Pilea Propagation

Pilea Propagation

Pileas are ones of the quickest plants to produce pups, and they do so in abundance, making them a really easy plant to propagate and give away (giving them their name the friendship plant).

Pilea Peperomioides Propagation

The Pilea Peperomioides aka the Chinese money plant / friendship plant / pancake plant / ufo plant looks impressive with their round plate/like shapes and are one of the best plants to gift to friends as they propagate easily and quickly, they’re a very popular houseplant. Here’s our guide to pilea propagation….

The easiest way to propagate a pilea is to cut off one of the the smaller littler plants, called pups, that spring up around the main stalk. Or you can decapitate the the main plant, and plant the top part again as a cutting, which is your best option if you don’t have any pups.

We’ll go into more details below, step by step.

See also: Pilea Propagation, Pilea Glauca, Pilea Cadierei, Types Of Pilea.

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Pilea Propagation

What you’ll need:

A sharp knife or sharp scissors (cleaned), a pilea plant, a glass of water, a pot and well draining potting compost.

How To Propagate A Pilea

Pileas are very easy to propagate once they have started producing pups…

  • Step 1:  Make sure the plant is healthy and producing pups.
  • Step 2: Cut one of the pups off at soil level. It is ok if you get the whole thing or if it is just a stem cutting.
  • Step 3: Place it in the water. I use tap water that has been through my Brita filter, and left overnight to get to room temperature.  
  • Step 4: Put it in a bright spot, in indirect sunshine and wait for the roots to grow. Top up the water every now and again. It should not go cloudy if you’re careful to not submerge any leaves in the water. 
  • Step 5: Plant it up in a well draining potting mix and water it. Keep in indirect sunlight.  Give it to / swap it with a friend!
One of my pilea pups water propagating
One of my pilea pups water propagating

Pilea Propagation In Water

You can propagate a pilea in water easily, take a stem cutting, trim the leaves from the bottom part of it, and put it in a jar of water. Make sure there are no leaves under the surface of the water as they can rot, the leaves should only be out of the water. Also, wash any soil off the cutting, especially if it was pup, as this can cause rot if put in water.

They should root in a month or so, can you can even keep them in water indefinitely.

Pila Peperomioides
My pilea parent plant and it’s pup in water propagation

Pilea Propagation In Soil

You can propagate pilea in soil. I would take one of the pups that grow around the plant and cut it as deep under the soil as you can, sometimes they can come away with some roots already formed. Leave it aside for half a day so that he open wound callouses over, which will reduce the risk of rot. Then pot it up in soil, and put the whole pot inside a plastic bag to raise the humidity. Leave the bag slightly open to allow air in and avoid rot, but to maintain a high humidity. Keep it in indirect sunlight and it should root quickly. You want to change the air every few days by opening the bag too.

Pilea Propagation In Leca

You can grow pila in leca, just take the cuttings, and put them in a jar of leca and water. I would fill the jar up with water so that you are basically water propagating the plant to begin with, and then once it gets down to normal levels for leca (a few centimeters or an inch form the bottom of the jar) then keep it topped up at that level.

Pilea Propagation In Sphagnum Moss

Sphagnum moss is a great medium for all propagations as is cleaner and has much less chance of rot than soil, and can allow more air to the roots than soil, and at the same time it can keep the roots moist. Pilea do well in moss, just make sure you don’t let it get too soggy or too dry. And don’t pat it down too much as you want air to get to the roots.

Moss is a great medium for smaller pilea, as it holds them well while they root.

When I propagate with sphagnum moss I don’t put holes in the pot, I use a cup with not holes in it but I put a layer of leca at the bottom of the cup. This way excess water drains off but is wicked up when needed to keep the moss moist for longer.

Pilea Propagation Water Or Soil?

For pileas I prefer to water propagate them, then move them to soil propagation, as long as you let the cuttings callous over first I find I get the best results in term of success rate and speed of rooting.

My Pilea
Mother and baby pilea! My Pilea with a pup water propagating

For more on pileas see our pilea category with all our pilea care and propagation guides.

Frequently Asked Questions on Pilea Propagation…

Here are some FAQs we get asked a lot…

How To Encourage A Pilea To Grow More Pups

You can encourage pups by giving your plants good light (close to sunlight but not direct) and feeding once a month. Feed it a ‘balanced’ fertilizer (called something like 10-10-10 all numbers equal) dilute the fertilizer as instructed on the packet, but then add the same amount of water again so it is diluted by half. You want to dilute it so that it does not burn the pilea as they are quite delicate in this regard. Sunlight and feeding like this should encourage pups.  

Cutting pups encourages more pups to grow from the same spot. But cutting them off means the plant creates less energy as it has less leaves for photosynthesis. So make sure you leave some stems and leaves as this is how. It is a good idea to leave the big pilea stems and cut the pups off below it, so they will regrow, while getting energy from the others. Often more will grow in their place.

If your pilea is over 2 years old and not producing any more pups, give it more indirect sunlight to stimulate growth. And feed it in the warmer growing months. Give it the best care possible and it should pup, make sure you are caring for the pilea correctly see our pilea care guide for more info.

How To Cut Pilea Babies

When a pilea produces pups let them grow up to over an inch (2.5cm) above the soil, then cut it about half and inch or 1 or 2 cms below the soil. Use some clean scissors. Then you can propagate the plant in soil, water or sphagnum moss.

Can You Propagate Pilea In Water?

Yes! Cut off one of the pups and place it in a small glass or jar of room temperature water. They can root in water and live there indefinitely as long as you keep the water topped up.

Can Pilea Live In Water?

You can keep a pilea water propagation in water on going as long as you keep the water topped up.

How Long Does It Take Pilea To Root?

They start to root in a few days, but can grow a good sized root system in 3 or 4 weeks.

Can You Propagate Pilea In Soil?

Yes you can put pilea pups direct in soil and they should root. It’s a good idea to keep them humid until they are well rooted.

Where To Cut Pilea For Propagation

You can cut a pilea anywhere on that bark-like stem. It roots from the stem. You can keep a lot of the bark in for a bigger cutting or you can leave more on the original plant for new growth to come from, as long as the new pups have some of that brown stem to root from you’re all good.

Can You Propagate Pilea In Soil?

Yes. Remove the pups from your Chinese money plant and plant them in well-draining, watered soil. Sometimes you can pull a cutting out of the soil of the mother plant and it already has roots – these should take well as a new soil cutting. When using soil for propagation it is a good idea to keep the cutting humid by putting a sealed plastic sandwich bag over the plant and pot. Make sure the pot has drainage holes to avoid a soggy bottom.

Pilea Propagation

What soil should I use?

Pileas love a peat-based potting mix, make sure it is well draining so the plants do not get root rot. For more info see our article on pilea plant care.

Can You Propagate Pilea in Sphagnum Moss?

Propagating Pilea Peperomioides in sphagnum moss is my absolute favorite method for quickest rooting. It is not as easy or as cheap as putting in water, but over all it is quicker as I’ve found the roots take much quicker. You need to wet the moss, and fill a tupper-ware container with it. Then place your pilea cuttings in the moss so the stems are buried in the moss. The great part about this method is that you can take just a part of the stem of the pilea and put it in the moss and it will sometimes root too. I find with moss, I can make lots of smaller cuttings from one cutting and they all root quickly, so I get more cuttings and quicker.

Also using sphagnum moss method makes me feel like a technical plant pro! 

Can You Propagate A Pilea Peperomioides From A Leaf?

No, you cannot grow a new plant with just a leaf cutting. But the good news is that if the leaf cutting has any of the main stalk still attached it may just work and produce roots as the nodes are small and plentiful on a Chinese money plant. So forget about a leaf cutting, go with stem cuttings instead.

To root the pila, it must have a leaf and the stalk, and a part of the main stem (as this is where it will root from). A single leaf on it’s own will not grow a new plant.

When Is The Best Time To Propagate Pilea Plants

The best time is early Spring as they have the full growing season to become established with new roots and new growth from the top of the plant. In reality you can do it year round.

Pilea Propagation


Pileas are great plants that can be propagated very easily in water and other methods. Please let us know what methods you’ve found the best, and what has worked for you?

Good luck.

See our full article on Pilea Peperomioides Care for more Pilea plant care tips.

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