Chinese Money Plant Leaves Falling Off

Last Updated on June 10, 2022 by Admin

The Chinese Money Plant or Pilea peperomioides is a beautiful houseplant with round, green colored leaves that look stunning in any room.

But as gorgeous as the plant is, it does have some weaknesses.

One of the common issues is the Chinese Money Plant leaves falling off. This can be problematic as is affects how the plant looks.

More importantly, it can mean something is wrong?

So, the question is…

Why are your Chinese Money Plant leaves falling off? Pilea leaves falling off or dropping is usually caused by overwatering, insufficient soil drainage and lighting issues.

But it can also be due to nutrient deficiencies, cold stress, pests or even natural aging.

As such, it is important to narrow down the actual reason before trying to apply any treatment or solution.


Causes for Chinese Money Plant Leaves Falling Off

Below is a list of all the different reasons why the leaves of your Chinese Money Plant are falling off. Because there are many different possibilities, it is important to narrow down the potential issue.

This will allow you to treat the issue instead of taking more time by doing trial and error.


Old Leaves / Natural Leaf Aging

I’ll start off with the best reason for Chinese Money Plant leaves falling off.

Note that the only reason I say this is the best cause is that there’s nothing wrong with the plant.

Dropping leaves naturally happen for all plants.

This occurs when leaves get old. They will turn yellow then later fall off.

This makes way for new leaves to emerge as well as young leaves to develop.

As such, it is part of your Chinese Money Plant’s life cycle.

Therefore, there’s nothing to do or treat since it is not a problem at all.

However, if this is the situation, you’ll only see 1-2 leaves fall at a time. And it shouldn’t be a regular occurrence.

On the other hand, if you see many leaves turn yellow at the same time or the yellowing keeps spreading by the day, then something else is happening.

If the latter is the case, it is very important to go through the rest of the possible causes for a better answer.



Overwatering is one of the more common causes of Chinese Money Plant leaves falling off.

Unfortunately, this is not a situation you want to experience.

The reason is that when you see leaves falling off your pilea plant it means there is root rot occurring and the plant is in dire danger.

Thus, don’t spare any time and immediately try to save the plant.

Pilea or Chinese Money Plant are succulents.

As such, their leaves are fleshy because they hold water.

The good news is that the plant can tolerate dry periods. Thus, you don’t have to water the plant often.

But the bad news is that it is susceptible to overwatering because its leaves already store some water.

So, be careful not to overwatering the plant. Instead, try to keep it on the dry side.

The thing is, when you overwater the plant the soil ends up wet and soggy. Underneath, the roots will drown in the excess moisture.

And because there’s so much water, there’s no air available for the roots as well.

When water fills the air pockets between the soil particles, they will push out all the oxygen. This is why you cannot breathe underwater.

In the same way, the roots will eventually suffocate if the water does not drain or dry soon enough.

When root rot occurs, the plant will not be able to get enough moisture and nutrients from the soil.

As a result, the leaves will turn yellow while some will later become brown. Then, the leaves of your pilea will drop off.


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Insufficient Soil Drainage

Sometimes, overwatering is not caused by watering the plant too frequently.

Instead, it is caused by using the incorrect kind of soil.

This is why you cannot just use any kind of soil for any kind of houseplant.

Instead, make sure to match the soil to the specific plant.

For Chinese Money Plant or Pilea, use a well-draining potting mix. This will ensure that the plant’s roots don’t end up sitting in water for prolonged periods of time.

Because it stores water in its leaves, you want a soil mix that will quickly get rid of excess moisture.

In doing so, you reduce the risk of overwatering and waterlogging.

If you prefer to use a commercial potting mix, look for a African Violet mix. This will keep the plant happy and healthy.

On the other hand, if you prefer to make your own potting mix, you can combine:

  • 50% potting mix
  • 40% cactus mix
  • 10% perlite

This will give your Pilea sufficient drainage and the ability to hold some water at the same time.

Avoid heavy soils and soils that retain lots of water.

That’s because if you use this kind of soil, it will hold on to most of the water that you’ve poured into the potting mix.

This will cause the roots to swim in lots of liquid for extended periods of time.

Again, this increases the risk of root rot.


Lack of Light

Chinese Money Plant leaves falling off can also be caused by insufficient light.

This is why good lighting is very important.

The plant thrives in medium to bright indirect light.

As such, it is best to place it in a well-lit location.

Doing so will let the plant grow faster and produce more leaves.

On the other hand, try to avoid low light. While the Pilea can tolerate some low light, this environment is not ideal for the plant.

In low light conditions, it is also easy to slip to the point where the plant isn’t getting enough light later on.

The problem here is that lack of light will affect the Chinese Money Plant’s health.

Due to the insufficient illumination, the plant will try to reach out for any light source. And in doing so, it will bend towards one direction (where the light is).

Additionally, because it is reaching, the Pilea will become leggy.

You’ll see a taller, thinner plant with longer internodes (or distances between the leaves). Additionally, the leaves will be pale in color and thinner as well.

Structurally, the plant will also be weaker as its cells and cell walls won’t be as strong.

As such, you’ll soon end up seeing premature leaf dropping.


Nutrient Deficiency

If you don’t give your plant fertilizer or have not done so for a few years now, it could be the reason why your Pilea is dropping leaves.

As with most houseplants, the pilea will needs plant food.

This supplies it with the proper nutrients to keep the plant healthy.

As such, it is important to feed the plant regularly when it is actively growing.

When the plant lacks nutrients, it will be weak, have poor form and structure. Additionally, you’ll see different side effects.

Some problems including yellow leaves which will fall off later one.


Cold Temperature

Cold temperature is another cause why you may see Pilea leaves falling off.

Pilea or Chinese Money Plant are tropical plants.

Thus, they thrive in warm weather. And while the plant will do well is a wide range of conditions, all of these temperatures are in and around the moderate to warm climate conditions.

Ideally, keep your Pilea in temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

But it will have no problems with 90 degree Fahrenheit weather as well.

On the other hand, Pilea do not the like. Nor are they frost hardy.

So, try to keep the plant away from anything below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

This means keeping the plant indoors especially during the winter. That’s because if you leave in frost or freezing temperatures, you’ll see the Pilea’s leaves die and drop later on.


Leaf Shine & Similar Products

Leaf shine products are the fastest way to get foliage to look clean and shiny. But there’s a reason why many expert growers will tell you never to use them.

That’s because they use chemicals.

And to apply leaf shine, you’ll put a layer of the shine over the leaves.

This coats the leaves but also covers or blocks many of the tiny pores on the leaves which allow for the exchange of water and air during transpiration.

When the pores get clogged, the decreased carbon dioxide will affect the plant’s photosynthesis process.

This causes a big problem since photosynthesis is how the plant manufactures its own food.

So, when the process is disrupted, your Pilea or Chinese Money Plant will end up weaker, with less energy and grow slower.

It more serious cases, it will starve and possibly die.

In between all this you’ll see your Chinese Money Plant leaves falling off.


How Do You Prevent Chinese Money Plant Leaves Falling Off?

So, how do you treat Chinese Money Plant leaves falling off. Below I’ll go through the different things you can do wot avoid this from happening.

And if the leaves are already dropping, you can use these strategies as well to treat the plant.


Avoid Overwatering

Avoid overwatering the plant at all costs. Chinese Money Plant don’t need to be watered daily or every other day.

Instead, they only need watering once a week during the warmer months.

That’s because they’re able to store moisture in their fleshy leaves.

During the winter when the cold weather arrives, the plant will only need watering once every 2 to 4 weeks.

Since when you water changes as the weather changes, it is important not to follow a fixed schedule.

A better way is to check the soil.

I like to use my hands and feel the soil. However, many gardeners will lift the pot to tell when it is time to water. There are a few that feel the leaves to see if they’ve flatten out.

If you don’t like getting your hands dirty, you can get a moisture meter and use that instead.

When checking the soil, allow the top 2 inches of the potting mix to dry between watering. I just stick my index finger into the soil and feel whether it is moist or dry at that depth.

If the soil is dry, it is time to add water.

But as long as the soil is still moist or wet at that level, don’t water the plant.

Wait a few more days then check the soil again.


Use Well-Draining Soil & a Pot with Holes

In addition to proper water, there’s another aspect to watering the plant.

This is the soil and the pot.

Both the potting mix and the kind of pot you use are important because once you add water to the soil, it is up to these two factors on what happens to the moisture.

Never use a heavy soil or one that tends to retain moisture.

That will only increase the risk of waterlogging.

Instead, use a well-draining soil. This will ensure that excess moisture quickly drains from the soil so the roots don’t end up swimming in water for long periods time.

Similarly, use a pot with drainage holes.

Once the liquid drains from the soil, it needs to exit the pot. And it can only do this if there are enough drainage holes at the bottom of the pot.

If not, the water will just build up at the bottom of the container.

And this will cause the soil to stay wet.


Give the Plant Correct Lighting

Chinese Money Plant leaves falling off can likewise be prevented with proper lighting.

Here, you want to keep the plant somewhere with plenty of light.

You can essentially place it anywhere in your home. Or you can put it in your patio or backyard as well.

But there are a few simple rules,

Place it where it gets medium to bright indirect light indoors. Outdoors, it will do best in partial shade or slight shade.

Avoid the extremes.

Don’t place it in very low light, dim locations or dark corners. Outdoors, avoid putting it in completely shaded areas where there’s no light getting through.

Both will cause your pilea plant to grow slowly, become leggy and weak.

This increases the likelihood of pilea leaves falling off.

If you cannot get enough light, you can use artificial light to supplement any sunshine. You can also use artificial light on its own.


Lack of Nutrients / Fertilizer

Feed your Chinese Money Plant. It does not need a lot of plant food.

So, don’t overfeed the plant.

But it does the need nutrients. So, the goal is to make sure it gets the minerals it needs.

Don’t worry about trying to maximize this. That’s when you can run into problems.

Apply an all-purpose houseplant fertilizer once a month during the spring and summer. Dilute the application by 50% by using water.

Don’t feed the plant in fall and winter as its growth slows down.


Keep Temperature Consistently Moderate to Warm

Avoid frost and cold temperatures.

When it comes to temperature, Chinese Money Plant leaves falling off happens when it is left in freezing conditions.

Additionally, be careful about sudden and significant temperature fluctuations.

If you live in USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 11, you’ll be able to keep the plant outdoors through the latter part of the year.

However, in colder areas where there is frost, make sure to keep the plant warm indoors.

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