How not to look after your Pilea peperomioides

Pilea peperomiodes aka Chinese Money Plant

I was really happy when Barbara gave me an unusual looking Pilea peperomiodes aka Chinese Money Plant last summer. Little did I know then just how cool and trendy they are, being at the forefront of the houseplant revival. They even have a dedicated Pilea Lovers page on Instagram with over 21,000 Followers - it's not often you'll find me amongst the hipsters!

I nearly wrote an article on my new treasure back then, but Jane beat me to it with a far more comprehensive guide than I could have managed with loads of links to further information. Jack's written a great blog post on how to divide them too.

When I noticed my plant wasn't looking quite as happy as it should as you can see above photo, I knew just the right people to consult on Twitter, along with Andrew who's acquired quite a houseplant collection recently.

Roots emerging from the bottom of the pot

From their replies it's clear I am a perfect example of how not to look after a Pilea as follows:
  • Place it on your sunniest windowsill - south facing is NOT ideal
  • Don't feed it - the strong veination you can see in the top photos is a big clue, even if it does look quite pretty like that
  • Let it become pot bound - see above photo
  • Under or over water it - underwatering in my case as evidenced by the compost coming away from the sides of the pot
To correct my mistakes I've repotted my Pilea and placed it on our bathroom window ledge, where it's more shady. It may get moved again in the spring when the tree cover next to our house closes in as it does get quite gloomy there in the summer months. I've also watered it with a tiny amount of fertiliser on Jack's advice and it's looking a lot happier already.

The great thing about asking on Twitter is you not only get great advice, your friends cheer you up by quoting the Little Shop of Horrors at you. Thanks Andrew and Lou for making me feel better about my houseplant faux pas.

If the embedded video doesn't work, try this link instead.


  1. Oh!

    (There's one bit I don't understand . . you said 'don't feed' - then add fertiliser.

    1. Ah, I see your confusion Lucy. It's because I'm writing about how NOT to look after the plant i.e. all the mistakes I've made and then what I've done to correct them i.e. give the plant a little bit of fertiliser to help its recovery. I'll edit my post to make it a bit clearer...

  2. I can only admire the way in which this little plant has kept going despite your best efforts to kill it off. With that kind of resilience, it could give the spider plant a run for its money.

    1. I'm so good at doing that Sarah. I often say plants thrive despite me rather than because of me ;)

  3. I could write exactly the same post about Senecio rowleyanus which I have managed to kill through complete overwater despite being told not to love it!!

  4. I’m glad I read this, I need to move my plant into a less sunny area.

    1. It seems to be the story of my houseplant life at the mo', June - my bathroom windowsill's groaning with them!

  5. Thanks for the tips on how to kill another kind of houseplant, VP. In fact, this is something I can do quite instinctively. :^\

    1. It comes naturally to me too, Helen ;)

    2. Ditto! Only in the past year have I figured out how to keep indoor succulents (read: the EASIEST of houseplants) alive :)

    3. I have indoor succulents very much at death's door Margaret!

  6. And guess what? To my peril, I just bought myself a tiny Pilea peperomioides.

    1. I don't blame you Helen, they are soooooo cute!


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