Basic Chinese Money Plant Care
Chinese Money Plants, also known as Pilea, are famous for their unique dark green round leaves. Below you will find our complete Chinese Money Plant care guide so you can help your Pilea thrive!
Bright Indirect Light
I love the sunshine but too much direct light will damage my leaves.
I don’t like my soil to be too dry or too soggy. Little and often is what I’m after.
Please make sure the air isn’t too dry, otherwise I won’t be a happy plant.
I need soil specifically for indoor plants as it retains the right amount of water.
Pileas will thrive in bright, indirect light.
Pileas are definitely light lovers and will struggle in low-light. But it is also important that you do not place your Pilea in direct sun as this will burn the leaves. You may begin to notice that your Pilea is reaching for the light and is growing lopsided. If this is the case, make sure to rotate your Pilea plant every few days to make sure it grows straight.
If you aren’t sure how much light your Pilea is getting (and if this is right), we recommend using a light meter.
Pileas are very sensitive to overwatering
They hate sitting in water so make sure the soil has time to dry between waterings. Pileas are great at letting you know when they need a water as their leaves will begin to droop a little.
To help us avoid overwatering, we always use a moisture meter to check the moisture levels in the soil before watering our Pilea. We recommend this one available from Amazon.
They are relatively easy plants to propagate
Little babies, known as Pilea Pups, pop up from the main root system and all you need to do is carefully cut off the pup (as close to the main root system as possible) and place it in one water or straight into the soil. Once the Pilea pup is divided from the mother plant it is best to place it in bright indirect light. We have a whole guide on propagating your Pilea if you want to find out more.
Pilea are generally non-toxic for humans and pets.
Pilea are a pretty safe plant to have around and are non-toxic to dogs and cats. However, if ingested in very large quantities, they can cause a mild digestive reaction so just be a little careful if you have pets or small children around who like to taste anything and everything!
Repotting your Pilea can really encourage growth
Repotting also gives your Chinese Money Plant room to encourage the growth of pups. By adding some rocks to the bottom of the Pilea’s pot this can help with drainage, preventing the delicate root system from developing root rot. We also recommend using terracotta pots instead of plastic ones as they allow some of the moisture to evaporate out of the sides which helps avoid waterlogged soil. We love these terracotta posts from Amazon.
It is best to use a high quality well-draining potting mix.
Chinese Money Plants don’t like sitting in water, as this will very quickly cause the root system to rot, essentially killing your Pilea. So make sure that you use a high-quality potting mix like this one from Miracle Gro.It will make sure that your plant gets all of the needed nutrients.
You might also want to add some perlite into the potting mix to help with drainage and aeration.
You can find out more about dealing with root rot in your Pilea in our root rot guide.
It is important to clean your Pilea's leaves
Use a damp cloth to lightly wipe any dust that has formed on the leaves. A build up of dust will mean that the plant is not receiving as much light as usual, which will mean it’ll struggle even in bright areas.
Room temperature is fine for your Pilea
Average room temperature is the ideal condition for your Pilea. They don’t tend to do well in extreme temperatures so try to avoid placing it in a really hot room, and make sure it is away from drafty doors and windows as the cool air from outside can affect your Pilea’s health. Using a digital thermometer can help you to avoid extreme temperatures damaging your plant’s health.
Pileas don't like dry air
Another important thing to take into consideration when taking care of a Pilea plant is humidity. They don’t like rooms with really dry air and might start showing signs such as crispy leaf edges. We recommend misting your Pilea using a spray bottle, using a humidifier or making a pebble tray. You can find out more in our humidity guide.
Chinese Money Plant FAQs
Quick and simple answers to the most common questions we see about the Chinese Money Plant .
How much sunlight does a Pilea need?
Pilea plants are definitely light lovers and will struggle in low-light environments. But it is also important that you do not place your Pilea in direct sun as this will burn the leaves and can cause your plant to turn red and then brown.
You may begin to notice that your Pilea is reaching for the light and is growing lopsided. If this is the case, make sure to rotate your Pilea plant every few days to make sure it grows straight.
How often should I water my Pilea?
Pilea plants hate sitting in waterlogged soil so it’s important the soil has enough time to dry out. Whilst a specific schedule will vary across each individual plant, on average you should look to water once a week during summer and fortnightly during winter.
Is the Pilea toxic?
Pilea plants are only toxic if ingested in large quantities.
How do I encourage pups to grow on my Pilea?
As your Pilea ages and matures, it will grow pups off the main stalk if the care and environment are right. If your Pilea isn’t growing pups it might still be too young, rootbound or an environmental factor isn’t quite right.
Are Pilea plants easy to care for?
Pilea pants can be a little fussy sometimes so we wouldn’t always class them as total beginner houseplants but you definitely don’t need to be a plant expert to keep them thriving.
Should I remove the Pilea babies?
It’s totally up to you if you choose to propagate the pups on your Pilea. They can make great gifts or help to expand your urban jungle, but can also look great still with the parent plant. It’s completely your choice.
Do Pilea plants produce flowers?
Pilea plants do rarely produce small flowers, often when exposed to cooler temperatures. You can either remove the flowers or wait for them to wilt on their own.
Common Problems with your Chinese Money Plant
Here are some common issues that you might run into. It's important to diagnose any issues early to give your plant the best chance of bouncing back.
Why are my Pilea's leaves curved?
Curved and cupping leaves on a Pilea are often a sign of insufficient light as the leaves are trying to maximise the surface area that is exposed to the light. Using a light meter can help you figure out the best spot to move your Pilea to, as going the other way and giving your Pilea too much light can also cause a new range of issues.
Why are my Pilea's bottom leaves turning yellow?
Yellowing of the bottom leaves of your Pilea is often simply due to natural shedding. However, if you notice your Pilea is developing lots of yellow leaves at the bottom of plant you may want to fertilise it and move it to a sunnier spot. Our Pilea plants really love this liquid fertiliser which is available on Amazon.
Why has my Pilea got yellow leaves?
Yellow leaves on your Pilea plant could be due to either too much light or overwatering. Make sure that you allow your Pilea to dry out between waterings as root rot may also be causing yellow leaves on your Pilea. Read more in our guide to yellowing leaves.
Why are my Pilea leaves staying very small?
If the new growth on your Pilea is staying very small, this could be down too over-fertilisation which is encouraging too much new growth all at once.
Why are white spots forming on my Pilea's leaves?
It is quite common to notice white spots on your Pilea’s leaves. This happens a lot when you are watering with tap water in a hard-water area. A few white spots on the underside of your Chinese Money Plant’s leaves is nothing to worry about.
Why are my Pilea's leaves are curling inwards?
Curling leaves on your Pilea could be due to your plant being overwatered or suffering from heat or light stress. Curling Pilea leaves can be quite a complex one to diagnose so we have a whole guide on how to fix your Pilea’s leaves from curling inwards.
Why is my Pilea dropping leaves?
If you find that your Chinese Money Plant is losing leaves, it may be due to overwatering or heat/light stress. We have written a whole guide on this to help you understand why your Pilea is losing leaves.
Why are my Pilea's leaves drooping?
If you find that your Pilea’s leaves are looking quite sad and drooping down, it may be due to issues with watering. Alternatively a lack of sunlight or other stressful indicators such as repotting may have caused your Pilea’s leaves to droop.