Foliage Friday: Pilea peperomioides

Today’s Foliage Friday is a houseplant I have only recently begun growing and know very little about: Pilea peperomioides.

I know it is a common houseplant, and that it goes by the common name Chinese Money Plant. But that is the extent of my knowledge.

Dec 21, 2020

One of my former housemates had a Chinese Money Plant, and it was sending tiny baby plants out and up through the soil, so I cut one of the baby plants out of the soil and re-potted it, and ta-da! It didn’t really put on much growth until I put it under the grow light with my seedlings. I wonder if it will need a bigger pot soon…

The same plant on Feb 4, 2021

I thought Pilea peperomoides was a very common, mundane houseplant, but it has a bit of a story behind it. From what I read on the internet, it is a species native only to a region in the Yunnan Province of China, and was initially “discovered” or brought over to the Western world in the early 1900s by George Forrest, a Scottish botanist, and then again in the 1940s by Norwegian missionary. It is very easy to propagate and was passed from person-to-person for years, but wasn’t grown commercially until the past decade or so. I can certainly vouch for it to be easy to propagate – almost as easy as propagating spider plants.

In addition to being easy to propagate, this plant grows fast and doesn’t require much. It likes bright indirect sun (direct sunlight can discolor the leaves, the plant version of a bad sun tan). Pileas tend to grow toward the sunlight, so it’s important to rotate the plant every week or so to maintain a symmetrical growth habit (I have definitely noticed this to be the case with my Pilea).

Pilea also doesn’t like cold temperatures – it’s best to keep it above 50°F. Although, if you want it to bloom, I read that it helps to move it to a cooler spot in the winter (around 50°F) and then as it warms up in the spring you’ll have a better chance at seeing blooms. The blooms aren’t all that impressive, though, so I don’t think I will bother with that. Those unique round leaves are all I need.

I’m sure my Pilea will have plant babies coming up soon. Does anyone want a Pilea?

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