How To Look After Your Pilea Peperomioides: The Definitive Care Tutorial
Updated: Jan 15
It's easy to take care of Pilea Peperomioides: you have to follow just a few tips to assure it will grow happy and healthy. We have prepared a list of all you need to know to look after your green friend!
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.
When you buy your first Pilea, you will normally find it in a small plastic pot. Don’t repot the plant straight away: avoid unnecessary stress, you can leave your Pilea in the current container for over a year. Let your Pilea have time to adjust to your home environment.
When you do re-pot it, ensure the pot size is not too big and is appropriate to the size of your Pilea: you can transfer the plant 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.
Remember to re-pot your Pilea, or just change the soil, every one-two years for optimal health.
Pileas are sensitive to overwatering: it’s important to use a very porous soil with good drainage. You can use any all-purpose or tropical soil mixture: it’s perfect with good drainage because it doesn't hold too much water or moisture.
If you prefer, you can make your own mixture at home.
Use coco peat fiber or peat moss, and then mix the soil with a small portion of perlite (one part perlite to nine parts soil), which is great for soil aeration and drainage.
Do not be surprised if the soil beneath your Pilea is covered in roots; they are voracious growers.
Before re-potting your Pilea in fresh soil, always ensure you carefully inspect the soil for any fungus gnats or other bugs. If the new soil is already infected, it can cause plant problems and potential stress. Either treat the soil or change it!
3. Water & Humidity
Pilea can easily suffer from root rot – it's important not to keep the soil wet and let it dry out completely between each watering. You can check the soil of your Pilea to see if it's time for some water: try sticking your finger in the first top inch of the soil. If it's dry, your Pilea is 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 could water once a fortnight in the cooler months, while during the summer, Pilea might need a bit more water.
This can change, however, based on external and internal temperature conditions. Always get to know your plant with time and patience, and try different solutions to find out what works best!
The heater and the air conditioning can cause the air to become drier: adjust your watering, based on the temperature and the amount of lighting in your home. Remember that Pilea loves humidity, so spray or mist the leaves twice a week if your home is on the dry side.
When watering, make sure your pot has drainage holes and no pebbles at the bottom so the water can easily get through the soil. Be patient: allow your Pilea to drain before returning to its position!
Once a month, you can “flush” your Pilea: water the plant 4-5 times in one sitting, each time letting all the water slowly drain out. This will help to wash out unnecessary salts and minerals that may have accumulated over time in the soil.
Pilea loves to be in front of a window where it can get a lot of bright, cheerful, indirect light, but almost no direct sunlight: too much sun might burn the leaves.
The low or moderate light of a north or east window will work best. Use sheers or blinds if facing south or west windows.
Make sure to leave enough space between your Pilea and the light source. You can bring your Pilea outside to the patio in the summer but keep it in a shaded area.
Rotate your Pilea a few times a week if you want that it keeps a nice and symmetrical shape: the leaves grow in the direction of the light and tend to reach for it. For the darker periods of the year or spots with almost no light, you can use a lamp.
You can feed the soil with a liquid fertilizer once a month to give it more color, to help promote strong root development and healthy foliage growth. Use only all-purpose liquid fertilizer (20-20-20) diluted to half strength.
Pilea will thrive with temperatures between 60-80 °F (15-30 °C) and if you try to avoid large fluctuations. It’s important not to keep your plant below 55 °F (13 °C) and avoid exposure to over 100 °F (35 °C).
Remember to monitor the temperature not just in the room, but also around the plant, and to maintain constant ventilation.
When artificial heating or air conditioning is used at your place, mist the foliage daily to increase humidity levels around the plant. However, it's really important not to put your Pilea near to a working heater or air conditioning.
Dead leaves should regularly be removed to encourage a bushy plant! Pinching off brown or yellow leaves will encourage new growth.
Every once in a while, remove the plant from its pot and cut away any circled or tangled root.