Why Are My Pilea Peperomioides Leaves Curling? Causes And How To Fix It

Pilea leaves curling

Pilea peperomioides, commonly known as Chinese Money Plant have become quite a rage these days, primarily because of their flat leaves, which look so unconventional and of course, beautiful. And it really breaks the heart when we see these beautiful leaves curling inwards. However, curling of the Chinese money plant’s leaves is quite a common occurrence. There can be several reasons behind the curling of Pilea plant’s leaves, and we’ll discuss this in this article.


Chinese money plant leaves curl due to fluctuation in temperature, low light, poorly-drained soil, pests, or watering issues. You can easily fix the curling by providing bright but indirect light in a temperature range of 55-65°F or 13-18°C and tweaking the watering routine. Apart from that, use well-drained soil and keeps pests at bay by applying neem oil to the plant. Also, the newer leaves are naturally curly, and they flatten in no time. So if you’re seeing curling of newer leaves, please don’t fret. For a detailed explanation, please read the complete article.

Types Of Leaf Curling In Chinese Money Plant Or Pilea Peperomioides:

The USP of Pilea peperomioides is that it can tell you a lot about itself through its leaves. You just need to be patient and notice your plant carefully to identify their problems. Even the pattern of the curling leaves or the way they are curling can help you diagnose the problem. So let’s take a look at the ways in which pilea plant leaves curl.

  1. Outward Leaf Curling In Pilea (Doming)

The outward leaf curl in pilea leaves, also known as doming, is caused mainly by overwatering or low lighting.

  1. Inward Leaf Curling In Pilea (Cupping):

The inward curling of leaves is caused by drafts, high temperature, or deficiency in some nutrients.

  1. Mixed Leaf Curling In Pilea:

Sometimes, the leaves of the Chinese money plant can curl both inwards and outwards. This means that your plant is going through a lot of issues inside which need to be addressed as soon as possible.

Causes Of Pilea Peperomioides Or Chinese Money Plant Curling Leaves:

There isn’t a single cause behind the curling of Chinese money plant leaves. You need to figure out the various reasons behind the curling to check what matches yours. Let’s take a look at some common causes behind the curly leaves of Pilea Peperomioides.

  1. New Leaves:

If you’ve just owned a pilea plant, you should note that Pilea plants or Chinese Money plants have curly leaves at some point in their lives. This phenomenon is absolutely normal. Newer leaves in pilea plant often come out curly and flatten out in some time.

We would like to mention a few things here, just to ensure that you do the diagnosis well. The new leaves of pilea plant grow from the top of the stem, hence the curling is limited to just the leaves. If the rest of the plant looks healthy, you don’t have to worry about it. But if the plant looks a bit sad, there could be some other underlying cause.

  1. Soil Isn’t Draining:

Your pilea plant can suffer if the soil isn’t draining properly. This usually happens because of pots with no-drainage holes or incorrect potting mix. When you’re watering your plant, the excess of it should drain away fast. If it doesn’t, it means something is wrong with either of the two.

  1. Low Light Condition:

Low lighting is one of the most common causes of doming or outward curling of the leaves. In this case, the leaves turn into a dome with outer edges curling back and the center pushing forward. This is their way of maximizing photosynthesis by exposing as much surface area as they can in a low light condition.

  1. Bugs And Diseases:

Gnats are fluid-sucking bugs that gather under the foliage and then invade the soil. This causes yellowing, curling, and drooping of the pilea leaves. To find out if pests are the reason behind the curling of the pilea leaves, you need to take a close look at the soil. Ensure that no bugs or flies have invaded your plant. If there’s a pest infestation, you need to fix the issue as soon as possible.

  1. Overwatering:

Another major reason behind the curling of Pilea leaves is overwatering. When you’re overwatering, the leaves absorb more water than they require, which distorts the actual shape of the leaves. When the curling is due to overwatering, it’s usually doming, as the leaves have to expand themselves to hold more water. The other signs of overwatering include yellowing of leaves, water in the saucer, and in extreme cases, root rot.

Factors That Can Lead To Curly Pilea Leaves Due To Overwatering:

  • Using a pot that has no drainage holes.
  • Using a plant that is bigger than your plant.
  • Watering your plant daily without checking the dryness of the soil.
  • Planting the pilea plant in poorly drained soil.
  • Keeping the pilea plant in low light, where water absorption would be reduced.
  • The damage caused by overwatering isn’t just limited to the curling of leaves.
  1. Temperature Fluctuation:

There’s a common misconception that Pilea Peperomioides prefer warm temperatures. The fact is, they like being in a cooler environment. Warmer temperature, on the other hand, gives rise to curly pilea leaves. So, if the environment is too warm, your pilea can curl upwards or take a cup-like shape. This happens due to excess water loss from the leaves due to high temperatures.

  1. Under-watering:

It’s not just overwatering that can wreak havoc on your pilea plant. Chinese money plants start curling where there’s lack of water as well. It’s their way of reducing the surface area so that they need as minimal water as possible.

Do not drench your plant in water in case the issue is under-watering. If water scarcity is followed by excessive water, the leaves curl up in an effort to conserve as much water as possible. They basically absorb more water than they need. This regular strain leads to deformity of pilea leaves, including the splitting of the leaves.

  1. Humidity:

The curling of the pilea leaves could also be due to humidity. This isn’t a significant factor, but something worth keeping in mind. Pilea peperomioides like to thrive in a moderate to high humidity environment. If your pilea plant leaves are curling due to low humidity, you will also notice browning of the edges. So keep the humidity level in your house 40 to 50 percent. You can buy a humidifier to get the exact level.

This can be a bit debatable since people have reported their pilea to be happy and healthy in places with humidity levels as low as 20 percent. That’s because they have a few succulents-like features, such as being able to hold themselves even in low humidity and water scarcity. But please do not take them as succulents. There’s no way pilea plants are as hardy and tolerant as succulents. And they do not like warm temperatures as well. So be mindful.

How To Fix Curly Leaves In Your Pilea Or Chinese Money Plant?

  1. Place Your Pilea In A Bright Place:

The most obvious thing to do for fixing the low light problem is to place your Chinese money plant in a bright place. But please do not put your pilea plant under direct sunlight as it can burn their leaves. Also, you’ll have to keep moving the plant over the course of time with changes in season and weather.

  1. Fix Your Watering Routine:

If the leaves of your pilea plant are curling due to overwatering, you first fix your watering routine. Start by cutting back on watering. You don’t have to totally give up on the watering. Water only when the top couple of inches of the soil feels dry. It’s essential also because lack of water can also cause curling of leaves. Just keep checking on your plant to know when it needs a drink. You do not need to follow a schedule for that.

Another way to figure out if your pilea plant needs water is by inspecting the leaves. Pilea leaves, in general, are thick and hard. So if the leaves feel thin and soft, it’s time for you to water. If you think you’ve watered your pilea too much, allow it to dry for some time.

During winters, allow your plant to dry out completely between the watering sessions. You could water your pilea once in two weeks during winters and they’ll be fine. During summers, you might have to give them more water.

  1. Choose Well Drained Potting Mix Or Soil:

Always pick well-drained soil for your pilea plant. The best potting mix for your pilea plant would be coco peat fiber or peat moss mixed with perlite. You should use 1-part perlite with 9 parts soil.

Always pick a pot with drainage holes and do not put pebbles at the bottom, as it can prevent the soil from draining water.

Other than that, you should never put small plants in bigger containers as it can make the soil hold in extra moisture. And always allow your pilea plant to drain completely before taking it back to its position.

  1. Keep Pests At Bay:

Pests are very harmful to plants and can even kill them if not treated in time. To kill the pests, you can either apply neem oil to the plant or silicon dioxide, which is commonly known as also known as diatomaceous earth. Both these products are natural and organic and are readily available online and in garden centers.

Sprinkle the powder or spray the oil so that it forms a layer on the soil and leaves. The bugs that come in contact with it will die shortly. Keep doing it for 7 days or until the pests are gone.

  1. Keep Your Pilea Plant In Ideal Temperature:

If you’re growing a pilea under your roof, ensure that the temperature is around 13-18°C or 55-65°F. Chinese money plants can even hold themselves together at 7°C or 45°F. But anything below that can be harmful to them.

Also, if you’re moving your pilea to someplace warmer or cooler, introduce the change gradually rather than drastically. Sudden temperature changes can stress out pilea. That’s because these plants are native to China, where a sudden spike or drop in temperature is fairly uncommon.

Things are different in the northern sides, where people use fans or air conditioning in summers and heaters in winters. The temperature in these houses is often erratic, which can result in the leaves of Chinese plants curling.

To prevent stress due to climate or temperature change, avoid placing your pilea near windows, doors or air conditioners, or artificial heaters. We would suggest you in investing in a thermometer to find out which place would be best for your pilea plant.

FAQs About Pilea Peperomioides

Why are my Pilea leaves curling and turning yellow?

There could be a couple of reasons behind your pilea leaves turning yellow. The first could be aging, as mature leaves first take a yellow hue before they fall off and die. It’s a part of almost every plant’s life cycle.

The other reason could be overwatering. Excess water is responsible for both yellowing and curling of pilea leaves.

The third cause could be nitrogen deficiency in pilea plant. Not every houseplant, especially pilea, requires regular feeding. But if you keep it starving for a long time, it could lead to nitrogen deficiency, which can cause the yellowing of pilea leaves.

If you believe that you’re following a proper watering routine for your pilea, we would suggest you feed the plant with fertilizer, especially during spring and summer. But make sure you remove the yellow leaves first.

Why are the leaves of my Pilea plant curling and falling off?

This condition could be due to stress due to temperature fluctuation or under-watering. In the case of under-watering, the leaves first turn yellow or brown and then start curling and dropping. Eventually, they fall off.

Apart from these reasons, curling and falling of pilea leaves could also be due to root rot caused by overwatering. So if the top surface of the soil feels wet, we would suggest you inspect the roots.

Having said that, curling of Chinese money plants could be a bit tricky to handle, especially if you’re a new plant parent. The best thing for you to do would be to observe your plant closely after applying the changes. If the leaves are still curly, try the other solution. Hopefully, the curling of the leaves will resolve in some time and your Pilea plant will grow healthy and happy.

But you won’t really need any of that if you provide proper care to your plant from the very beginning. So be responsible while raising your plant.

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