Chinese Money Plant Uses and Benefits Backed by Leading Research Studies
If you want to bring some cheer — and possibly even some good fortune — into your home or office, look no further than Pilea peperomioides. Also known as Chinese money plant or UFO plant, these popular houseplants aren’t just pleasant to look at. They’re also low maintenance, thrive in low light spots, can help clean the air, and offer a number of other benefits. Read on to learn more about the many uses and benefits of Pilea peperomiodies at home.
- About Pilea peperomioides (Chinese Money Plant)
- The Benefits of Pilea peperomioides
- Benefits of Chinese Money Plants – The Final Word
About Pilea peperomioides (Chinese Money Plant)
P. peperomioides is a popular houseplant, thanks to its round, deep green leaves that nod atop arching stems. The plants grow slowly, to about 12 inches tall. They may bloom with small white flowers in spring, but don’t often do so when growing indoors.
There are a few cultivars available. Among the most common are ‘Sugar’ and ‘White Splash,’ both boast variegated white and green foliage. ‘Mojito’ is also variegated, with streaks of white and gray that resume marble.
The plants are native to some areas of China, specifically the southwestern Sichuan and northwestern Yunnan provinces. Here, they live on the damp, shady forest floor at relatively high altitudes. The plants are an endangered species in their native habitat, but indoor gardeners worldwide enjoy their happy appearance and easy-to-care-for nature.
When growing inside, mimicking these conditions is key to a thriving, happy plant. That means providing bright yet indirect light — such as that found in an east-facing window, a few feet from a south- or west-facing window, or in front of a south- or west-facing window that’s covered by a sheer curtain. Always be careful not to over-water your Pilea plant, which can lead to yellowing or dropping leaves. You’ll also want to consider repotting your Pilea peperomioides every 18 months to 2 years.
Chinese money plants can also tolerate lower light conditions, though they do prefer bright indirect light. They should be watered when the top couple inches of soil feels dry. Fertilize every three weeks in the spring and summer, using a fertilizer diluted to half-strength, and every six weeks in winter and fall.
In Chinese culture, these plants are associated with financial success and fortune. This may be because of their coin-shaped foliage. It’s thought that placing a P. peperomioides in the northwestern corner of a home or room may help attract positive energy that leads to financial fortune.
But good looks and good luck aren’t the only good things about P. peperomioides. Here are some of the amazing benefits these plants have to offer.
The Benefits of Pilea peperomioides
1) Air Purifying Properties
You likely already know that plants take in carbon dioxide, sunlight, and water and, through the process of photosynthesis, “breathe” out oxygen. But did you know that this process helps clean the air of toxins?
In the late 1980s, NASA studies found that houseplants have the ability to remove specific pollutants from indoor air. Plant foliage and roots — as well as the plant soil and the microorganisms that live within it — help filter out contaminants.
Plants can lower the levels of solvents, chemicals, and organic compounds such as benzene, toluene, xylene, formaldehyde, and more. And, of course, plants help remove carbon dioxide from the air, replacing it with fresh oxygen.
Decades later, recent scientific research supports NASA’s findings. Plants can indeed improve air purity; placing several plants in your home, such as P. pepermioides, can help clean the air you breathe.
2) Use in Feng Shui
The Chinese practice of Feng Shui helps you decide where to position items, such as plants, within your home or office. The position of your P. pepermioides can attract certain types of positive or repel negative energy.
Feng Shui’s five elements include wood, fire, earth, water, and metal. Chinese money plants align with the “wood” element, which is associated with action, energy, and growth. The Chinese money plant is further linked to money and financial success due to its round (coin-shaped) leaves.
Placing your Pilea pepermioides in the northwest sector of a room or home means the plant draws energy to the Xun section. This is associated with wealth, and prosperity.
3) Low-Maintenance and Easy Care
P. pepermioides plants are low maintenance as long as you provide them with growing conditions that mimic their natural environment. Plus, when grown in their preferred conditions, they’re not especially prone to pests or diseases.
To replicate the forests of southwestern China, provide your Chinese money plant with:
- Temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees F.
- Standard indoor humidity levels.
- Soil mix that drains quickly and contains organic material.
- pH level from 6.0 to 7.0.
- Bright but indirect light exposure, such as that found in an east-facing window or near a filtered light source.
- Avoid cold drafts and heat sources.
- Never expose to bright, direct light such as that from a south- or west-facing window.
- Feed every three weeks in spring and summer and every six weeks the rest of the year, using a fertilizer diluted to half-strength.
4) Ornamental Value
Chinese money plants are beloved by indoor gardeners for their ornamental value. It’s no surprise that social media is filled with P. peperoimiodes! After all, the plants are, well, adorable. Their sturdy, arching stems topped with deep green leaves look almost like they’re hovering in the air, leading to the nickname of “UFO plant.”
The distinctive, round shape of the foliage gives these small plants a happy look. They lend an aesthetic of positivity to any room.
5) Easy to Propagate
Propagation is a great way to grow your indoor plant collection without spending a dime. Chinese money plants are straightforward to propagate, leading to another nickname, the “sharing plant.”
The plants send off little offspring, known as “daughters.” These tiny baby Pilea pop up through the soil. If you leave them to grow a couple inches tall, you can gently separate the babies using a knife and plant them in their own pots. Propagation doesn’t get much easier than this!
6) Tolerates Varying Light Conditions
Chinese money plants grow best in bright indirect light, but they can grow in spots with reflected light, too. Good options include an east-facing window, a few feet away from a south- or west-facing window, or in a south- or west-facing window that’s covered by a sheer curtain.
While P. peperoimiodes prefer bright indirect light, they can tolerate lower light levels. Watch for leggy growth if you position your plant in a darker corner, watch for leggy growth. This indicates the plant needs more light.
7) Improve Mental Health and Reduce Stress
A room filled with plants, such as the Chinese money plant, leads to a reduction in levels of anxiety and stress. This may help improve mental health. Several studies show that a view of green leaves lowers stress levels and helps people feel calm.
For example, one study of students found that a group that attended class in a room with plants had lower stress and anxiety than students in a room without plants. Similarly, looking at flowers helps people feel happier. Even looking at pictures of flowers results in physiological effects, such as lower blood pressure and stress hormone levels.
8) Low Water Consumption
P. peperomioides doesn’t need much water. Rather than watering on a regular schedule, wait until the top two inches of soil feel dry.
Similarly, if the leaves start to droop a bit, that’s a good time to add water. It’s essential to provide the plants with well-draining soil and a container that drains easily.
9) Better Memory and Productivity
Research shows that being around plants leads to an improved ability to complete tasks and concentrate. In offices that have ornamental plants, employees display better task accuracy and higher quality work. Being around plants in nature is thought to improve memory and concentration by up to 20 percent.
Plants such as P. pepepromiodes, can boost productivity and memory. Studies suggest that people who work in plant-filled offices show improved emotional, cognitive, and physical performance. Overall, this increased productivity by 15 percent.
10) Allergy Relief
If you have seasonal allergies, placing houseplants, such as Chinese money plants, in your home or office may help. When grown indoors, plants like P. pepepromiodes help raise the humidity levels in the air through a process called transpiration.
When plants take up water in the soil through their roots. The water circulates through the plant, playing several crucial roles as it goes. When the water reaches the foliage, the moisture is then released through pores, or stoma, on the leaves. This increases humidity, and higher humidity makes it harder for contaminants, like pollen and other allergens to circulate.
Research also suggests indoor plants may mitigate pollutants in the air and even help reduce the counts of microbes. Such airborne contaminants can make allergies worse. Position a few houseplants near your bed or desk to see if the increased humidity helps ease your allergies.
Benefits of Chinese Money Plants – The Final Word
Pilea peperomiodes don’t just look good in your home or office, although they certainly improve any room’s aesthetics. They also offer a host of benefits, from improved mood and productivity to cleaner air. They’re also a favorite plant in Feng Shui. To top it all off, Chinese money plants are low maintenance and (literally) propagate themselves. These wonderful houseplants make a positive addition to any indoor space.
Linsay is an American copywriter based in the Pacific Northwest with a background in academic writing and research. Linsay holds Master's degree in both Anthropology and Library and Information Sciences and has written for numerous national and international publications including USA Today, SFGATE, Hunker, and The Bump across an array of topics in the gardening, green living, and travel sectors. When she's not writing, you'll usually find Linsay reading, kayaking, sailing, snowboarding, or working in her garden.