PILEA, PLEASE!

photo: Mieke Verbijlen

photo: Mieke Verbijlen

by Jessica Hill

It’s definitely true ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder.’ I’ve been searching for a Pilea peperomioides, or Chinese Money plant, to add to my plant family for a long time. It’s been on my wish list for at least 3 consecutive birthdays. 

Australia’s secluded positioning on the globe has resulted in an amazing array of native flora. The country’s tight bio-security laws also means we don’t have a lot of pests common in other parts of the world. Unfortunately, the downside is we’re often the last place to access new, popular and trending indoor plants species. 

Ironically, it’s how Pilea peperomioides spread halfway across the globe from its native China that sparked my interest in the first place. 

In the late 1970s, the Chinese Money plant was already established as a popular and well-known houseplant. It took pride of place on the windowsills all across Europe. Despite this, botanists had now idea how it had happened. After a lot of digging, it was eventually discovered one man took a single specimen home to Norway after visiting China in the 1940s. This man then distributed the plant’s off shoots as he travelled across Norway. A community of plant people continued this trend until the Chinese Money plant could be found halfway across the globe. 

If you’re lucky enough to have a Chinese Money plant sitting on your windowsill you already know they’re very easy to care for. They like a well-lit space and well-drained, moist soil. Keep your plant out of direct sunlight. Use the finger test to help you know when to water. Stick your finger in the soil, if it feels dry up to the second knuckle give it a good soaking. If it’s moist, try again tomorrow. Always ensure the water has drained away and your plant isn’t sitting in water as this will cause root rot and it’ll be good-bye, Pilea peperomioides. #itsplantporn

 

photo: Bart Kiggen

photo: Bart Kiggen

Jessica Hill is a freelance journalist who is interested in the relationship between plants and people. Follow her on Instagram @plantsunknown.