i love my pileas p’s so much. i’ve been rotating the one to the right and leaving the one to the left to it’s own devices. for progress photos please check out #jmpileapeperomioides on instagram. it makes me happy knowing that some of their babies are in the homes of my loved ones. i love having the plant connection and being able to watch them grow. to this day, i still appreciate the story behind how this plant spread across the world from china, due to friends sharing it versus it being sold commercially.
pilea peperomioides is originally from the mountains in yunnan, china. agnar espegren, a missionary from norway, acquired the plant before fleeing china in 1944 due to the civil war. after arriving in norway in 1946 he gave off shoots to friends & from there it continued to spread unbeknownst to botanists. i love this story because of how beautiful it is in terms of everyday people sharing this plant without botanists or shops, but it also makes me a bit sad. many of the lush plants we enjoy as houseplants are a symbol of colonialism as they were taken during colonial times. while i love my houseplants, i believe we can honour this history by working to eradicate ongoing imperialist efforts.
did you know?
i find it incredible that in it’s natural habitat this plant can survive at high altitudes – up to 2700 m (radcliffe-smith, 1984)! they’ve even been found growing on cliff ledges and boulders. in terms of care, radcliffe-smith (1984) reports that this plant thrives out of direct sunlight in well-lit unheated rooms, as it can handle cool conditions. in fact, he (1997) reported that this plant has survived when planted deeply in the ground outdoors – with frosts down to -9 c. the stems will die down but will grow again come spring.
- bright, indirect light – i keep both of mine a few feet away from east facing windows
- if you provide your plant with light shade it’ll have larger leaves
- water moderately and when the top of the soil is dry. i know it’s time when the leaves are droopy.
- propagate via pilea pups, which your plant will create at some point. i’ve also heard of people propagating stem cuttings successfully.