When and How to Fertilize Pilea peperomioides Plants

Want to add a touch of cheer to your home or office? A Pilea peperomioides does the trick! These small plants’ round foliage atop arching stems look almost as if they’re floating on air and offer all sorts of uses and benefits and rich symbolic meaning. Also known as Chinese money plants or UFO plants, P. peperomioides is relatively easy to care for and has simple fertilization needs. Read on to learn how and why to fertilize your Chinese money plant.

When and How to Fertilize Pilea peperomioides Plants

Fertilizing Pilea peperomioides Plants – The Essentials

Feed your P. peperomiodes houseplant fertilizer once per month during its growing season, spring through fall. Dilute 3-1-2 or balanced water-soluble fertilizer to half the recommended strength. Do not feed the plants during the rest of the year.

The Role of Fertilizer in Pilea peperomioides Plant Health and Growth

The Role of Fertilizer in Pilea peperomioides Plant Health and Growth

In order to grow and thrive, all plants — including Pilea peperomiodes plants— need light, water, and carbon dioxide. In addition, all plants need certain nutrients.

When they grow outdoors, plants obtain all these elements from their environment. The sun provides light, air delivers CO2, rain offers moisture, and decomposing organic matter in the soil provides nutrients. Plants evolve to thrive with particular mixtures of these elements, depending on their native environment.

When plants are grown indoors, you must do your best to mimic their natural habitat. This means choosing the right soil mix, watering in appropriate amounts, choosing a site that gets the correct type of light exposure, and providing nutrients in the form of fertilizer.

Each species of plant has different nutrient needs. For many home gardeners, figuring out which type of fertilizer to use feels a bit overwhelming. Let’s take a look at what’s in fertilizer and how to choose the optimal fertilizer type for your P. peperoimoides.

Primary Macronutrients

Most commercially available fertilizers contain three components known as primary macronutrients: N, P, and K. These macronutrients are nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium, and each plays a different part in your plant’s health.

The first is Nitrogen, or “N.” Foliage growth and photosynthesis depend on nitrogen. It’s how your Chinese money plant’s foliage maintains its healthy green color.

Phosphorous, or “P,” is also crucial in effective photosynthesis. “P” is key to successful flowering and fruiting.

Finally, potassium or “K” also plays a role in photosynthesis. Plants need potassium to distribute nutrients and water through their roots, stems, and foliage.

Fertilizer labels indicate the amounts of each macronutrient. They’re listed by percentage by volume and are listed in a standard “NPK” format. For instance, a 10-10-10 NPK indicates that the fertilizer contains 10 percent nitrogen, 10 percent phosphorous, and 10 percent potassium.

These percentages may also be listed as a ratio. A 10-10-10 fertilizer would have a 1:1:1, or balanced, ratio. However, a 24-8-16 NPK would mean 24 percent nitrogen, 8 percent phosphorus and 16 percent potassium, which translates to a 3:1:2 ratio. This happens to be the optimal ratio for a P. peperoimoides plant.

Secondary Macronutrients and Micronutrients

Along with N, P, and K, plants need smaller amounts of secondary macronutrients, which are sulfur (S), calcium (Ca), and magnesium (Mg). And plants also use tiny amounts of the micronutrients boron (B), chlorine (Cl), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), molybdenum (Mo), Nickel (Ni), and zinc (Zn).

Plant species need different ratios of these macro- and micronutrients to survive. For your Chinese money plant to thrive, choose a fertilizer containing the mix of the right nutrients — a 3:1:2 or balanced ratio are best.

Types of Fertilizer

Next, you’ll choose the way the fertilizer delivers the nutrients. Organic fertilizers comprise decomposing, naturally occurring plant, mineral, or animal products. Organic fertilizer takes longer to affect plant health but lasts longer in the soil.

In contrast, synthetic fertilizers contain chemical compounds. While they affect plants more quickly, they don’t last as long in the soil. That means you’ll have to reapply them more often.

You can choose from several forms of fertilizer, too. For instance, water-soluble fertilizers are dissolved or diluted in water before you add them to your plant’s soil. Dry fertilizers are sprinkled on the soil surface. They break down when the plant is watered. Slow-release fertilizers break down more slowly over time. They’re often in the form of spikes or pellets that you add to the soil.

Signs Your Pilea peperomioides Plant Lacks Nutrients or Needs Feeding

Signs Your Pilea peperomioides Plant Lacks Nutrients or Needs Feeding

If your P. peroimioides has discolored leaves or curling foliage, it may lack nutrients. Specifically, yellowing, pale leaves, or leaf loss near the bottom of the plant may indicate a nitrogen deficiency.

Yellowing, curling, or scorched-looking leaves may indicate a potassium deficiency. Too little phosphorus may lead to stunted plant growth or darkened foliage.

When attempting to solve any of these issues with fertilizer, start slowly and use heavily diluted, small amounts. Overfertilizing can lead to a build-up of salts in the soil and harm plant health.

When and How Often Should You Fertilize a Pilea peperomioides Plant?

When and How Often Should You Fertilize a Pilea peperomioides Plant?

Fertilize your P. peperomioides in its growing season, which is spring through summer in most places (also the best time to consider repotting your plant if needed). Fertilize once per month while the plant is actively growing.

Do not fertilize the plant during the rest of the year unless you notice signs of under fertilization and rule out other causes.

The Best Fertilizer for Pilea peperomioides Plants

Choose a 3-2-1 fertilizer for your Chinese money plant. Dilute it to half-strength before applying. If you can’t find a 3-2-1 formula, you may use a balanced, water-soluble solution. Dilute it to half-strength.

Some commercial options include:

You may choose to make your own fertilizer at home. Water from a fish tank, used coffee and tea grounds, banana peels, bone meal, fireplace ash, and fish meal may all be used to create homemade fertilizer.

(Editors Note: Petal Republic participates in partnership programs with Amazon and other merchants to help connect readers with relevant products and services we may recommend).

How to Apply Fertilizer

When applying fertilizer, dilute to half strength or follow the recommendations on the container. Water your plant the day before you fertilize, as it’s never a good idea to apply fertilizer to dry soil.

After diluting your fertilizer, pour it slowly around the plant. Don’t get it on the foliage! This may burn leaves.

Key Considerations to be Aware of

Key Considerations to be Aware of

How do you know if you’ve overfertilized a P. peperoimiodes? There are several signs to look out for. A white crust on the top of the soil may indicate that salts are building up due to overfertilization. Stop fertilizing until this crust goes away.

Discolored leaves and root burn — browning leaf margins, brown roots, and slowed or reduced growth — may also indicate fertilizer overuse. Stop feeding the plant and flush it with water a few times.

As with all houseplants, ensure your fertilizing schedule is aligned with the best care for your Pilea peperomioides plant, including regular watering, appropriate temperature and humidity, suitable light exposure, and positioning in the home, and pest and disease control.  

Fertilizing Pilea peperomioides Plants FAQs:

Do Pilea peperomioides need fertilizer? 

Chinese money plants need fertilizer in their growing season, which is spring and summer. They don’t need fertilization during the rest of the year.

When should I fertilize my Pilea peperomioides Plant? 

Fertilize your P. peperomioides plant once a month during the spring and summer months.

What is the best fertilizer for Pilea peperomioides Plants? 

Chinese money plants prefer a 3-1-2, water-soluble solution diluted to half-strength. You may also use a balanced, 10-10-10 solution diluted to half-strength.

Is Miracle Grow good for Pilea peperomioides Plants? 

You may use Miracle Grow on your Chinese money plant. Follow the package directions to dilute to half-strength.

Are used coffee grounds good for Pilea peperomioides Plants? 

Your P. peperomioides plant does prefer a slightly acidic soil. You can amend the soil with a bit of used coffee grounds; just be careful not to overdo it.

Fertilizing Pilea peperomioides – The Final Word

Pilea peperomioides is a relatively low-maintenance plant, and that extends to fertilization. You only need to fertilize during the plant’s active growing season, which is spring through summer. During this time, feed every month with a 3-2-1 or balanced fertilizer that’s been diluted to half strength. Don’t feed the plants during the rest of the year.

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