Pilea peperomioides, better known as the Chinese money plants are renowned for their unique, round leaves that grow from long stems, falling magnificently in all directions. The newer leaves of Chinese money plants start a bit curly but flatten with time. But sometimes, what you presume as normal curling could be something else. Chinese money plants or pilea can sometimes droop owing to some underlying condition. In this article, we’ll discuss why pilea plants droop and what you can do to revive them.
Just like with most of the houseplants, even Pilea droop when grown indoors. The drooping is quite normal and even easy to fix. But there are other opposing factors that can contribute to the drooping of the Chinese money plants, such as under-watering or overwatering. Placement of the pilea plant and pest infestation can also be potential causes of droopy pilea.
Why Does Pilea Plant or Chinese Money Plant Droop?
Chinese money plants or Pilea peperomioides have very long stems, which sometimes curve downwards, giving the plant a droopy appearance. If your plant looks healthy with shiny leaves and has no sign of root rot, you do not have to worry much about the drooping. But if the plant is showing other signs like yellowing or browning of leaves, leaf drop, soggy soil, or any such abnormality, you need to treat the root cause.
Reasons Behind Drooping Of Pilea Or Chinese Money Plant:
Incorrect Positioning Of The Plant:
One of the most common reasons behind the drooping of pilea plants is the light source coming from one side. When the light is coming from just one side, it could make the entire stem turn towards the source to absorb as much of it as possible. This makes the leaves grow towards the source of light, giving a droopy and lopsided look to the plant. It’s a common occurrence indoors where windows are the primary source of light.
Low light isn’t really a direct cause, but it can contribute to other causes that lead directly to the problem. It’s mainly due to low light that we overwater the plant, which leads to wilting and rotten pilea. Apart from reduced water usage, low light also slows down the growth of the plant and reduces evaporation of water, which makes the soil stay wet for a longer time.
Under-watering is also one of the causes behind the drooping of the Pilea plant. Pilea plants may look robust with thick leaves and stems, but they are actually quite sensitive and do not respond well to underwatering.
If you do not water the plant frequently and the soil dries out, the stalks will start drooping in no time. This can lead to loss of leaves, especially the mature leaves at the lower part of the plant.
Underwatering may not kill your pilea plant, but overwatering can. In case you’re wondering how to find if your pilea is overwatered or underwatered, we’ll tell you. In the case of overwater, the pilea leaves start turning yellow. This is followed by drooping or wilting of the leaves and stems of your Chinese money plant. This is a sign of root rot, and if not corrected on time, it can kill your plant.
Root rot happens when the plant is left in soggy soil for a long period of time. Excess water present in the plant prevents it from absorbing the necessary nutrients as well as oxygen. This eventually destroys the plant.
If the root is rotten, your plant may also emit a rotting smell. The leaves first turn yellow and then take a brown shade. Even the foliage develops brown patches. The new foliage will either come out brown or black or completely dead.
In some cases, your pilea plant may start drooping after repotting. It may look scary, but it’s actually due to transplant stress, which is often accompanied by leaf loss. This happens because the roots are disturbed significantly during the replanting process. This makes it difficult for the roots to function properly. They find it hard to absorb water, which is one of the prime reasons behind the drooping of the Chinese money plant.
Pest infestation can harm your plant in ways more than you can imagine. Pests like scale, mealybug, thrips, fungus gnats, and spider mites enjoy sucking the sap out of the thick and plump leaves of pilea. This dehydrates the plant and damages the foliage, which results in wiling. Not just that, pests also cause leaf loss and irregular yellow spots on the leaves.
When pilea plant grows, the older foliage that’s on the lower stem starts drying. in this case, the leaf first turns yellow, and then droop before falling off. When this happens, you’ll see just a couple of leaves falling off and new and healthy leaves come as quickly as they are lost. This usually happens during autumn, when the temperature and light levels drop. It’s the plant’s way to preserve its health for the upcoming winter season. In such cases, you cannot do much about it. It’s a normal phenomenon and your plant will be fine in a couple of days.
Drafts And Temperature Changes:
Sudden temperature changes or environmental shock can result in drooping of your pilea plant. If you keep your pilea plant in temperatures below 55°F or 13°C, it can suffer from cold shock, which can cause the entire plant to droop. This usually happens with plants that are left outdoors in summers and are not brought inside even when the nights start cooling.
Keeping the Pilea peperomioides near an air-conditioning vent or drafty window can also give similar results.
How To Fix And Revive Drooping Pilea Plant?
Correct The Positioning Of The Plant:
If you feel the drooping is due to the placement of the plant, the first thing you should do is place the plant at a spot where it can get most of the light from the top. Alternatively, you can rotate your pilea every week. This will ensure a symmetrical growth pattern in your Chinese money plant.
Give Proper Light To Your Plant:
Low light is one of the major causes of overwatering, which eventually leads to root rot. So if you want to avoid root rot, which causes a droopy and sad-looking Pilea, it would be best if you could move your plant to a place where it could get loads of bright, but indirect light. Please do not put your plant under direct sunlight, as that can burn and ruin your plant.
Water Your Plant:
If your Chinese money plant is drooping due to dry soil or underwatering, the first fix would be giving your plant a drink. If the top few inches of the soil feel too dry, then you may have to water the soil thoroughly. And whenever you do so, drain the soil well. Since the issue here is underwatering, we would recommend you check the soil for moisture every few days. Whenever your soil feels dry, water your plant. One way to check the moisture is by sticking your finger inside it to check for dampness. The other way is feeling the weight of the plant. When a plant is wet, it feels heavy and as it dries, it gets lighter. So if the plant feels too light and the soil is dry, it’s your time to give your plant a drink. If you’re still unsure, you can get a moisture meter.
Your plant will cheer up once you water it properly. However, on some occasions, watering may not help revert your pilea plant to its previous healthy appearance. The stalks and leaves may also continue to look droopy. So your best bet would be to prevent it from happening in the first place.
Fix Root Rot Due To Overwatering:
If you suspect root rot, the first thing you need to do is remove the pilea plant from the pot and take a close look at the roots. In case of root rot, the roots will be brown or black, mushy, and will release odor. If you have a few healthy roots left, you can still save the plant. Healthy roots are white or light brown in color and are firm, but spongy to touch. If there’s no healthy root left, you’ll have to bid goodbye to your plant.
Rinse the roots in water and cut off the dead ones using sterile or disinfected shears. Now repot your plant in a new and disinfected pot that’s just big enough for the plant and has drainage holes. Do not go for bigger pots as they will store more than the required water. You can go with any potting mix suitable for such kinds of plants. Just make sure to add 1/3 of pumice or perlite.
After repotting, do not drench your plant. Just give it enough water to keep it moist. Since it’s a repotted plant, you need to take care of its lightning as well. Place your Chinese money plant in a high humid environment with moderate lightning. You must keep an eye on the soil during this phase. Check for the moisture every 2 days and keep the plant slightly moist for around 6 weeks.
Try Not To Stress Out The Roots:
When you’re replanting your pilea plant, avoid touching the roots as much as you can. It may happen that the plant gets rootbound while repotting. In that case, you don’t have to loosen it up. Just pick a bigger size pot, backfill it with soil and you’ll find the roots adjusting themselves with the fresh soil in no time.
If your Chinese money plant is still drooping, you can take it out and put it into water. This will revive your plant and will give it time to grow new roots. Then you can repot your plant in just about a few weeks.
Treat The Pest Infestation ASAP:
If there’s a pest infestation, you must act as soon as possible to avoid more damage. Check your pilea plant closely on a regular basis. You should check every part of the plant, such as the soil, stems, and even the undersides of the leaves. If your plant is affected by it, isolate it and treat it repeatedly and thoroughly to terminate the pests completely. You can use neem oil on the plant or sodium peroxide to keep pests at bay.
Keep The Plant Away From Cold Places:
Pilea plants have a great recovery power, so they will bounce back to their former glory once you place them in a cozy place. This type of drooping is often temporary and resolves on its own in a few weeks. If you’ve just moved your plant to a new place, give it some time to acclimatize. And keep it away from any kinds of drafts, or cold air. If the plant is droopy even after a few weeks, there could be some other reason behind it.
We hope our article helped you understand why your pilea plant is drooping. This condition is sometimes normal and the pilea plant recovers by itself if its other requirements are being catered to. But other times, it could be due to some abnormality. If you see your pilea plant drooping, we would suggest you check your plant thoroughly and address the issue accordingly. Start with making small changes and see how your plant reacts to it. We’re sure you will handle it in no time.
Aiza Siddiqui is one of the content providers in Gardener’s Toolbox. From a very young age, Aiza has been passionate about gardening, which explains her choice of major in studies. She holds a BSc Degree in Botany from the University of Calcutta. Aiza is a green thumb through and through and owns more than 100 different types of plants. Every article that she contributes to Gardener’s Toolbox is written by doing extensive research and from her own experience with planting and gardening. Hoping that you will find her articles on different houseplants helpful.