Chinese Money Plant Care Guide and Information
Chinese money plant care is simple and easy, making it a favorite plant for many first-time gardeners.
It is also known as the UFO plant, the coin plant, the pancake plant, and the friendship plant.
Its scientific name is Pilea peperomioides, and it is a type of evergreen flowering plant native to the mountainous regions of southern China.
Additionally, it easily spreads through offsets and cuttings like the Pothos plant. As a result, this plant is often found growing in homes around the world.
Pilea peperomioides grows rapidly with adequate light and watering, and its stems and leaves have a texture similar to smooth leather.
Furthermore, the plant’s simple yet mystical appearance has made it a fan favorite in interior decorating, as the plant can work in any environment.
Because of its popularity and ease of care, the Chinese money plant is an excellent choice for both beginners and experts at plant keeping.
(If you’re already interested in this plant and do not own it yet, consider purchasing one from a trusted brand on Amazon below)
Table of Contents:
Chinese Money Plant Care Guide and Tips
Pilea peperomioides is resilient and easy to care for. It will thrive in most household environments and can go extended periods without maintenance.
Also, the plant is non-toxic to dogs and cats. It does not have any spines and cannot produce toxins.
The Chinese money plant will thrive in temperatures between 65-75°F (18-24°C). However, the plant will tolerate temperatures as low as 55°F (13°C) and temperatures up to 90°F (32°C).
It cannot survive frost and should be taken indoors on nights colder than 40°F (4°C). Also, it will suffer at temperatures around 100°F (38°C) and should be placed in shade or taken indoors.
If you live in hardiness zone 11 or higher, Pilea peperomioides can be kept outside all year. However, the plant is very good at spreading. Take care to ensure it does not invade unwanted areas.
Additionally, keep plants away from drafty areas. Consistent cold air can dry out leaves and cause wilting.
Pilea peperomioides will do the best in drier environments. It does not have any specific humidity requirements either but avoid keeping it in super damp or dry areas.
Allow the soil of the plant to dry out between waterings. Specifically, let the top 2-3 inches (5-8 centimeters) of the soil dry.
Never let the plant sit in water as roots will start to rot. Make sure there are drainage holes for excess water to escape.
As a general rule, water Chinese money plants once every one or two weeks. This is enough time to let the soil dry out between watering.
During summer and hot weather, the plant will require more water. It can be watered slightly less during winter.
Yellow, spotty, or drooping leaves are a sign that the plant needs more water. More consistent watering will reverse the effects and prompt new growth.
Similar to most house plants, the Chinese money plant prefers bright, indirect sunlight.
However, too much sunlight will cause the leaves to burn while too little light results in long stems and curling leaves.
Bright and indirect light will yield the best results. The plant’s leaves will grow large and round to soak up more sun without stretching.
If the plant does become leggy because of too little light, moving it to a brighter location will resolve the issue in a few days or weeks.
Chinese Money Plant Soil
Pilea peperomioides thrives in most types of well-draining soil. Avoid using soils that retain water, as it will lead to rotting and wilting.
Here are some examples of soils to use for Chinese money plants
- Cactus or Citrus Potting Mix
- Sphagnum Peat Moss Based Soils
- Coconut Fiber Infused Soils
- Potting Soil mixed with Perlite and/or Pumice
Additionally, placing a layer of rocks at the bottom of the pot can help with drainage. It will also prevent water from sitting around the plant’s roots.
Make sure that there is a drainage hole at the bottom of the pot. Drainage holes let excess water escape and prevent rotting.
Learn more about drainage and pots at www.sunspotnursery.com.
Fertilizing Chinese Money Plants
Chinese money plants do not require fertilizer to grow. In fact, they can thrive for many years without fertilizer.
However, fertilizer can boost the growth of Pilea peperomioides and produce more vibrant shades of green.
Use a basic fertilizer containing nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium that dilutes in water. Follow the instructions of your chosen fertilizer.
Once the fertilizer mixture is complete, fertilize the plant once a month during the summer. This helps to promote more growth during the growing season.
Pilea peperomioides is capable of flowering, although it can be quite rare. The clustering flowers emerge on the ends of long stalks and are white-red colored.
After first appearing on the base of the plant, the flower stalks will continue to grow upwards and outwards.
Eventually they will reach beyond the outermost leaves in order to soak up as much sunlight as possible.
Thankfully, Pilea peperomioides flowers easily under the right conditions and they can be accomplished in a few steps.
First, reduce watering slightly to allow the Chinese money plant to enter a dormant growth phase.
This dormancy allows the plant to prepare to flower as it enters an active flowering/growing phase next season.
Second, drop the temperature of the plant’s environment by a few degrees.
Often times the small temperature drop in most homes during the winter is enough to convince the plant to prepare to flower by mimicking its natural environment in China.
Then, after a few months increase the temperature (or allow the changing seasons to heat your home naturally) and increase watering frequency.
Hopefully, this will coax the plant into producing flower clusters. Continue watering generously to prevent the flowers from drying out and enjoy.
Origin and History of the Chinese Money Plant
The Chinese money plant is one of the most widespread plant species in the entire world. It can be found growing in homes or even in clusters in the wild.
However, the plant was once bound to a tiny portion of Asia where it quietly sat unnoticed for millennia.
Pilea peperomioides is native only to Southern China, specifically in the Yunnan and Sichuan provinces.
The Chinese money plant used to be a rare and mysterious oddity because of its native environment. It grows on damp rocks and gravel-filled soils in forests at the base of the Himalayan mountains (1,500 to 3,000 meters above sea level).
Western Influence and Geographic Spread
In 1906, George Forrest, a Scottish botanist, traveled to the Yunnan province of China and collected samples of the plant. Four years later he traveled back to the providence to collect more samples.
Unfortunately, Forrest had never brought a live plant back to the western world. As a result, the species disappeared from the west for another 35 years.
In 1945, Norwegian missionary Agnar Espegren was attempting to flee China under the order of the Norwegian ambassador to China. During World War II, the Japanese had continued to fight China, resulting in Espegren’s attempt’s to leave.
However, as he exited China he obtained a cutting of the Chinese money plant on his way into India. It is unclear whether he bought the plant or found it growing on the road.
He placed the odd plant into a package and carried it into India, where he later left for his home in Norway in 1946.
By some miracle, the plant was still alive. He took cuttings and sprouts and gave them to friends and family. Pilea peperomioides spread like wildfire into Sweden and Denmark, eventually reaching as far as England.
Chinese Money Plant in Modern Times
By the 1960s and 1970s, the Chinese money plant had taken a significant hold in Europe, becoming quite common in France. It continued to spread by way of cuttings and offsets.
Then, somewhere between 1983 and 1984, the plant started showing up in magazines. Tens of thousands of people mailed letters claiming that they had the plant in their homes.
The Chinese money plant is in houses around the globe and continues to spread through gifts.
Learn more about the story of the Chinese money plant at pilea.com.
Missionary Agnar Espergren was a very interesting person. Learn more about his life at https://nbl.snl.no/Agnar_Espegren.
Chinese Money Plant Meaning and Significance
The Chinese money plant has an array of meanings that revolve around the abundance and prosperity of its caretaker.
The vibrant green and circle-shaped leaves of the Chinese money plant look like coins. Their similarity to currency is what gives this plant its name.
Pilea peperomioides is said to bring its owners an abundance of wealth if cared for properly.
The Chinese money plant is sure to bring good fortune and cash into the pockets of those that provide it with a home.
The plant is also a symbol of perseverance. For example, its attractive nature and fortune have allowed it to spread across the globe.
Learn more about Pilea peperomioides at logees.com.
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