The Pilea Peperomioides or ‘Pilea’ has countless names but is most known for its unique and eye-catching look. The silver dollar shape of this plant makes for a perfect contemporary piece that has quickly become a must-have in the plant world. This tropical species may not be the easiest to find, but it is known to be a shared plant because of its easy propagation. So if you know someone that has one, you’re in luck!
Among the many nicknames for this plant, “pass it on plant” describes the multitude of places this plant has traveled on its journey to becoming an adored house plant. This Pilea was first collected by George Forrest in 1906 and 1910, in the Cang Mountain range in Yunnan Province, Southern China (hence, chinese money plant). Over the years it traveled from Asia to Europe, and finally here in the United States because of Norwegian missionary Agnar Espegren who passed it on through cuttings. Pilea’s popularity grew shortly after its expeditions and was spread mostly through sharing from gardener to gardener. However, this plant was not written about by Botanists until the 1980s. The first time an image of the Pilea Peperomioides was featured was in Kew magazine in 1984. It didn’t take long for this plant to steal our hearts and become a hashtag on Instagram!
When choosing the proper soil for your P.P, your first step is to ensure that your soil allows for sufficient drainage. This particular plant is susceptible to root rot and tends to need less water than others. Any organic indoor potting soil/tropical soil will work, but I prefer to use the Black Gold mix because it includes peat moss. The peat moss will allow your precious Pilea to retain the nutrients it needs, while the perlite will help to avoid your soil becoming compact. Given that this plant is a fast grower, you will need to repot it every year or so to be sure that the roots can retain the nutrients and fertilizer it needs (and so you don’t have to spend so much time watering!).
POTTING + WATERING
When you first take your P.P home, you can allow your plant to adjust to your home in the container it is in for a couple of months. After your P.P has successfully been acquainted to your home, opt for a pot no more than 2 inches larger than it is already in. If you are someone who tends to overwater, a terra cotta pot might suit you best. These pots dry out faster due to their porous nature so they can handle a little more to drink throughout time. Watering your Pilea will depend on the amount of light it receives. This is why it’s best to check the top two inches of the soil before watering next. If you feel that it’s still moist, don’t water yet! You’ll know your P.P is happy if it is producing offshoot plants (looks like cute mini versions of the parent plant).
The Pilea Peperomioides is a part of the Urticaceae family and was first found in the mountains of the Himalayas. Although this plant is now rare to find in the wild, it first grew on rocks in damper climates. In our homes, this plant will thrive in environments with bright indirect light and slight humidity. The optimum home for your P.P is near an east-facing window. This will provide mid-morning sun to shine on your plant, allowing for bright (less harsh than afternoon) light. Being that this plant enjoys humidity, the P.P will adore spritzing the leaves every now and then. If you are really committed to your plant’s happiness, investing in a humidifier will amp up your P.P health. Your tropical pancake-shaped plant will flourish as long as you follow the simple steps of bright light, humidity, and consistent watering.
..DID YOU KNOW?
If you have managed to keep your Pilea happy throughout time, you may be lucky enough to see a flower pop up one day. Although this plant is not known for flowering, if it adjusts to colder climates it can bloom a dainty and ethereal bloom right in your living room.