Skip to content
The Little Botanical stacked logo

How to care for the Chinese Money plant

26 January 2021 | Plant Care and Guides

The Pilea Peperomioides, also known as the Chinese Money Plant, is an eye-catching green beauty that has become one of the most loved plants around the world. This plant is a member of the stinging nettle family (don’t worry – it won’t sting you!) and is super easy to look after. This remarkable little plant is a true beauty. With its rounded dark green leaves, it is perfectly shaped to add a bit of interest to your indoor jungle.

Being such a popular little guy we’ve written a little all-you-need-to-know guide in its honour. You can find out a lot of common questions on how to care for the Chinese Money Plant in our plant care guide below.

What is the meaning behind its name?

The Pilea Peperomioides has collected quite a number of other names over the years. This just goes to show how popular and well-known this incredible plant is! He is pretty insta-famous and on everyone’s wish list.

This stunning houseplant also goes by UFO Plant, Pancake Plant, Lefse Plant, Missionary Plant, Bender Plant, Pass-it-on Plant and Mirror Grass Plant. We particularly like Pancake Plant, although the name does make us slightly hungry!

We’ve often been asked about the meaning behind the nickname ‘Chinese Money Plant’. Well, this particular plant comes all the way from Southwest China. It was originally believed to bring good luck, money and fortune to its owner. Because the large, circular leaves stack on top of each other, they look like coins. This is where the idea of money comes from. So this little charmer does more than just look amazing, it could actually bring you good fortune too! Isn’t that just fab?

How to care for the Chinese Money Plant

To keep those lovely circular leaves looking their best, it’s important to give your plant the right care. This plant simply loves soaking up some sunshine. But in the Summer months, just be careful not to leave it directly exposed to sunlight. It would be such a shame to scorch all that gorgeous greenery! Bright indirect sunlight is best, so make sure he is near a good source of light, a big bright window and he will be happy. Low light levels can cause them to grow tall and leggy. Keep those leaves dust-free so it can get all the light it needs too.

Watering, of course, is a very important part of providing plant care for Pilea Peperomioides. Just like humans, indoor plants can get very thirsty too! Water this houseplant approximately once a week, but check that the soil is dry to touch before watering. You can do this by pushing your thumb an inch into the soil. If it is damp, leave it a few more days as they don’t like soggy soil.

If you notice that the leaves of your plant are turning yellow or falling off, it’s likely it has been overwatered. Gently pull off the yellowing leaves close to the soil to allow the plant to concentrate on its healthy growth. Make sure that the soil is allowed to dry out a little before you next water him. He should perk up, so don’t worry too much! Don’t be too alarmed if a few yellow leaves occur, this is normal and is natural as leaves get older. The plant will shed older leaves and new growth will occur. The Chinese Money Plant is quite resilient but does need good care to thrive. For more tips and info when it comes to watering, take a look at our FAQs.

While paying attention to the watering schedule, we’d also suggest that you make sure you don’t allow the soil to go completely bone dry as he won’t be too happy about that either. If your plant is looking particularly droopy and feels very light if you pick it up, it is in need of a good drink. Given him a thorough water, allowing the water to run all the way through. Just check the bottom of the ceramic and make sure he isn’t sitting in water. Prolonged time in a pool of water can cause the roots to rot and your plant will struggle to recover.

Propagating the Chinese Money Plant

One of our favourite things about the Pilea Peperomioides AKA Friendship Plant is that you can propagate it quite easily. Hence the nickname, this houseplant produces lots and lots of mini baby Pileas (perfect for sharing with friends). Once your Pilea grows, you will begin to see little baby Pileas with their characteristic round leaves popping up. You can keep them on there to create a fuller plant or you can trim them off to create a new baby Pilea plant.

Make sure when you remove the Baby Pilea, that you use a clean sharp knife and cut the stem approximately 3cm down into the soil. Pop him in some fresh, well-draining, moist, houseplant soil and with good light and care, you’ll soon have a little one to share… or why not start a Pilea Family? It is also possible to propagate by popping it in some water to encourage root growth. Once you start to see the little roots growing out, you will know it has worked. The little plant should also root directly into the soil and it’s quicker too. Just make sure you keep a vigilant eye on his progress as he is very young and will quickly dry out in a smaller pot.

There are a few common issues you may be experiencing with your Chinese Money Plant that we can help with. Perhaps the leaves of your Pilea Peperomioides are curled up? There could be a couple of reasons for it. They might just be new leaves that haven’t fully unfurled yet but will flatten in time. Or, it might be that your plant needs a bit more sunlight or water. Try finding it a different spot; they do best in good light and use the tip above to check the soil with your thumb to see if it needs a bit of water. Give it a little time and the leaves should uncurl!

Feeding time

During the Spring and Summer, encourage good growth and ensure it has all the nutrients it needs. To do this, feed your Pilea Peperomioide once a month with a general indoor houseplant feed. Be careful not to overfeed as the leaves can go soft.

Repotting your Pilea Peperomioides

We also get a lot of questions from you guys about repotting. In general, don’t repot your Pilea until Spring/Summer, when the light levels are better, and the plant is in its growing phase. Pileas quite like a good amount of room so will happily be repotted into a slightly larger growing pot within 9-12 months, if you are seeing good growth. Giving the roots that little bit more room will encourage good growth and bigger coin-shaped leaves. If you want to keep the same, look and feel, once potted, pop the larger growing pot in one of our larger Little Botanical ceramics. Check out our larger pots under accessories.

If you’re still having a few problems with your Chinese Money Plant or are a newbie plant owner and you want to make absolutely sure you’re doing it right, feel free to drop us a message. We love to hear from you, and we’re more than happy to help and answer any questions.

Where to put your Pilea Peperomioides

Choosing the right spot for your houseplant is always important. You want to make sure they are getting a good level of indirect sunlight and that they’re somewhere you can see them every day. Those coin-shaped leaves are so gorgeous, they simply have to take centre stage! This plant in our range even comes in its very own ceramic pot – you can choose from almond stoneware or grey ceramic. Both look as pretty as a picture when paired with those lush green leaves.

As the Chinese Money Plant loves light, bright spaces, we’d recommend a spot near a window in a kitchen, bathroom or living space. Pair this oh-so-beautiful little plant with a slightly larger plant. You can easily achieve the sought-after urban jungle look to wow your family and friends.

For those of you with furry friends are home, the Pilea Peperomioides is pet-friendly too. If you have an inquisitive kitty or pooch that likes to take a closer look at houseplants, then you don’t need to worry about your pets getting poorly. We have a fab range of other pet-friendly houseplants that would look perfect when paired with Pilea Peperomioides!

Fun facts about the Chinese Money Plant

This plant is also known as the ‘Missionary Plant’ because a Swedish missionary brought it to Europe from China in 1946. We’re very grateful for this, otherwise, we might not be able to enjoy this gorgeous plant today.

The large, flat, circular leaves look slightly like pancakes, which is where the Pancake Plant nickname comes from. While we find this very interesting, we’d definitely advise against eating the leaves. They won’t taste as good as they look!

Why we simply love this Pilea plant

You might have picked up on the fact that we’re really fond of this plant. It’s no secret! We love it most because of the leaf shape, and with its many clever nicknames, what’s not to love about it? And, it doesn’t take up much room, but it doesn’t need to. Those gorgeous green round leaves will add interest and style to your home in any bright room. Moreover, it can help to purify the air around you too.

So, whether you like its best-known name or you prefer to call it UFO Plant (see if you can guess where this name comes from!), this little green gem, is a truly delightful houseplant for everyone to enjoy.

Pilea Peperomioides

From £28

This must have house plant, more commonly known as the Chinese Money Plant, is top of every indoor jungle creator's wish list.

View product
Shipping icon - outline of a parcel
Free delivery on orders over £65 - Post code dependent
Dispatch icon - a curved arrow
We dispatch Monday - Thursday
Personalisation icon - a pencil graphic
Personalise your plants

As Seen In

Add this product to a wishlist?

Save your favourites - log in to add items to your wishlist

Register or Login