Whether you’re browsing through plants for delivery or strolling through the aisles of your local nursery, Chinese money plants stand out. Their saucer-shaped leaves appear out of this world and practically beg you to take them home. But before you do, it’s a good idea to learn the ins and outs of Chinese money plant care.
We’re going to cover all you need to know about caring for Chinese money plants, including selecting the proper soil mix, watering just the right amount, and providing a temperature they’ll love.
About Chinese Money Plants
Are they from China? Do they increase your odds of purchasing a winning lottery ticket? Can you keep them alive, despite your self-described lack of a green thumb?
We might not be able to fill you in on the Chinese money plant’s ability to bring fortune into your life, but we can provide some helpful facts about this cute little houseplant. First, let’s get the name out of the way. People typically refer to this plant as a Chinese money plant, but it also goes by the names coin plant, UFO plant, or even pancake plant. All of these names draw inspiration from the plant’s disc-shaped leaves. The scientific name is Pilea peperomioides.
As you might have suspected, this plant is native to China. While this plant is well-known by many modern gardeners and plant enthusiasts, it flew a bit under the radar for a while. That’s because houseplant enthusiasts passed cuttings along to their friends without larger plant companies knowing. By the time this plant became available to the masses, it already existed in many homes.
One of the reasons these plants make such good indoor companions is their compact size. They stay under a foot tall and a foot wide, making them perfect for tabletops and shelves. And we can’t help but love their unique leaves.
Caring for Chinese Money Plants
Now that you know the basics about these plants, you may be dreaming of bringing one home…or keeping the one you already own alive. We’ve got good news! Chinese money plant care is fairly simple, as long as you have some basic info in hand.
Selecting a Proper Container
Since these plants stay quite tiny, they’ll be happy in small pots. Look for a container that is anywhere from 8 to 12 inches wide and tall. This will provide enough room for the plant to grow without overwhelming it with excess soil.
Any material will do, including terra cotta, plastic, and glazed ceramic. Just make sure the bottom has drainage holes!
Choosing a Soil Mix
After you’ve found the perfect pot for your friend, it’s time to fill it with a potting mix it will love. Like most houseplants, Chinese money plants will grow better in a soilless potting mix than they will in true soil.
The best will hold a bit of moisture in between waterings but also allow excess water to drain. That means you’ll want to look out for water-holding materials like peat moss and coco coir as well as drainage materials like perlite and pine bark fines.
A general potting mix labeled for potted houseplants will likely work just fine.
If you want to keep your plant looking healthy, you’ll need to provide it with lots of bright light. While it can tolerate dim conditions, less light can cause the plants to become leggy or develop small leaves.
Although these plants like things bright, they can be damaged by direct rays. That means you should avoid placing right next to south-facing windows or other spots with unfiltered light.
Chinese money plants have Goldilocks needs when it comes to watering: they don’t want things too wet or too dry, but rather justttt right. Your job is to water the soil so it remains slightly moist but never sopping wet.
As long as you choose a proper potting mix, this isn’t too difficult to achieve. Start by watering your plant so all of the soil is wet, and make sure to dump any excess water that’s collected in a drainage dish. Wait a few days, and then stick your finger in the top inch of soil. If it’s dry, it’s time to water. And if it’s still moist, step away and check the moisture level again in a few days.
Fortunately, these houseplants aren’t too picky about the type of water they receive. While rainwater and distilled water are always great options, tap water typically works just fine.
Temperature and Humidity
Remember how we said these plants are pretty easy to care for? This is especially true when it comes to providing the ideal temperature and humidity. Most home and office environments are just fine for Chinese money plants.
That said, you’ll want to keep these plants away from any sources of direct heat or cold. Don’t place them right beside heating or cooling vents, keep them away from exterior doors, and provide adequate distance between the plants and fireplaces. And if you keep your plant on a sun porch or patio during the warmer summer months, make sure to bring it inside during the winter.
Chinese money plants don’t require a ton of fertilizer, but they will grow better if they receive a regular dose of nutrients. Choose a balanced fertilizer with an NPK ratio like 1-1-1 or 2-2-2 and apply once every month during the spring and summer.
Make sure you don’t over fertilize! Doing so can cause more harm than not fertilizing at all.
Pests and Diseases
Chinese money plants are susceptible to many of the same pests and diseases as other houseplants. Knowing these common nuisances can help you ID and treat issues as soon as they arise. And that means healthy plants!
First off, keep an eye out for tiny sap-sucking pests. While these critters may be small, they can quickly multiply and take over your plants and quickly zap it of its sap. Some of the most common sap-sucking pests include aphids, spider mites, and thrips.
If you spot any of the pests, act fast! Grab a rag or paper towel, wet it with some soapy water, and gently wipe the leaves to remove the pests. This treatment typically works well, but another option is to spray the pests with neem oil or insecticidal soap.
And since these pests typically enter on infected plants, inspect each new plant before you bring it into your home. If you spot signs of pests, quarantine the plants in a garage or separate area until they appear healthy.
Root rot is a common disease to keep an eye out for. As you might expect, this causes a plant’s roots to rot. It’s caused by numerous types of fungi that thrive in moist conditions. Therefore, overwatering and/or poorly draining potting mix are often associated with the development of root rot.
While discolored, mushy roots are a sure sign your plant has developed this disease, they are other signs! Yellow leaves, wilting leaves, and generally unhealthy-looking plants may all indicate root rot. If you know your plant is infected, repot it in fresh potting soil and decrease the amount you water.
Care for Chinese Money Plants with Ease
Now that you know the basics of Chinese money plant care, you can keep them healthy and happy for years to come! But if you’re like most plant lovers, you probably have a few other houseplants at home. To learn more about caring for other types of houseplants, check out caring for prayer plants and lucky bamboo plant care.Shop All