Problems with Pilea peperomioides | How to revive a Chinese money plant

If you’ve managed to obtain your very own Pilea peperomioides, the last thing you want is to run into any issues. When you’re growing houseplants problems are unfortunately bound to arise sooner or later, though. A plant can be damaged, carry bugs or be placed in a less than ideal location in your home.

Luckily, most issues with Pilea peperomioides are easily solved with a small change. If your Pilea doesn’t seem to be feeling too well right now, just scroll through the list below to see if any of the symptoms match. If yes, keep reading to find out how to easily nurse your plant back to health!

Note: did you stumble upon this article while looking for general Pilea peperomioides care tips? You might want to head over to the Pilea care guide instead, as this article only covers problems that might arise when trying to keep your Chinese money plant happy.

If you found this article while looking to buy a Pilea peperomioides, you might want to head over to Amazon here. You’ll support Houseplant Central by buying at no extra cost to you!

Pilea peperomioides (Chinese money plants)

Chinese money plant is droopy

Problem: Plant looking limp
Causes: Shock, thirst, overwatering

If your Pilea peperomioides is letting its leaves droop, something is going on.

There are multiple possible causes for droopy leaves, so ask yourself the following questions to figure out what’s going on:

  • Was the plant just moved, shipped or otherwise shocked? Houseplants in general despise change. They can be cranky for a few days or even a few weeks after a move. Give your Pilea some time and it’ll likely recover by itself if all other care requirements are being met!
  • Did you forget to water? Plants generally lose leaf stiffness when they’re thirsty. Check your Pilea’s soil and if it seems overly dry, give the plant a good sip. Also aerate the plant’s soil using a toothpick or something similar if it’s been a while since you last did so.

    If the soil is too compacted, water might not actually be reaching the roots properly. Avoid using too much peat or coco coir in your soil mix for this reason.
  • Are you overwatering? Yes, drooping can (annoyingly) be caused by both over- and underwatering. If your Pilea seems droopy and hasn’t been moved nor underwatered, try having a look at its soil and roots. Does the soil seem overly wet? Are there any signs of rot on the roots?

    If yes to any of the above, you have to take action ASAP. Skip to the last paragraph of this article for tips on dealing with root rot. This issue can quickly become fatal to your plant if not dealt with accordingly.
Close-up of small Pilea peperomioides (Chinese money plant) houseplant.

Chinese money plant leaves are curling

Problem: Leaves curling inward or outward
Causes: Too much light, overwatering, cold, overfertilization

If your Pilea’s leaves are curling it can be pretty difficult to figure out exactly what’s going on, because leaf curl can have a bunch of different causes. Pilea enthusiasts don’t always agree on exact causes.

Try going through the list below and see if any of the following applies to your plant.

  • Is your Pilea in an overly light location? A common cause of curling leaves is too much sun or heat. While Pilea peperomioides loves plenty of light it should ideally be indirect or at least shaded by a sheer curtain.
  • Are you overwatering? Check whether the top soil layer is actually dry before you water again and make sure you got the balance of light and watering right. If you’re also seeing yellowing and dying leaves, this might very well be the explanation for your Pilea’s issues. Remember, this plant exhibits succulent tendencies and doesn’t like wet feet!
  • Is your Pilea being exposed to draft? This is not something many plant lovers think about, but some have reported it as a possible cause for curled Pilea peperomioides leaves. Keep the plant away from fans, heaters and AC’s.
  • Are you overfertilizing? You should only be feeding your Pilea peperomioides during the growing season. It doesn’t need a lot nor anything special. Try applying a diluted houseplant fertilizer no more than once a month if you want to feed your Pilea. Remember that many soils already contain slow-release fertilizer, so you usually won’t have to feed too soon after a repot.
Pilea peperomioides (Chinese money plant) houseplant in white lace-like planter.

Chinese money plant is losing leaves

Problem: Leaf loss
Causes: Normal, overwatering, nutrient deficiency

If you’re regularly finding dead and dying leaves on your Pilea peperomioides it can be easy to panic. Is it dying?!

First off: don’t panic. Some degree of leaf loss is normal in all plants. They’ll shed their lower leaves if they are too far away from the light source, too old or no longer useful for any other reason. My own Pilea shed almost all of its leaves after I bought it and replaced it with smaller ones, for example.

Whether you need to take action depends on the amount of leaf loss. If balance is lacking (more loss than growth, especially during the growing season), there might be something going on.

What is causing leaf loss on your Pilea can be pretty difficult to figure out, because almost all issues can eventually cause the plant to start shedding. The most common cause again, though, is overwatering. If your Pilea’s leaves are yellowing and/or browning uniformly before dying off, this might be the issue.

  •  Overwatering. As mentioned before, this plant is succulent-like. The top of its soil should be dry before watering again, which can take longer than you’d think during winter. Have a look at the last paragraph for tips on preventing overwatering (beyond just watering less).
  • Underfertilizing. If you’re sure you’re not overwatering, consider food. How long has it been since you last repotted the plant or applied fertilizer? If it’s the growing season and your Pilea is producing new leaves, it might need a little fertilizer to keep going. Leaves turning yellow before dying off might be related to simple hunger.
Pilea peperomioides (Chinese money plant) leaves

Chinese money plant leaves getting brown spot

Problem: Brown spots on leaves
Causes: Overfertilization, sunburn, cold

Like most other issues, brown leaf spots can have a few possible causes.

Note that here we don’t mean overall browning and then leaf death: we’re talking brown splotches that show up suddenly.

  • Fertilizer burn. Have you fertilized or repotted your Pilea peperomioides lately? Fertilizer burn can show up as browning on the leaves. Be sure to dilute any fertilizer before applying it to your Pilea’s soil to prevent any damage.
  • Sunburn. Has your Pilea been getting blasted by the sun lately? I don’t mean a few rays here, I mean direct afternoon sun for several hours. Exposure to that kind of intensity can cause brown scarring as well as yellow spotting on the leaves. Move the plant if you haven’t already!
  • Cold damage. If it’s wintertime and your Pilea peperomioides is next to a drafty or single pane window, it might be getting too cold. Cold damage manifests itself through scarring on the leaves. If you’re seeing raised, brownish lesions be sure to check the temperature around the plant.

White grains on Chinese money plant leaves

Problem: Grainy secretions
Causes: Mineral deposits

Seeing little white sand-like grains on the underside of your Pilea’s leaves? Unlike with most of the items on this list, there is no reason to worry here.

The white grains are mineral deposits excreted by the leaves. You can easily remove them by gently wiping the leaf, or just leave things as is.

If you’re seeing white spots rather than grains there might be something else going on.

Pilea peperomioides (Chinese money plant) showing curled leaves and yellowing
Leaf bending and yellowing on a Pilea peperomioides.

Chinese money plant leaves changing color

Problem: Leaves changing shade of green
Causes: Normal, lack of light

We’ve discussed all kinds of Pilea leaf colors so far. Yellow, brown, splotchy… and that’s not all. If you’ve had your Pilea peperomioides for a while and you’re seeing its leaves changing to another shade of green, that might spook you as well. Is this an indication of some kind of disease?

Luckily, it usually isn’t. Houseplant leaves can vary in their greenness depending on lighting. If your Pilea is in a bright spot its leaves might be quite light green, which can explain color changes during springtime when days start to lengthen and the sun’s intensity increases. Not a problem unless you’re seeing any of the signs of sun damage discussed before (brown/yellow splotches, leaf curl).

During wintertime, your Pilea’s leaves might turn a darker green shade. Again, no issues with this. Just be sure the plant is still getting enough light to survive and don’t forget to adjust your watering schedule. A plant that isn’t receiving as much light doesn’t need as much water either.

Pilea peperomioides (Chinese money plant) with leaf curling inwards
Leaf curling on Pilea peperomioides.

Chinese money plant bugs: help!

Problem: Infestation
Causes: Mealybugs, aphids, spider mites & more

Bugs are a common problem with houseplants in general and unfortunately, Pilea peperomioides is not exempt from this.

Although the presence of the occasional creepy crawly thing shouldn’t be too damaging to your plant, a severe infestation can be dangerous. And it can go unnoticed: some bugs are very tiny and hide on the underside of your plant’s leaves.

You should always be inspecting any new plants or plants that you’re moving indoors after summer, even if they’re not showing any visible problems. Common symptoms of bugs include:

  • Leaf curl and webbing on the underside of the leaves (spider mites)
  • Fuzzy white dots lodged in crevices/leaf bases (mealybugs)
  • Tiny flies appearing in your home (fungus gnats)

If you’re noticing any of these be sure to have a look to figure out what’s going on. If you find any bugs, treat with an insecticidal soap to prevent the problem from escalating.

Close-up of Pilea peperomioides houseplant.

Chinese money plant rotting

Problem: Root and/or stem rot
Causes: Bacterial or fungal infection due to overwatering

Because (root) rot from overwatering is a very common cause of Pilea peperomioides death I’d like to pay a little more attention to it.

Using the guide above you were hopefully able to figure out what’s going on with your Pilea. But what do you actually do when you lift the plant from its pot and find a mess of blackening rotting roots?

Rot is very severe and in many cases, it won’t be possible to save the plant. If things aren’t too advanced yet, however, you might be able to contain the problem.

  • Propagation. First off, whenever there is any sign of rot on a plant I personally like to immediately take a cutting as far away from the affected part as possible. In many cases, including with Pilea peperomioides, this usually means beheading the plant. I then use the instructions from the Pilea propagation guide as a Plan B in case I’m unable to save the mother plant.

    Removing part of your plant is actually helpful when dealing with rot, because you’ll most likely be cutting off a lot or even all of the roots and it will have trouble sustaining all of its existing leaves without them anyway.
  • Root trimming. Is the rot isolated to (part of) the roots? Cut ’em off. No, seriously. If a plant is rotting you’ll unfortunately have to cut away any affected parts and salvage what you can. Remove anything that looks even remotely blackened. Then, repot into fresh soil and water very carefully until the plant appears to have adapted.
  • Stem rot. If the rot has reached your Pilea’s stem, the previously mentioned propagation option is unfortunately pretty much all you can do. Everything that’s rotting has to go. All you can do is hope the top part of your Pilea peperomioides has not yet been affected and can continue to grow.

Now, I’ll have to be honest and tell you that by the time you notice rot it’ll often be too late. That’s why prevention is always preferable. Overwatering and wet soil are the prime causes of (root) rot in houseplants, so keep reading below to find out how to make sure your Pilea doesn’t suffer from wet feet.

Bumps on Pilea leaves

Problem: Oedema
Causes: Erratic watering

Ever heard of oedema on houseplants? It’s a condition caused by overwatering and/or erratic watering. It manifests differently in different plant species, but on Pilea peperomioides, it tends to show as small blisters or bumps on the leaves.

Oedema is not uncommon for newly bought Pileas, as garden centers aren’t always the best about watering. The bad news is that the bumps won’t go away. The good news is that, as long as you provide great Pilea peperomioides care, new leaves should come out normal.

Overwatering: prevention

As you’ve (hopefully!) been able to conclude from this article, one of the most common causes of Pilea death is overwatering.

Now, just telling you that you’re overwatering might lead you to reduce waterings, which can be very helpful. Surprisingly though, in some cases just watering less might not be enough to prevent wet feet.

  • Proper drainage. Unless you’re an experienced houseplant grower you should always be using a pot with a drainage hole. If there is any leftover water present in the plant’s saucer after a few hours, discard that and water less next time.
  • Proper soil. Can’t stress it enough: Pilea peperomioides is succulent-like. This should be reflected in your choice of soil. You can use regular potting soil, but be sure to mix in some grit like perlite. This doesn’t just increase drainage but also helps keep the roots aerated. You can have a look at the Pilea potting guide for more info.
  • Proper pot. It can be tempting to try and give your plant as much room as possible. However, overpotting (using a pot that’s too large) can actually result in overly wet soil. This especially applies if your plant is still establishing itself and doesn’t have a strong root system yet. It simply won’t be able to soak up water throughout the entire pot, leaving the soil wet and nasty.

Tip: Not sure how much water your Pilea peperomioides actually needs? Take a peek at the full Pilea watering guide for everything you need to know.

Pilea peperomioides houseplant in terracotta planter on dark table with white background.

If you have any more questions about problems with Pilea peperomioides or if you want to share your own experiences with the popular Chinese money plant, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below! 🌱

Marijke Puts
About Marijke Puts
Marijke Puts has Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Science and is from The Netherlands. She has a certified master gardener and loves everything about houseplants and gardening.

99 thoughts on “Problems with Pilea peperomioides | How to revive a Chinese money plant”

  1. Hi there!
    I was given a pilea moneyplant about a year ago. It was too big for the pot and had a second one growing. I repotted, gave the smaller one to my mom (which is doing just fine) but mine has been losing its lower leaves. It is growing new ones on top so I think it’s ok. But now the stem is so tall and the leaves don’t start growing until the upper part. Do I repot it again and just bury the stem real deep? There’s like 6” of a trunk with no leaves.

    • Hey! Have you seen photos of mature Pileas, like here? Unless the leaves are falling off at a worrisome rate, which may indicate some kind of imbalance, it’s completely normal. You could follow the instructions for propagating Pilea if it bothers you, though. 🙂

  2. Hello everyone,

    Great to see everyone helping each other. Anyone has advice for my plant. My Chinese money plant has grown pretty big about 40-50 cm high. However it’s now winter time and the temperature isn’t consistent and the plant is dropping leaves like crazy. About 2-3 a day…. Is it the temperature or what could it be?

    • That does sound like it could be the temperature. Mine is next to a window and it isn’t looking very happy either. Although a lot of people also tend to forget to lessen the amount of water they give when the season changes. Could your plant be too wet?

  3. Hello, i ve recently took my Philea out of its pot because it was drooping. I found a cluster of tight roots, I loosened these roots, cut off the excess and put it in fresh soil. The problem had been the same, the bottom leaves are drooping, dying and the top leaves are doing fine. What could be the problem?

    • Hey! It’s very difficult to tell on a plant that you can see and even more difficult on one you can’t. For example, in the months after I bought my current Pilea, it dropped all of its bottom leaves. It replaced them with smaller leaves. Just a natural process, probably due to receiving less light in my house than in the greenhouse.

      Are you following the guidelines in the Pilea care guide? Have you adjusted your watering schedule according to the winter season? Is your Pilea receiving lots of light? Sorry I can’t be of more help!

  4. Hello! I hope you can help…

    My money plant was super happy until a couple of months ago. It’s on a shelf in my warm kitchen under a skylight so gets lots of indirect light. I water about once a week and fertilise every other time.

    The leaves are getting yellow/white splotches around the edges and the new growth at the top all have brown/burnt edges. It’s still putting up new leaves but they all look like this and most fall off.

    Any tips please? 🙂

    • Hi! Sorry to hear your Pilea doesn’t seem to be doing well.

      Is it winter now where you are? Did you adjust your watering and fertilizing schedule accordingly (ie. less water, stop fertilizing)? Any chance you’ve overwatered? And in case there’s some fertilizer build-up going on, I recommend giving the soil a very good flush with distilled water.

      It can be a bit difficult to diagnose this sort of stuff but hopefully we can figure it out. If you do think there’s a chance you’ve overwatered, you’ll have to uproot your plant to take a look at its roots, because if there’s any rot then the affected part will have to be removed. Good luck!

      • Yes it’s winter now but I have only recently reduced watering and stopped feeding her… I’ll have a look at her roots I think! Thank you very much ☺️☺️

  5. Hi! I’ve had a money plant for quite a while (since March) and it’s grown like crazy. I recently moved to college and decided to repot it as it was getting way too big for the pot I had it in. When I got it repotted, I wasn’t experiencing any issues with it and it was blooming new leaves like crazy. After reporting, the new leaves began browning at the stem and leaf and did not grow. I only reported it a week or two ago, so I’m hoping it’s not root rot. Please help!

    • Hey! If you’re suspecting something might be root rot, I think you might have to uproot the plant. New leaves going brown is indeed a bit worrying. Any chance you could have overwatered after repotting?

  6. Hi my pilea is only small and I had it on my window it was very healthy and growing well. I noticed two of the leaves were curling but didn’t think anything of it but today I woke up and the who plant has dropped and some leaves are starting to thin. I put it in a shady place because I thought maybe it was overheated but please help I don’t know if I have done the right thing.

    • Hi! It’s very hard to tell you what’s going on and whether it’s normal or not without seeing the plant and the environment it’s growing in. Usually more light is better and they don’t tend to overheat/burn indoors unless it’s very strong sun. The most common issues with any plants are related to overwatering. Did you check the Pilea care guide (it’s linked to from this article) to make sure you’re following all the care guidelines?

  7. I got a Pilea a few days ago and a few leaves had black splotches on them because it was probably overwatered so I repotted it and have not watered it, the black splotches have started growing bigger but I’m not sure if I should cut off the leaves or not cuz I don’t want to further shock it. I don’t really know what to do.

    • When you repotted, did you take a peek at the roots? Any signs of rot and if so, did you cut off the rotting roots? Are black splotches appearing on more leaves, or are they just expanding on the ones that already had them? If it’s the latter then I wouldn’t worry too much yet, but I would cut them off. They’re not useful to the plant anymore anyway. Keep a close eye on it. Good luck!

  8. Hi! I brought my pilea home about 2-3 weeks ago. I have watered it twice since then but have run into issues of browning leaves and even the top of the stalk is browning! Any new growth that comes out of it, the leaves are already brown. I think it is not getting enough sunlight so moved it to a south facing window. My concern is that is just not going to make it. Can I cut off the browning top and will it continue to grow? Please help!

    • Yikes! I don’t like the new leaves coming out brown. I think you might have to take this one out of its container to see what’s going on with the roots, because clearly there is something. Is it possible for the plant to have been overwatered at the nursery/plant store? It’s unfortunate but it happens sometimes. Look for mushy black/brown roots and stem.

      You can try to propagate the top but if the leaves are already browning and it really is a rot issue, then the cutting will just wither. But no harm in trying I suppose. I hope it pulls through. Good luck!

  9. Hi! My pilea went through a phase where it lost leaves but now it seems to have recovered nicely producing babies and all! Buuut the main stem is falling over. What can I do about this? Is that a sign of a problem? Should I repot?

    • If it lost a lot of bottom leaves and is top-heavy now then yeah, that makes sense. If she’s growing happily then I wouldn’t assume there’s a problem. Maybe you can consider staking the plant? Other than that, or decapitating and regrowing (which I assume you don’t want to do), there isn’t much you can do about it.

      Good luck! 🙂

      • Thanks for this. Mine is turning into a hanging plant so I’m repotting it.. I don’t want to cut anything.. It seems to be growing fast maybe.? I’ll do less water and get fertilize once it’s stable.. Great info and help..

  10. Thank you so much for this article!! I don’t know how/if I can post a photo in this comment section, but I have a pilea that has yellow spots… I am afraid in case it has pests, because I have nowhere in my apartment where I can quarantine it for treatment (other plants literally everywhere.) I don’t want to just throw it out, since it is a living thing, but I don’t want my other plants to catch whatever it has. Like I said I don’t know how to post a
    pic of mine, but here is a pic of one that looks just like mine.

    • Hey! Yeah, you can’t post pictures here, that’s why I made a Houseplant Central Facebook group that you might like if you have FB. To be honest, pests are among the easier problems to identify because you can SEE them. Even the tiny spider mite you’ll notice walking around on the back of your plant’s leaves. So if you don’t see anything, that’s not it, and to be honest that picture you’ve linked to doesn’t look like pests.

      Are these top level leaves that are getting spots or bottom level ones? Are they dying off at an alarming rate? Is your plant making new leaves still? If the answers are bottom/no/yes, then to be honest, I wouldn’t pay too much attention to this. Plant leaves just die. If not, you may need to review your watering and fertilizer schedule.

      Feel free to post a pic in the FB group I linked to if you want us to have a closer look.

  11. Hi, your article was so helpful! I’m losing leaves on my money plant, pretty rapidly, and I’m looking at repotting (and checking for root rot) and fertilizing to help him but we’re 1 month into Autumn here in Australia and I know it’s not ideal to repot or fertilize while he’s dormant. Do you think he’ll be ok if I wait until Spring (4 months away) or should I take action now? Thankyou in advance 🙂

    • Hey! In this case, I’d go ahead with it, though skip the fertilizing. It does sound like you should check the roots and make absolutely sure your plant is in the right type of soil and planter. Just don’t expect any significant growth until next spring! Good luck, I hope it works out.

  12. Hi! i wanted to ask about the soil. My plant has been with me for maybe a month now. I had it too close to a window so the stems are browning, but just moved elsewhere, and she’s doing great. I notice though that the soil is super hard and dry. I have been watering whenever the soil is dry but it’s rock solid even after watering. Is this normal?

    • That doesn’t sound ideal to me, although if the plant is happily chugging along, clearly it’s not a huge issue. If it’s spring where you are, you could repot it – you can find instructions on how to do so here. It’s doesn’t sound super urgent, though. Good luck! 🙂

    • Hey! No, you don’t have to. If the plant decides to give up on them, it’ll reabsorb their nutrients until they’re crispy and fall off. You can prune if you don’t like the way it looks, but it’s not a necessity 🙂

  13. My pilea is flowering which makes me think she’s healthy and happy but all the leaves in the lower half are drooping and the new leaves on top are curling with brown edges which don’t seem so healthy. Also she doesn’t grow pups. What do you think of her situation?
    I would appreciate any advice. Thanks much!

    • Hi! A picture might be helpful, you could consider joining the Houseplant Central FB group and posting one there so we can take a peek and let you know what we think. I think one thing that a lot of houseplant enthusiasts tend to forget is that plants are just not always naturally pretty, leaf death and ugly leaves are normal. That being said, it’s always handy to take a peek to make sure it’s nothing more serious. 🙂

  14. I have a very large and old (over 25 years) Pilea plant and just yesterday I noticed that lots of the leaves (both old and baby leaves) were wilting and ready to fall off. It’s had a regular once a week watering schedule for many years so don’t believe I overwatered it. I am thinking maybe it was in a room that was too cold, given all the snow we’ve recently had here on the East coast. So I moved it closer to a radiator in a warmer room. I don’t want to lose the plant as I love it,, but obviously it has been severely stressed. Have you ever heard of such severe damage happening all at once? It was fine last week. Most of the babies are ready to fall off the plant – any advice on what i can do to help it, or why that might have happened? Thank you.

    • Hey!

      Darn, sorry that’s happening to such an old Pilea. So unless it got under 50 °F I don’t think it will have been too cold. You might want to be careful having it close to a radiator as the soil can dry out very quickly.

      I think a situation like this might warrant a look at the roots. When did you last repot the plant? I’d take it out to see if the roots are not dried up, extremely crowded or rotting.

      In any case, I’d go the propagation route just in case if you haven’t already. I hope your Pilea pulls through but unfortunately you can never be sure.

  15. I also have my first plant. The woman I bought it from said she sticks her finger down in the soil to see if it needs watering. Great idea but I’m not sure if any of the soil below the top should feel at all damp OR have soil sticking to my finger. I’m using really good soil. Thanks so much for all your comments. Really helpful!

    • Hey! When it’s time to water again, you should feel dry soil for the first 2″ or so and then maybe touch dampness with the tip of your finger. If everythng feels bone dry you waited a bit too long, if it’s damp all over to the touch then you can definitely wait a bit longer. Some people also use a chopstick, or you can learn to gauge dryness by the weight of the planter 🙂

      I know it seems complicated but it’s something you’ll get a feel for, I promise! Good luck.

  16. My plant is huge and healthy. However recently I have two leaves with leaf curl and the edges of the large leaves are yellow. It is in a bright sunny window where it gets indirect light all day. In the evening as the sun sets the sun shines directly in the window so I close the blinds until the light is filtered. I do have a ceiling fan and a humidifier in the room.

    • Are the affected leaves new or old? If they’re old, it’s probably normal.

      These issues can be associated with too much light but from your description, it doesn’t sound like that’s the issue here. Do you fertilize the plant a few times a year? A lack of fertilizer can also cause yellowing.

      It can be a bit difficult to diagnose a plant without seeing it, sorry! I hope it will be alright, though it’s probably not a huge issue at all 🙂

  17. I just got my plant about a week ago and many of the bigger leaves toward the bottom turned black and started falling off. I’ve only watered it once or twice, and let it drain, and keep it out of direct sunlight. Is this just the plant getting acclimated?

    • It is normal for a plant to drop its bottom leaves, although this sounds like a pretty fast rate for it to happen. However, yeah, I’d give it a little more time before starting to worry. It sounds like you’re doing everything right.

      Good luck!

  18. Firstly, this is a really nice website. Great job.
    I tried out The Plant Club for 6 months and they set me a Pilea Peperomioides or Chinese Money Plant and a sort of terra cotta pot that sits inside another pot. Their instructions were to fill the bottom section of the pot with 1/3 water and replace the top part. Next was to plant the plant in the top part. They say the plant likes to grow in shady patched on damp rocks when out in the wild.
    I’ve had the plant for about 5 weeks and it is growing nicely and has several new shoots and leaves growing but this week I notice the two main ‘stalks’ are sort of dark brown. I took the plant from the pot and notice the soil is very damp. Does this sound right? Should it be so damp? And is the dark brown rot?
    Perhaps I will join the Facebook group as well to help share some knowledge.

    • Thank you for the compliment, hope to see you in the FB group!

      So this whole construction does sound a little odd to me, although the part about their growth in the wild is true, they’re bottom vegetation. Still, ‘shady’ outdoors is definitely not the same as ‘shady’ indoors. Indoors they do like to be on a windowsill.

      The soil should definitely not be super damp unless you literally just watered it. It does need to dry out at least a bit before watering again. As for the dark brown, does it feel squishy? If you put your nose up to it, does it smell bad? Those are prime signs of rot. Pilea stalks do have a woody appearance, could it be that?

      In any case, I’m going to leave you with two other Pilea articles that you might find helpful in figuring out the species’ care.
      How to pot your Pilea
      How to water your Pilea

      Good luck, I hope it’s not rot and that all goes well from now on.

  19. Hi, thanks for the article but I don’t see my symptoms listed here! The leaves are curling slightly, but the actual leaves themselves have bumps on the top of a few of the leaves. They are the same colour as the leaf itself. The plant is not kept in direct sunlight and the one time I fertilised it, the fertiliser was diluted. Any help would be great, thanks! X

    • Ooh, that’s a weird one! So it’s not those white grainy things that I mentioned in the article?

      I’m at a loss to be honest, it’s already hard to diagnose plants when you can see them let alone when you can’t and it’s an uncommon issue. Do you have Facebook? You could post a pic in the HPCentral group so we can take a peek, though I can’t guarantee anything.

      Note: the vast majority of issues are caused by overwatering or underwatering. Are you using a well-draining soil?

  20. I was given a small money plant about year ago that was pretty healthy. When I got it home it grew large leaves for a while but they kept getting smaller and smaller. The plant on a south facing window that gets lots of bright light through sheer curtains. These small leaves began curling and turning black then dying. The plant is still alive but barely. I also noticed white crust forming on the topsoil, so I checked the roots for rot. There was none, but the soil seemed dry. Your article was very helpful, bc I think I have draft issues during the cooler months in NY. I thought it might due a bit better now that its warm, but it’s still very sad. Any suggestions? I’d like to save her if possible.

    • Hm, sorry to hear you’re having so much trouble with it. What kind of soil are you using, is it the kind discussed in the Pilea care guide? Does the rest of the care you’re giving match what’s described there? Did the roots look healthy or did they appear sparse?

      It’s really hard to diagnose a plant without seeing it but if your draft issues are severe then it could be related (if you have single-pane windows for example). However, it doesn’t sound to me like it’s the main cause which is why I’m just throwing stuff out there. Too much light? With the curtains it sounds good but you never know.

      If it’s seriously not doing well but looks like it might still have some life in it, I think my personal choice would be to chop off the top and put that in water to re-root or even dig out the whole plant, rinse the roots and place it in water. It’s by no means a magic cure but if there’s no rot it can help revive a plant.

      The white crust sounds like mineral build-up, which you can flush using distilled water. It’s good practice to do so every few months.

  21. Hi there. I have a problem that I don’t see addressed. My plant is growing great. So great in fact that the stalk can’t support the plant upright any longer and falls over to one side or the other. I’ve tried balancing it but eventually it finds its way back to hunched over. Do these always stand upright in the wild?

    • Hi! Oops, sorry to hear it’s not able to support itself anymore! As far as I know this is perfectly normal though. I think that in the wild they grow in more of a creeping fashion but I’ve seen plenty of them indoors that just start hanging down. I guess it’s a matter of aesthetics: I personally wouldn’t mind my Pilea turning into more of a hanging plant. If you do then you can opt to behead it and replant the top, thus shortening it. You could also try staking it if you haven’t attempted that yet, that should keep the stem pointing up.

      I hope that helps, good to hear at least that your plant is growing well!

  22. Hi! Thank you so much for this article, super informative! I propogated recently, then moved to a colder climate with only the baby (the mom’s with my mom!) and the stems and some of the backs of the leaves of the baby are a deep red and growth has pretty much halted. My theory is the cold and I was wondering what you thought or if you have any suggestions? Thank you so much!

    • Hey! You mention the cold, but I’d assume your Pilea is inside where things are still at room temperature, right? Or is it quite chilly where the plant is located? In fact, one thing that is associated with red leaves is actually sun stress. During the move, did you by any chance pop the plant onto a sunny windowsill without acclimating it?

      Growth might have halted for now because houseplants don’t like being moved. If the care you’re providing is still good and there is no over- or underwatering going on, there is no need to worry at least. 🙂

  23. Hi there, thank you so much for all the information on your site. It’s so helpful. I had a pilea delivered today. The plant itself seems healthy though a bit droopy at the moment (though I see from the article that’s to be expected after transit). A few of the leaves have broken off. They have quite a long stem still attached so I think it was near the base – can these be propagated? They still look very healthy and green. I have them in water as decoration just now but wondered if anything would come of them.

    • Hi! I’m so glad you found the site helpful. Congrats on your new Pilea!

      So as for Pilea leaves, there are only a few plants that can be propagated from a single leaf and unfortunately this is not on of them. However, like you mention, they’re still nice as decoration. I like them in tiny, thin-necked vases. They might actually eventually sprout roots, meaning they’ll survive pretty much indefinitely, although they’ll unfortunately never grow more leaves.

      Good luck, I hope the plant does well for you 🙂

  24. Hi! My cat was playing around my plant and accidentally broke off three of the leaves. It’s relatively small, maybe 4 inches, and looks really uneven now. I put the two large leaves in water since they broke at the base but I was wondering if there is anything I can do to help it recover? Will the main stem grow new leaves to replace the ones that broke off?

    • Hi! You could keep the large leaves, they might even grow roots although they won’t grow. You need a piece of stem for that.

      As for the main plant, it should be fine but if the lost leaves are lower down on the stem then no, it won’t replace them. No need to despair, though, since those small Pileas grow really fast and before long you probably won’t clearly notice the damage anymore. And after a while the bottom leaves are shed anyway to reveal the bare stem, so once it gets to that point the damage will be completely invisible. 🙂

  25. hi there,
    thank you for the information they are really helpful!
    I find there are a lot of little flying insects around my moment plant. is there any way to get rid of them?
    many thanks!!


    • Hi! Could those be fungus gnats? You can Google them to see what they look like.

      The flies are annoying but harmless, however their larvae like gnawing on plant roots. You can deal with them by not watering as much or drenching the soil with 4 parts water, 1 part 3% hydrogen peroxide. I think neem oil can also be used to flush the soil with and get rid of the gnats. Some people even keep carnivorous Pinguicula plants nearby if they have lots of plants that need “protection”!

      Good luck, I hope that helps 🙂

  26. Hello! Love this information, thank you!
    My Pilea seems healthy and has been sprouting pups, however, all her leaves have faded white spots all over them, like they are missing chlorophyll. No pests are on the leaves, but I did see a few spider mites on top soil. Would the discoloured spots be due to spider mites or something else? Thank you

    • Hi! Spider mites cause lots of tiny white/discolored spots on plant leaves. If you Google “spider mite symptoms” you get really accurate results, try comparing your plant’s leaves to that. I’d imagine it with a leaf infestation, though, not just a few mites here and there.

  27. Hi, I have a pilia that I’ve had in tbe bathroom on the windowsill. It gets filtered light and humidity. It is growing fine, has new growth all the time. Recently, one of the leaves got burned – it looks chemical to me and i feel like someone else other than myself accidentally got shampoo or body wash on it. So now that part of the leaf is very dark brown and wrinkled away and the rest of the leaf is green. Today, two more leaves got those stains. I didn’t think it’d get stained again since i moved the wash away from it, but i guess someone accidentally did it ..again….when it first happens, the stain is kind of translucent, then it slowly becomes like how the first leaf turns out. My question is, is it really a chemical burn from shampoo like I am thinking or is it a bug that is eating away from the inside of my plant? (And no none of the other leaves have this)

    • Hi,

      That’s a difficult one to figure out! To be honest I’m not 100% sure it’s actually shampoo or something like that. On the other hand, I really can’t tell you with any certainty what it could be, diagnosing a plant through the internet is really difficult.

      Now, I do have to note that dark stains on houseplant leaves can be indicative of rot, although the “translucent” bit you mention doesn’t entirely rhyme with that.

      Have you checked that your watering schedule is adequate? Overwatering can cause rot.

      Sorry I can’t be of more help, you could join the Houseplant Central FB group and post a photo there so we can have a better look.

  28. Hi, thanks for the article! I’m a relative plant newbie, so I hope this isn’t a dumb question! Do you know why my Pilea’s leaves might be standing straight up? When I purchased the plant ~6 months ago, the leaves looked a lot like the ones in your first two photos, The stems were softer and had a bend giving all the leaves that kind of “falling over” look. Now, they are all standing tall and growing straight up, even the bigger leaves with long stems. It looks like a little tree now, since all the lower leaves have since fallen off. My plant looks like a much larger, leafier version of the plant in your 3rd photo. The plant is otherwise healthy and doing well! Thanks!

    • Hi,

      There are no dumb questions! It’s a bit hard for me to envision this but it definitely doesn’t sound like a problem to me, so I wouldn’t worry about it. Normally it’s the new leaves that are stiffer and you might also see this look if a plant has grown relatively quickly. Could that be it?

      If you use Facebook you could post in the Houseplant Central FB group with a photo so we can take a peek 🙂

  29. I have one that seems to be okay not making any babies yet but I dont think it is big enough for that – I have about 4 different ones and on one and only one of them the lower leaves seem to be one or two at a time dying off in an unusal way the stems of the leaves start shrinking in the middle of the stem – not next to the trunk and not next to the leaf – just shrinks until it becomes thinner than fishing line – it will still be green at the trunk and the leaf but several inches in the middle just gone

    • That’s a weird one! It does make me think of something related to (over?)watering though. Could this one be getting a bit less light than the rest causing it to not be able to take up water as well? If things really seem to be going downhill you could check its roots.

      It’s really difficult to diagnose a plant ithout seeing it and the conditions its growing in so I can’t tell you anything definite. Try checking out the rest of the articles in the Pilea category as well to make sure you’re doing everything right.

  30. My plant was hot with direct sun for a few hours today. The top leaves are very brown and some curled. The bottom leaves are still green. Will those brown leaves turn green again?

    • Hi,

      The bad news is that damaged leaves will never go back to their original state, including if they turn brown. The good news is that as long as the rest of your plant is alright, it should continue to grow and eventually all the damaged leaves will have been replaced with fresh, new ones. 🙂

  31. My dog knocked over the plant and broke the mother stem in two, knocking off the whole top hat with all the leaves. Can I save the top half and hope it roots itself again? Or is my best hope for the bare existing stem to spout new leaves? I’m so sad!

    • Oh dear, sorry to hear that! Yes, there is hope still if there is still stem and a root system left. Just keep caring for the plant as you normally would, although it might need a little less water now that it doesn’t have leaves to photosynthesize. There’s a reasonable chance it will sprout new growth 🙂

    • Probably not, but there is really no way for me to definitively answer that without seeing the plant and its environment. Have a look at the Pilea care guide and if you’re following all the guidelines and see no obvious decline in your plant’s health you should be just fine 🙂

  32. Hi, my two big Pilea is going white around the edge of the leaves on the front and then when you look on the back they are a dark red. A few of my littler ones have started doing that as well. I repotted them yesterday and will see if that helps (they definitely needed repotting. Does anyone know what it could be?

    • That’s a weird one! Did you look at the roots while you were repotting? Any other symptoms? It’s really hard to diagnose a plant when you’re able to see it, let alone when you can’t unfortunately. All I can recommend at this point is check that you’re doing everything right and there are no bugs, and then give the plant the best possible care to see if it grows out of this. Sorry I can’t be of more help!

  33. Hi! Thank you for this article, it’s very helpful & informative. I’d like to ask for some advice please?
    I was given a pilea a year or so ago & I’d like to repot it in the spring (around March, April here). It has dropped a few of its bottom leaves & the lower stem is quite bare (although it does have pups!).
    Is it possible to bury it a little deeper when I repot it, to lose some of the bare stem? Or would that make it rot?
    Thank you

    • Hello! Glad to hear the article was helpful to you. I do think you can bury it a little deeper actually. I haven’t done so myself but I would assume it would just sprout some more roots along the stem. Good luck 🙂

  34. Thanks for the informative article! If I am the point of needing to behead my pilea and propagate how much of the stem should I cut and which end do I put in the water? Am I cutting off all the roots too?

    • You can cut however much of the stem you want really, and put the part in water that doesn’t have leaves. It’ll then grow its own roots. There’s a full article on propagating Pilea here that might be helpful 🙂

  35. Hi! Thank you for all the troubleshooting! I got a stickling from a dear friend which is still quite small. Today when I transferred it to a pot I accidentally broke the main stem near the base (only about two “branches/leaves” below the snap point).

    Naturally I’m very sad about it and wondering if it can recover?

    • Oh no! Poor baby Pilea. Although yes, there is somewhat of a chance the two pieces can recover and both grow into new plants, although obviously with something so small and fragile it might be a bit harder than usual. What I’d personally do is place both of them in water. It allows you to keep a bit of a closer eye on them and they also just seem to grow and root better in water in general.

      Good luck, I do hope you’ll get a viable plantlet out of this!

  36. Hi there! I had beautiful big pancake plant (pilea) that unfortunately got knocked from its table. The plant actually lost all of its leaves in the fall and was very damaged, I stuck it back in a pot to see if it would spring back and it did!! It has two new shoots coming out of the ground with leaves, was just hoping for some advice on how to continue to help this lil guy recover and maybe get back to where it was! Thanks 🙂

    • Woohoo! Glad to hear it managed to recover. Honestly, I don’t think there’s much you need to do at this point besides keeping it out of direct sun to protect the new shoots and caring for it as always. Assuming you’re in an area where it’s summer right now, I think you’ll see some pretty good growth through august and september at least before it goes dormant for winter 🙂

  37. Hello, I have large black spots which are taking over the leaves on my plant and killing it. Do you have any suggestions as to what this may be? Any help appreciated, thanks!

    • Hi! That’s very hard to figure out without seeing the plant and the conditions it grows in. However, have you checked out the roots? They might give you an indication of where the problem is located.

  38. Hello, I’ve been wanting to find out if you can pinch off the top of a mother plant? It hasn’t grown any new pups and it has become long a lanky with smaller leaves. It’s in a very lit window and I water once a week with drying soil in between. I haven’t feed it for two months. Any idea how to make it bushy and not lanky?

    • Yeah, you can pinch the top off and regrow it! 🙂

      How much light is it really getting? If it’s being blasted with full sun that might explain the smaller leaves, they do prefer bright but indirect. Also, when was the last time you repotted it? We repotted one of our Pileas a while ago since it just wasn’t doing much and it has absolutely exploded.

  39. I bought a plant and the girl watered it before giving it to me I could tell there was an issue when the soil remained wet and now it’s time to save it from root rot but I can not find any information on how to behead them. The roots are all black and I see the only way is to try and behead, how to propagate this way?

    • Hi! I have an article on propagating Pilea peperomioides as well that you might find helpful, but the short answer is very simple. You cut off the “head” at a safe distance from any rot and then put it in water so it can grow roots. You can also place it directly in soil but the water method allows you to see whether it’s making progress or not. That’s honestly all there is to it!

  40. Thank you thank you thank you!! I have been looking everywhere trying to figure out why my pilea’s leaves are a lighter shade of green now and this is the first place I have found that addressed it without talking about yellowing or browning leaves. Yaaaay!

  41. Hi, thank you for your informative articles! I took a Pilea plant home today, and during the journey one of the leaves from the middle of the plant snapped off about halfway down the stem. Should I trim the remaining stem back to its origin on the woody part of the plant? Is there anything I can do with the leaf that snapped off? It is large, maybe 4” in diameter. Let me know if you have any thoughts!

    • Hi! Glad the articles help you 🙂

      You don’t have to trim anything, no, the plant will reabsorb the sugars from the bit of stem. With the leaf probably not, since it sounds like it didn’t snap at the base. You can try putting it in a vase of water and see if it’ll stay green (for decorative purposes) but there’s a good chance it’ll just die off.

  42. My leaves are turning brown around the edges, and eventually the leaf falls off. It’s happening to all the leaves, nearly. The edges turn black/brown and and then the color works inward slowly. Help?

    • Hi! All I know about problems with Pilea peperomioides is mentioned in this article. If you don’t find any of the descriptions matches your problem then I’m honestly not sure, sorry! It’s especially hard to diagnose plant problems without knowing the surroundings it’s growing in.

      You could try posting a pic with more info in the HPCentral group since there’s more people in there that can have a look at it. You can join here if you use Facebook.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.