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Common Pilea Foliage Problems: Causes And Cures

Updated: Jun 29, 2020

Are your Pilea's leaves trying to tell you something?

If you can see the foliage curling, drooping, changing color, or getting spots, your Pilea may be suffering from overwatering, nutrient deficiency, or an insect infestation. First of all: don't panic! Your Pilea will be fine. You just have to check the symptoms and learn how to fix it!

Pilea Peperomioides Foliage Problems Causes Fix Cures

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Leaves are drooping and curling downward.

Cause: Overwatering

About it: Overwatering is a common problem with Pilea. Not always it's caused by giving the plant too much water, but also by insufficient drainage.

Cure & Prevention: Allow Pilea to dry out. Then, slowly increase the amount of water as you see the plant recovering. 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.

Bottom leaves are curling inward and getting yellow and softer. Eventually, they become brown and fall off.

Cause: Nitrogen deficiency

About: Nitrogen deficiency always affects the bottom leaves first, which are the oldest.

Cure & Prevention: 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.

Leaves are curling inward and forming a cup.

Pilea Peperomioides light heat stress curling leaves

Cause: Light/Heat stress

About it: Your plant 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).

Cure & Prevention: 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. Place your Pilea near to north or east-facing windows or use sheers or blinds if facing south or west windows.

I see yellow spots, and some leaves are drooping. There is black mold growing on top of leaves.

Cause: Aphids

Cure & Prevention: Spray the foliage with Neem Oil and keep using it for 5 to 7 days later. Keep checking the leaves every week for any new infestations.

About: Aphids are tiny pests that can be red, green, black, brown, or white. They gather underneath the leaves and suck fluids from them, causing the yellowing and drooping. As aphids feed, they excrete a sticky material called "honeydew," in which black mold grows.

Leaves are twisting. I notice white spots or black mold on the top foliage.

Pilea Peperomioides pests whiteflies white spots mold
Source: @succulentura

Cause: Whiteflies

Cure & Prevention: Use an insect-killing soap to stop the whiteflies feeding on your plant. Whiteflies are attracted by yellow, so set up some yellow sticky stakes or sticky traps to capture them. These traps will help you monitor the pests and will also work as an early warning system to notice an infestation before it spreads.

About: Whiteflies are small insects. Like aphids, they suck fluids from the plant gathering underneath the leaves and deposit honeydew.

Foliage is getting yellow or brown. Edges look burned.

Pilea Peperomioides yellow leaves brown leaves potassium deficiency
Source: @alice.plants

Cause: Potassium deficiency

About: Potassium deficiency may look like the plant is getting burned by too much light; if your Pilea is not getting direct sunlight or you're using the right lamp, your plant needs more potassium.

Cure & Prevention: Treat the plant with a high-potassium fertilizer. Be sure to check the soil pH: it should be 6.0 to 7.0 to allow the plant to absorb potassium properly.

I can see white spots underneath my Pilea's leaves.

Cause: Small salt-like grains

About it: These spots are mineral deposits that develop as the plant photosynthesizes.

Cure & Prevention: Don't worry: if your plant looks healthy, there is no reason to be concerned. Start using filtered water for your Pilea and just let the plant do its things!

[Article source:]

Extra Tip:

Do not forget to feed your Pilea once a month if you want a healthier and bushier plant.

Make sure to use an all-purpose 20-20-20 fertilizer, diluted to half strength.

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