Pilea leaves curling is a problem that happens for several reasons, including improper watering, light exposure issues, exposure to dry drafts, nutrient deficiency, drainage issues, heat, pests, diseases, and overcrowding.Pilea Leaves Curling

The direction of the curling can guide you to help your plant recover.  Our gardening team will help you learn why your Chinese money plant has curled leaves and provide the right solutions to save it.

Why Are The Pilea Leaves Curling?

Problems with watering, soil choice, light exposure, temperature, and other growing requirements can all make the leaves of your pilea lose their healthy shape and curl. Moreover, this curling can happen due to mistakes while maintaining your plant or because of pests and diseases.

– Watering Issues

Gardeners now grow more than 600 species of the tropical pilea plant, and they’re all suitable for inexperienced gardeners as they’re easy to take care of. However, all these plants have medium to high watering needs, so an improper watering schedule will make the foliage droop and the leaves curl.

Inward leaf curling happens due to the lack of watering, as the plant tries to retain more moisture. The foliage of this attractive plant will curl outwards if the plant is overwatered. The Pilea peperomioides is an evergreen perennial and appreciates being left to dry out between waterings. This problem is more common in potted plants.

Overwatering is another problem for pilea plants. So, if you see pilea leaves drooping and curling, this is a sign that you’ve overwatered your plant. In cooler climates, this can be a common issue as the soil doesn’t dry out as fast as it should, leading to the formation of root rot. It causes wilting of the leaves before they die and fall off the plant.Why Are Pilea Leaves Curling

– Bad Drainage

This plant grows in fertile, well-draining soil. If you grow it in clay soil with poor drainage, it will stay wet for too long and soak the roots, leading to the formation of root rot.

You’ll have to examine the plant to determine which leaves are curling and if there are other symptoms like yellow or brown foliage to determine why your pilea doesn’t look healthy. This would be the sign to check for the roots and how much water they are receiving, and the fundamental notion to how you would tackle them, or else the fungi can spread with all ease.

The infected roots become mushy and unable to absorb any nutrients or water, and this is why you will see your Chinese money plant leaves curling and turning brown. This problem might also happen if you’re growing an indoor plant in a pot that doesn’t have enough draining holes.

– Light Exposure Issues

Also known as the friendship, coin, and pancake plants, pilea thrives in medium to bright indirect sunlight. When exposed to strong and direct sunlight for long periods, the leaves will curl to protect themselves from scorching.

Although the friendship plant is an excellent houseplant, some people keep it in too much shade. This will cause the leaves to curl outwards as they try to receive more light.

The plant will also become leggy, grow fewer offshoots, and have smaller leaves. Seeing pilea leaves turning black is a tell-tale sign that the plant receives insufficient sunlight.

– Temperature and Humidity Issues

Despite being tropical, friendship plants will thrive and become healthy in average household temperature and humidity levels. Pilea grows in USDA zones 9 to 11 but will grow in any other climate as an indoor plant.

However, very high temperatures can harm the coin plant and make it look unhealthy. It doesn’t tolerate dry drafts from heating vents, which usually cause the leaves to curl in an attempt to protect themselves. Pilea leaves browning is a sign that the plant needs more moisture.

This plant is cold hardy, but it won’t tolerate being exposed to temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, especially if the exposure continues for an extended period. Yet, a slight drop in temperature in winter will encourage blooming, so this is a matter to look through.Pilea Leaves Curling Details

– Nutrient Issues

The friendship plant is a medium feeder, so seeing Pilea peperomioides leaves curling down might indicate that this plant isn’t receiving enough nutrients. The lack of nitrogen is usually the reason why the leaves curl, and this can also be when the soil does not have a sufficient amount as well.

When the friendship plant doesn’t receive enough phosphorus, the leaves darken and might become pale. The plant will experience stunted growth, and there might be some reddish-violet spots on the plant.

– Overcrowding Issues

Root issues like overcrowding can make the plant’s leaves curl. Pilea peperomioides is a fast-growing plant and can quickly fill its pot with roots and shoots. When they don’t have enough space to grow, you will see the leaves stressed and curling.

You can tell that the plant needs to be repotted if the roots protrude from the drainage holes. Sudden yellowing, browning, or wilting of the leaves is another sign that the plant is root bound.

– Pest and Diseases

Pilea peperomioides is resistant to most pest infestations and diseases, which is one reason why this plant is popular among novice gardeners. Yet, pests like whiteflies, mealybugs, spider mites, scale insects, fungus gnats, and aphids might attack this plant.

As these pests feed on the sap and chew on the foliage, they can cause the curling and wilting of your money plant’s leaves, and this is how the plant will not have the strength to be as strong as it should. Some diseases like gray mold, powdery mildew, and leaf spot disease can also infect those plants, and in such a matter, most diseases that infect pilea plants are spread by bugs.

How To Recover the Curling Leaves on Pilea?

To recover the curling leaves on pilea, pay attention to adequate plant care tips by adjusting watering, lighting, temperature, and humidity to save your plant. Also, ensure the plant grows in well-draining soil and repot it regularly. Dealing with pests and diseases will protect the foliage from curling.Recovering Curling Leaves on Pilea

– Water Properly

Seeing pilea leaves turning yellow before curling indicates that the plant receives too little or too much water. If it starts to droop, it’s a sign that you should water it.

Dealing with overwatered pilea isn’t easy, and if you’ve mistakenly provided the plant with too much water, you can seize watering and keep it in a location where it receives good ventilation. The air circulation will help the pilea get rid of the extra moisture without harming the foliage, and you should also stop watering it till the soil feels dry to the touch.

– Improve Drainage

Even if you’re watering your coin plant properly, you might see pilea leaves falling off because of poor drainage. This is why choosing suitable soil and pot to grow your plants is essential.

A well-draining potting mix will work best for these evergreen plants. You can also add some perlite and peat moss to improve drainage. You can also change the pot to one that has drainage holes, this way, you should make sure that the excess water gets out with ease. Keeping the plant in a terracotta and not a plastic pot is better because the pot will be able to absorb the extra moisture.

– Provide Your Plant With Enough Sunlight

Downward curling pilea foliage usually indicates the plant is receiving too much sunlight. Pilea loves being exposed to medium bright indirect light, and rotating the plant is crucial if you’re growing it indoors, as this will help keep it symmetrical.

However, the delicate leaves will be burned if your money plant is exposed to too much light. Place your plant pot next to a north, west, or east-facing window, and you can also use sheer blinds to shield the plant’s foliage.

You should plant pilea next to taller bushes and trees that provide shade in your garden. In addition, if the leaf curling is caused by insufficient light, move your plant pot closer to the window.

This is more common in colder climates, so you want to watch your money plant to ensure it receives enough light. Trim nearby plants, so your pancake plant can perform photosynthesis.

– Maintain Adequate Humidity and Temperature Levels

Although pilea is a tropical plant, it doesn’t tolerate high temperatures very well. So seeing yellowing leaves that curl on your Chinese money plant might be caused by exposing the plant to high temperatures—the foliage curls to decrease moisture loss to save the plant from drying out and dying.

Ideally, the friendship plant will be healthy when the temperature ranges between 55 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. However, it will suffer, and the leaves will become yellow and die if the temperature is around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. At the same time, remember that keeping this plant on the colder side is better; it can suffer significantly from cold drafts.

This gorgeous plant thrives in warm, humid conditions, so you should maintain adequate humidity or use a humidifier if your indoor space is too dry in winter. Avoid placing the plant near a heater, as the dry air will make the delicate leaves crisp before falling off the plant. You can also try misting the plant to keep it well-hydrated.

– Feed Properly

Monthly fertilization during the growing season will give this plant all the essential nutrients. In addition, it will protect the leaves from curling and encourage blooming. You can also go for testing the soil and checking what is the plant missing, as nutrients and focus on applying the right quantity.

Choose a balanced all-purpose fertilizer to provide your plant with the needed amounts of phosphorus and nitrogen. Don’t overfeed your pilea plant or fertilize in the cold season, as the plant goes into dormancy during this period.

– Give the Plant Space

In the right conditions, Pilea peperomioides should be repotted once a year. The best transplanting and repotting time is during the spring and summer to protect the plant from transplant shocks. However, for indoor plants, you can repot and start them all year long if you maintain adequate growing conditions.Pilea Plant Space

You should remove this plant from its current pot and examine the roots. If you notice signs of root rot, trim the roots off and use fresh soil. Then, you can transfer the plant into a one to two-inch larger pot, but you must also ensure it has enough drainage holes.

– Treat Pests and Diseases

Despite being typically healthy, common plant pests suck the sap out of the coin plant’s leaves, making them look distorted. They also weaken the plant, making it more susceptible to diseases and infections.

Curled yellow leaves can be avoided by using insecticidal soap, neem oil, and rubbing alcohol once you notice that garden pests are attacking your plant. Observe and try to focus as you look through the underside of the foliage because this is where these annoying pests usually hide. In addition, you should follow up with the treatment every few days. You might spend a few weeks before eliminating all the pests.

You can tell your plant is infected with leaf spot disease if you see brown spots on the now-yellow foliage. You should remove the heavily infected foliage to stop the infection from spreading. Avoid watering the leaves, apply the water at the roots, and use a suitable fungicide to eliminate the infection.

Powdery mildew can be treated by using rubbing alcohol on the mildew spores. In addition, you can try using household dish soap to treat gray mold on your coin plant, as long as it doesn’t contain bleach.


Pilea leaves curling is a symptom that shows that you’re not providing this plant with adequate care, and the treatment depends on the reason:

  • Improper watering, improper light exposure, poor drainage, and nutrient deficiencies are the main reasons why the leaves of this beautiful plant lose their healthy shape and curl.
  • Pilea leaves curl because of overcrowding when you neglect the plant for too long. The foliage can also turn yellow.
  • This plant will be healthy if you keep it in warm but not too hot conditions and water it regularly while ensuring the soil is well-draining.
  • The coin plant is resistant to most pests and diseases, but some of them might attack the plant and cause the curling and yellowing of the foliage. Luckily, most of these infections are easy to treat.

So, if you’ve been looking for a beginner-friendly plant, Pilea won’t disappoint you. Ensure that you provide it with adequate growing conditions, and it will stay healthy all year.

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