Overwatered pilea is a serious problem that is worth immediate attention because severe cases may kill your plant. In worst-case scenarios, the pilea plant, also known as the Chinese money plant, can suffer from root rot, which may ultimately lead to its death. 

Overwatered Pilea

Other common symptoms that show that your Pilea perperomioides is overwatered are yellow leaves, fungal disease attacks, black spots, and damaged roots.

This article will explore the possible reasons why your money plant is overwatered and how you can remedy the situation.

Why Is My Pilea Overwatered?

Your pilea is overwatered possibly because of excessive watering, too frequent addition of water, poor drainage, inefficient monitoring of humidity correction methods, wrong potting soil, some pest control methods, poor care procedures, as well as levels of exposure to sunlight.

– Excessive Watering

Excessive watering results when you add too much water to your plant during each watering procedure. There is no need to keep on adding more water to your plant, especially after the extra water begins to fall off through the drainage holes of the pot. 

Excessive watering does not only lead to overwatering, it also causes the leaching of nutrients that are important for the growth of your plant. As a result, your pilea will suffer from nutrient deficiency that may be noticed through leaves turning yellow.

– Too Frequent Watering

Sometimes, overwatering is not a factor of adding too much water at a go but of watering your pilea too frequently. When you don’t stay long enough between waterings, you are more likely to give your plant more water than it actually requires.

This will cause water to accumulate in the plant’s potting mix, further promoting waterlogged conditions that may cause brown spots on pilea leaves. You may also notice brown edges on the edges of your plant’s foliage.

– Wrong Potting Soil

Using potting soils that are not well-draining may promote overwatering on your Chinese money plant. Such soil does not allow water to pass through so it accumulates, even if you apply the right amounts at recommended frequencies.

This often happens when you use garden soil for planting your money plant. The same applies when you just pick any cheap potting soil that you come across in gardening stores.

Wrong potting soil also makes it difficult for the roots of your pilea to breathe. This contributes to damaging the roots of your plant, before affecting the whole plant. Remember, damaged roots cannot absorb nutrients effectively. 

Moreover, the balance between transpiration and absorption of water by the plant through the roots is lost. Such an imbalance is supportive of waterlogged conditions, which are detrimental to your pilea’s rooting system. 

– Humidity Control Methods

There are various humidity control interventions but some of them require close monitoring, otherwise, they will cause overwatering scenarios. The pebble tray method is one of the most commonly employed methods for controlling humidity. 

When using this method, the bottom of your plant’s pot should not come into contact with the water in the tray. If this happens, water will move into the potting soil through the drainage holes and this will cause your plant to sit in water.

If you decide to use misting for correcting low humidity levels around your plant, avoid doing it too frequently. Misting may also supply moisture on your plant’s leaves and the top of the potting soil.

Causes of Overwatered Pilea

Water on top of the leaves may block the pores that aid transpiration, thereby reducing the rate at which your plant can lose water. Generally, too high levels of humidity around your pilea will reduce transpiration and evaporation rates, both of which are important in curbing overwatering.

Excessive misting may trigger the development of fungal diseases on the foliage of your pilea. Therefore, it is best for you to moderate the rate at which you carry out the procedure.

– Poor Drainage

Apart from the poor drainage by the potting mix, the pot itself plays a crucial role in enhancing proper loss of excessive water. If the pit of your plant does not have drainage holes or has only a few of them, your plant is more likely to sit in water.

These holes are important because they allow excess water to leak through them from the pot. Your plant will then remain with the waste that is necessary for its growth and development.

– Pest Control Strategies

The Pilea peperomioides can be affected by pest infestation, with spider mites and mealybugs being among the most common. While there are various methods for controlling these pests, some interventions may lead to overwatering.

For example, hosing the plant with water is one of the recommended methods for dealing with mealybugs and spider mites, especially when they are still in lower numbers.

The water that you use to hose your plant counts as a watering session. If you carry out these two care procedures separately, the effect may be equivalent to too frequent watering sessions. 

– Ineffective Care Procedures

Plant care procedures are of paramount importance when it comes to keeping your pilea from overwatered conditions. For instance, the potting mix for your plant may become compacted over time.

You might then need to loosen the soil using a garden fork in a bid to improve drainage and aeration conditions. When this is not done, the soil does not release extra water whenever you give your plant a drink, a situation that may lead to pilea root rot.

The extent to which you expose your Pilea peperomioides to conditions such as sunlight also matters. Sunlight provides warmth that enhances the evaporation of water from the soil and transpiration through the leaves. Growing your plant under complete shade may sabotage these processes while supporting waterlogged conditions.

If by any chance, you use liquid fertilizers on your plant, each application may count as a mini watering procedure. This means that the combination of frequent watering and fertilizing may together cause a case of overwatering.

– Environmental Conditions

Your climate determines conditions such as temperature, humidity, and sunlight exposure. You will need to know how to handle your plant based on the climatic conditions in your area. For example, if your area rains a lot, growing your pilea outdoors will expose it to overwatering conditions.


Effective Strategies for Dealing With an Overwatered Pilea

If you notice the overwatering problem early enough, there are corrective measures that you can take to remedy the situation. In this section, we will discuss strategies that you can employ in a bid to save your beauty.

– Follow Recommended Watering Schedules

Although your pilea prefers a potting soil that is moist, you should also leave it to dry out for about two days. Failure to let the soil breathe between waterings can cause overwatering scenarios.

With regard to how often to water pilea plants, many plant experts and enthusiasts suggest that you water them once every week. When you do so, the soil for your plant will remain moist for approximately five days.

If you then leave the soil dry for, say, two days, this makes an ideal watering schedule for this Chinese money plant. We, therefore, recommend that you stick to this watering pattern so that you provide your plant with enough, but not excessive moisture.

Checking for the signs that show that your pilea is thirsty is also a great idea. For example, if you see the pilea leaves curling, it might be a sign that it needs a drink.

An underwatered Chinese money plant cannot replace the moistures that it loses via transpiration and other processes, so its cells become less turgid, thereby causing curling leaves. Watering your pilea will revive it and its leaves will assume their normal shape.

Solutions of Overwatered Pilea

– Adhere to the Plant’s Soil Requirements

Ideally, the potting mix for your Pilea peperomiodes should be relatively water-retaining, preferably for a few days, but should be well-draining as well so that excess water is released off the pot.

To enhance these properties, your potting soil should include perlite and coco-coir. The perlite provides the soil with good drainage characteristics, while the coco-coir enables the potting mix to retain the moisture that your plant needs for its growth.

Another advantage of having perlite and coco-coir as part of the potting soil is that these two components prevent the soil from compacting.

Remember, compacted soils deter the free movement of oxygen, thereby making it difficult for your plant’s rooting system to access it. Such conditions are conducive to the development of root rot in pilea. You can even loosen your potting soil using a garden fork in order to improve aeration.

You can buy the potting mix that is ideal for your pilea from any plant shop near you. The soil that you can use for growing your palm also works well for your pilea. Alternatively, you can prepare the mix on your own.

All you need to do is to mix moisture-retaining components like coco-coir, vermiculite, and sphagnum moss, with the ones that enhance better drainage properties, like perlite, grainy sand, and leca.

– Monitor Fertilizing Procedures

Pilea plants are fast growers and so they appreciate the boost from adding fertilizers. These plants prefer liquid fertilizers which they can absorb at a faster rate or a quick energy revamp.

Depending on how often you add your fertilizer, liquid fertilizers can significantly increase the moisture of your potting soil. As a result, this can contribute to a state of overwatering, which is why it is important for you to stick to recommended fertilizing schedules.

Ideally, add the fertilizer not more than once every month to avoid overfeeding it. An all-purpose 20-20-20 fertilizer will do, but be sure to dilute it to half-strength.

Also, consider merging your fertlizing and watering schedules to avoid overwatering by frequency. In this case, the same day that you water your pilea, you also fertilize it and let the excess water drain off through the pot’s drainage holes.

Normally, you should feed your plant more during the summer when its growth rates are higher. Considering that winters are characterized by slower plant processes and growth, your pilea is less likely to require any boosts for nutrient supply so avoid fertilizing during this time.

Another factor that you should keep in mind is the size of your plant. Generally, the bigger the pilea plant, the more fertilizer it needs for more vigorous growth.

– Halt the Watering Procedures

In most cases, the way you deal with an overwatered pilea depends on the extent of the damage caused by the situation. If the situation is not yet that bad, just stopping to water your beauty for a few days can be a viable remedy.

This intervention allows the soil of your plant to dry out, become looser, and increase its aeration and drainage capabilities. Otherwise, adding more water to an already overwatered pilea will worsen the scenario by making the potting soil even more waterlogged.

– Remove Damaged Leaves

Under normal circumstances, every plant absorbs nutrients using its roots and pushes it to its foliage, right to the tip of each leaf. This happens irrespective of whether the leaves are healthy, diseased, or dead.

Now, imagine what is probably happening when you keep the leaves that were damaged by overwatering. Your pilea would be wasting a lot of resources like energy and nutrients by sending supplies to dead or damaged parts that will never recover.

To redirect every resource to your plant’s recuperation, we recommend that you remove any damaged or dead leaves. These include the yellow and brown leaves. These and the pilea leaves turning brown or yellow will never come back to life so will still lose them anyway.

Simply prune off the damaged leaves using pruning shears or scissors. Just make sure you sterilize the equipment that you use with 70 percent isopropyl alcohol.

This helps to prevent any bacterial or fungal transmissions that might worsen your plant’s condition. We also recommend that you wear gloves as you handle your plant, to further protect your pilea.

– Consider a More Shaded Spot for Your Plant

An overwatered plant enters a state of immense stress as its roots may fail to draw water and nutrients for transportation to the leaves. If you grow your plant on a spot that is exposed to much light at this point, you are more likely to increase the stress that it is already encountering.

The increased direct sunlight will hasten the rate at which transpiration takes place so the leaves will lose more water over time. As a result, you will notice droopy leaves on your plant.

Moving your plant to a shady spot is a protective measure that keeps it safer from more stress while you deal with the problem of overwatering. Loss of water through your plant’s leaves is minimized, a scenario that gives more time to address the issue at hand.

Let the soil dry out under those light conditions and see if there is any noticeable improvement, after which you can expose your pilea to more light.

If you do not see changes after your plant’s soil has dried out, this might be a sign that the situation has already become more severe. If you see pilea bottom leaves drooping, along with the rest of the foliage, despite you adding more water, then you might be dealing with root rot.

– Unpot Your Pilea

It may take longer for the soil  to dry when your Pilea remains in its pot. Therefore, to quicken the drying process, you may consider taking the plant off its pot.

However, you need to be very careful when you do this, considering that an overwatered pilea is weaker than the one that is normal. Pulling it hard may cause more damage that may make it difficult for you to save your plant.

Gently tap the sides of the pot so as to loosen the attachment between the pot and the soil. With your hand around the soil, slowly tip the pot and see if the contents are slipping out. A butter knife may also help to loosen the potting mix’s hold on the sides of the pot. Make sure the soil and the rooting system won’t fall to the ground.

Place your plant, together with its potting soil on a baking tray so that it dries out. This may take approximately one to two days. This method allows the soil to dry up at a faster rate because of the air currents that hit it from all sides.

– Be Careful With Pest Control Methods

If you want to deal with overwatering effectively, you have to devise drier methods for controlling pests. Spraying the plant with Neem oil is one of the best ways. You can also remove the highly infested parts so as to reduce the overall effect that the pests might have on your plant.

During the time when you are trying to save your overwatered pilea, you could consider avoiding interventions such as hosing your plant or washing it under tap water. These methods cause overwatering scenarios.

Once your plant has survived an overwatered condition, you can use the pest control methods that involve water on the same day that you give your pilea a drink. This way, excess water will drain out, thereby preventing waterlogged conditions.

– Use the Right Pot

The pot of your plant plays a crucial role in enhancing overwatered conditions. This is why you should ensure that your pot has enough drainage holes to allow excess water to drain out. If possible, create more drainage holes in the pot.

Some pots naturally have porous walls that make it easier for water to move out. A good example of such a pot is the terracotta one.

The size of the pot that you use for your plant also matters. If the pot is too big, it is more likely to hold more water than what your pilea actually need for survival.

The remedy to this situation would be to transfer your plant to a pot that matches its size. Alternatively, you can increase the drainage holes on the big pot to increase the amount of water that it releases at a given time.

– Deal With Root Rot

In severe cases of overwatering, your plant will probably suffer from root rot. If you are able to detect root rot at an early stage, you can save your plant by trimming off the affected roots.

You simply have to gently uproot your plant from its pot, shake off the clinging soil, and then identify the roots that are infested by root rot. If you are wondering what pilea root rot looks like, the affected roots will appear brown in color while the healthy ones remain white.

Use disinfected scissors to cut off the brown, mushy roots. After that, you can also disinfect your pilea’s rooting system with fungicides such as the ones that contain triflumizole. Prepare a new pot with a potting medium that you have not used before. Plant your pilea and water it lightly.

Save Overwatered Pilea

In cases where the roots of your plant have been extremely affected by root rot, propagating it might be the way to go. To do so, use a well-sterilized blade to cut off plantlets from your plant and put it in a small glass containing water, making sure that the roots are not submerged.

Expose the glass to bright, indirect sunlight for up to two weeks, while changing the water at intervals. Once the roots become about an inch long, transfer the new plant to a small pot, and be sure to keep the soil moist enough to enhance the pilea’s survival.


Can I repot Overwatered Pilea?

Yes, you can repot an overwatered Pilea. Ensure well-draining soil, remove damaged roots, and allow it to dry before repotting.

How fast does Overwatered Pilea propagate?

The propagation speed of overwatered Pilea varies. It’s best to let the plant recover first before attempting propagation.

What is the best way to revive Overwatered Pilea?

To revive an overwatered Pilea, adjust watering frequency, ensure proper drainage, trim damaged leaves, and provide indirect light. Patience is key.


As you might have learned from this article, the case of an overwatered pilea can either be prevented or treated through a variety of care tips. To sum up everything, here are the main points again:

  • Overwatering a pilea plant may lead to other problems such as yellow and brown leaves as well as root rot and other fungal infections.
  • Some of the main causes of overwatering in pilea plants are poor drainage, too frequent watering, some pest control methods, and other inappropriate care procedures.
  • The care tips that help you to deal with overwatering include following recommended watering schedules, adhering to the correct soil requirements, as well as checking the light needs of the plant.
  • Removing damaged leaves, dealing with root rot, as well as being cognisant of the right pest control methods to use are also great ideas.

Does your plant appear to be overwatered? There is no need to get scared, you now have what it takes to redeem your plant, even to the extent of propagating it if the worse comes to the worst. Enjoy the adventure!


  • https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbes-personal-shopper/2022/02/27/best-indoor-plants/
  • https://www.pilea.com/post/how-to-fix-an-overwatered-pilea
  • https://www.ukhouseplants.com/plants/chinese-missionary-plant-pilea-peperomioides

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