Why are My Pilea Leaves Curling? What to Do

The Chinese money plant is relatively easy to grow and maintain. One distinctive feature of Pilea peperomioides is its round, pancake-like leaves that give it a catchy appearance. If your Pilea leaves are curing, know there is a  problem that needs your attention.

In most cases, the Chinese plant leaves may curl or appear droopy due to overwatering, underwatering, heat stress, humidity issues, root bound or pests, and diseases. In this guide, I have delved deeper into these issues and what you can do to save the plant.

Pilea plant leaves curling

Reasons why Pilea leaves are curling

If the leaves of your Pilea are curing don’t panic. Here are some common causes and solutions to this problem.


Although Pilea peperomioides have relatively low water needs, the leaves may curl if it’s not receiving enough water. This is a response to dehydration which helps the plant to conserve moisture by reducing the surface area for evaporation.

Water is an important resource for green plants. Apart from making leaves supple, it helps in the translocation of nutrients and sugars across different parts of the plant. This is why in severe drought, most plants wilt and die, which can also happen to your UFO plant.


If you suspect underwatering as the main reason for the curly Pilea leaves, just water the plant and it will recover in a few days. Henceforth, ensure you are watering regularly specifically when the top inch of the soil feels dry. Water thoroughly but don’t let the plant sit the excess water that drains from the pot.


Ironically, watering Pilea can also cause leaf curling when done excessively. Excess water in the soil deprives roots of oxygen and this makes them suffocate and die. Damp soil conditions due to poor drainage also encourage the growth of fungi that causes root rot.

Damaged roots affect the plant’s ability to take up water, nutrients, and other important supplies. As a result, the leaves of the plant may curl or shrivel. Root rot is a serious condition and without prompt action, the affected plant may die.

What to do

The first step is to stop watering the plant and allow the soil to dry out completely. If this doesn’t help in reviving the plant, inspect the roots for damage. If the roots are dark and mushy, remove the plant from the soil, cut off the damaged roots, and repot it in a fresh soil mix.

Make sure to use a well-draining soil mix such as the cactus or succulent mix. Additionally, use a pot that has drainage holes. To prevent the problem of root rot, allow the soil to dry slightly between your watering sessions.

Low humidity

Dry air can cause the leaves of the Coin plant to curl. Yellow or brown edges on the leaves are a sign of low humidity. In some cases, the leaves may also fall off when they don’t get moisture nourishment from the air.

Pilea peperomioides also prefers higher humidity levels ranging from 50 to 75%. If the air in your home is dry, increase humidity around the plant by misting the leaves, or using a humidity tray. Running a humidifier should also stop prevent Pilea leaves from curling.

Heat stress

Pilea leaves curing can also be a sign of heat stress. Placing your plant in a place that receives direct sunlight can cause leaf damage. Pilea peperomioides prefers bright indirect sunlight so avoid direct sunlight, especially during the hottest parts of the day.

The UFO plant pretty is hardy to cold conditions, but when kept indoors avoid exposing it to temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Where possible, avoid keeping the plant close to drafts such as those near the window and doors.

Root bound

In the right conditions, Pilea peperomioides is fast-growing. Meaning that it can quickly fill the pot with roots and offshoots. The root-bound Chinse money plant may struggle to take up water and nutrients and this can result in curling leaves.

How to fix

Inspect the plant’s root system and if they are tightly filling the pot, repot it into a slightly larger container with fresh potting mix. Due to the fast growth, yearly repotting is recommended during the spring and summer months. You can also remove the offshoots and transplant them into their own pot.

Pests and diseases

The Chinese money plant is pretty resistant to garden pests and diseases but when neglected or grown in poor conditions it may become susceptible. Insect pests such as mealybugs, scale, aphids, spider mites, and fungus gnats can suck sap from the leaves causing them to curl or wrinkle up.

Pests can also transmit plant virus, bacteria, and fungus that causes diseases. Fungal diseases like root rot can occur if the plant is consistently overwatered or if the soil does not have proper drainage.

How to treat

If your coin plant is curling, inspect for signs of pests such as webbing, tiny insects, or damaged leaves. If pests are detected, isolate the plant and treat it with neem oil or insecticidal soap. You may also seek help from a nearby nursery or gardening center to help in the identification and treatment of any pests or diseases.

New plants can be a source of pests in your home. Always isolate them for inspection before including them in your collections.

Final thought

Pilea peperomioides is truly an amazing plant with low maintenance needs. As a houseplant, The Chinese money plant adds a touch of uniqueness to any indoor space. Leaf curing is a common problem with this plant and the only solution is to investigate and fix the underlying cause.

If growing this plant indoors, make sure to place it in a location that receives bright indirect light. Watering should be regular during spring and summer but not excessive. Mist the plant when the air gets dry and inspect it occasionally for pests and diseases.

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