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How to Care for Pilea Peperomioides

The Pilea Peperomioides is known by many names including the Chinese money plant, the UFO plant, the friendship plant or the missionary plant. Known for its unique, cushion-like foliage in a striking, light shade of green, this plant has been popular in Scandinavia for years. Cuttings of the plant were taken from her native China by a Norwegian missionary, which helped spread it to Europe and increase its popularity there. It has only been widely grown in the United States for a few years, but it has quickly become a favorite of plant lovers on this side of the world as well.

Pilea peperomioides is an easy-care species that thrives in a bright location near a window. However, it is best to protect the plant from direct sunlight as too much direct sunlight can cause the leaves to burn. However, too little light can cause the leaves to fade and affect the overall health of the plant. So take your time to find a suitable location.

If you’re unsure about the lighting conditions in your home or office, check out our guide to measuring the light in your room.

Pilea Peperomiodes leaf
Pilea peperomioides is one of the easiest and most interesting plants to propagate in water. It spreads around the world through cuttings and young plants, earning it one of its many nicknames: the friendship plant. This plant is the gift that keeps on giving!

Routine maintenance
PRO TIP: This plant is very communicative! Look for the leaves to start drooping, as this can be a sign that the plant needs water.

Always make sure to assess the watering needs when you receive the plant. Before giving your plant a drink, it’s best to first check the moisture level of the soil to make sure it isn’t soggy just below the surface. A soil probe is an excellent tool for checking your plants’ moisture at the root level. You may also want to aerate your plant’s soil before the first watering. Many farmers compact the soil to prevent shifting during transportation. So aerating allows the soil to breathe, improves drainage and releases moisture when the soil is too wet.

Allow the top 2-3 inches of Pilea peperomioides soil to dry between waterings. Usually it is enough to water this plant intensively once a week, but this depends on the amount and quality of light it receives. Drooping leaves can be an indication that the plant needs water. However, before watering, always check the soil moisture a few inches below the surface to confirm your diagnosis.

Rotate your plant regularly to ensure even growth on all sides and clean the leaves frequently to allow the plant to photosynthesize efficiently. While cleaning and dusting the leaves, take the opportunity to inspect the undersides and look for pests. For tips on dusting, cleaning, and misting your leaves, see our article on misting houseplants.

Remember that each plant is a unique creature and may have different needs, especially in its particular location. Pay attention to the condition of your Pilea Peperomioides and its watering needs and you will have a long and happy relationship.