Pilea Types: A Concise Guide to Popular Varieties

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Pilea plants, a diverse genus encompassing over 600 species, have become increasingly popular for indoor gardeners due to their easy-care nature and unique visual appeal. With a variety of frost-tender, tropical foliage plants ranging from upright bushy types to trailing varieties, there’s a Pilea suitable for every indoor gardening enthusiast. Interestingly, Pilea plants belong to the scientific family Urticaceae, also called the Nettle family, but unlike many of their stinging ‘cousins,’ these eye-catching plants are safe to touch and admire without causing harm.

Some standout Pilea types include the Chinese Money Plant (Pilea peperomioides), known for its circular coin-shaped leaves that ‘orbit’ around the pot, bringing an air of good fortune to its surroundings. Other noteworthy varieties comprise the rare Pilea Globosa, or Pilea Serpyllacea, which blooms attractive flowers and comes in a range of colors, such as green, red, burgundy, and gray. With numerous options available, there’s undoubtedly a Pilea variety that matches every indoor gardener’s tastes, whether looking to adorn a hanging basket, terrarium, or coffee table with these charming plants.

Common Pilea Types

Pilea Peperomioides

Pilea peperomioides on a bamboo mat

Also known as the Chinese Money Plant, Pilea Peperomioides are popular for their unique, round leaves and easy care requirements. They thrive in bright, indirect light and well-draining soil. A key feature of this type is its ability to produce pups, which can be propagated to create new plants. This makes it a perfect addition to any indoor garden.

Pilea Cadierei

Pilea Cadierei

The Pilea Cadierei, or Aluminum Plant, is known for its stunning silver-patterned leaves. It prefers bright, indirect light with moderate humidity and regular watering. It grows in small bush-like forms, making it a great choice for terrariums or small indoor spaces. As a tropical plant, it enjoys higher humidity levels and misting will help keep it happy.

Pilea Depressa

How to Propagate Pilea Depressa

Baby Tears, or Pilea Depressa, is an evergreen trailing variety perfect for hanging baskets or plant stands. This type enjoys bright, indirect light and well-draining soil with consistent moisture. It can be allowed to cascade over the edges of a pot, creating a lush, flowing appearance in your home or office setting.

Pilea Involucrata

How to Care for Pilea Moon Valley

Commonly known as Friendship Plant, Pilea Involucrata boasts textured leaves with a creeping growth pattern. It grows to an average height of 6-8 inches and prefers low to medium light, making it ideal for spots with less direct sunlight. Like other Pilea types, this plant appreciates higher humidity levels and well-draining soil.

Pilea Glauca

Pilea Glauca

With its small, silver-blue leaves and trailing growth, Pilea Glauca is an attractive addition to any plant collection. Also known as Silver Sprinkles or Gray Baby Tears, it thrives in bright, indirect light and well-draining soil. Mist regularly to maintain humidity, and this plant will reward you with its beautiful cascading display of foliage.

Growth and Care

Growing and maintaining Pilea plants can be easy when you know their requirements. Here are some important factors to consider for successful Pilea care.

Light Requirements

Pilea plants generally prefer bright, indirect light. However, they can also adapt to low light areas. Avoid exposing them to direct sunlight, as it can scorch their leaves. Similarly, don’t keep them in a completely dark corner either, as they need some light to thrive. Rotate your plant every week to ensure even light exposure on all sides.


When it comes to watering Pilea plants, let the top 2 to 3 inches of soil dry out between waterings. It’s crucial not to overwater them, as this can cause root rot. Pilea plants are relatively drought-tolerant, so it’s better to err on the side of under-watering rather than giving them too much water.

Temperature and Humidity

Pilea plants perform best in temperatures ranging from 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. They can tolerate low humidity levels but may thrive better in moderate humidity environments. To maintain ideal humidity around your Pilea, place it on a tray filled with water and pebbles to create a microclimate or use a humidifier nearby.


Feed your Pilea plants with a diluted, balanced fertilizer once a month during the growing season. This usually spans spring to fall. Avoid over-fertilizing, as it can lead to excessive growth and weak, leggy plants.

Potting and Repotting

Repot your Pilea when it has outgrown its current container or when the soil becomes too compacted. Choose a pot that is 2 inches larger in diameter and has drainage holes. Ensure you use a well-draining, balanced potting mix that is rich in organic matter. Always handle the plants with care, as their roots are delicate.

Propagation Techniques

Pilea plants are known for their ease of propagation, allowing plant enthusiasts to create new plants from their existing ones. In this section, we’ll explore three popular methods of propagating pilea plants: stem cuttings, leaf cuttings, and division of the plant.

Stem Cuttings

Stem cuttings involve removing a portion of the stem from the parent plant and placing it in water or soil to encourage root growth. First, select a healthy stem with several leaves and use a sharp, clean pair of scissors to make the cut just below a leaf node. Once you have your cutting, it’s recommended to dip the cut end in a rooting hormone to speed up root production.

For water propagation, simply place the cutting in a container with water, ensuring that the cut end is submerged, but keeping leaves out of the water. For soil propagation, plant the cutting in a well-draining potting mix, and keep the soil consistently moist until new root development occurs.

Leaf Cuttings

To propagate pilea plants through leaf cuttings, carefully remove a healthy leaf with a portion of the petiole (the stalk that connects the leaf to the stem) still attached. Like stem cuttings, you can dip the cut end in rooting hormone to encourage faster growth. Once you have your leaf cutting, you can choose to propagate it in water or soil, following the same procedures mentioned above for stem cuttings.

Keep in mind that leaf cutting propagation is not as reliable or successful as stem cutting propagation, but it’s still worth trying, especially for more experienced plant enthusiasts.

Division of Plant

Dividing a pilea plant involves separating one plant into multiple, smaller plants. This method is especially useful when the plant has produced several offshoots or “pups” around the base. To propagate pilea through division, carefully remove the parent plant from its pot and gently separate the offshoots from the main plant, ensuring that each new plant has its own roots.

After creating the divisions, replant them in individual pots filled with a well-draining potting mix, and maintain consistent moisture levels to encourage successful root establishment. Propagating by division is considered the easiest and most reliable method for pilea plants, as it has the added benefit of allowing the parent plant to focus more energy on its own growth, resulting in a healthier and more attractive plant overall.

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