Chinese Money Plant vs Peperomia: Key Differences Explained

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The Chinese Money Plant and Peperomia are two popular houseplants, both known for their unique and striking appearances. Though they may seem similar at first glance, these two plants have distinct differences and origins that set them apart. In this article, we will explore the similarities and differences between the Chinese Money Plant (Pilea peperomioides) and Peperomia, helping you decide which of these fascinating plants might be best suited for your indoor garden.

Native to southern China, the Chinese Money Plant, also known as Pilea peperomioides, UFO plant, or pancake plant, has been a growing favorite among house plant enthusiasts for its round, coin-like leaves and ease of propagation. Interestingly, this plant was once incorrectly identified as a Peperomia when it was first brought to Europe in the early 1900s. However, it wasn’t until the 1970s that its proper classification as a distinct species was recognized, with the term “peperomioides” denoting its similarities to the Peperomia family while acknowledging its uniqueness.

On the other hand, Peperomia is a diverse genus of small, tropical houseplants known for their ornamental foliage. With over 1,000 species, Peperomia plants offer a wide variety of leaf shapes, colors, and textures, making them a popular choice for indoor gardening enthusiasts. Though sharing some resemblances with the Chinese Money Plant, these distinct plants have their own set of care requirements and characteristics, creating an engaging comparison between the two that plant lovers can appreciate.

Chinese Money Plant Overview

Pilea Peperomioides
Macro shot of Pilea peperomioides houseplant in terracotta pot on the white table, green leaves covered with water droplets. Sunlight. Chinese money plant.

Origins and History

The Chinese Money Plant, also known as Pilea Peperomioides, is a popular indoor plant originating from southern China. It was first brought to the UK at the beginning of the twentieth century and quietly circulated among houseplant enthusiasts, earning the nickname “pass-it-along plant.” The plant’s popularity has surged in recent years, thanks in part to social media.


The Chinese Money Plant gained its name from its unique, coin-shaped leaves that resemble Chinese currency. The plant displays a dense growth pattern with round, bright green leaves attached to long, thin stems. At a glance, it has a superficial resemblance to some species of Peperomia, which once led to it being misidentified as a Peperomia plant when it was first introduced to Europe.

Care and Maintenance

To ensure the healthy growth of a Chinese Money Plant, follow these care and maintenance tips:

  • Soil: Plant your Pilea Peperomioides in rich, well-draining soil, such as a high-quality organic, peat-based or coir-based potting mix. Amend the soil with perlite to enhance drainage and avoid waterlogged soil. The plant thrives in a soil pH between 6.0-7.0.
  • Repotting: It is necessary to repot your Chinese Money Plant every 1-2 years or when the roots outgrow the pot. Select a pot that is 1-2 inches larger in diameter than the current pot, with drainage holes. Carefully remove the plant from the old pot, loosen the roots, and place it in the new pot filled with fresh, well-draining potting mix.
  • Watering: Avoid over-watering the Chinese Money Plant, as it can lead to root rot. Water the plant moderately, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between waterings.
  • Light: Place the plant in a spot with bright, indirect light, as direct sunlight can cause leaf burn. Keep in mind that lower light conditions may slow the plant’s growth rate and result in fewer leaves.

Remember to keep these care tips in mind when growing a Chinese Money Plant, and enjoy the beauty and uniqueness this plant has to offer.

Peperomia Overview

Raindrop Peperomia
Peperomia raindrop plant stand on concrete wall background. Home gardening. Banner with copy space.

Origins and History

Peperomia plants have a diverse background, originating from various tropical and subtropical regions such as Central and South America. With their vast distribution, they have earned the nickname “Radiator Plants” and have been cherished by houseplant enthusiasts across generations.


Peperomia plants are known for their stunning foliage, which comes in a variety of shapes, colors, and patterns. One notable variety is the Metallic Peperomia with unique, metallic-colored leaves. Another well-admired type is the Raindrop Peperomia, recognized by its glossy, solid emerald-green leaves that resemble raindrops. These plants can also produce tiny white flower spikes under ample sunlight, adding an extra layer of interest to their appearance.

Care and Maintenance

Caring for Peperomia plants is relatively easy, making them a great choice for novice and experienced plant owners alike. Here are some essential care tips:

  • Light: Provide bright, indirect light to maintain healthy growth and vibrant foliage.
  • Water: Allow the top 2-3 inches of soil to dry before watering, as these plants prefer a moderately moist environment.
  • Soil: Use a rich, well-draining soil mixture, preferably peat-based or coir-based. It’s essential to amend the soil with perlite to improve drainage and prevent waterlogged soil.
  • Humidity: Maintain a relatively high humidity level, as they naturally thrive in tropical environments.

It’s worth noting that Peperomia plants are sometimes mistaken for Pilea plants, particularly the Chinese Money Plant, which has a similar appearance. Despite their visual similarity, they belong to different plant families and have distinct care requirements. Overall, Peperomia plants are versatile, attractive, and easy-to-care-for houseplants, making them a popular choice among indoor gardeners.

Comparing Growth Requirements

Light Conditions

Chinese Money Plant thrives in bright, indirect light. Too much direct sunlight can cause the leaves to scorch, while low light conditions might slow down its growth.

Peperomia, on the other hand, prefers bright, indirect light as well. Some varieties can tolerate lower light levels. However, it’s essential to avoid placing Peperomia in locations with intense, direct sunlight.


Both plants have similar watering requirements. For Chinese Money Plant, allow the soil to dry out somewhat between waterings. Overwatering can lead to root rot issues, so make sure the top layer of soil feels dry before watering.

Similarly, Peperomia requires that the soil dries out between waterings. Consistently soggy soil can cause its roots to rot. It’s crucial to have a balanced watering routine for both plants.

Soil Requirements

Chinese Money Plant grows best in rich, well-draining soil. Use a high-quality organic potting mix that is peat-based or coir-based, amended with perlite to increase drainage. A soil pH of 6.0-7.0 is ideal for this plant.

Peperomia also prefers well-draining soil, but the specific type may vary depending on the variety. Generally, a mix containing peat, perlite, and sand works well. Make sure to choose a potting mix that allows for proper drainage to help prevent root rot.

Temperature and Humidity

Both Chinese Money Plant and Peperomia enjoy moderate to warm temperatures. The ideal temperature range for Chinese Money Plant is between 60-75°F (16-24°C). Avoid placing it near cold drafts or heating vents, as temperature extremes may harm the plant.

Peperomia can also tolerate a range of temperatures but grows best in temperatures between 65-80°F (18-27°C). Moreover, these plants appreciate moderate humidity levels, so maintaining an indoor environment with adequate moisture is crucial for their growth.

Pest and Disease Management

Common Pests

Chinese money plants and peperomias may be susceptible to some similar pests. Mealybugs are small insects that can infest both types of plants, appearing as white cottony masses on the plant’s surface. To control mealybugs, try using insecticidal soap, neem oil, or gently wiping affected areas with rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab.

Another pest to watch out for is the spider mite, which can be identified by tiny webbing on the plant’s leaves. To manage spider mites, increase humidity around your plant and use a miticide, or neem oil, as treatment.

Common Diseases

Chinese money plants can sometimes develop issues like leaf spot, which causes dark, sunken spots on the leaves. This issue can be resolved by improving air circulation, avoiding over-watering, and using a fungicide if necessary.

On the other hand, peperomias may suffer from root rot caused by over-watering or inadequate drainage. To prevent root rot, use a well-draining soil mix and avoid over-watering your peperomia.

Keep an eye on the overall health of your plants to ensure early detection and swift management of any pests or diseases. Regularly inspect leaves, stems, and the soil around your plants to maintain their well-being.

Remember to keep these tips in mind, and you can successfully manage pests and diseases in your Chinese money plants and peperomias. Happy growing!

Propagation Techniques

In this section, we’ll discuss propagation techniques for two popular houseplants: Chinese Money Plant and Peperomia. Understanding their propagation methods is important if you want to successfully multiply these plants in your home garden.

Chinese Money Plant Propagation

The Chinese Money Plant (Pilea peperomioides) is often called the “Friendship Plant” because propagating it is very easy, and sharing cuttings with friends is a traditional practice. There are a couple of methods you can use to propagate this plant:

  1. Offsets: Offsets are baby plants that grow around the base of the parent plant. To propagate using offsets, simply remove the babies from the mother plant, either by gently snapping them off or using a clean, sharp knife to detach them. You can then place the baby plants either in water or moist soil to encourage root development.
  2. Stem Cuttings: Alternatively, you can propagate your Pilea peperomioides from stem plantlets. Use a clean, sharp knife to detach the babies from the main stem, and place them in water or moist soil to develop roots. Most plant enthusiasts prefer using water since they can observe the root formation process clearly.

Peperomia Propagation

Peperomia plants can also be quite easy to propagate. Here are two popular methods for propagating Peperomia:

  1. Leaf Cuttings: One simple way to propagate Peperomia is through leaf propagation. Take a healthy, mature leaf from the plant, and either stick it into moist soil or moss, or place it in water. After some time, the leaf will begin to grow tiny new leaves.
  2. Stem Cuttings: You can also propagate Peperomia by taking stem cuttings. Cut a healthy stem with a few leaves attached and place it in water or moist soil. Roots will start to develop after a few weeks, and a new plant will grow from the cutting.

In conclusion, both Chinese Money Plants and Peperomia have relatively easy methods for propagation, making them excellent choices for those looking to multiply their houseplant collections.

Choosing Between the Two

In this section, we will discuss the factors to consider when choosing between a Chinese Money Plant (Pilea Peperomioides) and a Peperomia plant. We will focus on their aesthetic appeal and ease of care to help you decide which one is right for you.

Aesthetic Appeal

Chinese Money Plant: Pilea Peperomioides, also known as the UFO plant or the Chinese Money plant, has round, shiny leaves on thin, straight stems. The plant has a unique appearance that makes it a popular choice for home decorators and plant enthusiasts.

Peperomia: There are many different varieties of Peperomia with varying leaf shapes, sizes, and colors. For example, the Watermelon Peperomia (Peperomia argyreia) has rounded, slightly pointed leaves with dark-green and silvery light-green stripes, resembling a watermelon rind.

Ease of Care

Chinese Money Plant: This plant requires rich, well-draining soil and prefers a soil pH between 6.0 and 7.0. It should be watered about once a week and placed in an area with bright indirect light. The ideal temperature for Pilea Peperomioides ranges from 60°F to 86°F (16°C to 30°C) and requires an average humidity between 40-50%.

Some tips for caring for a Chinese Money Plant include:

  • Use a mix of 50% soil, 40% cactus mix, and 10% perlite for optimal potting soil
  • Ensure the soil drains well to avoid waterlogging
  • Provide adequate light and temperature conditions

Peperomia: Peperomia plants are generally easy to care for and adaptable to various environments. However, their specific care requirements may vary depending on the specific variety of Peperomia you choose. Most Peperomia plants share common care requirements, such as well-draining soil and indirect light.

In summary, both Chinese Money Plants and Peperomia plants have unique aesthetic appeals and are relatively easy to care for. The choice between the two may come down to personal preferences and the specific care requirements of a particular Peperomia variety. Consider these factors when deciding which plant will best suit your space and care capabilities.

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