How to Grow and Care for Missionary Plant (Pilea peperomioides) Indoors


Missionary Plant, Pilea peperomioides

Botanical name: Pilea peperomioides
Family: Urticaceae
Common names: Missionary Plant, Pancake Plant, Friendship Plant, Chinese Money Plant, UFO Plant

Description

Pilea peperomioides also called Missionary Plant, Pancake Plant, Friendship Plant, Chinese Money Plant or UFO Plant is an evergreen succulent plant that is easy to grow and propagate.

Missionary Plant is an erect, succulent, evergreen perennial growing to a height of 12 in. The leaves are round, dark green, about 4 in. in diameter and are held on long petioles.

The stem in Chinese Money Plant is greenish to dark brown and often upright straight. The flowers are inconspicuous consisting of clusters of highly reduced unshowy, unisexual flowers.

The common name, 'Missionary Plant', is because a Swedish missionary brought it to Europe from China in 1946.

Related Plants

The inflorescence in Chinese Money Plant is like that of Pilea cadierei (Aluminium Plant) while the leaves are like those of Coin-leaf Peperomia and hence the Botanical name Pilea peperomioides.

Origin

Pilea peperomioides has its origins in Yunnan and Sichuan provinces in southern China.

Where to Buy

Missionary Plants in various sizes are available online at Etsy. Buy beautiful Missionary Plant (Pilea peperomioides) online from Etsy.

Missionary Plant, Pilea peperomioides

Photo Credit: Little Prince Plants

Pilea peperomioides Care Indoors

Pilea peperomioides (Missionary Plant) thrives in bright light away from direct sunlight, warm and moderately humid conditions and moderately moist, fertile, well-drained soil coupled with quarterly feeding during the growing season.

Missionary Plant requires regular pruning to keep it neat as well as encourage a bushy, compact growth. Repotting is needed when it becomes overcrowded to provide enough room for expansion. Keep reading for more on these growing conditions and how to provide them.

Light Requirements

Missionary Plant grows best in bright light away from direct sunlight. The foliage will lose its bright green color if the light is too low.

Rotate the pot regularly to ensure that the Chinese Money Plant receives right on all sides for uniform growth.

Pancake Plant can also be grown under a grow light where the natural light is not adequate.

Watering

Water Missionary Plant liberally during the growing season while allowing the half of soil to dry out between waterings.

Cut down on watering during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.

Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can cause leaf drop due to root-rot disease.


Temperature

Average warmth with a minumum of 150C is ideal for Missionary Plant. Keep the plant away from cold draughts to avoid sudden drop in temperature. Read more on understanding temperature for houseplants.

Humidity

Average room humidity is ideal for Missionary Plant. The plant has no need for high humidity.

However, if the leaf edges of the Chinese Money Plant become crispy and curled, it is an indication that the air is too dry.

To raise humidity, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier.

Regularly clean the leaves by damp-wiping with a soft cloth to get rid of dust and also discourage pest infestations.

Fertilizer (Feeding)

Feed Missionary Plant with a balanced, liquid fertilizer every 3-4 months during the growing period.

Do not feed Pancake Plant during the cold season as growth is minimal and feeding at this time can lead to fertilizer burn.

Repotting

Repot Missionary Plant when it becomes overcrowded in its current pot. Use a pot one size larger than the current one.

Choose a clay pot for Ufo Plant as it allows soil to dry out faster and thus prevents the soil from getting soggy.

Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot disease and eventual death of the plant.

If the plant is too overcrowded, divide it and pot the splits into individual pots to propagate new plants.

Soil

The best soil for Missionary Plant should be rich in organic matter, loose and free-draining to avoid getting soggy soil. The soil should be loose enough to allow water to drain out fast enough.

Pilea peperomioides is prone to root-rot if the soil gets soggy (retains too much water), therefore, Cactus and Succulents Soil is ideal as it drains easily. Purchase Cactus and Succulents Soil Chinese Money Plant online from Etsy.

Pruning

The Missionary Plant does not require much pruning as it is slow growing. Pruning involves removal of yellow, dead and stray foliage to maintain the plant neat and tidy.

For a fuller and bushier plant, regularly snip off the topmost part of the stem and pinch off the plantlets as they appear so that the plant can focus its energy on sprouting new growth from the main stem.

Propagation

Pilea peperomioides (Missionary Plant) can be propagated in 3 ways; by plant division, from stem plantlets or from stem cuttings. Propagation is more successful when done at the beginning of the growing season.

How to propagate Missionary Plant by division

Missionary Plant produces offsets or pups at the base of the plant. When the pups are about 1-2 in. tall, dig up the soil at the base to expose the roots.

Using a sharp sterile scissors, seperate the pup from the mother. Ensure each pup has enough roots.

Pot the pups in individual pots in moist, free draining soil which is rich in organic matter.

Maintain the soil moist until new growth has emerged inorder to begin normal routinue care for the new Missionary Plant.

How to propagate Missionary Plant from stem plantlets

Missionary Plant also produces plantlets on their stems which can be used to propagate new plants.

With a clean sharp knife, cut the plantlet at the point where it joins the mother plant to seperate it.

Plant the plantlet in moist, rooting soil and place the set up in a warm, well-lit place.

Maintain the soil moist through out until rooting occurs. Rooting is indicated by the emergence of new growth on the Missionary Plant plantlets.

Wait until the Pilea peperomioides plantlet is well established before transplanting into a new pot after which you can begin normal routine care.

How to propagate Missionary Plant from stem cuttings

Missionary Plant can also be propagated from stem cuttings. The cuttings root easily and do not require a rooting hormone.

Take stem cuttings from the thicker, coarse brown stem of the Missionary Plant. The stem cuttings can either be rooted in soil or in water.

How to root Missionary Plant stem cuttings in soil

Insert the Missionary Plant stems cutting in moist rooting soil and place the set up in a warm, well-lit place.

Maintain the soil moist through out until rooting occurs. Rooting is indicated by the emergence of new growth.

Wait until the new Pilea peperomioides is well established before transplanting into a new pot after which normal routine care can begin.

How to root Missionary Plant stem cuttings in water

Place the Missionary Plant stem cutting in a container of water with at least 2 in. of stem on the lower cut end submerged in water.

Place the set up in a warm, well-lit place and change the water every 5-7 days. The stems cuttings may take about 4-6 weeks to develop roots.

Acclimatize the new Missionary Plant to growing in soil by gradually adding small amounts of soil into the water when the roots are about 2 in. long.

Transplant the new Pilea peperomioides when the roots have grown to about 4 in. long by which time all the water should be absorbed by the soil.

Missionary Plant, Pilea peperomioides

Photo Credit: PlantVine

Pilea peperomioides Problems Indoors

Pilea peperomioides (Missionary Plant) problems indoors include drooping leaves, dropping leaves, curled leaves, yellow leaves, wilting, leaf spots, pests and diseases among others. Keep reading for more on these problems and how to fix them.

Drooping lower leaves

Drooping lower leaves is a natural characteristic of Missionary Plant. The bottom leaves will droop as they grow older; this gives the plant its unique shape. The leaves do not need to be removed.

Wilted, discolored leaves

Overwatering or soggy soil will cause wilted and discolored leaves in the Missionary Plant. Water the plant liberally during the growing season but allow half of soil to dry out between waterings.

Water less during the cold season to keep the soil slightly moist and ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from being too wet.

Discolored leaves, brown leaf tips and edges

There are three possible causes of discolored leaves with brown tips and edges in Missionary Plant. One possible cause is too much shade (too low light).

Move the plant to a brighter spot where it will receive bright, indirect light or instal a grow light where the natural light is not adequate.

The second possible cause of discolored leaves with brown tips and edges in Pilea peperomioides is a sudden drop in temperature.

Protect the plant from cold draughts to avoid sudden drops in temperature and maintain an average room temperature.

The third possible cause of discolored leaves with brown tips and edges in Missionary Plant is dry air (low humidity).

Set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier to raise humidity. Check out these techniques on how to raise the humidity for houseplants.

Curled, drooping leaves

Curled, drooping leaves in Missionary Plant are caused by underwatering. The plant thrives in moderately moist soil.

Water the Pilea peperomioides liberally during the growing season but allow half of the soil to dry out between waterings but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.

Dropping leaves

There are two possible reasons for dropping leaves in Missionary Plant. One possible reason is cold air due to cold draughts.

Move the plant to a warmer spot or protect it from cold draughts. Cut back affected stem to induce new growth.

The second reason for dropping leaves in Pilea peperomioides is too wet soil. Avoid soggy soil by allowing the top half of the soil to dry out between waterings and ensure that the pot has a drainage hole.

Yellow leaves and mushy black stems

Yellow leaves and mushy black stems in Pilea peperomioides are an indication of stem-rot and root-rot diseases which are promoted by soggy soil.

Use the unaffected foliage of the Missionary Plant to propagate a new plant and discard the affected parts.

To prevent the soil from getting soggy, ensure that the pot has a drainage hole and that the soil is free-draining.

Lower leaves curled inwards

The cause of curled and softened lower leaves in Pilea peperomioides is a Nitrogen deficiency.

Feed the Missionary Plant with a high-nitrogen fertilizer and consider using a high-nitrogen fertilizer for the monthly feeding too.

Yellow or brown leaves with burnt-like edges

Potasium deficiency is the cause of yellow or brown leaves with burnt edges in Missionary Plant.

Feed the Pilea peperomioides with a high-potasium fertilizer. Ensure the soil PH is between 6 and 7 which is the ideal PH for potasium uptake.

Pests

Common pests in Pilea peperomioides are mealy bugs and spider mites. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to ther houseplants and control the pests appropriately.

Is Missionary Plant toxic?

Missionary Plant (Pilea peperomioides) is non-toxic to both humans and pets according to ASPCA. The plant is safe to grow indoors.

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