Chinese Money Plant, Pancake Plant, Missionary Plant (Pilea peperomioides)

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A fun, funky plant with round, coin-shaped leaves that also earn it the name “pancake plant”. This Chinese native was discovered in 1946 by a Norwegian missionary. He brought the plant home to Norway and before long many people were growing and sharing money plants. The plants readily produce “babies” that can be removed to grow more plants. Grows tall with age into a more narrow, tree-like form.


Perfect for growing in a pot near a bright window indoors, or outdoors in the summer on a shaded deck, patio, or porch. Potted Pilea grown outdoors in the summer can be brought back inside when temperatures are expected to fall below 50°F (10°C). Can be grown outdoors year-round in frost-free climates, in a pot or in the ground.

Plant Feed

Apply a balanced liquid fertilizer monthly.


Water thoroughly but allow soil to dry slightly between waterings.


Fertile, well-drained soil.

Basic Care Summary

Best in fertile, well-drained soil in a pot with drain holes. Water when the top inch of soil is dry. Fertilize monthly. Rotate pot regularly so that all sides of plant receive even lighting. To start more plants, remove the “baby” plant by gently lifting it from the soil and snipping the root from the mother plant. Place in water to further root or pot directly in container using sterile potting soil.

Planting Instructions

Start with a good quality, commercial potting soil. These are usually lighter in weight than topsoil, sterile and pest-free. Many are available with a mild starter fertilizer in the mix.

Select a container with a drainage hole or be prepared to drill holes for drainage if there are none.

Prepare the container by filling with potting soil up to 2” (5cm) from the rim of the planter. Remove the plant from its pot.

Make a small hole in the soil slightly larger than the root ball either by hand or using a trowel. Insert the plant into the hole and press soil firmly around the roots and just covering the root ball. When all the plants are potted, water thoroughly to settle the soil and give plants a good start. Place plant in a reliably sunny location.

Repot every 2 years in the same container or in a container slightly larger than the diameter of the roots.

Watering Instructions

Prefers moist but well-drained soil. Check the soil moisture with your finger. If the top 2-4” (5-10cm) of soil is dry, or plants are wilted, it is time to water.

Apply water at the soil level if possible to avoid wetting the foliage. Water the entire soil area until water runs out the base of the pot. This indicates that the soil is thoroughly wet.

Pruning Instructions

Most container plants can be pruned freely to maintain the desired size and shape. Keeping the foliage trimmed also keeps the plants looking neat and tidy, encourages the plant to develop more side-shoots and flowers, and reduces the demand for the plant to develop a larger root system. This is important since the roots are in a confined space.

Fertilizing Instuctions

Fertilizers are available in many forms: granulated, slow-release, liquid feeds, organic or synthetic. Determine which application method is best for the situation and select a product with a nutritional balance designed for foliage plants.

Too much fertilizer can damage plants so it’s important to follow the package directions to determine how much, and how often, to feed plants.

Slow-release fertilizers are an especially good, care-free choice for container plants. A single application can often provide plants with the proper level of nutrition all season long.

Plant Details

Category Houseplants
Height Range 4-12″
Height Metric Range 10-30cm
Space Range 12-15″
Space Metric Range 30-38cm
Available Colors Grown for foliage
Companion Plants Dracaena, Dieffenbachia, Aglaonema
Lowest Temperature 60° to 80°F
Lowest Temperature Metric 16° to 27°C
Bloom Time Grown for foliage
Plant Light Medium Light
Hardiness Zone 10, 11