How To Water Chinese Money Plants (Pilea peperomioides) at Home

In my experience, Chinese money plants (Pilea peperomioides) typically need to be watered every 7-10 days. For optimal care, they like to be thoroughly drenched with dechlorinated tap water. The watering frequency depends on temperature, humidity, light, plant size, potting soil, type of pot, and the season. However, poor watering habits can make them discolored, stretched out, or flopping over. Make sure you’re giving your Chinese Money plants just the right amount and type of water with this guide.

How To Water Chinese Money Plants (Pilea peperomoides)

When to Water Chinese Money Plants

Chinese money plants enjoy growing in moist conditions – we know this because they naturally occur on damp rocks in subtropical forests.

In my experience, there should always be some moisture in the soil to keep them happy. However, they do not tolerate growing in soggy soil. Overwatering can also damage Chinese money plants, leading to a number of plant care issues.

Many environmental factors influence how often you should water this plant – temperature, humidity, light, soil type, the type of pot, and the season. 

Rather than adhering to a set watering regime, you should learn how to tell when your plant needs watering. 

How Do You Know When a Chinese Money Plant Needs Watering?

A small Chinese Money Plant in with green circular leaves in a clay plant pot

Chinese money plants’ soil should not be allowed to get bone-dry. However, the soil must drain well and the top 2 or 3 inches of soil is allowed to dry in-between watering.

There are a few ways I test whether it is time to water a Chinese money plant:

  • Simply use a soil moisture probe.
  • Using my finger to dig a few inches into the soil to feel how moist it is. 
  • Pick the pot up to feel the weight – if it is feeling light, it’s time to water.

Typically, I find that Chinese money plants should be watered every 7 to 10 days. This regime is appropriate if you live in a temperate climate with average temperature and humidity.

Environmental Conditions

The following factors influence the length of watering cycles:

  • Temperature. In warmer regions, plants use more water, requiring more frequent watering.
  • Humidity. If your home has a lower than average (<40%) humidity due to an air conditioner, plants need to be watered more often. 
  • Lighting conditions. In brighter lighting conditions, plants use more water than when grown in lower light levels. If you grow your plant in a north- or south-facing window, you need to water more frequently. 
  • Soil type. Soils with higher drainage require watering more often.

Seasonal Considerations

During the colder months, Chinese money plants’ growth slows down, so they consume less water. 

You should adjust how often you water when the plant goes dormant during the winter. They require water less often in the cool season. 

The Fundamental Importance of Good Drainage

Drainage is one of the most crucial factors in growing any houseplant. The soil should be loose, aerated, and free-draining and the pot must have ample drainage holes.

Excess water must be able to flow away from the root zone. If the roots stay in stagnant water, the roots are smothered. They develop a fungal disease called root rot. Boggy soil also attracts insect pests. 

What Type of Water is Best for Chinese Money Plants? 

Tap water contains high chlorine levels, a chemical that is bad for plants. It is better to water your Chinese money plant with filtered water or rainwater. 

If your only option is tap water, allow the water to stand in an open container for 24 hours. This allows the chlorine time to dissipate. 

Water plants with room-temperature or lukewarm water. Very cold water shocks plants and can damage their roots. 

How to Water Chinese Money Plants

There are various techniques for watering Chinese money plants. Whatever method you use, you need to give the plant enough water. Watering with small amounts at a time is not effective.

Options & Techniques

You can bottom-water or top-water a Chinese money plant. Use the method that is the most convenient for you. Bottom-watering is generally more straightforward if you have lots of plants.

Step-by-step Guide for Top Watering

  • Place the pot into an empty basin.
  • Use a watering can to water around the base of the plant.
  • Avoid getting the foliage wet.
  • Water enough so that excess water flows out of the bottom of the pot.
  • Place the plant back in its place, on top of a saucer.
  • Empty the saucer of any excess water.

Step-by-step Guide for Bottom Watering

  • Place the pot directly into a tub filled with a few inches of water.
  • Leave it for 10 to 15 minutes, allowing the plant to soak up the water it needs. 
  • Remove the pot, allowing excess water to drain out.
  • Place the pot back on its saucer, emptying any excess water.

How Much Water do Chinese Money Plants Need?

The good thing about bottom-watering is that the plant will soak up the amount of water it needs. With top watering, you need to estimate the right amount of water.

The amount of water you need to add is proportional to the size of the plant. Larger plants need more than smaller ones. 

Generally, one should water until one starts seeing excess water draining from the bottom of the pot. 

Get Rid of Excess Water

It is critical to empty the saucer so that your Chinese money plant does not sit in stagnant water. 

Signs You Might be Overwatering

It is easy to identify when a Chinese money plant is suffering from too much water. The leaves may start to droop, turn yellow, or drop off entirely over time. 

Severely overwatered plants develop brown spots, especially along the leaf margins. The leaves also drop off.

Overwatering can cause root rot, which will give the soil an unpleasant smell.

To rescue an overwatered Chinese money plant, simply allow the soil to dry out. Do not water it until the top few inches feel dry to the touch. You can also use a soil probe to aerate the soil and help it dry faster.

Signs You Might be Underwatering

The signs of underwatering are similar to those of overwatering, except the soil will feel dry to the touch. In severely dry plants, the leaves will turn crispy and drop off.

You need to find an appropriate watering cycle and stick to it to fix this problem. 

What to Do In Between Watering Cycles

Chinese money plants will benefit from extra care in between watering cycles. Here is what to do:

Misting the leaves regularly is a great way to keep them dust-free. Misting and wiping the leaves also helps to deter spider mites. 

They will love the extra humidity in their root zone. This is a great way to keep your Chinese money plant healthy, especially if the air in your home is very dry.

Regularly check your plant for signs of it needing water: drooping leaves, changing colors, loss of vibrancy. Addressing issues as soon as they develop will prevent serious, life-threatening problems.

Watering Chinese Money Plants FAQs: 

What are the most common signs a Chinese Money plant needs watering? 

The leaves appear wilted and yellow. The leaves can feel crispy in very dry plants and have brown spots, especially around the edges.

What is the best way to water Chinese Money plants?

Bottom-watering or watering from the top is equally effective. Find the method that is most convenient for you.

How much water do Chinese Money plants need? 

They need to be thoroughly drenched so that excess water flows from the pot’s drainage holes. Larger plants require more water.

Is it ok to get water on Chinese Money plant leaves? 

You can mist the leaves but avoid letting big water drops pool on the leaf surface for extended periods. This can cause diseases, like blackspot

What do I do if I overwater my Chinese Money plant? 

Allow the soil to dry almost completely, and get into a better watering routine. If your plant has developed root rot, you need to repot it and remove infected parts.

Can I water my Chinese Money plant with tap water? 

Yes, but you should allow the water to stand in an open container for 24 hours. This gives the chlorine in the tap water to dissipate.

Should I mist my Chinese Money plant?

Yes, they benefit from the extra humidity, and it keeps the leaves clean. Mist once a week or daily if you live in a hot, dry climate.

Wrapping Up

Chinese money plants love to be kept slightly on the moist side. While they do not tolerate soggy soil conditions, they enjoy some moisture in the root zone. Depending on your climate, you should water this plant once a week or every ten days. Ensure the upper layer of soil is dry to the touch before you water! Regardless of which watering method you use, just do not let the soil dry out completely.

For more, see our in-depth guide to Pilea peperomioides plant care at home.

Editorial Director | | Full Bio

Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.

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