Money Technically Does Grow On Trees – Want to bring wealth and prosperity into your life or at least into your home? Then you’ll want to add Chinese money plant (Pilea peperomyoides) to your houseplant collection. Aptly named because of its coin-shaped leaves, this plant is an excellent bet for beginners looking for a fuss-free, low-maintenance plant. Here’s how to care for your Chinese Money Plant indoors and keep it healthy and thriving!
If you’ve been collecting houseplants for a while, you’ve undoubtedly heard of Pilia pepromioides. Known as the Chinese money plant or simply pilea, this round-leaved, easy-care pet has taken the world by storm.
Money Technically Does Grow On Trees
And it’s not hard to see! It is an undemanding, fast grower that is very easy to propagate
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Keep reading for everything you need to know about Chinese money plant care and growing this popular houseplant indoors.
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The Chinese money plant’s common name reveals where it occurs naturally: the species is native to Yunnan and Sichuan provinces in southern China. These are mountainous regions connected to the Himalayan plateau and the ridges are found at an altitude of 3,000 meters (about 10,000 feet).
The species’ natural habitat is described as “shaded cliff edges and humus-covered cliffs” (Radcliffe-Smith, 1984). It prefers humid and forest zones
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As its scientific name suggests, Pilia peperomyoides resembles many species of the popular houseplant genus Peperomia. Rainwater peperomia (Peperomia polybotrya) is particularly similar to Chinese money plants, confusing houseplant lovers.
In fact, pileus is actually a member of the nettle family, Urticaceae, and is not closely related to Peperomia. You can tell a Chinese money plant apart from rainwater peperomia by the shape of its leaves, which are almost always perfectly circular.
This species is an evergreen perennial with long stemmed leaves with a brown central stem. As the plant ages, the lower part of the stem often loses its leaves, giving it an almost bushy appearance.
Pilea peperomioides leaves can grow up to 4 inches in diameter, with the plant capable of reaching 15 1/2 inches in some areas (it is usually a little smaller). It’s fast growing and best of all, it’s very low maintenance, making it a great choice if you don’t have much housekeeping experience yet.
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Pilia peperomyides is used in traditional medicine in China and patents exist for the plant’s uses ranging from the treatment of vasculitis to bone fractures, childhood malnutrition and gastritis.
If you love a little houseplant history, you’ll enjoy the story of how the Chinese money plant rose to horticultural superstar status today.
The whole thing was a botanical mystery for a while, long before its existence was perceived! reading
Peperomyids were first collected by Western scientists in 1906, but were not considered scientific until later. Part of this may be because, as we’ve discussed, it’s a naturally good range of hospitality found in China.
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The plant somehow became part of the collection of many houseplant enthusiasts, but no one had a name for it until the 1980s. Botanists from Kew (Royal Botanical Gardens, England) finally managed to connect with an interesting round-leaved Chinese plant described in 1912 and immediately forgotten by scientists.
According to a 1984 article in Q Magazine, although botanists have not paid much attention to the Chinese money plant, a Norwegian missionary took home a cut from China’s Yunnan province in 1946.
Apparently, those cuts started when Scandinavian homes and Kew and other botanical gardens began to see it.
The story doesn’t end there After scientists learned about the Chinese money plant cutting trade among houseplant enthusiasts, it took a century for commercial nurseries to realize its potential.
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Propagating the species is very easy, because if you want one, you have to get cuttings or baby plants from other household members via Facebook or ET.
Until recently (say, around 2018, in my experience), it was pretty much impossible to buy peperomias in stores in most areas. That is, unless you live in the Netherlands, where many of our favorite houseplants are grown and exported, meaning the Dutch get first dibs on new and exciting varieties.
Houseplant lovers looking for a coveted species that’s crazy to find even though it’s already an Instagram superstar!
A common sight in plant shops and garden centers, as described below, some cultivars have recently emerged and are gradually becoming more widely available.
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I noticed that in 2021 a Dutch nursery patented a new type of Chinese money plant named “MOSPILMOJ”. It looks like ‘Mojito’ but has a yellow color on the leaves Some other companies have already licensed it, but I haven’t seen it for sale anywhere.
Because it occurs naturally in shady forest areas, the Chinese money plant is not in high demand when encountered. It doesn’t need direct sun! Place it on one of your windowsills or near a window that gets plenty of indirect light and you’re all set.
If you want to place your pile in a spot that gets some direct sunlight, be sure to shade it gently to avoid burning the leaves. Do not keep it in the dark, as this can cause slow growth, leaf drop and other problems For those whose windows are already full of houseplants, artificial lighting is always the option.
Since it is not always perfectly palatable in the foothills of the Himalayas, it is a good species for slightly cooler spots at home (for example by drafty doors), which is not tolerated by a more tropical one such as Aloysia.
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It is technically adapted to withstand temperatures down to freezing, although it stops growing when things get too cold. For best results, it’s a good idea to keep temps above at least 50°F
One good thing about the Chinese money plant is that it’s not too fussy about water. It is better to stay under watered than over watered as the latter can cause root rot
I can’t tell you the exact amount of water your plant needs or how often to water, because it all depends on light, temperature and soil. The best way to tell when it’s time to water is by measuring the moisture level in the soil: put your finger in there. If it is still wet, wait a little longer
You’ll learn your plant’s personal “song” in no time! You can end up watering twice a week in the summer and once a week or less in the winter months
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Don’t be picky about it, but it prefers humidity levels above 50 percent If your home is consistently below 40 percent, you may want to invest in a humidifier. Your other houseplants (and your sinuses) will thank you, too
As mentioned above, overwatering the Chinese money plant can cause root rot Like almost all houseplants, this species does not like wet feet! That’s why providing good drainage is also important, because if too much water doesn’t go anywhere, things can quickly deteriorate.
To provide proper drainage, it is a good idea to use a soil mixture with some aggregates mixed into it. Pure houseplant soil has a little too much water, so add at least 20 percent perlite and some good orchid juice. . This creates air pockets that prevent root rot and helps water flow freely.
It doesn’t matter what type of plant you use for your pilea, though it’s important to always go for something with a drainage hole at the bottom. After all, you’ll have trouble mixing a well-drained soil mix if the excess water has nowhere to reach the bottom of the pot.
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Place a plate on the bottom and after soaking for an hour drain any water that seeps into it this way you only get what you need and nothing else.
The Chinese money plant is growing very fast, which means it would appreciate some extra growth now. This is especially true shortly after you repot, as soil nutrients are now depleted. It doesn’t take much: Apply some regular liquid houseplant fertilizer every week during watering
Be sure to fertilize as and when in the growing season
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