Pilea peperomiodes, also known as the Chinese money plant, Chinese plant, missionary plant, pancake plant, the pass-it-along plant and the UFO plant, has a dome of beautiful and unusual leaves that look like small lily pads.


The Chinese money plant hails from southern China, and was first brought to the UK at the start of the twentieth century. It's very easy to propagate, so circulated quietly among house plant enthusiasts (hence its nickname, the pass-it-along plant) but it was practically unheard until it became popular on social media a few years ago. Despite this, Pilea peperomiodes can be quite hard to get hold of – it's best to go to a specialist house plant shop or online supplier. It's also expensive, so if you have a friend with a plant, ask them to pot up one of the many babies that pop up around its base for you.

Pilea peperomiodes is an easy going plant that is good for beginners as it's quite forgiving of neglect in terms of watering and feeding. But treat it well and it will reward you with fast growth, glossy green leaves and lots of babies at the base.

Each Pilea peperomiodes grows slightly differently and your plant is likely to grow more upright as it matures. Older plants may produce tiny flowers.

How to grow Pilea peperomiodes

Plant your Pilea peperomiodes in well drained compost and place in a warm, bright spot that's not too sunny. Only water when the soil is beginning to dry out.

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Where to grow Pilea peperomoides

Houseplants for windowsills - Pilea peperomiodes
How to grow Pilea peperomiodesPilea peperomiodes

Pilea peperomiodes does best in a warm spot that doesn't go below 12°C in winter. Put it somewhere bright – it will take a bit of direct sun, but don't let it sit in midday or afternoon sun, as this will scorch the leaves.

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How to plant Chinese money plant

There's no need to take the plant out of it plastic pot when you bring your plant home (unless it's root bound) – just put it inside a more decorative pot. Repot when root bound (you'll see roots emerging out of the bottom of the pot). Plant in a mix of 2:1 soil-based compost (or peat-free, multi-purpose compost) and perlite, and make sure there are drainage holes at the bottom of the pot.

Caring for Pilea peperomiodes

From spring to autumn, water regularly but allow the top few centimetres of the compost to dry out between waterings, and let any excess drain away afterwards – like most house plants, Pilea peperomiodes does not like sitting in cold, soggy compost. Water less in winter. Feed once a month with a weak or diluted house plant food. Wipe the leaves occasionally to keep them shiny and free from dust. You could mist the leaves, although this is not essential. The plant will naturally gravitate towards the light, giving it a tilted appearance, so rotate it every few days to maintain its mounded look. Repot in spring if the plant has become root bound.

How to propagate Chinese money plant

Pilea peperomioides is a very popular plant at the moment and the undisputed queen in social networks. Also known as missionary plant, pancake plant or Chinese money plant.
How to grow Pilea peperomiodesPilea peperomiodes offsets or pups. Getty Images

Pilea peperomiodes is very easy to propagate. It readily produces baby plants, known as offsets or pups, at its base – these can be carefully removed using a fork, and placed in an inch of water. A few weeks later, roots will have formed and you can pot up your new plants. They will grow fast.

Growing Pilea peperomiodes: problem solving

Yellow or brown leaves at the base of the plant are normal – these are older leaves that die and drop off naturally. If yellow leaves are appearing all over the plant, it could be due to over- or under watering, so check your watering regime.

Flopping, lacklustre leaves are due to under watering or over watering – check the soil to see which applies to your plant.

Bending, curling leaves can be due to lack of light.

Pale leaves can be a sign of too much bright sunlight. Brown spots on the leaves are sunburn.

Scale insect can be a problem – look for small brown lumps on the leaves. Gently wipe them away with cotton wool soaked in an insecticide based on fatty acids or plant oils. Act promptly as soon as you see them, as the problem can become widespread and affect the plant's health.


Powdery mildew can appear as white patches on the leaves. Remove the affected leaves and improve air circulation around the plant.

Advice for buying Pilea peperomiodes

Here’s our guide to buying Pilea peperomiodes, or Chinese money plant, including where to buy a plant. 
  • Pilea peperomiodes is an easy plant to grow, provided you give it the right conditions – a bright spot in a warm room – and do not over water.
  • Ensure your Pilea peperomiodes is healthy, with shiny, dark green leaves, a domed shape and no signs of pests. Given its shape, a few leaf stalks may snap off in transit.

Where to buy Pilea peperomiodes online