If you manage to have acquired a Chinese money plant (Pilea peperomioides), you’re lucky. Chinese money plant has rounded, glossy, deep green-colored leaves that are very pleasant looking.
Unfortunately, dropping leaves is a common problem we’ll encounter with this plant. You may have wondered to yourself,
why is my Chinese money plant dropping its leaves? If you’re trying to guess, here are the possible reasons: poor soil drainage, overwatering or underwatering, lack of nutrients available in the soil, lack of exposure to bright light, pest infestation, frosting, aging plant leaves, leaf shine products, and windy location.
Now, this one is not as much as available as other house plants we know. Although widely distributed all over the world, Chinese money plants are a rare purchase.
That’s why you’ve got to make sure it’s well taken care of so that it stays long with you. This house plant is a fragile one.
Let’s dive into the details of why your Chinese money plant is dropping leaves.
What Causes Leaf Dropping of Your Chinese Money Plant?
Given the number of reasons to consider, you have to carefully observe the plant’s behavior to correctly assess its problem. Dropping leaves of Chinese money plant can be caused by one factor or a combination of many.
Check out these following considerations to see which one is possibly the cause.
Poor Soil Drainage
If your plant’s soil isn’t well-drained, water will accumulate at the bottom of the pot. Excess water inhibits the presence of oxygen in the soil. Imagine the feeling of drowning. That’s what happens to the plants.
As a result, roots will die and rot. When roots get damaged, the transport of essential minerals to other plant parts will stop. Eventually, the entire plant will experience wilting and shedding off of leaves.
Poor soil drainage is a result of a poor soil mix. If the soil is compact and not aerated, the tendency is that water won’t flow out freely. Another reason can be the lack of drainage holes in your container.
Overwatering or Underwatering
Chinese money plants are succulents. They have the means to store more water for themselves and survive dry places even for an extended period of time. It has fleshy stems and leaves where they contain all the extra moisture for future use.
Since they have water intact, adding more water is not a wise move. The result of overwatering is the same as that of having poor soil drainage.
The roots will rot under the soil and aboveground, the plant will experience yellowing of leaves. Eventually, they will drop one by one.
Underwatering, on the other hand, can dehydrate the plants. Lack of water causes cells to shrink. Plants will lose their turgid look. If not prevented, the plant will soon wither.
Lack of Nutrients Available in Soil
Nutrient deficiency causes plants to be unhealthy. Like humans, any malnourished plant will have a weak structure and form. One indication of deficient nutrient supply is the stunted or slow growth of the entire plant.
Less vibrant color is another visible effect as well as yellowing, curling, and dropping off of leaves.
Lack of Exposure to Bright Light
Chinese money plants love bright light but exposure should be indirect. There must be a sufficient source of generous light for them to grow well and healthy. If the room is dim, plants will get leggy.
They will grow taller than usual with lanky appearance because of weak cell walls in its stems and leaves. The entire plant foliage would be thinner and paler in color. Leggy leads to a premature drop of leaves and flowers in plants.
Pest infestation in Chinese money plants is a very rare case. Nevertheless, it’s one possibility that we cannot set aside. Mealybugs and scale are the ones that can be commonly found on the underside of its leaves.
They can work very subtly. If you aren’t regularly checking on your plants, they might cause huge damage. They suck on the leaves and create holes in it.
Wounded leaves then start to turn yellow and become limp. Leaves that hang loose eventually drop.
Chinese money plants will grow at their best within a temperature range of 16 to 24oC (60 to 75oF). It is more tolerant to higher than lower temperatures though. So, extreme drops in temperature during winter can be harmful.
Chinese money plants are not frost tolerant. Leaving it unprotected during winter can frost the leaves. Frosted leaves die and drop after.
Aging Plant Leaves
Dropping of leaves can be a result of a natural process. In this case, there’s no need to worry because it’s pretty normal for plants to shed old leaves.
This is their chance to give way for young leaves to flourish. Aging is a normal phase of decline among plants.
Leaf Shine Products
Though we all want our plants to have vibrant leaves, using leaf shine products can actually do more harm than good.
When you coat the leaves with leaf shine, you are covering the stomata. We know how important stomata is because this serves as a passage for gas exchange.
Once the stomata get clogged, the leaves will find it difficult to take in carbon dioxide. The limited presence of CO2 will cause a decline in photosynthetic activity.
With decreased levels of food manufactured, plants will starve and die. After some time, the plant will start dropping its leaves.
Too much air circulation can ruin the plant’s leaves as well. If your plant is located in a place with this condition, it can be the reason why its leaves are dropping.
Exposures to open windows and air conditioning are examples. These things can instantly detach the leaves petiole.
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How Do You Prevent Chinese Money Plants from Dropping its Leaves?
Now that you know the causes of dropping leaves, now let’s talk about how you can prevent this from happening to your Chinese money plant.
Use Well-drained Soil and Pots with Drainage Holes
Your soil mix will help your plant thrive well. Always start with a good potting mix. You can add sand, perlite, or vermiculite to make it have a porous structure.
These little spaces will allow water to pass through with ease. It also creates good aeration making oxygen more available to plant roots
After mixing your soil, check how fast it drains by pouring in water into it. If it takes only a few seconds to flow out of the drainage holes, then it’s good.
On the other hand, if it takes several minutes for the water to drain, it has to be amended.
Also, drainage holes should have a size that’s proportional to the size of your pots, not too large or too small.
Water Only When Soil is Dry
It’s normal to water our plants daily as we usually do. But, in the case of chinese money plants, that’s not applicable.
Once a week watering is enough during hot seasons. If it’s cold like winter, watering should be less frequent. Watering once every two weeks or even once a month will do depending on the condition.
To know whether it’s time for you to water, dip your finger in the soil at least 2 inches deep, and see if you can feel moisture. If yes, then don’t water it yet. No need to force the plant to drink when it’s not thirsty.
Wait for the soil to completely dry off before watering again. You don’t have to worry about it getting wilted because it has a good water sink. Just consistently check to determine the right timing.
Make Sure to Always Drain Water
When watering, make sure that it passes through the soil and out of its drainage holes. You do not want any excess water to remain stagnant in its container because it causes root rot. After all, water is drained, put it back in its location.
Don’t forget to always remove the plate under your pots when you water. Otherwise, all liquid that flowed out of the drainage will just remain in there.
If possible, use terra cotta pots because they can dry out very quickly. Pot’s size should not be too large for the plants. It will just accumulate more water than what your plants need.
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Add Liquid Fertilizer
Like any other plant species, Chinese money plants need sufficient amounts of nutrients to grow. If you want your plant to live longer, you have to constantly feed its soil.
You can add fertilizer at an interval of two months but it actually depends on the condition of the plant.
Use soluble fertilizer with a concentration of just half the original. Chinese money plants won’t need so much fertilizer anyway. Dissolve it in water and pour it into the soil of the plant.
Be careful not to over-fertilize as this may be harmful and can cause sudden death.
Expose to Bright but Indirect Light
Locate a place where there are enough light sources. Windowsill is a perfect spot especially the one facing east.
However, it’s important to avoid direct sunlight contact with your plants to prevent heat stress and the burning of leaves.
If you have a glass window, that’s the best option. Just don’t put it too near to the glass because it heats up. Just leave enough space for air circulation.
During seasons when bright light is less available, artificial light is the next best alternative.
You can just open whatever light source you have in your room and allow it to make up for missed sunlight. You may also remove any shade like curtains to maximize whatever light is there.
Manually Remove Pests
The best way to get rid of bugs is to manually remove them out of the leaves. There is no need to use synthetic pesticides, especially for house plants.
You might just end up inhaling the toxic chemicals since it’s inside your house. Whenever you see one or two bugs, remove them immediately.
Don’t wait for it to multiply. If the leaves get severely infected, pluck it out as well. You may use a liquid detergent with low concentrations to spray on leaves infected with scale bugs.
Be quick in repotting new buds for propagation of new plants. This will save the young plants from infestation.
Watch out for Extreme Changes in Temperature
Climate is very hard to predict nowadays especially with global warming. For that reason, you have to be vigilant in observing unexpected rises or fall in temperature.
When this happens, you have to make quick adjustments. If it gets too hot, find a cooler location. If it gets too cold, you can put in shades around your plants or increase light presence.
Always prepare for the winter season. Secure your chinese money plants by covering them.
Regularly Remove Aged Leaves
Once you notice that the aged leaves are starting to appear, take the liberty to cut it off the plant. That way, you are able to maintain only the vibrant and healthy leaves in your foliage.
It helps create space for young leaves to grow further. It also maintains the plant’s fresh and good appearance.
Be careful though not to damage the other leaves. Tools like pruning shears or regular scissors will help.
Choose a Steady Location
A place with less movement is ideal. Chinese plants are very fragile so you have to secure it in a location with fewer disturbances.
Avoid putting it near an air conditioner, fan or heater. Use other sturdy plants to serve as shade if it’s too windy.
Use Water to Clean the Leaves
If it gets dusty, just spray shower the top leaves with water. You may also wipe it off with a clean damp cloth.
Is Chinese Money Plant a Good Houseplant Investment?
Definitely, yes! Generally, the maintenance of Chinese money plants should not be that hard. It may seem fragile on the outside but with proper care, this one is a tough survivor.
Additionally, propagation is an easy feat. One single plant produces many buds. So, invest more time in propagating it rather than just focusing on one plant. You may be lucky to perfect the practices and soon turn your Chinese money plants into a profitable business.
Who would say no to this chic plant, anyway?