Pilea peperomioides watering | Chinese money plant

All houseplants are different when it comes to their watering requirements and if you just bought a new one it’s important to familiarize yourself with its needs. Pilea peperomioides, the Chinese money plant, is no exception to this! How do you know it’s time to water your Pilea plant? How much does it need and how to you identify trouble?

Keep reading for everything you need to know about watering a Chinese money plant to keep it happy and healthy.

When should I water my Pilea peperomioides?

The key to a healthy Pilea peperomioides plant is to keep its soil lightly moist during the summer growing months and letting it dry out slightly more during wintertime. That usually comes down to roughly twice a week during summer and once a week during winter, though your mileage may vary greatly.

Keep in mind that ‘lightly moist’ means just that: the soil should never be wet or soggy. There should never be excess water in the pot or the saucer underneath it, because if there is, your Pilea is at risk of root rot which can be fatal for plants.

I can’t actually tell you exactly how often to water your Pilea. Depending on a schedule to water your houseplants can lead to problems, because their exact needs when it comes to moisture vary a lot between the seasons and also depending on the conditions in your home (humidity, the amount of light the plant is getting and more).

You’ll have to get to know your plants to be able to quickly see or feel whether they’re thirsty or not. Sounds complicated but it’s something you just learn naturally! There are plenty of indicators that can tell you whether it’s time for your Pilea peperomioides to have a drink.

Tip: Your Pilea plant needs to receive sufficient light. If it doesn’t then it won’t be able to deal with the water you give it and the soil will stay wet for too long, leading to the risk of rot and a struggling plant. Light and water must be balanced for success.

Close-up of Pilea peperomioides houseplant leaves | Full Pilea plant watering guide.

Watering indicators

  • Perform the ol’ finger check (or use a chopstick). Poke into the soil. The top should be pretty much dry but one or two inches down it should still feel lightly damp. If it’s really dry, check the plant sooner next time. If it’s really wet, water a little less in the future.
  • Get to know the weight of the planter. That way you’ll be able to tell how dry your plant is just by what its pot feels like.
  • Learn what your Pilea looks like when it’s happy. A droopy plant means you’ve probably waited too long, though it should perk right back up after watering (if not, something else might be going on).
  • Do you feel like the soil is staying wet for a suspiciously long time even though the plant is receiving sufficient light? It might not drain well enough. Does it have some grit like perlite and/or bark mixed in? Does the planter have drainage holes? These two factors are essential. Find out more in the guide on repotting Pilea peperomioides.

Tip: It’s usually better to water slightly too little than too much. If you’re not sure whether it’s time yet, wait another (half a) day.

How much water does my Pilea plant need?

When it’s time to give your Pilea peperomioides a drink, try to use room-temperature water. If your country uses chlorine or chloramine in the tap water, leave it out overnight so the chemical can evaporate or consider filtered water.

  • Don’t add little sips of water here and there. Instead, give the plant a good gulp until water comes running out of the planter’s drainage hole. You could do this in the sink if you prefer.
  • Half an hour to an hour after watering, discard any excess water that might be sitting in the saucer underneath your plant or in the decorative overpot.
  • If the water is just sitting on top of the soil for a long time before soaking in, that’s a clear sign it’s not well-draining enough. Water carefully until you can repot in spring.
Pilea peperomioides, a popular houseplant also known as Chinese money plant.

Overwatered or underwatered Pilea plant

It’s very important to know the signs of a Pilea peperomioides that has received too much or too little water. You might even have come to this page worried that this is the case with your plant, so let’s have a look at the symptoms!

Note that if you want to know more about the various symptoms that a Pilea plant can exhibit and their diagnoses (brown leaves, curled leaves, yellow leaves, leaf loss and more), you should head over to the full guide on Pilea peperomioides problems.

Overwatering

Overwatering is usually more problematic than underwatering, especially if it’s systematic. Root rot and possibly even stem rot is a real risk for overwatered Pileas.

Signs that you’ve been overwatering your Pilea include brown and black spots on the leaves as well as yellowing. This eventually leads to the leaf simply withering away and most likely dropping off the plant.

In more advanced cases you might find the bottom of the stem looking blackish and feeling mushy. If you put your nose down to the soil it might smell nasty, of decay.

Underwatering

Slightly underwatering a houseplant is something we’ve all done at some point. As long as it doesn’t happen consistently and the plant has not dried out dramatically, it’ll usually bounce back just fine.

Signs that you’ve been underwatering your Pilea peperomioides include leaves drooping and possibly yellowing before crisping up and dropping. You might find the soil pulling away from the edges of the pot and turning into a dry ball that needs loosening (you can do this by poking into the soil with a chopstick).

Chinese money plant (Pilea peperomioides), a popular houseplant.

Flushing Pilea peperomioides soil

If your local tapwater’s hardness is high, you might eventually start seeing a white film develop on your Pilea’s soil (not a fuzzy one, that might be fungus). You might also see tiny salt-like grains on the plant’s leaves (not larger fuzzy ones, that might be a pest called mealybugs).

What causes this? Minerals in tap water can eventually build up in your houseplants’ soil. This is not a huge problem for a Chinese money plant as it isn’t as sensitive to it as some other species. However, you should still make a point of flushing the soil once in a while to remove these excess minerals.

How do you flush a plant’s soil? It’s super easy. You just place it in the sink and continuously run water through the soil until it comes running out of the drainage hole. Repeat this a couple of times and then thoroughly let the plant drain in the sink so all excess water is gone.

Tip: Got distilled water on hand? That’s perfect for flushing a houseplant’s soil.

Pilea peperomioides care & info

A Chinese money plant is not difficult to care for and you can totally grow one successfully even if you’re a beginner. Just remember the three basics: bright indirect light, well-draining soil and planter and keep it lightly moist but not wet. With those in mind you should really be all set!

If you need more information about caring for a Pilea peperomioides, have a look at the guide on Pilea care. Want to share your plant with others? You’re in luck, this species is very easy to multiply. Find out how to propagate Pilea peperomioides.


If you have any more questions about watering a Chinese money plant or if you want to share your own experiences with this fun little houseplant, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below! 🌱

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