Propagating Chinese money plant | How to propagate a Pilea peperomioides

Did you know that if you have one Pilea peperomioides, you can have many? Propagating Chinese money plant is super easy! You can give offsets and cuttings away to friends and family, expand your own Pilea army or even sell them.

Keep reading for everything you need to know about propagating Chinese money plant!


Note: You can now buy Pilea peperomioides online here. Yay!


Pilea peperomioides babies

Although Pilea peperomioides can be propagated through stem cuttings, there is not much reason to do so. You’d have to wait until the stem cuttings have rooted, which takes quite a while and is not always succesful.

Instead, just take good care of your Pilea and it will actually provide the best propagation method all by itself: healthy Chinese money plants produce baby plants both from their roots and their stems. If you’re not sure how to keep your Pilea healthy and happy be sure to have a look at the Chinese money plant care guide.

Luckily this is not a difficult plant and anyone should be able to keep it alive. Just plant your Pilea peperomioides in a simple plastic pot with soil mixture that includes some perlite. Then, place it in a location where it receives bright light but no direct sun and water when the top of the soil has dried out.

That’s it! Baby plants should start popping up once your plant has had some time to mature and adjust to its location in your home.

Did you know? Pilea peperomioides was first brought to Europe from China by a Norwegian missionary in 1946. It was then commonly traded through cuttings and spread through the continent!

A Chinese puzzle solved

Pilea peperomioides propagation methods

Propagating Chinese money plant from root plantlets

The easiest way to propagate Pilea peperomioides is by using plantlets that grow from the mother plant’s roots.

A healthy, large Pilea that has plenty of pot space should regularly produce these little babies. They pop up from the soil and are ready to use once they have a few leaves of their own.

Because root plantlets already have a root system of their own the only thing you have to do is sever their connection to the mother plant’s roots using a sharp and clean knife. Then, just pop them into smaller pots of their own and keep the soil lightly moist. Voila! Brand new Pilea peperomioides babies that you can keep, give away or sell.

The move to their own pot might slightly shock the babies but because they already have a root system they usually immediately start growing.

Did you know? Pilea is also referred to as “pass it on plant”. Traditionally, in Asia, they’re given away as tokens of good luck.

Propagating Chinese money plant from stem plantlets

Pilea peperomioides plants also produce babies on their own stems. These stem babies don’t have a root system of their own yet so they need a little more attention than root plantlets, but they’re still very easy to use.

  • To propagate your Pilea peperomioides from stem plantlets, just remove the babies from the mother plant’s stem using that same clean, sharp knife.
  • You now have two options: placing the baby plants in a vase with water or in a regular pot with moist soil.
  • Most houseplant enthusiasts prefer the first option, as the little plants in their tiny vases look quite adorable. This method also allows you to see whether your Pilea babies are rooting as they should.
  • Once you’re seeing some root growth you can move the babies to their own pot or you can keep them in water indefinitely. Either is fine!

Whichever method you use, be patient. It might take a while before your Pilea baby grows its own root system, especially in wintertime when most houseplants aren’t actively growing.

Tip: You can be confident the plantlet is healthy, happy and rooted once you see some new leaves popping up.

Pilea peperomioides with pups - How to propagate Chinese money plant

Propagating Chinese money plant from stem cuttings

Although Pilea peperomioides can be propagated through stem cuttings, there is usually not much reason to do so. You’d have to wait until the stem cuttings have rooted, which takes quite a while and is not always successful.

There are two situations, though, where the possibility of taking stem cuttings comes in very handy. If your Pilea peperomioides grows too tall for your liking, you can behead the plant. This is also an option if it’s suffering from stem rot, in which case all the rotting parts must be discarded.

The cool thing is that if you behead your Chinese money plant, if the original part is still healthy, it will resprout. The part you cut off will also continue growing. So instead of having to look at one overly tall and awkward Pilea, you can now have two decent looking ones!

Propagating Chinese money plant from stem cuttings works basically the same as rooting a stem plantlet that has no roots yet. Just place the stem in water or soil and pamper it until you see new growth!

Full frame of leaves of Chinese money plant houseplant.

Chinese money plant care

If you’re not sure how to keep your Pilea healthy and happy, here are some tips!

Light

Pilea peperomioides plants do well in bright but indirect sunlight, like most indoor houseplants. If your options are limited and you have to keep your plants close to a window, just make sure to filter the sunlight. This is easy enough to do with sheer curtains or blinds.

If you want to get a nice, aesthetically-pleasing circular appearance with your Pilea peperomioides plants, just be sure to rotate the plants, little by little, every day or every other day.

This will help the plants become fuller and rounder in appearance since the leaves won’t all grow in just one outward direction.

Temperature

As for the temperature, Pileas prefer to be kept nice and warm at room temperature or above. The temps in our homes should be perfect for them

Although they can be kept outside, it’s not the best idea if your location drops below 50 °F (10 °C) or experiences a lot of sudden temperature changes.

Leaves of Chinese money plant (Pilea peperomioides) and Pilea glauca, two indoor plants.

Planting

Pilea peperomioides plants love being in moist but not soggy soil. To avoid getting root rot because of the roots sitting in still water for too long, be sure to use a well-draining soil mix. General potting soil mixed with some perlite tends to do the trick.

When it comes to planting, again, you need to make sure that whatever you use to hold your plant is well-draining. Plastic or ceramic pots tend to be fan favorites. Terracotta pots are options, too, although some people avoid them because of how porous they are.

Meanwhile, others think that it’s because they’re porous that they’re the superior choice. It’s really all about finding what works best for you and your plants. Every home has different conditions.

Tip: You can read more in the guide to repotting Chinese money plants.

Fertilizer

Pilea peperomioides plants don’t need a lot of fertilizer to do their thing. You can easily get away with using a diluted regular houseplant fertilizer once a month or so during the growing season.

It’s best to avoid using any fertilizers during the wintertime or when the plant isn’t sprouting new leaves since it’ll just go to waste. The plant won’t use the extra nutrients.

Watering

When it comes to watering Chinese money plants, as it was mentioned above, they like moist but not soggy soil. If you’re new to owning the plant and still figuring out your watering schedule, twice a week is usually a good place to start.

Depending on your household temperature and how much light the plant is getting, you should check the soil daily and adjust the watering as needed. For example, if you poke your finger a couple inches into the soil and it feels bone dry, then it’s time to water.

If it’s moist to touch, you can probably wait another couple of days. During the winter, you can often safely cut back on watering as often, although you should still frequently check the soil.

Tip: Still unsure? Check out the full guide to watering Chinese money plants.

Toxicity

Pet lovers can rejoice because Pilea peperomioides is not toxic to cats and dogs, or any other kind of pet or human, according to the ASPCA!

Of course, it’s still best practice to always keep plants out of reach of pets and children, just to be safe. You can read more in the article on Chinese money plant toxicity.


If you have any more questions about propagating Pilea peperomioides or if you want to share your own experiences with this popular houseplant, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!

First three photos by Bethany Berg, who sells Pilea peperomioides babies on Etsy here.


70 thoughts on “Propagating Chinese money plant | How to propagate a Pilea peperomioides”

  1. I bought my plant potted and braided by a nursery while on vacation. I want a cutting for my grandson but I am not sure what to do. I have a short (one inch ) stalk with four stems with leaves (from 2 1/2″ to 6″). I put the really short stalk with these stems in water and have been keeping they wet up to the sections where they stems are attached.
    Is there a chance I will be able to root this and he could braided the stems?

    Reply
    • A braided Pilea peperomioides? I’ve never seen that! Are you sure it’s not a Pachira aquatica, often referred to as money tree? If that’s the case, the cutting you describe does sound like it could be viable, yes. If not, you can always just snip off the growing tip and root that. Good luck! 🙂

      Reply
  2. I’ve had a 5 stem braided money tree for some time. All but 1 of the stems seem to be dead but that one has sprouted off near the top a large new shoot with 5 branches, each with gorgeous, healthy leaves. I am not sure whether I should carefully cut out the 4 dead stems and let this one just do its thing or if I should try removing the shoot and hopefully coaxing it to root on its own. Also, can I attempt to braid these branches either way?

    Reply
    • That’s a bit of a difficult situation, haha! If I were you, I’d go for a slightly lesser known option called air layering. It basically means you’ll coax the shoot into rooting while it’s still on the parent stem. Once it’s rooted you can remove it and pot it up; this way you greatly reduce the risk of killing the shoot while trying to propagate it. I mean, you can cut the 4 dead stems, but I suppose you’ll end up with a rather awkward looking end result?

      Find some more about air layering here. As for braiding, I think you can do that! Good luck 🙂

      Reply
  3. Hello, I have a baby plantlet that is quite medium size and that I planted about two weeks and a half ago. However, it is not growing and it is looking sad: the leaves are thin and sort of down-falling. What can I do? Also, would it be too late to remove it from the soil and make it grow more roots in just water?

    Reply
    • Hi! It is normal for plantlets and cuttings to get a bit cranky when you pot them up, but obviously you’re the best judge of whether it’s in the “danger zone” or not. If you think it’s really not doing well then yes, you can still remove it and place it in water. 🙂 Good luck!

      Reply
  4. Hi! I just got a small pup with roots from a friend but the top part had some rotted roots so I was just washing it off carefully, but the bottom healthy roots came off with a slight tap! Am I able to just plant the roots even though it’s off the stem??

    Reply
  5. Hi! My little babies were about the size of the ones you said were too small to root. But i pulled them at about that size.. is there still a chance i can successfully water propogate them and be able to plant them???

    Reply
  6. Hi there. My sweet little kittens broke most of the plant off pretty close to the base. Its like 10 inches tall. Will it regrow roots again and should I put it in water or soil or the trash? I don’t want to throw it away. It was such a beauty.

    Reply
  7. Hello! I had a root plantlet that was ready to be cut off and repotted when my parent plant was knocked off the table (ugh, cats!) and the plantlet was broken off at the base during the fall. Can this type of plantlet be put in water to grow roots? I really don’t want to lose it! Thanks for your help!

    Reply
  8. Hello, I have had my pilea for around a year and only just discovered that baby plants could be removed and propagated in this way. Thus, the baby plants have grown pretty big and the plant is getting unruly. I’m going to move it into a bigger pot but really I’d like to separate the younger plants but unsure if it’s safe to cut them off in this same way? As they’re much more developed than the baby plants in your pictures. Thank you! X

    Reply
    • Hello! Actually, the more developed the baby plants, the greater your chances of success. Yours should have nice established root systems so as long as you try to conserve those they should likely do fantastically on their own. Mom will probably be happy to have some more space to her own again as well 🙂

      Reply
  9. Hi! Thanks for this. One of the pads on my pilea plant got pulled off and now there is a leafless stem~ I am curious if the pad will regrow from the stem or if it is better to just cut the stem down to the trunk to help it restart for fuller growth?

    Much love ~ A

    Reply
    • Hi! So the leaf got pulled off but the stem is still there? Unfortunately that won’t regrow a new leaf, so it’ll start dying off eventually. You might as well remove it, yes. 🙂

      Reply
  10. Hi, my Pilea has babies popping up from the petiole. I am not sure if I need to pluck the petiole off the stem or leave it and see if it will drop naturally?

    Reply
  11. Hi there! I have propagated a decent size pup from my “mother” plant in water. I can see in the roots underwater three separate little clusters of green leaves growing! Each leaf is teeny tiny! I’m afraid if I just leave them in the water and don’t do anything they might die, but so far they seem to be getting bigger. I don’t know if it’s better to just let them do their thing or if I need to intervene at some point as it’s weird to me that they are growing underwater, but I guess because the glass is clear they can photosynthesize?

    Reply
    • Hey! That’s a good question, but luckily your plant is not in any trouble. As far as my experiences go, the leaves won’t die from being underwater (just as they don’t die from being buried in soil as they’d normally be). You can leave the pup in water for as long as you’d like; maybe with the addition of a little bit of fertilizer if need be.

      Good luck with the lil one 🙂

      Reply
  12. Hi,
    Thank you for this article.
    I have a question about a small plant that I have . It looks happy and grows bigger but I cannot get it to grow more than 6 leaves. Every time the seventh one starts growing one of the big leaves dies . What could be the possible reason ?

    Thank you ,
    Anna

    Reply
    • Hi Anna,

      Sorry to hear that! I was in the same situation with a small Pilea. Then my mom repotted it into fresh soil and gave it some more light and it just exploded with growth (you can see it in the last picture in this article). I guess I just wasn’t giving it what it needs. You can check out the full Pilea caresheet here to see if there’s anything you’ve missed. Try fertilizing lightly as well during the growth period.

      Hope you can get it growing! 🙂

      Reply
  13. My question may have already been answered but I am not a plant person and don’t know stem from stalk. I am more of a water and forget it plant person.
    I have a Pancake plant that lost a leaf from the bottom of the plant during transport home. I stuck that leaf in water and now it has roots. It has taken over a month to produce the roots but there are a good bit of them. So, I only have the leaf stem with the roots on the bottom. Can I put this in soil to make another plant? It doesn’t seem like the leaf will have much support. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Hey! As far as I know, you can’t grow a new Pilea plant from a single leaf. Take this thread on Instagram for example – as the author mentions, the leaf they planted has stayed alive but never developed into anything more. Some plants, like Peperomia, will propagate from a single leaf but it doesn’t appear that Pilea is one of them.

      Reply
  14. Great information, thanks!
    I was wondering if these techniques would work all year round? I am in a northern climate and am wondering if this is something I should wait for spring to do.

    Reply
    • Hey! I used to live in a northern climate as well and although things would take a bit longer in winter it worked perfectly fine. Just place the cutting in a nice warm spot that gets good light (as good as it gets in the north, anyway). Good luck!

      Reply
  15. G’day everyone,
    I love love Love Pilea and have four that I’ve bought.
    But, now I ‘ve also bought four cuttings to see if I can grow them myself.
    Anywho, just wondering if I placed a plastic bag, with holes over the tub, would that help with propergation?
    I’ve always had a very brown thumb but now and then I can see shades of green!!!
    Wish me luck
    Cheers

    Reply
    • Hello! No worries about your black thumb, you’ll be fine with Pileas. With the plastic bag you mean like creating a sort of mini greenhouse to keep things nice and moist for the babies, as you would when sprouting seeds? I’ve never seen anyone do that with Pileas but I suppose it could be helpful, or at least not harmful, as long as you watch carefully for fungus. You’ll have no problem propagating the cuttings without it though, especially when they’re placed in a nice warm spot. 🙂

      Good luck!

      Reply
  16. i broke the stem off my money tree plant hope that doesn’t mean i’ll go broke but…will it grow roots in water?

    Reply
    • Hi,

      Where did you get the seeds? Pilea peperomioides is not a plant that is generally grown from seed and pretty much all of the “Pilea” seeds being sold online are absolutely fake unfortunately. I would recommend just trying to find an actual Pilea plant or cuttings!

      Reply
  17. My mother plant has lost many lower leaves, so it looks Lila a money plant tree. Should I cut it and replant the main stalk? Leave it alone? Is it unhappy? Thank you in advance for your advice!

    Reply
    • Hi! Dropping lower leaves is normal for a Pilea, if you look at images of older Pileas on Google Image Search you’ll see that a lot of them have bare stems. The older leaves simply aren’t useful for the plant any more. So unless the leaves are dropping at an alarming rate there’s nothing to worry about!

      Whether you should behead the plant depends entirely on your own preferences. If you don’t like its current look then you could go ahead and do it, but it’ll be fine if left alone as well.

      I hope that clears things up!

      Reply
  18. Thank you for this post! I do have a couple of questions! I propagated 2 pups from the stems of my mature Pilea. I put them in water for several weeks to grow a root system. No sign of any roots. I decided then to plant them in moist soil together. It’s been several weeks again and there’s no sign of growth. They look pretty and alive, but I’m not sure if there’s any root development nor if they are going to grow. I did a tiny and I mean tiny bit of fertilizer (for succulents and cacti) diluted, but that hasn’t made a difference either. What do you suggest?

    Reply
    • Hi! Sorry to hear you’re not having much luck getting your Pilea babies to root, lucky they otherwise seem healthy though. I’ve never really had problems with water propagating any species of plant but it can tak much longer than you think for them to actually start sprouting anything. Where are the babies located? They should be in bright indirect light, preferably a spot that’s at least at room temp. If it’s fall/winter where you live that also might affect them since there’s simply less light.

      Honestly, as long as they still look good I wouldn’t worry too much about things. Keep the soil lightly moist but not wet. Lay off the fertilizer and try rooting hormone instead if you can find any. 🙂

      Reply
  19. Hello! I’ve had my plant for about a year. Recently it seems some of the lower leaves are getting heavy and dropping off. It keeps growing taller but not fuller. What can I do to help retain the bottom level? Otherwise, the plant looks healthy!

    Reply
    • Hi! Although I get that it can be annoying to see your Pilea lose its fullness while it matures, this is actually completely normal. Many houseplants drop their lower leaves as they grow. As long as they’re not falling off at an alarming rate and the rest of the plant looks healthy there isn’t much you can do about this. If the bare stem REALLY annoys you, you could opt to behead the Pilea and replant the top to shorten it, but I personally wouldn’t bother with that.

      Good luck, congrats on a healthy Pilea 🙂

      Reply
  20. Hi just wondering can you propagate the money tree from the stems, I have a large piece that was removed from my plant as it was breaking away. I’ve sat it in water to see if it will shoot roots. Thank you.

    Reply
  21. hello there! Such a nice information & web, congratulations! I let already two of my plantlet growing longer roots in water, but both lost completely healthy leaves a week later after I transfered them to a nursery soil pot. They have same light as the mother, does the plantlets need to be always moist meanwhile the roots are adapting to the soil ambiance? could it be that i didn’t let enough space to breath in between the soil and the new sprouting leaves Thanks a lot in advance!

    Reply
    • Hey! Thanks for the nice compliments and sorry to hear you haven’t been succesful in your propagation attempt so far. It’s so frustrating when they suddenly drop their leaves, isn’t it?! Some leaf loss is normal when you transfer them, it’s a difficult process for a plant. If they seem to be dying off completely then yes, you might have let them go too dry or made a mistake potting them up.

      Reply
  22. Hi! I lost two mature healthy leaves while repotting. They snapped right off at the stem. I don’t want to just toss them. Can you explain the process of propagating from the “cuttings” ? Thank you!

    Reply
    • Hey, so sorry for the late reply! I don’t actually know if Pilea peperomioides propagates from single leaves. I feel like the leaf might root, but not sure if the petiole will actually produce a new plant. You can try, but I haven’t heard of anyone doing this, stem propagation or using plantlets is the way to go.

      Reply
  23. Hello

    You’re advice is most excellent. One question from a rookie. How do you detach the plantlets without damaging them? My plant has a few now. Do I have to dig down into the soil to get their roots out? I’m worried I might end up destroying then or damaging the roots of the main plant in the process.

    Many thanks for your assistance.

    Reply
    • Hello! My apologies for the late reply. Have you managed to figure it out yet? In any case, what I do is gently dig around the plantlets for a bit until I find the spot where I want to sever them, and then do so with a clean knife. You don’t necessarily have to include their roots (not even all of them have roots), as you can re-root them easily enough 🙂

      Reply
  24. Hi, thanks for this excellent advice. I was given one of these recently and plantlets have started popping up around it. How do I extract them without damaging either their roots or those of the mother plant?

    Many thanks

    Reply
  25. Hello! I’ve had no luck with the plantlets yet, so I have tried the leaf cutting and successfully got roots. BUT that’s it. My cuttings are still alive 4 months on but are not making any new growth at all. Do you have any tips how to encourage the growth? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hey, that’s odd! I’m especially finding it strange that you’re not having luck with the plantlets, they should be super easy to propagate. What does your propagation station look like? Is it warm-ish and does it get plenty of light? What medium are you trying to grow the plants in? I prefer water if I want to be able to keep an eye on things.

      Reply
      • Thanks for the reply! I meant that i have had no plantlets yet, so i’ve been trying to propagate from the leaves in lieu of the plantlets. I think not enough light might be my problem…

        Reply
        • Hmm, yes, lack of plantlets does sound like the plant might not be getting enough light. Are you providing light as described in the post? Maybe you can consider a little grow light for an extra boost!

          Reply
  26. Hello.
    Thanks very much for your informative guide. My question is about the opposite! I’ve had a very prolific producer and I’ve got all the babies I need. So, I have put some hydroponic clay pebbles 1) to stop it drying out but 2) to stop the babies coming up. I’m doing this because I want the plants to retain their energy to grow ie. if all the goodness is not going into the babies the old plant and the new babies will grow healthier. Does that sound like a plan?

    Reply
    • Hi! I understand what you mean, although I have to admit I have never tried something like this so I can’t tell you if it’s going to work or not. Should help with moisture retention at least, so that’s a plus! Let me know how it goes, I’m curious to see how it works out 🙂

      Reply
  27. Hi, I have a pilea that started growing babies within the past couple of weeks, not bad considering it’s winter in Chicago. I am wondering. What size pot should I transfer the babies into?

    Thanks!

    Reply
  28. My pilea sprouted a plantlet in mid-December. It was growing nicely, but after 1 month, I found the plantlet’s 4 leaves had turned brown and died. The mother plant is fine. What do you think caused the plantlet to die and could it sprout more leaves on the root that is sticking out of the soil? Thanks.

    Reply
    • Aw, sorry to hear the plantlet didn’t make it! I guess you might have over- or underwatered a little – plantlets are more vulnerable than the mother plant due to their small size. So something that can kill the small ones might not affect the larger ones much. Alternatively, the mother plant might have “abandoned” the plantlet because something is lacking in her care.

      If the stem and roots aren’t dead then yes, it might still have a chance!

      Reply
  29. Hello,

    I have a stem plantlet that has been in water for about two weeks now. I don’t see any roots growing and assume I just need to be patient, but could you give me an idea of how long this might take on average? The leaves look healthy themselves.

    Many thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi! It depends on many factors like whether it’s summer or winter where you are, your indoor temperature and the amount of light the plantlet is getting. It also seems to depend on the plantlets mood, haha! I’d say 2 weeks to a month is a normal time frame. 🙂 Good luck!

      Reply
    • Hi! You know, I actually haven’t a clue. I’ve never heard of anyone growing them from seed and unfortunately many of the seeds sold on sites like Ebay are not real Pilea peperomioides. It’s worth a shot if you can find a trustworthy seed seller I guess!

      Reply

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