I find that my Pilea peperomioides prefer light, quick-draining soil with plenty of aeration for optimal growth. My go-to soil mix ratio for these plants combines 2 parts loamy soil,1 part coco coir or peat moss, 1 part sand, and 1 part perlite or pumice. In my experience, you can also use cactus or succulent soil and add a handful of peat moss or coconut coir for additional moisture and nutrient retention. Aim for an acidic pH level of 6.0 to 7.0.
The Ultimate Peperomia Peperomioides Potting Mix Home Recipe
A healthy Pilea peperomioides requires very well-draining soil. These plants hate wet feet, and soggy soil can quickly lead to root rot. Instead, I always choose a potting soil mix that contains sand, pumice, or perlite to ensure proper aeration and drainage.
Along with well-draining soil, choose a container with adequate drainage holes. In addition, avoid overwatering by only watering when the top couple inches of soil feels dry.
P. peperomioides prefers slightly acidic soil. A pH level of 6.0 to 7.0 is ideal. You can lower pH by adding pine fines or peat moss to your soil mix.
To create the ultimate potting mix for your Peperomia peperomioides, here’s my favorite ratio of ingredients:
- 2 parts loamy soil
- 1 part coco coir or peat moss
- 1 part sand
- 1 part perlite or pumice
Simply combine the ingredients thoroughly before adding them to containers.
The Best Pre-Mixed Soils for Peperomia Peperomioides
If you want to save time with pre-mixed soil, I’ve had success using the below options (via Amazon). These provide a good mix of nutrients and soil structure for healthy plant growth:
- Dirtco. House & Tropical Plant Potting Soil
- Hoffman Organic Cactus and Succulent Mix (add a handful of peat moss or coconut coir to improve moisture and nutrient retention)
Common Signs You’re Using the Wrong Soil Mix
How do you know if you’re using the wrong soil mix for your Pepormia plant? Often, your plant will let you know. Common signs of non-optimal soil include:
- Curling foliage may indicate the soil isn’t draining quickly enough.
- Yellowing, dropping leaves on the lower part of the plant may mean wet, soggy soil or inadequate aeration.
Both of these common problems are related to soil drainage. When soil doesn’t drain, water builds up around the roots, leading to a condition known as root rot.
A plant with root rot cannot absorb the nutrients and air it needs to thrive, leading to a wilted, discolored, and overall unhealthy plant.
Why Soil Choice Matters
When grown in containers, soil choice can mean the difference between a happy P. peperomioides and one that just gets by or, worse, struggles to grow. Along with adequate light, soil type is essential to Chinese money plant health.
Why is soil so critical to plant growth? In a nutshell, soil provides plants with everything they need, from an anchoring foundation to water, air, and food in the form of nutrients. Minerals such as copper, calcium, nitrogen, and potassium are all key to plant health, and they’re all delivered through the soil.
Along with nutrients, soil provides water and air. Small spaces in between soil particles known as pores contain water and air. Plants access these resources through their roots.
Finally, soil acts as an insulator. The right soil protects plants from significant temperature fluctuations.
Common Soil Types:
What is soil made of? It’s a mixture of minerals and biomass or decomposing plant and animal matter. The type of soil — such as sand, clay, loamy, peaty, or chalky — depends on the size and texture of the particles it contains. The three common particle types are:
- Sand: The largest particles. Sandy soil drains very quickly and offers large pores for excellent aeration. Sandy soil doesn’t hold onto water or nutrients well.
- Clay: The smallest particles. Clay soil drains slowly and doesn’t allow for good aeration but does hold lots of water and nutrients.
- Silt: Particles that fall between clay and sand in size. Silty soil offers a balance of moisture and nutrient retention, drainage, and aeration.
Most soil mixes contain a blend of the three particle sizes. The soil type depends on which particle is dominant; soil with a balanced amount of particle sizes is called “loamy.”
Other common soil types include “peaty” and “chalky.” Peaty soil contains high volumes of compost or other biomass and offers superior moisture retention. It’s usually slightly acidic. In contrast, chalky soil tends to have a higher pH due to levels of the mineral calcium carbonate. This type of soil drains quickly but doesn’t retain nutrients or moisture as well as peaty soil.
Soil type makes a big difference to plant health. Each plant species has its own specific requirements, so try to match soil type to each plant’s needs for the best results.
What Are the Primary Components Used in a Potting Soil Mix?
Potting soil mixes are made from components that can improve drainage, deliver moisture and nutrients, ensure proper aeration, and determine pH.
Selecting the correct blend of components in a soil mix will affect the health and growth of P. peperomioides. You’ll often see these standard components in a soil mix:
- Coco coir comes from coconut husks; it’s used to improve aeration and moisture retention and can be used as an alternative to sphagnum peat moss
- Compost/organic matter: Decomposed plant and animal matter adds nutrients and beneficial microorganisms to the soil while improving moisture retention
- Perlite: Expanded volcanic rocks that look like bits of Styrofoam bits; used to enhance moisture retention and loosen the soil to improve aeration and drainage
- Pine Bark Fines: Tiny shreds of pine bark that will enhance drainage and raise soil acidity
- Pumice: An expanded volcanic rock that’s used to loosen soil, improve aeration, and improve moisture retention
- Rocks/pebbles: Add to a tray under a container and cover with water to raise humidity
- Sand: Can be added to clay soil to improve drainage and aeration
- Soil Activator: When added to soil, it can speed up composting process and release nutrients
- Sphagnum Peat Moss: Raises acidity, loosens the soil, increases drainage, and improves moisture retention; harvested from wetlands and bogs
- Vermiculite: A lightweight, expanded rock that enhances moisture retention while improving drainage
Peperomia Peperomioides Soil FAQs:
How often should I switch soil for my Peperomia Peperomioides?
If the soil appears compacted or isn’t draining adequately, switch it out for a better-draining option or add sand, perlite, or pumice to loosen the existing soil.
Can I use cactus soil for Peperomia Peperomioides?
You can use cactus and succulent soil for P. peperomioides. You may consider adding a bit of peat moss or coconut coir to improve moisture retention.
Do Peperomia Peperomioides like wet or dry soil?
Chinese money plants hate wet soil. Water only when the top couple inches of soil feels dry.
Does the potting container influence the type of soil mix for Peperomia Peperomioides?
Use the same type of soil, regardless of potting containers. Just be aware that terracotta containers tend to dry out faster.
Do Peperomia Peperomioides need deep potting containers?
Chinese money plants don’t require deep containers. They grow well in medium pots.
The cheerful little Peperomia peperomioides is a low-maintenance plant that grows slowly and requires little attention. Plant it in well-draining soil that offers lots of aeration, some moisture retention, adequate nutrients, and a slightly acidic pH, and watch your Chinese money plant thrive.
For more, see our in-depth guide to Peperolia peperomioides plant care at home.