Pilea peperomioides has various names, including the Chinese Money Plant, perhaps the most common. You may also know this cute little houseplant as the UFO Plant, Friendship Plant, Pancake Plant, Coin Plant, Pass-It-On Plant, Lefse Plant or Missionary Plant.
About Money Plants
Money Plants are native to the Yunnan and Sichuan provinces of southern China and became a popular indoor plant in western households in the 20th century, having been discovered by a Norwegian missionary. Originally, Coin Plants were quite difficult to find and buy. However, ease of propagation meant cuttings were often shared between friends and family, hence the names Friendship Plant and Pass-It-On Plant.
As well as being easy to propagate, these plants were passed around between people because they are believed to bring good fortune. This quality makes them a perfect gift for almost any occasion, from a housewarming to an engagement or birthday. Nowadays, Coin Plants are much easier to buy, and you don’t need to know someone with cuttings to enjoy its striking greenery.
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Are Money Plants Easy to Care For?
Yes, they are. Pancake Plants are a great option for beginners as they don’t demand much attention and will largely look after themselves. If you’re looking for a low-fuss houseplant with a look that sets it apart, you can’t go wrong with a Money Plant.
It might be easy to look after, but, like any indoor plant, your Missionary Plant will need a little TLC to thrive.
How Often Should I Water My Chinese Money Plant?
During spring and summer, Coin Plants appreciate being watered weekly. This can be reduced to fortnightly during the autumn and winter months. Be careful to avoid over-watering, which can result in root rot. It’s best to let the soil dry out between waterings.
If the leaves begin to look droopy you’ll know the soil moisture has dried up. The foliage should bounce back up after it has been given some water.
Your plant will also benefit from occasional misting. Coin Plants like humidity, so lightly spraying the plant will help keep its leaves glossy and free of dust.
Do UFO plants need a lot of sun?
Your Chinese Money Plant will flourish in bright indirect light. However, the sun’s rays can scorch foliage, so keep it out of direct sunlight. Plenty of light will encourage larger leaves and help your plant maintain its vibrant green colouring.
Be sure to rotate the pot regularly to ensure your Pilia grows evenly. Like many indoor plants, a Chinese Money Plant will lean towards the light source. Turning it once or twice a week will promote even growth and keep your plant looking neat and tidy.
What’s the Best Temperature for My Chinese Money Plant?
Coin Plants like to be warm but tolerate temperatures as low as 10ºC. Your plant will thrive in normal household temperatures of 16-24ºC. Keep your Pilea Plant out of cold draughts from windows or doors, as it likes to stay warm.
Should I Repot My Chinese Money Plant?
To encourage new growth and give your plant room to thrive, repot it every couple of years. Use a slightly larger pot (1-2 inches bigger in diameter than the old pot) filled with well-draining potting soil. The best time to repot is early spring when the plant is about to enter the growing season.
Signs that it might be time to repot your Pilea include:
- Roots growing through drainage holes or growing above the surface of the soil
- Offsets filling the pot
- Water runs right through without the soil retaining moisture
- Drooping leaves
Repotting can be stressful for your plant, so it’s best to wait until you spot one or two signs it’s required before going ahead. New plants like to be repotted after their first year, and mature plants every 2 years or so.
Chinese Money Plants are generally easy to care for. However, like all houseplants, there are some problems you might encounter.
Pancake Plants get this common name from their flat, round leaves. If you notice the leaves on your plant begin to curl, it’s a sign that something is wrong.
Upward curling leaves usually indicate that your plant needs more moisture. Water the soil thoroughly, ensuring any excess water drains cleanly from the bottom of the pot. Increase humidity by placing the pot in the bathroom or by misting regularly. If the plant sits in a window, move it out of direct sunlight, which might be drying the foliage out.
Downward curling leaves are a common symptom of overwatering. This is slightly trickier to remedy. Ensure the pot’s drainage holes are clear to let any excess moisture run off and allow the soil to dry almost completely before watering again. Adjust your watering schedule so that you’re providing moisture less frequently. If the plant is situated in a shaded spot, move it into bright indirect sunlight to promote effective evaporation.
Several issues can cause the leaves on a Pancake Plant to droop. The easiest problem to fix is under-watering, so try giving the plant a good drink as a first step. Make sure the soil is dry first though, as droopy leaves can also be a symptom of over-watering.
Some Pileas will begin to droop naturally, and it isn’t necessarily a sign of a problem. Older leaves and particularly large leaves can both start sagging a little. This should happen gradually, so if you notice a sudden lethargy in the foliage it’s likely you need to change something in your care routine.
Brown spots appearing on the leaves are usually a symptom of sunburn. Move your money plant out of direct sun and into a light spot where it won’t get scorched. Draughts can also be a cause of brown spots, so keep the pot away from windows and doors, particularly during the colder months.
Fertiliser burn is another cause of brown spots. If you’ve ruled out the above and regularly feed your plant, consider cutting down the amount of fertiliser used.
Photo-friendly Chinese Money Plants are cute and easy to care for, making them ideal for new plant parents as well as more experienced growers. With the correct care, Pileas can live for around a decade, though the record for the longest-living Chinese Money Plant is said to be over 20 years!
Chinese Money Plants tick all the boxes for being super-attractive and non-demanding (much like the perfect partner!) Pileas frequently rank highly in lists of easy-care indoor plants, and if you’re looking for an Instagrammable addition to your houseplant collection, a quirky Chinese Money Plant is a perfect choice.
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