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How to Care for Your Chinese Money Plant

This remarkable little plant is a true beauty. With its rounded dark green leaves, perfectly shaped to add a bit of interest to your indoor jungle.

By: THURSD. | 22-12-2022 | 6 min read
Explained Houseplants
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The Chinese Money Plant is an eye-catching green beauty that has become one of the world's most popular plants. Best of all, this plant is quite easy to care for. Here is everything you need to know about the Chinese Money Plant and how you should care for it to obtain the greenest and healthiest results.

What to Know About the Chinese Money Plant (Pilea Peperomioides)

Do you want to bring money and prosperity into your life — or at the very least into your home? Then it's easy. All you have to do is add a Chinese Money Plant (botanical: Pilea peperomioides) to your indoor plant collection and it'll bring you tons of good luck and abundance.

 

Meet the Chinese Money Plant on Thursd
Photo: Unsplash

 

This plant, appropriately named for its coin-shaped leaves, is also one of the finest bets for beginners looking for a low-fuss, low-maintenance plant. All the way from its name origin, to care handles, you'll learn everything you need to maintain your Chinese Money Plant healthy and blooming indoors. See also 'Houseplants With the Most Unique Leaves'.

The Meaning Behind Its Name

The Chinese Money Plant has rounded flat coin-shaped leaves; hence, its common name. Its delicate stems will dance as a breeze blows through a filtered light window. Where the stem attaches to the underside of the leaf, a yellowish dot appears on the top side of the leaf, making it more unique to enjoy.

 

Chinese Money Plant on Thursd
Photo: The Little Botanical

 

This popular green plant has acquired a slew of different names over the years. This simply goes to demonstrate how well-known and popular this amazing plant is. If someone has a plant checklist, you're sure to find this green beauty on it, and it has become a part of everyone's wish list.

UFO plant, pancake plant, lefse plant, missionary plant, bender plant, and mirror grass plant are all names for this magnificent houseplant.

Origin of the Chinese Money Plant

This flowering perennial in the nettle family (Urticaceae) is native to southern China, growing naturally along the base of the Himalayan mountains. The Chinese Money Plant was discovered by western scientists in 1906, but not much transpired scientifically after that. Part of this could be owing to the fact that, as previously said, it is naturally found in an inhospitable area in China.

 

Closeup of the Chinese Money Plant on Thursd
Photo: The Little Botanical



The plant did make its way into the collections of many houseplant lovers, but no one knew what to call it until the 1980s. This is when a botanist at Kew (England's royal botanic garden) eventually connected it to a lovely round-leaved Chinese plant reported in 1912 and soon forgotten by scientists. Those cuttings clearly took off, for the plant was common in homes throughout Scandinavia and beyond by the time Kew and other botanic gardens began investigating it.

Even after scientists became aware of the enthusiastic trade in Chinese Money Plant cuttings among houseplant aficionados, it took an eternity for commercial nurseries to recognize their potential. But nowadays, it steals the heart of many plant lovers and is widely seen around the world.

Popular Chinese Money Plant Varieties

 

Chinese Money Plant Pilea peperomioides Mojito on Thursd
Pilea peperomioides Mojito. Photo: Plants Happy

 

 

Chinese Money Plant Pilea peperomioides Sugar on Thursd
Pilea peperomioides Sugar. Photo: Little Jungle

 

 

Chinese Money Plant Pilea peperomioides white splash on Thursd
Pilea peperomioides White Splash. Photo: Plant Principle

 

Caring for the Chinese Money Plant

To keep those lovely circular leaves looking their best, it’s important to give your plant the right care.

Light

The Chinese Money Plant does not require a lot of light because it grows naturally in shady woodland areas, meaning it does not require direct sunlight! Place yours on a ledge, or near a window that gets enough indirect light, and you're good to go.

 

Chinese Money Plant light requirements on Thursd
Photo: My Domaine



If you must keep your plant in direct sunlight, make sure to adapt it gradually to prevent its leaves from burning. Keep it out of direct sunlight to avoid poor growth, leaf drop, and other problems. Artificial illumination is an alternative for people whose windowsills are already overrun with houseplants.

Temperature

Because the Himalayan foothills aren't always ideally warm, this is a fantastic species for those slightly cooler locations in the house that finicky tropicals like Alocasias wouldn't endure. It's theoretically adapted to being able to endure temperatures down to freezing, however, it does stop growing when things become too cold. It's best to keep temperatures above 10 degrees Celsius for the best results.

Water

One advantage of the Chinese Money Plant is that it does not require a lot of water. It prefers lightly moist soil, especially in the summer, but it won't die if you forget about it for a few days. It is preferable to submerge rather than overwater, as the latter might cause root rot.

 

How to water a Chinese Money Plant on Thursd
Photo: Patch Plants



Bottom line is, it all depends on elements like light, temperature, and soil. The best way to tell if it's time to water is to stick your finger in the soil and feel the moisture level. If it still feels damp, wait a bit longer.

Fertilizing

The Chinese Money Plant grows quickly, so it will welcome a little additional help now and then. This is especially true if you haven't repotted in a while, as the soil nutrients would have diminished by now. It doesn't require much: simply sprinkle ordinary liquid houseplant fertilizer during watering every other week or so.

 

Caring for the Chinese Money Plant on Thursd
Photo: Bloomscape



Be sure to only fertilize during the growing season and if your Pilea is flourishing well. If it's suffering or simply not growing (as it is throughout the winter), fertilizer might injure the roots and make matters worse. 

Pruning Your Chinese Money Plant

Aside from the occasional removal of dead leaves, your Chinese Money Plant will not require pruning. The plants shed their lower leaves as they grow because the higher ones absorb more sunlight and are thus more useful for photosynthesis. Unless the leaves are falling at an alarming rate, a little brown foliage is nothing to be concerned about.

Tips to Propagate a Chinese Money Plant

A healthy Pilea peperomioides, sometimes known as the 'sharing plant', is particularly easy to spread since it readily develops offshoots. These offshoots rise up from the root system, but can also sprout from the nodes along the stem of the mother plant, commonly in locations where old leaves have fallen off.

Read also 'The 7 Easiest Houseplants to Propagate'.

If the offshoots are a couple of inches tall, you can detach them from the mother plant. You can even keep these offshoots on the mother plant if you prefer a larger, bushier look. Here's how to spread via offshoots:

 

Chinese Money Plant propagation and care on Thursd
Photo: A Beautiful Mess

 

If you want a dose of good luck plus a beautiful, easy-to-care-for houseplant, the Chinese Money Plant is everything you need and more.

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