How to care
for your Pilea
Pileas, like TikTok stars, are really enjoying their stardom in the spotlight. Also known as a Coin Plant, UFO Plant, Friendship Plant and Chinese Money Plant, Pileas are native to Southern China at the foot of the Himalayas and are part of the stinging-nettle family, Urticaceae. Fortunately, Pileas don’t sting. Unfortunately, they don’t grow money. The Pilea didn’t get its due attention until the mid 1900s and finally hit its stride in the late 2010s. You’ll see Pileas on everyone’s social media (re: #pileababy and #pilealovers), your colleagues’ desk, and at the impulse section of a fruit stand. They’re super easy-going and are almost comical in the way they look, which is probably why they’re known as the “Pass it on Friendship Plant”. Welcome to the big leagues, Pilea!
Pilea Spruceana, Norfolk
Pilea Involucrata, Friendship
Pilea Microphylla, Artillery Fern
Pilea Pubescens, Silver Cloud
Care Level : Beginner, Expert or Somewhere in the middle.
Pileas are very low-maintenance plants that do well a variety of conditions – dry, low light, etc. They’re very forgiving and easy to care for, making it an excellent plant for beginners.
Pileas grow well in bright, indirect light. Like most indoor plants, you’ll want to avoid placing them under direct sunlight otherwise you’ll burn their cute little leaves to inedible crisps. You’ll also want to rotate your Pilea twice or thrice a week since their leaves grow towards its source of light. If you don’t have a ton of light in your home, the Pilea can adapt to low light areas – the difference being its leaves get quite dark and new growth sparser, giving it a leggier look.
Check to see if the top 2” of your Pilea’s soil is dry to determine whether you should water it. A routine of once a week should be fine – but the frequency may decrease in the colder months. The nice thing about Pileas is that they’re quite communicative – they make for excellent boyfriend/girlfriends. Just kidding – their leaves will look droopy when it needs water, and they’ll perk right up when they get their water. Some Pileas are sensitive to the chemicals in tap water, so we suggest you leave tap water out overnight before watering or using distilled water to avoid any spotting that might occur in its foliage as a result.
Pileas don’t require extra humidity – they’ll do well in just about any kind of room.
Pileas can grow well in 13°C-30°C .It’s quite a big range, making it an easy plant for anyone to have and take care of. Like other indoor plants, just be mindful to keep it away from heating vents, cold drafts, or AC units.
Pileas are non-toxic (as long as you don’t consume them in large quantities, so no Pilea niçoise salads.)
Other fun facts:
- Why is it called a Chinese Money Plant? One of the folklores we’ve heard is about a poor Chinese farmer who prayed for wealth and fortune (who hasn’t?) and instead stumbled on this odd-looking plant that he thought was so beautiful he had to grow more for others. In turn, he was a savvy businessman because he got rich doing so.
- A Swedish missionary took cuttings of a Pilea and brought them back from China to Norway in 1946 when he was expelled by Chairman Mao (for the practice of his religion and being a foreigner.)
- The term Money Tree was also coined (heh) because the Pilea has round, plump, flat leaves that look like coins.
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