Pilea, a trendy, stylish plant

Pilea, the chinese money plant

Pilea peperomioides, also called “Chinese money plant”, is a very ornamental plant which is ideal in designer settings.

Pilea basics in a few words

Name – Pilea peperomioides
Family – Urticaceae
Type – succulent plant

 – 12 inches (30 cm)
Exposure – well-lit
Soil – light, well-drained

 – evergreen

Planting and repotting a Pilea plant

Placing your pilea in the perfect spot

The Pilea plant is native to South-West China, and it thus bodes best in climates where summers are warm and winters are mild.

Pilea shouldn’t normally survive temperatures lower than 50°F (10°C) in winter.

  • It is best to grow your pilea indoors, since, indeed, the slightest frost will kill it.
  • Pilea loves sunny emplacements as long as they’re not scorching hot, so avoid placing it behind a window that faces full south, especially in summer.

Repotting your Pilea plant

  • You may repot your pilea just after having purchased it if you’ve purchased it when not in flower, but pots for this plant are usually designed for another two good years of service before growing too small for the plant.
  • After that, an annual repotting whenever your pilea looks like it is in a tight fit is recommended, with soil mix and sand, one part each.

Propagating Pilea

Pilea can be propagated by preparing 2-3 inch (6-7 cm) cuttings from young stems.

It is usually quite easy to get the plant to sprout roots.

  • Slice young stems that are already bearing a couple leaves off with a sharp and disinfected blade. Proceed carefully because these young stems are delicate to handle.
  • Plant the young cutting in special cutting soil mix.
  • Always keep the soil moist without flooding it so that the young rootlets don’t rot.
  • Keep you cutting near light, but not in direct sunlight.

Pruning and caring for pilea

Although caring for pilea is straightforward, a few tips will help you grow a very nice, long-living plant:

  • It requires a lot of sunlight.
  • Water regularly, about 2 times a week, but without overdoing it, or the roots will drown.
  • Adding special indoor plant fertilizer in spring and summer is an advantage for the growth of your Pilea.

Pruning pilea

Pinch the terminal stem (the topmost one) between 2 fingernails to force the plant to start branching out. If you wish for the plant to keep a bushy bearing and grow as many branches as can be, simply keep pinching young shoots off after a bud.

Pilea and red spider mites

Here is how to fight these mites and ticks off, red spider mites.

Learn more about the Pilea plant

Pilea plant with ruffled leavesNative to China, Pilea peperomioides first entered the West from Scandinavian countries, Norway in particular: a missionary had the great idea of bringing a cutting along in 1945.

Pilea peperomioides is the typical example of a plant that first spread thanks to passionate amateur gardeners who shared cuttings without the knowledge of professional botanists.

Although the Pilea genus numbers over 600 different tropical species, the most common one and therefore the one most appreciated as an indoor plant is the peperomioides variety.

However, it’s also possible to find crawling pilea varieties that look wonderful in hanging pot arrangements.

A rather fast-growing plant, your pilea should reach its adult size – about 12 inches (30 cm) – within about 2 years.

Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
A recent purchase! by David Walsh under © CC BY 2.0
Pilea with ruffled leaves by Dan Jones under © CC BY 2.0