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Pilea Peperomioides Plant – How to Care and Propagate

Pilea Peperomioides Plant – How to Care and Propagate

The Pilea Peperomioides, also known as the Chinese Money plant, is without any doubt one of the most popular houseplants right now. The cool thing about this leafy friend is that it is both beautiful and yet very easy to take care of.

It is often featured in Scandinavian design and its round-shaped pancake looking leaves give it an out of space kind of look. It was very hard to buy for quite a while but is getting more and more available around the globe. 

In the following sections, we have put together a Pilea care sheet as well as additional relevant information such as how to propagate your Chinese money plant.

Without furder ado, let us dive right into the fun and learn more about this lovely little houseplant!



How does the Pilea Peperomioides look like?

The Pilea Peperomioides, which has its origins in southwestern Yunnan province of China, is characterized by the large, pancake-shaped leaves.

This is the main reason why it also goes by the name of Pancake plant.

The round, dark green, peltate leaves hang down from long-raising stems. The glossy leaf surface underlines the elegant overall appearance of this leafy friend.


Fun Fact


The Chinese Plant Pilea Peperomioides translates as 镜面草 into Chinese. Literally, this translates into mirror-face-grass. 


Pilea Peperomioides Basic Care Instructions



This Pilea prefers lightly moist soil. It feels most happy in well-draining soil. Conventional, but humus-rich houseplant soil, which should be well permeable, will just do fine as a substrate for your Chinese Money plant. If necessary, you can add some sand. 



The Chinese Money plant feels comfortable in bright, indirect light. You should avoid putting it in direct sunlight as this can damage their pretty leaves. In summer, you may place your leafy friend outside, as long as the weather is good. 



Watering your Pilea Peperomioides isn’t a big issue. The plant feels happy in free-draining soil and should be watered once a week. Wait until the soil has completely dried out before doing so. Take care not to pour the water into the leaves, but to pour it directly into the substrate. During hot summer months, you might want to increase watering a little bit.



So what is the ideal temperature for your Pilea? Temperatures between 15-18º Celsius are ideal (59 to 64ºF). In winter, however, your Pilea can withstand temperatures of up to 5ºC but can also hibernate at average room temperature. 



For best results, keep humidity constantly high. Extreme and frequent temperature changes should be omitted whenever possible.



Our leafy friend doesn’t require a lot of fertiliser. A diluted regular houseplant fertiliser once a month during the growing season – Spring to early Fall – should suit it just fine.



This Pilea is a good candidate for self-propagation. This is because your pilea starts to produce centres from a very young age. Moreover, you can also propagate your Chinese Money Plant from a cutting. 



The Chinese money plant is not a big grower. It generally grows about 30cm in tall and wide, but as far as the plant craze goes, the rise of this Pilea seems inevitable.



It is best to repot your Pilea Peperomioides once a year. This should be done during spring when the plant has actually outgrown its pot.

At this time, your plant can also be divided. All you need to do is to separate the stems of the plant into as many individual pots as you desire.

After learning how to care for your Pilea let us now have a closer look at the origin of the plant. 


The origin of the Chinese Money Plant


Yunnan Province in Southwestern China



The Chinese Money Plant has its roots in the southwestern Yunnan province of China. It has been first collected by George Forrest, a Scottish botanist, who become one of the first explorers of China’s then remote southwestern province Yunnan. 


One plant, many names


For fun, let’s try to list all the names this plant goes by: Chinese Money plant, Pancake plant, UFO plant, Lefse plant or even Missionary plant.


Fun Fact: It is generally believed that in 1945 the species was rediscovered by Norwegian missionary Agnar Espegren in China’s Yunnan Province when he was fleeing from Hunan Province, as missionaries were forced to leave the country. Espegren apparently took cuttings with him back to Norway, by way of India, in 1946 and from there it was spread throughout Scandinavia. This is why the Chinese Money plant is also referred to as the Missionary plant.


Propagation of the Chinese Money plant

While it is not easy to get your hands on a Chinese Money plant in the first place, it is pretty easy to propagate this lady. There are two basic ways you can make new plants from your Pilea, both of them involving propagation cuttings.


  • Propagation from root plantlets
  • Propagation from stem plantlets


Propagation from root plantlets

Pilea Peperomioides Plant – How to Care and Propagate 1

The easiest way to propagate your Chinese Money plant is to use the root plantlets that will eventually pop up from the soil.


The easiest way to propagate your Chinese Money plant is to make new plants from root plantlets.

All you need to do is to cut off the root plantlets from the mother plant’s roots. Please make sure that the knife you are using is both clean and sharp.

The root plantlets should have a few leaves already before you start propagating using this method.

Once you did a clean cut, all that is left to do is to put the babies in a smaller pot. Now relax and watch your urban jungle grow!


Propagation from stem plantlets

It is also possible to propagate from stem plantlets. While propagating from stem plantlets is also not a terribly difficult undertaking, you still need to be a little bit more careful here.

This is because stem plantlets do not have a root system on their own. 

Now again, please take your knife and start with the cuttings.

It is time now to give your babies a new home. The cool thing here is that you have two options: You can either put the baby plants in a pot (soil rooting method), as you would when propagating from root plantlets or you could simply put them in a vase and add some water to it (water-rooting method).

Make your choice now and watch your babies (and hopefully your fortune) grow!


Pilea Peperomioides: 7 tips to keep your plant in great shape


  1. Rotate your leavy friend from time to time. This will lead to a more even look and growth.
  2. Your Pilea likes it dry. Let it dry out before you water it.
  3. Don’t repot too early. Let’s say you just got your Pilea by mail. In this case, it is better to let your plant get accustomed to the new surroundings before repotting. Give it a week or two, then proceed. 
  4. Use small containers. UFO plants thrive better in small containers. And this will also prevent them from growing too quickly. 
  5. Use Terracotta Pots. Clay is completely natural and moreover, it is porous. This will greatly reduce the risk of overwatering your Chinese Money plant. Also, make sure that you got at least one drainage hole at the bottom of your pot!
  6. Let your Pilea be “enlightened”. But not in direct sunlight, please. But lots of indirect sunlight. 
  7. Use Cacti and Succulent potting mix instead of a regular potting soil. Why? This kind of mix does not hold too much water or moisture (your Pilea really doesn’t like to have wet feet) and provides superior drainage. 


3 things you should never do with your pilea


  1. Overwater: Pileas are succulents. Therefore they love to be on the dry side. Let your Pilea dry out between waterings and do not water more than once a week unless the soil is dry to the touch.
  2. Use the wrong soil type: Using the wrong soil might be a death sentence for your UFO plant. Soil that keeps moisture well is not to be used for your Pilea. it’s roots might rot.
  3. Abundance of light: Pilea Peperomioides loves light, although mostly indirect light. But never put it in a space where it gets little to none of it or its UFO leaves might be gone faster than a toupee in a hurricane.


Where to grow your Chinese money plant

The Chinese Money plant loves light and needs quite a lot of it. The pancake leaves will orientate towards the light. It is, therefore, good practice to turn your plant every couple of days.

This way you avoid growing a plant that is very dense with leaves on one side and has a hole on the other side. When turning your Chinese Money plant you are ensuring that it grows nice and dense.

If done right, it will almost look like a ball.

Regarding the right amount of light, we have found out that the Pilea Peperomioides loves to be close to a window where it gets very bright but indirect light.

But beware, too much direct light might burn the leaves. Refrain from putting your plant anywhere in your apartment where there is not sufficient light. It might be tempting to place it where it looks nice, but a lack of light will not be tolerated well.


How do I know if my Pilea is happy?

When the Chinese money plant is happy, you will see that it is growing about a leaf a week in spring and summer and will slow down growth in the autumn and wintertime.

In addition, the new leaves should have a healthy green color and should look upwards. Yellow and drooping leaves are an indicator that your Pilea is not perfectly happy and that you should either change (decrease or increase) your waterings or look for the right amount of fertilizer.

Yellowing leaves on the Chinese money plant are an indicator of too much water and are often accompanied by soggy soil. It is important to remember that your Pilea should be cared for almost like a succulent, as it hates if you are watering more frequently than once a week in most cases.

Drooping leaves, on the other hand, are often an indicator that you might have skipped on a watering. By watering your plant you will quickly realize, that it will perk right up and the ufo shaped leaves will look upwards again.

Pilea peperomioides

My Happy Pilea peperomioides.


Pilea Peperomioides plant popularity barometer


Rating: Very popular

The Chinese Money plant is a little superstar amongst houseplants right now. On Instagram, it is a true rock star. Search for one of the popular hashtags and be prepared to stumble upon thousands of beautiful Pilea pics. 

Further, the Chinese Money plant was voted the #2 most favorite Office Plant of 2018 by accolade. The winner was the Swiss Cheese plant, also known as the infamous Monstera Deliciosa.


Where to buy a Chinese Money Plant

The Chinese Money plant is in huge demand at the moment. Therefore, it isn’t that easy to actually get your hands on one. However, there are still some places where you might get hold of one of those babies. 

Here is a list of websites where you can buy one: Amazon has Chinese Money plants in stock and there are multiple sellers that offer them. This lovely plant will cost you about 10-20 dollars on Amazon right now. 

Etsy.comYou can still find the sought after Chinese Money plant on You may score a fairly reasonable price. However, you will need to take shipping fees into account. 

Ebay.comeBay is another great place to get hold of the so-called UFO plant. 


Pilea Peperomioides on Instagram

There are multiple people and hashtags currently fueling the plant craze, and this is certainly also true for our infamous Chinese Money plant. 

Let me provide you with a list of the most important hashtags:

Common used hashtags: #chinesemoneyplant #pilea #pileapeperomioides #ufoplant

People to follow: 



I hope you enjoyed our Chinese Money plant care article. And hopefully, you will notice an increase in the flow of abundance in your life with this exceptional plant around! 

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