Pileas: Water Or Soil? Pros And Cons

Kelly Garton

Are you a plant lover looking to add a unique touch to your indoor garden? Pilea peperomioides, also known as the Chinese money plant, might just be the perfect addition. This plant has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its striking appearance and ease of care.

However, one question that often arises when caring for Pileas is whether they should be grown in water or soil. In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of both methods and provide tips for successfully caring for Pileas in either medium, so you can make the best decision for your plant and your home.

While Pileas can root in water, growing them in soil may be a better option for their overall health and longevity. However, before making a decision, it’s important to consider the advantages and disadvantages of both methods. By exploring this topic, you can make an informed decision that will ensure your Pilea thrives in your home.

So, whether you’re a seasoned plant parent or new to the game, keep reading to learn more about the best way to grow your Pilea and keep it healthy and beautiful.

Key Takeaways

  • Pileas can root in water but won’t thrive in water alone, and can live in water with added nutrients.
  • Soil roots are larger and sturdier, supporting plant growth, and Pileas can be propagated successfully in soil, resulting in a healthier and more successful plant.
  • Synthetic fertilizers are recommended for Pileas in water, and the water should be changed frequently to avoid breeding ground for fungi, algae, and pathogens.
  • The best option for healthy Pileas is to root them in water and then move to soil, and propagating Pileas in water is a common practice.

Growing in Water

If you’re interested in growing Pileas in water, it’s important to know that while they can root in water, they won’t thrive without added nutrients. Water roots are thinner than soil roots and absorb oxygen from the water.

Pileas can live in water with added nutrients, but it’s essential to change the water frequently to avoid breeding fungi, algae, and pathogens. It’s important to note that nutrients are different from food and have to be added to water.

Synthetic fertilizers are recommended for Pileas in water, and the PH levels and algae growth can be controlled by using darker glass or distilled water. While planting Pileas in water has some advantages, such as no risk of overwatering and an aesthetically pleasing appearance, there are some disadvantages.

Pileas won’t get enough support, there’s no room for babies, and they have a shorter life span and slower growth rate than those grown in soil.

Growing in Soil

To successfully grow your plant, it’s suggested that you propagate Pilea pups in quick-draining potting soil. Soil roots are larger and sturdier, providing better support for plant growth.

Pileas cannot tolerate direct sunlight on their leaves, so it’s best to place them in bright, indirect light. While Pileas can survive in water, they may not thrive.

There are several benefits to soil-based growth for Pileas. Propagating Pileas in soil may result in a healthier and more successful plant. Soil provides better nutrition for Pileas and allows room for growth and expansion. Additionally, planting Pileas in soil helps to prevent overwatering and provides a stable environment for the plant to grow.

So, if you want your Pilea to thrive and flourish, it’s best to choose soil over water.

Propagation Tips

When propagating your plant, start by selecting a healthy pup with at least two leaves and a good root system. It’s best to choose a pup that’s at least a few inches tall and has a stem that’s sturdy enough to support itself.

When removing the pup from the mother plant, be sure to use a clean, sharp pair of scissors or garden shears to avoid damaging the roots or stem.

Once you’ve selected your pup, it’s important to follow best practices for propagating in soil. This includes planting the pup in a well-draining potting soil, watering it regularly, and keeping it in a bright, indirect light.

Common mistakes when propagating Pileas include overwatering, using soil that’s too compacted, and placing the plant in direct sunlight. By following these tips, you can ensure a successful propagation and a healthy plant.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Pileas be grown hydroponically?

Yes, Pileas can be grown hydroponically with advantages such as reduced water usage and faster growth. However, traditional soil benefits such as sturdier roots and nutrient availability may be compromised. Experimentation is key for optimal growth.

Is it possible to switch a Pilea from water to soil or vice versa after it has already been planted?

Yes, switching methods is possible but may affect growth. Pileas grown in soil have sturdier roots and tolerate direct sunlight, while those in water have thinner roots and require added nutrients. Consider propagating in soil for healthier growth.

What are the best nutrients to add to water for Pileas?

To provide Pileas with proper nutrients, you can add synthetic fertilizers to the water. However, soil provides more support for larger root systems and faster growth rates. Overall, soil may be the better option for Pilea growth.

Can Pileas be grown outdoors in soil?

For optimal growth, Pileas should be grown indoors in well-draining soil with bright, indirect light. While they can survive in water, soil provides sturdier support and better nutrient absorption for healthy plant growth.

How often should Pileas be fertilized when grown in soil?

To maximize growth, Pileas in soil should be fertilized once a month during growing season. Benefits of soil include sturdy roots and natural nutrient absorption, while drawbacks of water include added nutrient requirements and lack of support.


Congratulations! You now have a better understanding of whether to grow your Pilea peperomioides in water or soil.

While Pileas can root in water, they may not thrive in water alone and may be better suited to soil. In general, growing in soil is more reliable and allows for better growth and development of the plant.

If you do choose to grow your Pilea in water, be sure to change the water regularly and keep an eye out for any signs of stress or root rot. If you opt for soil, be sure to use a well-draining potting mix and avoid over-watering.

Regardless of your chosen method, following the propagation tips outlined in this article will help ensure success. Now, armed with this knowledge, you can confidently care for your Pilea peperomioides and watch it thrive.