Demystifying the Charming Chinese Money Plant: How to Grow and Care for Pilea Peperomioides

Pilea peperomioides is a popular houseplant with coin-shaped leaves that looks nice and is easy to take care of. It is also known as the pancake plant, the Chinese money plant, the coin plant, or the UFO plant. This flowering perennial is in the nettle family (Urticaceae). It comes from southern China and grows naturally near the foothills of the Himalayas.

It is grown primarily for its unique foliage. Pilea peperomioides can bloom with small white flowers in the spring, but it doesn’t usually flower when grown indoors. Learn how to grow this attractive houseplant.

With its round, flat leaves and easy propagation, it’s no wonder the Pilea peperomioides has become such a popular houseplant This Chinese native is also called the coin plant, pancake plant, UFO plant, or Chinese money plant. Beyond its fun nicknames, the Pilea offers unique style and satisfaction for indoor gardeners Learning more about this plant reveals its secrets to success.

Chinese money plant is a low-growing perennial that only reaches about 12 inches tall and wide when mature. Its most striking feature is the smooth coin-shaped leaves that inspired its common names. These almost perfectly round leaves grow in pairs along the trailing stems giving the plant an airy, open form.

While it can occasionally produce insignificant white blooms, this plant is cultivated primarily for its foliage. The Pilea is native to the shady forests in China’s Yunnan province, where its ground-hugging habit allowed it to spread under the shelter of other plants.

Key Traits of Pilea Peperomioides

Here are some of the standout characteristics that make Chinese money plant special:

  • Round pancake-shaped leaves about the size of a quarter provide unique texture and form.

  • Trailing stems that grow along the soil, rooting where they touch ground.

  • Pink or reddish stems hold the leaves upright.

  • When happy, it readily produces offshoots called “pups” for easy propagation

  • Adaptable to a wide range of indoor conditions like temperature, light and humidity.

  • Pet-friendly and non-toxic to humans and animals.

Caring for Your Chinese Money Plant

While generally easy-going, there are a few basic care guidelines to keep your Pilea healthy and looking its best:

Provide Bright Indirect Light

  • South or west facing windows work well. Rotate the plant to prevent lopsided growth toward the light.

  • Leaves may scorch if light is too intense. Sheer curtains can diffuse harsh light.

Use Well-Draining Soil

  • A porous potting mix amended with perlite encourages drainage.

  • Terracotta pots allow evaporation and improve drying between waterings.

Water When Top Inch of Soil is Dry

  • Water thoroughly until it drains from the pot. Allow soil to partly dry out before next watering.

  • Drooping leaves often indicate it’s time to water.

Maintain Average Room Temperature

  • Ideal range is 60°F to 75°F. Avoid cold drafts.

  • Can tolerate short periods near 50°F to encourage new growth.

Increase Humidity

  • Higher humidity promotes leaf health. Group plants or use a pebble tray.

  • Avoid dry heat sources like radiators that may crisp leaves.

Repot Annually in Spring

  • Refresh potting mix and increase container size as needed.

  • Gently tease apart tangled roots and bury stems to fill out plant.

Propagating the Chinese Money Plant

One of the easiest houseplants to propagate, Pilea peperomioides creates offshoots readily. These “pups” emerge from the soil around the base of the plant. Simply remove them once they have a good root system and pot up in a new container.

You can also take stem tip cuttings of a healthy plant in spring or summer. Remove the bottom leaves and place the cut end in water or moist potting soil until new roots form. Then transplant into a pot.

Troubleshooting Common Chinese Money Plant Issues

Pilea peperomioides is relatively problem-free, but may encounter:

  • Leaf curling – Caused by too much or too little water. Stick to a consistent watering pattern.

  • Leggy growth – Needs more sunlight exposure to remain compact.

  • Few flowers or pups – Give more light and fertilizer in the growing season.

  • Leaf spots – Can indicate bacterial or fungal disease. Improve airflow and reduce watering frequency.

  • Root rot – Water less often and use very well-draining soil to prevent soggy conditions.

Designing With Chinese Money Plants

The humble Pilea offers lots of decorative possibilities:

  • Let it trail from a hanging basket to showcase the cascading round leaves.

  • Plant in a terrarium for lush groundcover under glass.

  • Set on a desk or tabletop to add lively texture and color.

  • Group in clusters for greater visual impact and variety.

  • Mix with other low-maintenance greenery like pothos or philodendron.

  • Combine in an eclectic display with other succulents and tropicals.

Why Chinese Money Plant Captivates Plant Lovers

It’s easy to see why this plant has fast become a favorite houseplant for many gardeners. The Pilea peperomioides has so much to offer:

  • Unique pancake-shaped foliage provides interesting texture.

  • Trailing stems spill attractively over edges of containers.

  • Vibrant green color adds brightness and contrast indoors.

  • Adaptable nature suits most indoor conditions.

  • Extreme ease of propagating and sharing offshoots.

  • Pet-friendly and non-toxic make it safe for homes with children or pets.

-Tolerates benign neglect for busy or new plant keepers.

For modern plant lovers seeking something novel yet simple to grow, the charming Chinese money plant truly fits the bill! With a basic understanding of its care, this cheerful Pilea will provide enjoyment for years to come.


The Pilea peperomioides thrives in medium to bright indirect light. Rotate your plant regularly to keep it looking symmetrical. Avoid locations that receive harsh, direct light as it will burn the delicate leaves.

This plant can survive in less light, but it will get taller, make fewer new shoots, and its coin-shaped leaves may get smaller. Overall, this plant is the healthiest and most attractive when grown in bright light conditions.

Types of Money Plant

There are no named cultivars of Pilea peperomioide (pancake plant or money plant) commonly sold. Though, you might come across a few different species that are also called “money plants.” Some other species known as money plant include:

  • Another well-known houseplant is epipremnum aureum, which is also called golden pothos.
  • Hydrocotyle vulgaris, or marsh pennywort, is a perennial water plant that is native to North Africa and Europe. It has round coin-like leaves.
  • A plant called Crassula ovata is sometimes called a money tree or a jade plant. It is a perennial succulent native to South Africa.

Pilea peperomioides Care & Propagation — Plant One On Me — Ep 088

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