
When it gets to the matter of stem or leaf cutting, nutrients are quite important for the plant to grow healthy.
Hence, in this case, it may be suggested that you get an indoor plant fertilizer, mix 1 Tablespoon of such in 2 liters of water, and use the said fertilizer solution to irrigate the plants after propagation.
A rooting agent is a solution that helps a plant or basically a piece of the plant to grow roots. Now the question is – why use rooting agents? Well, in simple words to make it easier for the new roots to grow.
It is not impossible to grow roots from stem or leaf cuttings without rooting agents but some people prefer to use rooting agents because it reduces rooting time drastically.
Rooting agents are pretty simple to use, you just dip the cut side in the rooting agent or add a few drops of the rooting agent to the water in case of water propagation and that is all.
There is a chance that if your plants suddenly start to look dull or the leaves start to droop even with all the key factors in place, the case might be that of pest infestation.
In such cases, chances are that if you do not take care of it properly the plants might die. These pesky creatures come flying through your windows and getting a piggyback ride on your clothes to eat up your plants.
There are ways to get rid of these pests without actually harming or stagnating your plant’s growth. Diatomaceous earth and neem oil are 2 such organic pesticides that help you get rid of insects.
Chemically compounded insecticides like castile soap and other sprayable pesticides do work faster but the problem is excessive amounts of chemical-based pesticides will harm the nutrient content of the soil. Keeping this in mind choose your pesticides wisely.
Frequently Asked Questions about Pilea Propagation
Why should I propagate my Pilea?
Pilea plants are tropical succulents and thus they can grow from a small piece to into a whole new plant. It is one of the most cost-effective, and the easiest way to get new plants. Asexually propagating plants is a really good way to get new plants for your collection. Also, it adds to the experience. It is also a great gift that is cost effective and thoughtful.
When to propagate my Pilea plant?
As spring is the “leafing” season, it is ideal to propagate Pilea plants during the spring season. Also, don’t forget to fertilize your plants in the growing season though.
Why isn’t my pilea plant propagation working?
The biggest reason for the lack of growth in new plants is either soil or climate. Using the correct method of potting mix preparation and controlling the humidity is the key. If you do not get it right the first time, try again and follow the methods precisely. You should get results soon.
I’ll be honest with you, you might not get the best results in the very first attempt. This in no way means that you will never be able to succeed in growing a beautiful and healthy Pilea.
However, you must keep in mind the key factors and not get discouraged. When talking about the key factors, remember plants have a range of suitable conditions and not just precise points, so having a bit of ups and downs the scale is not going to bother them.
When taking care of plants it is extremely important to read the signs correctly. For example – a droopy plant can mean either an excessively humid environment or pest infestation, thus you have to inspect before you start applying remedies.
Inspecting your plants periodically (once in every 5 days) is a good way to keep them healthy and understand what they need. With these thoughts in mind and a vode of confidence to that inner “plant parent” in you, I bid you goodbye.
See you in the next article.
Daniel has been a plant enthusiast for over 20 years. He owns hundreds of houseplants and prepares for the chili growing seasons yearly with great anticipation. His favorite plants are plant species in the Araceae family, such as Monstera, Philodendron, and Anthurium. He also loves gardening and is growing hot peppers, tomatoes, and many more vegetables.