Pilea peperomioides, or commonly referred to as a “Chinese Money Plant,” are great plants to keep around. As with all plants, they require proper care and attention for them to thrive. One common problem with these plants is that the leaves begin to curl.
A pilea peperomioides leaves will curl when it isn’t properly cared for. If the leaves begin to curl, it could be a sign of too much light or heat, overwatering, nutrient deficiencies, poor drainage, low humidity levels, or even an unhealthy root system.
Of course, you don’t want any of these problems to happen with your plant. However, problems can happen easily and can surprise even the best of us. Most of the problems can be easily resolved and the effects can be reversed if you take the right steps.
Too Much Light or Heat
The leaves of your pilea peperomioides might be curling because it’s getting exposed to too much light and heat.
When the plant is too hot or getting too much light it will feel “stressed,” and that’s why the leaves will begin to curl. The way to keep the plant healthy is to keep the temperature of the room anywhere between 57 and 77˚F. It’s also important to make sure it’s not getting too much direct sunlight.
How to Fix:
- Keep the pilea peperomioides out of direct sunlight.
- Place the plant near a window that is north or east-facing.
- Keep the temperature of the room between 57 and 77˚F (The room temperature should never be above 80˚F.)
- Open a window to circulate air regularly.
- Watch for signs of stress in the plant.
In most other houseplants, curling leaves can be a sign of underwatering, but in pilea peperomioides, it’s actually the opposite. Overwatering is actually a fairly common problem with pilea peperomioides. You should only water the plant when the top inch of the soil is dry. The best way to check this is by sticking your finger into the soil. If the top inch is dry, it’s time to water the plant.
It’s also important to realize that each plant is different and will need slightly different amounts of water. You should make sure the plant gets a thorough watering, but that you allow the soil to dry out in between waterings.
During the winter, you will likely need to wait longer, or allow more time, for the plant to dry out in between each watering. During the summer, the plant will most likely need more water.
How to Fix:
- Check the top inch of soil, and if it’s dry, it’s time to water the plant.
- Allow soil to dry out in between waterings.
- Make sure the soil is draining properly.
- Don’t allow the plant to “swim” in water.
- Create a regular watering schedule for your plant-based on its needs.
When a pilea peperomioides leaves are curling, it can be a sign of nutrient deficiency. It’s important to make sure your plant is getting all of the “food,” or nutrients, it needs.
This is done through fertilizer. You should make sure you do this year-round so the plant is getting all the key nutrients it needs to grow and thrive. “Feeding,” or fertilizing, your plant about once a month should be plenty to keep it strong and healthy.
How to Fix:
- Regularly “feed” your plant with plant fertilizer (once a month should be enough).
- Give your plant plenty of sunlight, water, and fresh air from time to time.
- Pay attention to the color of the leaves to make sure the nutrient levels are right.
Similar to overwatering, the leaves of a pilea peperomioides will curl when there is poor drainage in its pot. If the drainage in the pot is good, the excess water from watering should drain out of the bottom of the pot quickly. It’s important to choose a good pot that drains well.
It’s also important to pick the right size of pot for the plant. If the pot is too big, the soil will hold extra moisture and you’ll still have the same problem. The water or excess liquid should be able to drain fairly easily. If you don’t have good enough drainage, then the roots will be left to sit in wet soil, which can lead to root rot.
How to Fix:
- Find a pot with good drainage.
- Allow water to drain out of the pot after each watering.
- Allow soil to dry out before watering again.
- Don’t allow the plant to sit in a pool of water.
- Add pebbles or small stones to the bottom of your pot to help with drainage and keeping the drainage holes clear.
Low Humidity Levels
Pilea peperomioides thrive in humid environments. However, most homes are a bit drier than the ideal range for these plants. Air conditioning or heaters in homes can actually cause the air inside to become drier.
The best way to increase the humidity levels for your plant is by placing a humidifier near the plant. You could also spray/mist the leaves 2-3 times a week.
Basically, if you make sure that the air around your plant stays more humid than the rest of your home, your plant should be fine.
How to Fix:
- Monitor the humidity levels around the plant
- Use a humidifier near the plant
- Spray or mist the plant’s leaves with water 2-3 times each week
Unhealthy Root System
You should regularly check the roots of your pilea peperomioides to make sure they’re healthy and strong. The roots should look white, hardy, and long enough to hold the soil in the shape of whatever pot the plant is in. There should be plenty of roots too. Every now and then, you should take the plant out of the pot to cut away any tangled roots.
If there are brown, mushy, or crumbly roots, this could be a sign of root rot.
Root crowding is also a problem that could cause the plant’s leaves to curl. When you take the plant out of the pot if all you can see are roots, that could be a sign of root crowding. If this happens, you’ll need to replant the pilea into a bigger pot to give it more room to grow.
How to Fix:
- Regularly check your plant’s roots.
- Use a well-draining soil.
- Cut any tangled roots.
- Check for root rot.
- Check for root crowding.
- If there are too many roots, replant the plant into a larger pot to give it more room to grow.