Never before has a plant been so much in demand! Houseplants lovers around the world have been bypassing official routes of supply, and have instead resorted to befriending Instagram users in order to get their hands on a plant. A whole black market exists purely for trading baby plants of the Pilea peperomioides, and here you can find out why!
Often referred to as the Chinese Money Plant, The Pancake Plant or the Missionary Plant this cute specimen actually arrived in Europe very quietly, and indeed wasn’t official recorded botanically until more recently. It has also taken a long time for commercial nurseries to stabilize their supplies, mainly due to the fact it grows verrrrry slowly, which can also add to the price, as production costs are higher. However, home growers don’t mind that at all! In fact, the baby plantlets are quite easy to detach and grow on yourself, hence the feverish trading practices!
Native to the Yunnan Province in China, Pilea peperomioides was first collected way back in 1906, but it wasn’t until it was rediscovered in 1945 by a Norwegian Missionary that it reached European shores. The initial spread of this cute houseplant was across Scandinavia and it was amateurs that mostly maintained supply chains, passing on baby plantlets rather than buying in garden centres. How did such a handsome plant slip under the radar for so long, we wonder?
With the current houseplant love fest, The Chinese Money Plant is experiencing a well-deserved revival and is probably one of the most desired houseplants right now. Not only does it look good, but it’s also relatively unfussy with its needs. Place in a position of bright, filtered light, such as a sideboard or dresser. Rotate the plant regularly to keep in good, balanced shape. Plants will tolerate poorly lit rooms, but this may force the foliage to become oversized. Flowers seldom appear, but they may do in some conditions.
Easy and fun to propagate too, baby plantlets will pop up all around the main plant through the year. Wait a few months and they’ll form their own roots, meaning you can lever it out of the pot and give it to a friend. Pass the Pilea!