Your Guide To: Pilea

Everything you need to know to care for this adorably perky plant.

Seriously, have you ever seen a cuter plant? There’s something about its smooth, cartoonishly round leaves sitting so perkily at the end of each stem that make the pilea undeniably endearing. Also known as a Chinese money, UFO, pancake, or missionary plant, pilea is one of those plants whose charms are as numerous as its nicknames. Place it where its bright green leaves can be the star (such as the centerpiece of a minimalist tablescape), and this plant's quirky good looks will elevate your surroundings—and your mood.

How To Keep A Pilea Plant Happy

Pilea is not only easy on the eyes, it’s easy to care for, too. In fact, it was long considered a mere weed (gasp!) in the mountainous regions of China, from where it originally hails. Legend has it that a missionary traveled back to his native Norway with a pilea cutting in 1946; it grew and was propagated further, eventually making its way to America in the ‘70s—and now home to you.

How Much Lighting Does a Pilea Need?

Pilea likes bright but indirect light. Too much sun may scorch its leaves, and too little may cause the leaves to turn darker green. And since the pilea’s leaves are a big part of what makes it so dang adorable, you don’t want to compromise their vibrancy. Try placing the plant near a sunny window where it can enjoy a warm glow but not searing rays.

Optional Fairly Long Video Title Here

How Do I know When To Water My Pilea?

A pilea plant will likely need a drink about once a week, when the top two inches of soil dry out. Keep your eyes open for drooping stems and leaves—your new friend is probably telling you it’s thirsty. To avoid a parched pilea, pick up a plant moisture indicator so you know exactly when to water.

When you do, pour water in a slow, circular pattern so your pilea gets an even soaking all the way down. Any excess will flow through the drainage holes and into the tray at the bottom of your plant—be sure to empty it afterwards so your pilea doesn’t end up sitting in water.

How Do I Use Plant Food for My Pilea?

Typically, plants need more food spring through summer, when they’re in active growth mode. (Even inside, they still know what season it is.) We’ve included plant food spikes with your pilea; use 3 spikes once a month from April to September, and then move to feeding it every other month from October to March.

What Is a Pilea's Ideal Environment?

As long as it’s not getting sunburned or shaded out, your pilea should flourish just about anywhere. A pilea can also make a great office mate, since it can adapt to lower light areas. Note, its leaves will become darker and the growth will be more spread out in these types of environments.

Show Them You Care

(6 Recommended)

The supplies you need to charm this endearing plant.

More Supplies

From

null

From

$9.00 - $10.00

From

$75.00

Show Them You Care

(6 Recomended)

From

null

From

$9.00 - $10.00

From

$75.00

The supplies you need to charm this endearing plant.

More Supplies arrow

Optional Fairly Long Video Title Here

How Do I Prune and Maintain My Pilea?

If any of your pilea’s leaves become discolored, simply snip them off where they meet the stem. Otherwise, it shouldn’t need pruning unless you want to reshape it.

Give your pilea a gentle dusting with a soft cloth every now and then, so its saucer-shaped leaves can properly absorb the light. Also, rotate it a quarter-turn each time you water so it grows evenly.

One of the many delights of keeping a pilea is that when it’s content, it will produce “pups,” which can be propagated once they’re about 2 to 3 inches in size. To remove them from the mother plant, gently move the soil from around the base of the pup and follow the root down about 1 inch (you want to keep some root attached). Then use a clean, sharp knife to cut the pup away from the mother plant. Place it in a small pot with fresh soil and keep it moist until new leaves sprout, a sure sign it’s well-rooted.

How To Address Common Pilea Issues?

If you see brown spots or marred edges on your pilea’s leaves, or its leaves seem to drop off frequently, you may be overwatering it. Wait until the soil feels dry before you water it again, and empty the saucer of any excess water when you do give it a drink. If you notice scorched leaves, your pilea is probably getting too much direct light.

What to Do If You Still Have Questions

Our team of plant gurus is here for you if you need some advice about your pilea. Chat live with a Greendigs representative on our website or send an email to [email protected].



More Tips From Our Team of Growers


Even green thumbs need a helping hand.