A handy page to answer some of the most common

questions Pilea Peperomioides growers have asked us.

If you don’t see an answer to your question, please send your inquiry

through the contact page and we’ll get you the correct information.  

Is my Pilea safe for pets?


Pilea are non-toxic and safe for pets and people. We wouldn’t recommend snacking on them however as they don’t taste all that great.




Why is my Pilea’s color fading?


Pilea can see their dark green color fade to a lighter green or yellow if they have not been fed in the last month. Feed your Pilea once a month to give it color, using all purpose 20-20-20 fertilizer diluted to half strength.




Will cutting my Pilea’s sprouts affect its health?


Pilea can continue growing just fine no matter how many sprouts are harvested. Just ensure that you replace any soil that was taken out while cutting sprouts.




Can I cut and plant a Pilea leaf to grow a new one?


Pilea can only be multiplied through cutting and replanting sprouts. Cutting and planting a leaf will not grow a new Pilea.




When should I re-pot my Pilea?


Your Pilea does not need to be repotted for over a year after you buy it; it can go up to two years in its original nursery pot, but one year is best for optimal health. It is recommended that Pilea be re-potted every two years with new soil but they can be re-potted earlier using the same soil as well. Newly planted sprouts should not be re-potted before they have had the chance to grow stronger roots; this usually takes 2 to 3 weeks.




Why is my Pilea losing its round shape?


As Pilea get older (one to two years) they grow tall and their central stem hardens to the point that they resemble a small tree. This is normal. They will continue to make sprouts and grow leaves. A large Pilea is a strong Pilea, and can be a source of new plants for as long as it lives. They also look really cool!




How old can a Pilea get?


Pilea can live to be 10 years or more if given the right care and conditions. Some growers have had their Pilea for over 2 decades!




Can my Pilea go outside?


Pilea don’t like direct sunlight and can suffer if left outside under the sun. If you have a shady area in your garden or on your patio it is possible for your Pilea to grow there in temperate weather.




What is the lowest temperature my Pilea can live with?


Like most tropical plants Pilea don’t like cold weather. They can withstand temperatures as low as 55F (13C) but prefer to be kept between 68F – 86F (20C – 30C).




My pet ate my Pilea! Can it grow back?


So long as there is one leaf left attached to the main stem then a Pilea can grow back to its normal shape. If all that remains is the central stem then it is unlikely that it will survive, however there is still a small chance. Alternatively, if there are no leaves but still some sprouts they can be replanted to grow new Pilea.




How can I ship or mail baby Pilea to my friends and family?


Firstly, wrap the sprouts in a dry paper towel as the sprouts can retain their internal moisture for up to a week. The dry paper towel absorbs any external humidity that can cause the sprouts to rot during shipping.

Secondly, wrap the sprouts and dry paper towel in a plastic bag, and ship in any container sturdy enough to prevent the plants from being crushed (most cardboard or carton works just fine).

Make sure your giftees plant their baby Pilea in moist dirt or growing media as soon as possible after they receive them.




Why are my Pilea’s leaves turning yellow?


If a Pilea’s outside or bottom leaves are turning yellow it means that they are ageing. They can be safely removed or just left to fall off naturally. If the younger leaves are turning yellow it could mean that your Pilea is being overwatered. Let the soil dry out in-between waterings and you should see the leaves regain their nice green color. Another reason why Pilea's leaves turn yellow is a nitrogen deficiency. Give your Pilea a high-nitrogen nutrient formula. You may consider adding a regular dose of an amino-acid supplement to your monthly feeding program: it can help the plant to get all the nitrogen it needs. If these solutions don’t work, please contact us directly and we’ll examine your specific case more closely and provide more detailed solutions.




Should I re-pot my Pilea in a similarly sized container or a larger one?


Your Pilea can be transferred to the same size container or a larger one. If it is the same size, you must ensure that as much of the old soil as possible is discarded without harming the root structure. Fill the new container with all purpose tropical soil/peat mix, transfer the plant, and water it lightly. If your new container is larger (1.5 times the size or more. Ex: If original pot diameter is 4 inches, then the new one should be at least 6 inches.), you can just transfer your Pilea directly into the larger container with the old soil undisturbed. Just make sure there is enough new soil/peat to fill the container.




I see a lot of fuzzy roots on the surface of my Pilea! Is that normal?


Those little fuzzy roots are perfectly normal. That is how the plant's roots guide their way through the soil to the light and water. If you see an unusual amount of roots on your Pilea, it means is that you have an overactive plant! It will make more babies and faster than the average Pilea. Congratulations!




Right after buying my Pilea, I smelled a decomposing odor coming from it. What is wrong? Do I need to repot my plant?


Don't worry! That smell must be moist and/or stagnant soil: all the Pilea we sell are less than 18 weeks old when they leave our greenhouses. Your Pilea won't need to be potted up before at least one year!




Where can I buy your Pilea? Do you sell online?


Unfortunately, at the moment we don't sell online. You can find our Pilea in many retailers and nurseries all around North America. Send us a message through the contact form including your address, area code and any further questions and we will be happy to help you. Also, you may consider checking pileamap.com: a useful website where shops selling Pilea are updated every day.




How can I make my plant grow larger?


The most beautiful thing about Pilea plants is that they all look different and they all do their own things, even when you are treating them all the same. Some Pileas will grow tall, and others will grow large. Some have big leaves; others have small leaves. Some will grow fast, and others will stay petite. Every Pilea is different and will look different. Do not worry too much if your Pilea doesn't look "perfect" or doesn't grow the way you want. In the end, we love them all in any case, whatever the shape they are! P.S.: However, do not forget to feed your plant once a month: it will boost growth!




Why do I need to feed my Pilea once a month?


Every plant needs six macro-nutrients to survive. They get carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen from air and water, but they also need nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium; here’s why we need to feed them with some fertilizer! On every fertilizer label, you can notice three numbers, such as 20-20-20. These numbers may vary depending on the fertilizer and show you what proportion of each macro-nutrient the fertilizer contains. The first number is always nitrogen, the second is phosphorus, and the third is potassium. Feed your Pilea once a month to give it more color and enhance growth, using an all-purpose 20-20-20 fertilizer diluted to half strength.




How can I encourage my Pilea to grow pups?


If your plant is healthy, you can try chopping off the top half. Your Pilea will then find fresh energy to grow in a new direction - up, down, out, or with new pups. Also, cutting plantlets may stimulate growth. You'll usually get a few new pups where you cut one. Try that and wait a few weeks! Feeding your Pilea is another important step to enhance growth; it will also give more color to the plant. You can feed the soil with a liquid fertilizer once a month to help promote strong root development and healthy foliage growth. Use only all-purpose liquid fertilizer (20-20-20) diluted to half strength. Furthermore, it's important to leave the soil free from any pebbles, so the plantlets can comfortably pop up through the soil.




Why are my Pilea's leaves drooping and curling downward?


Your leaves are curling because you are probably overwatering. Overwatering is a common problem with Pilea. Not always it's caused by giving the plant too much water, but also by insufficient drainage. First of all, allow Pilea to dry out. Then, slowly increase the amount of water as you see the plant recovering. Then, make sure you are watering only when the top inch of the soil is dry; try sticking your finger in it to check. Remember that excess water should drain away quickly: make sure your pot has drainage holes. Don't put small plants in big containers, because the soil will hold extra moisture.




Why are my Pilea's leaves curling inward and forming a cup?


Your plant is suffering from light or heat stress. It could be too close to high-intensity light or it might be in a room where temperatures are persistently above 80 degrees F (27 degrees C). Remember to monitor the temperature: not just in the room, but also around the plant. Maintain constant ventilation and leave enough space between your Pilea and the light source. Also, always place your Pilea near to a north or east-facing window or use sheers or blinds if facing south or west windows.




My Pilea has gnats! How can I get rid of them?


Applying natural neem oil would help get rid of pests. You can find neem oil at most garden centers.




Why do I see white spots underneath my Pilea's leaves?


These spots are mineral deposits that develop as the plant photosynthesizes. Don't worry: if your plant looks healthy, there is no reason to be concerned. Just let your Pilea do its things!




My Pilea foliage is getting yellow or brown and edges look burned. What should I do?


Your Pilea might be suffering from potassium deficiency. It may look like the plant is getting burned by too much light but if your Pilea is not getting direct sunlight or you're using the right lamp, your plant needs more potassium. Switch to a high-potassium fertilizer, and be sure to check the soil pH: it should be 6.0 to 7.0 to allow the plant to absorb potassium properly.




My Pilea's new leaves are already dying! Why?


Damaged roots can cause new growth to be wilting or dying. Remember always to check the root system when the plant looks sad. Prune out any roots that are black, brown or feel soft. Then, flush the plant: water it from the top until the water runs out the bottom, and repeat this four times to remove excess salts from the soil. If the soil stays soggy for more than a few minutes, you should consider re-potting the plant.




How do healthy Pilea roots look?


Healthy roots should look white, numerous, hardy and long enough to hold the soil in the shape of the pot. They should not be brown, mushy or crumbly: damaged roots can cause new growth to be wilting or dying. When buying a new Pilea, check your Pilea's roots to make sure they are healthy. Every once in a while, remove the plant from its pot and cut away any circled or tangled root. Also, the root system is very delicate! When propagating babies, there is no need to pull on them. Gently cut the pup where it meets the dirt and it will come right up!




How can I recover my Pilea from root rot?


To recover a Pilea with root rot, prune out any roots that are black, brown or feel soft. Then, flush the plant: water it from the top until the water runs out the bottom, and repeat this four times to remove excess salts from the soil. If the soil stays soggy for more than a few minutes, you should consider re-potting the plant. In the following days, never leave your plant in standing water. Water only when the plant’s soil surface feels dry, and fertilize only when the plant appears to need it, such as when the leaves start to lighten in color.




I am sure I am not over-watering, but my Pilea's leaves are still turning yellow and drooping. Why?


The plant could suffer the same symptoms of over-watering if the pot or the soil don't have enough drainage. Excess water should drain away quickly, so make sure to choose a well-draining soil and that your pot has drainage holes. If your favorite pot doesn't have a hole, you can make it following this tutorial. Also, don't put small plants in big containers, because the soil will hold extra moisture. Finally, always make sure you are feeding your plant once a month.




How can I make my Pilea bushier?


If you wish for a bushier plant, you can try avoiding cutting off any pups. Letting the babies grow can create a full and beautiful mother plant. However, the best thing about Pilea is propagating and sharing babies. You can then choose to have a lot of Pilea plants and build a diverse and multipurpose family! In any case, never forget to feed your plant once a month, because it will promote growth!




What kind of pot works best for Pilea?


It doesn’t matter which pot you choose: what is important is that this container has drainage holes at the bottom, so that the water can pass through easily and the roots won't stay too wet. However, terracotta pots could be a great choice: terracotta is very porous and allows the plant roots to breathe well in the soil. It also helps to absorb exceeding water and moisture and prevents the plant from rotting.




I am afraid of over-watering. How can I avoid it?


Try sticking your finger in the first top inch of the soil. If it's dry, your Pilea is probably starting to get thirsty. You can also try to touch the leaves to feel if they are hard and thick or soft and thin – if they are thin, probably your plant is ready to be watered. If you are still in doubt, better wait a little bit longer and start seeing the leaves getting droopy, rather than watering too early! And remember: generally, you want to allow the plant to dry out longer between each watering during winter. You can water once a fortnight in the colder months, while during the summer, Pilea might need a bit more water. This can change, however, based on external and internal temperature conditions. Get to know your plant with time and patience, and try different solutions to find out what works best!




My house is too dark. Can I grow my Pilea with a lamp?


You can consider adding some artificial lighting if your home gets too dark. Pilea will need to stay about 8-12 hours under the lights every day. LED and CFL bulbs work great; choose one that has minimum 1000 Lumens of output, and make sure to place the lamp about 1-3 feet away from the plant!




My Pilea has been invaded by pests! Should I repot and change the soil?


Gnats usually hide underneath the leaves, and then they invade the soil. If you repot, you will end up carrying the gnats into the new soil. Pests could kill your Pilea if left untreated: what you should do instead is cure the plant. Apply either Neem Oil or Silicon Dioxide (also known as diatomaceous earth - a type of powder) for 7 days; both products are organic insecticides that can be found in most garden centers and are perfectly safe. Spray the oil or sprinkle the powder on your plant so that there is a light layer on the leaves and the soil. The bugs will walk through it and die shortly after contact.





  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • Spotify
Harster Greenhouses

© Copyright 2018-2020. Harster Greenhouses Inc.

All rights reserved. Designed and curated by Silvia Frattali.