The Chinese money plant, (Pilea peperomioides), is widely considered to be a beginner friendly houseplant. But there is one crucial part of Pilea care to master that will ensure a happy plant…getting your watering regime correct.
If you’re wondering how often to water Pilea, a good rule of thumb is to water weekly. However, a much better watering method is to take notice of the plant’s requirements and wait until the top half inch or so of soil has dried out.
We will discuss the reasons for this watering recommendation below, as well as discussing the common watering problems that Pilea owners encounter.
When to water Pilea
The amount of water your pilea requires is determined by the temperature and humidity of your home and the type of pot it is in. Testing the top of the soil with your finger is the best technique to determine when you need to water. It’s time to water your plant if the top half-inch of soil is dry.
Some people like to water to a schedule, such as every Saturday morning. Whilst this is convenient, it doesn’t account for the changing environment and needs of your plant. Your Pilea could need less watering in winter and more water when humidity levels are low.
That’s why I prefer to water when the top of the soil becomes dry. It also gives another advantage…while checking for water requirements you can also do a quick health check and look for signs of disease.
Remember, the idea is to provide your plant with enough water. Your pilea should not be overwatered or underwatered. Overwatering isn’t the only thing that can kill your plant. Underwatering might stunt the growth of the plant and cause the leaves to shrink.
What type of water does Pilea prefer?
You might need to adjust the water if your Pilea plant isn’t reacting well to your existing watering method. As strange as it may seem, city water contains an excessive amount of chlorine and fluoride, which your plant may not be able to manage. Even tap water is high in alkalinity, which might harm your plants.
Distilled water is great for a Pilea plant because it is free of pollutants and minerals. But this does cost money and you will need to have it stocked up in your home. Which is not always realistic for some.
A cost-effective option is to fill a container with tap water and leave it out for a day or two. Make sure the container is open. Certain chemicals in the water, such as chlorine, will be able to evaporate as a result of this. An added advantage is the water is at room temperature.
Watering your plant with rainwater is also a viable alternative. Rain saving water butts are now easily available and are an easy method to harvest rainwater.
Deep v Shallow watering
Watering houseplants can be done in two ways. The first is to water your plants frequently with a small amount of water, this is known as shallow watering. This way of watering can lead to shallow root systems as the plant is trying to find the water on the surface and the water can also evaporate before the plant has a chance to quench its thirst, therefore not meeting your plant’s needs.
The second option is to water deeply and infrequently. For your Pileas, the second method is nearly always preferable. Deep watering is where you saturate your plant’s root system, ensuring that it is getting enough of a water supply.
It’s then vital to allow the soil to drain out properly. To allow drainage, place your Pilea in a container with a hole in the bottom. Beware if you don’t have your Pilea in a container like this because they do not like standing water.
Once you’ve got your plant in the right pot, water it thoroughly until around 20% of the water you put in runs out through the drainage hole in the bottom. This guarantees that the water has percolated through the entire soil and reached the Pilea’s root system.
Overwatered or underwatered Pilea plant
Knowing the symptoms of a Pilea that has received too much, or too little water is critical. You may have even come to this website concerned that this is the situation with your plant, so let’s look at the signs!
Overwatering is frequently more troublesome than underwatering, especially if it’s done regularly. Overwatered Pileas are susceptible to root rot and even stem rot.
Brown and black spots on the leaves, as well as yellowing, are signs that you’ve been overwatering your Pilea. The leaf will eventually wither and fall off the plant as a result of this.
In more severe cases, the bottom of the stem could appear blackish and feel mushy. If you put your nose to the dirt, you can detect a foul odor of rotting organic material.
The key to addressing this problem is to reduce how often you water your Pilea and ensure that the plant drains well after watering.
We’ve all done it; we’ve slightly underwatered a houseplant. It’ll usually bounce back just fine as long as it doesn’t happen regularly, and the plant hasn’t dried out too much.
The signs you need to watch out for are the leaves drooping and potentially yellowing before crisping and falling off. You may see that the soil is pulling away from the pot’s edges and forming a dry ball.
Does Pilea like to be misted?
In general, misting your plants is a great way to increase the humidity they may need. However, in the average home, the humidity is enough for your Pilea to thrive.
A sign that you may need to mist your Pilea and increase the humidity is if the leaves on your plant are turning crispy.
Final thoughts on how often to water Pilea
The Pilea peperomioides (Chinese money plant) is a wonderful houseplant, which grows quickly if looked after properly.
Several of the most common problems Pilea owners encounter revolve around messing up the watering schedule. Overwatering is a particular issue. Learning how to assess your plant’s watering needs is a skill that is well worth developing.
Pileas cannot tolerate standing in water. So, ensure you are using a well-draining soil and that any drip saucers are emptied after watering.
Following these tips will allow you to enjoy your Pilea for years to come.