The Chinese Money Plant, or Pilea peperomioides, may not be as ubiquitous as the Golden Pothos or Split-Leaf Philodendron. But there’s no denying how easy this houseplant is to grow and propagate.
There are several ways to propagate a Chinese Money Plant. If you’re lucky, it might even propagate via tiny offshoots! In this article, I’ve outlined all the various methods and I’ve broken down my preferred method of propagation into simple-to-follow steps.
Methods of Propagating Chinese Money Plant
You can grow Chinese Money Plants from seeds but it is a difficult and unforgiving process. Instead, the best way to propagate this popular houseplant is vegetative.
Vegetative propagation basically takes a piece of an existing plant and encourages it to produce roots of its own. New plants created this way are genetic clones of the parent plant.
Some plant species, including Pilea, do this naturally by sending out small pups or offshoots. Another strategy is to take a stem or leaf cutting and wait for it to develop roots.
1. Propagating Root Offshoots
Mature Chinese Money Plants often produce ‘baby’ plants from underground stems called rhizomes, often referred to as ‘Pups’. Rhizomes look like thick roots growing from the main root system.
These small offshoot plants use the rhizome as a source of energy while they grow and develop their own roots.
Once an offshoot has several leaves and roots of its own, it can be separated from the main plant. All you need to do is cut through the connecting rhizome with a sanitized blade. The offshoot can then be transplanted into a new pot filled with free-draining soil.
2. Propagating Stem Offshoots
Rooting stem offshoots is another easy method for propagating pilea. You may also see offshoots appear along the length of your Chinese Money Plant’s stem. Unlike rhizomatic offshoots, however, these plantlets won’t grow roots on their own.
To propagate a stem offshoot, you first need to remove it from the mother plant. I recommend gently pulling the offshoot back until it breaks off of the main stem. This method is the least likely to damage the offshoot or parent plant.
After successfully removing a stem offshoot, you can place it in a cup of plain water to encourage root development. Transplant the offshoot to the soil when the roots are about an inch long.
3. Propagating Leaf Cuttings
You can propagate the Chinese Money Plant with a leaf cutting but it MUST include a small piece of stem node.
Each coin-shaped Pilea leaf is attached to a long, green stem — this stem is called a petiole. The petiole attaches the leaf to the plant’s main, woody stem at a growth point called a node. Nodes are capable of producing new growth, including roots, stems, and leaves.
When removing a leaf for propagation, you need to cut it into the node (main stem) slightly. This ensures that the leaf contains part of the node and, as a result, is capable of developing roots of its own.
The best way to encourage root development is by placing the end of the petiole in a glass of clean water. You should transplant the cutting to potting soil once the roots are at least an inch long. Note that the original leaf may die back once new top growth begins.
4. Propagating Leggy Stems
If your Chinese Money Plant has a leggy stem that needs to be pruned back, you can try rooting the cut portion to create a second plant.
Note that Pilea stems cuttings are more difficult to propagate than leaf cuttings. You may also notice that older pieces of stem struggle to put out roots of their own when compared to younger growth.
This propagation method is more about opportunity than overall efficacy. I recommend reaching for this strategy only if you plan to prune your Chinese Money Plant regardless.
How To Propagate Chinese Money Plant – Step by Step
In terms of success rates, you’ll have the best luck propagating your Chinese Money Plant using root offshoots. (The plant does most of the work for you!) The only downside to this method is that you might need to wait for your existing Pilea to produce offshoots in the first place.
Once you notice a baby plantlet starting to grow, follow these steps for propagation:
- Sanitized knife or pruning shears
- Small pot with drainage hole
- Well-draining potting soil
1. Check Your Plant’s Health
It’s best to only propagate from plants that are already healthy. If your Chinese Money Plant is currently suffering from a pest infestation or disease, it’s very likely that the condition will be passed to any propagations as well.
2. Locate Offshoots
Examine your Chinese Money Plant for offshoots growing from the root system. Offshoots should have several leaves before being removed from the mother plant. You may need to give some offshoots more time to mature before moving on to the next step.
3. Remove the Plant From Its Pot
Carefully remove your Chinese Money Plant from its container. It helps to water the soil a few days before de-potting to loosen the root ball and soil.
4. Identify Rhizomes
Gently brush away soil as needed to reveal the rhizomes connecting any offshoots to the parent plant.
5. Separate Offshoots From Parent Plant
Using a clean, sharp knife or pruning shears, cut through the rhizome to remove the offshoot from the parent plant. Take care not to damage the growing root system of the offshoot in the process.
6. Transplant Offshoots
Plant offshoots in small pots filled with well-draining soil — I recommend using the same mixture as you used for the parent plant. Water well to remove large air pockets and place the containers in a location with bright, indirect light.
Best Time For Propagating
The best time to propagate a Chinese Money Plant is in the spring. This is when the plant is most actively growing, so you’ll see faster root development if everything goes according to plan.
I recommend taking root offshoots during routine repotting to minimize the stress placed on the mother plant.
Chinese Money Plant Care After Propagation
Place your Chinese Money Plant in bright, indirect light for the best results. Too much sun exposure can burn the foliage. On the other hand, too little light can trigger leggy growth and stunted leaves.
It’s best to water Pilea based on the soil’s moisture level rather than following a specific schedule.
You can let the soil dry out almost completely between waterings. If you notice the foliage beginning to droop slightly, that’s a good sign that it’s time for more water. Equally, if curled leaves appear, or are beginning to dome, this may be an indication of overwatering.
Temperature & Humidity
Chinese Money Plants grow just fine in household temperatures and humidity. Just keep your houseplants away from extreme temperature sources like heaters, AC vents, and cold drafts.
Use a well-draining potting soil that contains a large amount of organic material, such as coconut coir or peat moss. For even better drainage and aeration, I recommend amending the soil with perlite.
Fertilize throughout the active growing season using a balanced houseplant formula. I prefer to use a liquid fertilizer diluted in water to prevent overfeeding and root damage.
Avoid fertilizing in the winter months when your Chinese Money Plant is naturally dormant.
Problems After Propagation
Chinese Money Plants are fairly hardy but can still fall victim to health problems without proper care. Here are a couple of problems you’re likely to encounter when growing or propagating these houseplants:
It’s common for Chinese Money Plant leaves to droop slightly when the plant needs water. This is relatively normal and the leaves should perk back up after watering.
Other causes of drooping foliage include overwatering and a lack of sunlight.
You might also see your Pilea leaves droop immediately after transplanting as the plant adjusts to its new environment.
Leggy growth — elongated stems with sparse foliage — is usually caused by a lack of good sunlight. Try gradually increasing the intensity or duration of light your Chinese Money Plant receives to prevent new leggy growth from emerging.
Existing elongated stems can be pruned back to create a more compact appearance. Try not to remove more than one-third of each stem at a time to minimize shock.
You may notice one side of your Chinese Money Plant displays leggier growth than the rest. According to horticulturalists at the University of Illinois, this is usually caused by uneven sun exposure and can be prevented by rotating the plant’s container every few days.
Frequently Asked Questions
- University of Illinois Uneven light exposure and uneven growth
Ben's horticultural interest grew when graduating from Hertfordshire University in 1997. Having contributed to numerous publications including Better Homes & Gardens, Garden Design Magazine, and The English Garden. He is also the author of Propagating Houseplants Made Easy.