Pilea Peperomioides comes with many names (pancake plant, Chinese money plant, missionary plant, and I’m sure the list goes on…), it’s just so dang awesome! No two are ever the same. This quirky, unique, always one of a kind plant needs to be in your collection. It easily propagates, grows quickly, and adds so much interest to a space.
Ideally, your pancake plant wants to be given a lot of bright, indirect sunlight (direct sunlight will burn your leaves), well draining moist soil, high humidity, and warmer 65-85 temperatures. As it grows, it will likely require reinforcements like a moss pole.
How to Water Your Chinese Money Plant
Drainage is always key when it comes to your plants. Roots do not like to sit in standing water and root rot is the number one killer of plants. Let the top 1/2 inch or so of your soil dry out before you water. Pilea is a quick grower and does like to drink. If it needs to be repotted or is going through a growth spirt, it may need to be watered more than once a week, otherwise once a week is about the timeframe you’re looking at. To water your Pilea, get the soil nice and moist, but let excess water drain.
Terracotta pots “breathe” and are always a good option. Nursery pots tend to have a good amount of holes at the bottom, also making them good candidates. Drill more holes in the bottom of pots that you think could use more drainage. I tend to use all other pots (ceramics, baskets, cement, bins, etc.) as the outer, decorative “dress” to my plants. But be sure to empty any standing water that accumulates in outer pots or drip trays.
Pancake Plant Dropping Leaves
Your Pilea Peperomioides could be dropping leaves for a variety of reasons.
Over or Under Watering
When your plants start looking sad, this is the most common reason. If the plant is over watered or showing signs of root rot, it will droop and may become discolored. Moist soil that hasn’t been “dry” for days is a good marker.
If you think this has happened, gently pull your plant out of the pot and inspect for roots that are brown or mushy. When root rot is even moderately bad, it can be very hard to come back from. Hopefully you caught it in time. To rehab your plant, set it on a dish in a warm space to allow the soil to dry out a bit, about 1-2 days. Then repot, making sure the pot you use has EXCELLENT drainage. Give it another day or two before you give your plant a little drink, allowing all excess water to drain.
If your soil is dry and your plant is droopy, it needs a drink. Get the soil nice and moist, letting excess water drain, and it should be good to go. Pilea responds quickly to a nice drink of water, you should notice a difference in just a couple of hours.
Too Cold of Weather
This is a very forgiving plant, BUT it does not tolerate temperatures below 50 degrees. If it gets too cold, it will start to drop bottom leaves.
If you move your money plant, or repot it, or snip off some babies the disruption may cause some of the bottom leaves to drop. Try not to hit it with too many changes at once, giving it time to recover.
From the nettle family, this flowering plant comes from Southern China. It is a plant that until a year or so ago, was very difficult to find in stores and has spread across the world through shared cuttings. HOW COOL IS THAT!!! This plant propagates so easily, yet it is suspected to be endangered in nature.
To propagate pilea (Chinese money plant, pancake plant) you simply cut off one of it’s shoots, at the bottom of the stem before the root system starts and submerge the bottom of the stem in water.
Check out this video by Crazy Plant Guy if you are looking for a deeper dive into Pilea Peperomioides propagation. Honestly,
Check out Plant Stands for ideas on how to display your darlings.