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Chinese Money Plants, or Pilea peperomioides, are easily recognised by their small, flat circular leaves, which give them a number of additional nicknames such as 'Pancake Plant', 'UFO Plant' and 'Elephant Ears'. They're also sometimes known as the 'Friendship Plant', as they can easily be propagated by cuttings, and so their cuttings are often given away to friends and family members so they can then start their own Pilea.
As the name Chinese Money Plant suggests, they originate from Yunnan - an area in southwestern China.
They've since become incredibly popular all over the world, especially in Scandinavia. It's thought that this is because a Norwegian missionary named Agnar Espegren first began the trend of giving away cuttings to friends after visiting the Cangshan Mountains in the 1940s. It's now not uncommon to see these plants all over the place, from homes to doctor's offices!
Chinese Money Plants can occasionally be a bit finicky, but for the most part are quite a low maintenance plant. Make sure to place yours somewhere where it gets enough light but cannot get scorched by harsh, direct sunlight. Their leaves can quickly start to look a bit unhappy if the light conditions aren't right.
If possible, a place in your home where you get bright, indirect sunlight is perfect for your Pilea. If you only have windows with strong sunlight, try putting up some sheer curtains to help filter the sun's strength a little.
Check the soil before watering in order to make sure you aren't giving your plant too much - these plants don't like their soil to be soggy. If they've been getting too much water, the leaves may start to discolor to a yellowish color, or may even drop off. However, note that occasional yellowing / leaf drop is normal as the leaves age. If you notice a few leaves falling off, keep an eye on your plant to make sure it isn't a wider issue that is causing the problem.
These plants are actually from the same family as common stinging nettles (the Urticaceae family), but you don't need to worry about this plant stinging you! In fact, Chinese Money Plants are a 'safe' choice for various reasons - for instance, they make a great pet-friendly addition to your plant collection as they're non-toxic.
Although Chinese Money Plants are very popular in many homes worldwide, they're actually not that widely sold, plus they've sadly almost completely disappeared from their natural environment. Therefore, one of the best ways for you to be able to get your hands on one is by getting a cutting from a friend.
They're often known as a lucky plant. Some say that if you place a coin in the soil it will boost financial luck for the whole household!
HOW TO PROPAGATE YOUR CHINESE MONEY PLANT
Propagating this plant is very easy, and, if you wish, you can potentially end up with so many that they will almost take over your home! All you need to do is take a cutting and then place it either in soil or water to allow it to then continue to grow into its own little plant.
Once your plant is mature enough, you'll see smaller 'baby' plants popping up. You can take a knife or some scissors (just make sure they're clean and sharp) and make a cut along the stem a little ways down into the soil. If you then place it in water, you'll slowly be able to see new roots growing. Just make sure to switch out the water for a clean glass every now and then.