Why Your Pilea Peperomioides has Brown Spots and How to Cure

Has your Pilea Peperomioides (also known as Chinese Money Plant) developed brown spots? Why is this happening and how can you fix it?

There are several potential reasons for a Pilea Peperomioides leaves to turn brown. These include over & under watering, lack of sunlight, too much sunlight, pests, and a pot that is too small.

Below, we will go over the common problems your Pilea Peperomioides might be facing and how to fix them.

1. Too Much Water

If your Pilea Peperomioides have developed brown spots, then it may be overwatered. Your Pilea is a succulent-like plant that does not like to be overwatered or have its leaves wet for a long time. Brown spots caused by overwatering will mainly be seen on the leaves, and after a while, the leaves will start to fall off.

How to Cure:

To make brown spots caused by overwatering go away, be sure that the top of the soil is dry before watering again and only water the soil, not the leaves. Also, make sure your Pilea Peperomioides is receiving proper drainage with a well-draining soil and proper pot selection. If there is a hole in the bottom of your pot, discard any leftover water present in the plant’s saucer after a few hours, and be sure to water less next time.

2. Lack of Water

Although Pilea Peperomioides does not like to be overwatered, it still needs to be adequately watered. Pilea leaves may have yellow spots and droop if it needs to be watered.

How to Cure:

To remove the brown spots caused by lack of water, simply add water to the soil. Remember to feel the soil before adding the water. Only add water if the soil is dry. You can also feel the leaves to see if they are hard & thick, or soft and thin. If your plant needs water, the leaves will be thin. Continue to water your Pilea Peperomioides more often, and it will eventually become nice and green again.

3. Needs Light

Pilea Peperomioides need plenty of sunlight in order to thrive, especially as they begin to grow larger. You will know if your Pilea is not receiving enough sunlight when it becomes “leggy” and changes the way it grows. The scientific term for this is etiolation. 

Another sign that your Pilea Peperomioides aren’t receiving enough sunlight can be found in the leaves. Normally, a Pilea grows large, round leaves. When it doesn’t receive enough light, the leaves will be much smaller than normal. If you are watering your Pilea Peperomioides correctly but notice the leaves are still curling, or cupping, upwards, then this can also be an indicator it’s not receiving enough light.

How to Cure:

Make sure your plant is receiving plenty of indirect light. Put it near a sunny window, or lamp for a few hours a day, then move it back to where you usually keep it. Do not put it in direct sunlight for an extended period or while the leaves are wet, as the plant will become damaged.

Make sure your Pilea Peperomioides get the correct amount of light

4. Too Much Direct Sunlight

Pilea Peperomioides need plenty of sunlight in order to thrive, especially as they grow larger. If your Pilea Peperomioides have brown spots or the leaves are turning yellow, then it may be exposed to too much direct sunlight. If a Pilea is in direct sunlight for too long, then it can become scorched & sunburned, which is not good for the plant.

How to Cure:

If your Chinese money plant has been in too much direct sunlight, then simply move it If your Pilea Peperomioides have been in too much direct sunlight, then simply move it to a different area for a few days and be sure that it is properly watered. After a week or so, give it sunlight again. Remember to move your Pilea after a few hours if you are exposing it to direct sunlight, and make sure the leaves are not wet during this time.  If you are unsure if it is receiving direct or indirect light, then simply place your hand in the light. If you can feel the warmth from the sun or light, then this is direct light & can be harmful to it.

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5. Temperature Stress

Temperature stress occurs when the temperature your Pilea Peperomioides normally experience changes too quickly. This happens often when people leave their Pilea outside all day and night during the summer, or if it is next to a drafty window in the wintertime. If you are seeing raised, brown lesions, or scarring on the leaves, be sure to check the temperature around the plant.

How to Cure:

To fix temperature stress, put your Pilea Peperomioides in an area that has a consistent temperature is between 60-80˚F. After a while, the brown spots will start to go away.

6. Pot Is Too Small

If your Pilea Peperomioides has brown spots on it, then the roots may have outgrown the pot that it is in. After this happens, root bind can occur and the growth becomes hindered, causing brown spots to appear.

How to Cure:

To fix root bind, be sure to move your Pilea to a bigger pot every 12-18 months. Pilea Peperomioides should be in a pot that is 1-2 inches larger in diameter. After moving it to a bigger pot, the roots will be able to continue to grow and the brown spots will go away.

Routinely inspect your Pilea Peperomioides for pests

7. Pests

Pests are one of the most common problems that cause Pilea Peperomioides to have brown spots. Fungus gnats, Spider mites, and mealybugs are common pests found on Pilea Peperomioides. Luckily, pests are easy to remove and prevent from coming back.

How to Cure:

To get rid of pests, spray the plant with a gentle insecticide. Do this once every day for 7-10 days, or until you don’t see any more pests on the plant. A common insecticide to use is Castile soap, but you can use any kind.

Something else you can try is essential oils. There are a variety of oils that can help with houseplant pests and I have written an article outlining 46 essential oils and combinations to help with plant care, including pest control.

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8. Fertilizer

Fertilizers can cause brown spots to your Pilea Peperomioides in several ways. Be sure that when using a balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer in your Pilea Peperomioides soil that it is properly diluted, as fertilizer burn can cause dark spots and damage. Also, make sure you are using the correct amount of fertilizer as too much, and not enough fertilizer can cause dark spots.

How to Cure:

If it has been a while since you have repotted your Pilea Peperomioides, or if it is growing season for your Pilea Peperomioides, then it might be time to add some fertilizer to the soil.  If you have not previously added any fertilizer to your Pilea Peperomioides, then you can add fertilizer to the potting soil. However, be sure to only use fertilizers meant for house plants. Once fertilized, you will only need to add more fertilizer once a month during the spring and summer months, since Pilea Peperomioides do not grow as much during the winter.

Brown spots on Pilea Peperomioides is usually an easy fix once the cause has been identified. Hopefully, by going over these common causes together you will have a better understanding of how to make these brown spots on your Pilea Peperomioides go away and get your Pilea Peperomioides back healthy and green again.in.

3 thoughts on “Why Your Pilea Peperomioides has Brown Spots and How to Cure”

  1. Noticed a steep decline in my very large pilea peperomioides swith yellowing leaves and dark brown patches. Thought it had become rootbound so not sufficient water and nutrients. Re potted in new compost and fed but is declined even faster now with continued leaf problems and rapid leaf drop. Checked not over or under watered and in same place in house its happily grown for 5 years. What is going on as it looks like death is imminent ?

    1. I’m sorry to hear that your pilea peperomioides is not doing well. It’s concerning when a beloved plant that has thrived for years suddenly starts to decline. Let’s go through a few possibilities that might be causing the issues you’re experiencing.

      Root rot: This can be caused by overwatering or poor drainage. Even though you mentioned that you’ve checked the watering, it’s still possible that the plant is suffering from root rot. Gently remove the plant from its pot and inspect the roots. If they appear mushy or have a foul smell, you might have root rot. Trim away the affected roots and repot the plant in fresh, well-draining soil.

      Disease or pests: Inspect the plant closely for any signs of pests or diseases. Look for small bugs, webbing, or unusual spots on the leaves. If you find anything suspicious, treat the plant with an appropriate remedy, such as neem oil or insecticidal soap.

      Shock from repotting: Sometimes, plants can go into shock after being repotted, especially if they were already stressed. Make sure to provide your pilea with proper care and give it some time to adjust to its new environment. Be patient; it might bounce back.

      Nutrient deficiency or imbalance: Yellowing leaves can sometimes indicate a nutrient deficiency, such as a lack of nitrogen. However, since you mentioned that you’ve already fed the plant, it’s also possible that there’s a nutrient imbalance due to over-fertilization. In that case, flush the soil with water to remove excess nutrients and avoid fertilizing for a few months.

      Environmental stress: Although the plant has been in the same spot for years, environmental factors can change. Check if there are any drafts, fluctuations in temperature, or changes in light exposure that could be affecting your pilea.

      It can be disheartening when a once-healthy plant starts to decline, but don’t lose hope! Keep a close eye on your pilea and do your best to address any issues you find. With a little care and attention, there’s a chance it could recover. Good luck!

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