Money doesn’t grow on trees. Never has and, unless by some stroke of scientific luck, never will. But here’s the next best thing: The Chinese Money Plant (Pilea Peperomioides or ‘Pilea’ for short). This intriguing plant has recently begun to gain worldwide popularity due to its distinctive beauty and ease to grow. Recently, the Pilea has become an Instagram sensation, and it’s been on nearly every plant enthusiasts wish list and has become a true rock star!
Also known as the Missionary Plant, Lefse Plant, Pancake Plant, UFO-plant, or just Pilea, the Chinese Money Plant originates from the Yunnan province of China. Chinese Money Plants are relatively small and are suited to life in pots. They grow to a height of 20-30 cm in height, with the leaves growing up to 10 cm in diameter, and produce tiny white flowers on pink stems.
Pilea plants are featured heavily in Scandinavian interior design, where the bright green leaves provide a burst of colour against white walls. Folklore suggests that in 1946 the missionary Agnus Espergren took a plant back to his native Norway and shared cuttings with his friends. A Chinese Money Plant in Norway may seem more out of place than an American werewolf in Paris, but these plants are so good-looking they are a welcome addition everywhere.
Environment & Temperature:
These guys like lots of indirect sunlight. Direct sunlight is a no-no, as this will scorch the leaves. Light shade may encourage the growth of larger leaves. They are hardy in cooler temperatures, and periods of cold temperature may possibly make them more likely to flower. To keep your plant nicely shaped, rotate it at least once a week to prevent it from becoming lop-sided.
Fertiliser & Soil:
A pot with drainage holes is a must, along with a well-draining soil. The soil needs to mostly dry out between each watering, and more watering will be required in the warmer, sunnier months. If the leaves start to droop, it’s a sure-fire sign that your plant needs a drink of water.
Chinese Money Plants need very little feeding, but will do well with the occasional feed of a standard houseplant fertiliser. Treating each month during summer and spring is beneficial.
Sidenote: due to the size and shape of the leaves, they tend to accumulate dust. Regular showers or wiping down of the leaves is recommended.
If you keep your plant happy it will eventually send plantlets up through the soil, which can be separated from the mother plant. Follow the stem down around an inch under the soil, and cut the plant free. Plant the cutting into a new planter and ensure to keep the soil moist until the plant has become well-anchored and produced new leaves. Healthy plants will also produce plantlets directly from the stem. You can cut these off and place in a jar of water until roots develop – around a week or two – and then follow the above steps.
Did you know?
It is thought that by placing a coin in the soil with your Chinese Money Plant that it will begin to attract wealth. If an individual becomes rich in this manner, they must place their plant into its own gold pot. We don’t know whether this is true or not, but we think that the beauty of these plants is its own form of wealth.