Home Gardening Guide Why are Pilea Leaves Curling – How to Treat it

Why are Pilea Leaves Curling – How to Treat it

by gardeningit
Pilea Leaves Curling

Pilea Peperomioides, which also goes by the name Chinese Money plant, is a beautiful houseplant that is popular for its coin-like, bright green leaves. It is a lovely plant that is grown, especially for its perfectly round leaves. This tropical plant is a pleasing sight to look at if grown indoors. However, it is a sensitive plant; its flattened leaves start to curl if you do not provide it a proper environment. This article will help you know the reason behind your Pilea leaves curling and will help you treat it.

Pilea Leaves Curling

Finding the main cause behind Pilea Peperomioides leaves curling is not an easy task. It can be due to many reasons. Mostly, it is because of low exposure. Fluctuating and extreme temperatures can also cause the flat pancake leaves to curl; overwatering is also one of the main reasons. However, Pilea leaves curling is quite normal; you need not worry about it much. You just have to figure out what you are doing wrong and correct that.

Types of Leaves Curling

Pilea leaves curl in three different ways. Each type is due to some particular reasons. If you see curled leaves of your Chinese Money plant, you can determine the main reason by observing the shape and way of leaves curling.

The three different ways in which Pilea leaves can turn are as follows:

  1. Outward Leaf Curling: Pilea leaves curling outwards and forming a dome indicate that the plant is not getting enough light and is being overwatered. This outward curling of its leaves is also called doming.
  2. Inward Leaf Curling: Pilea Peperomioides leaves curling inwards occurs due to a nutrient deficiency, a higher temperature than normal, less watering, and draughts. This condition is known as cupping of the leaves.
  3. Mixed Leaf Curling: If several different plant needs are not being fulfilled at a time, it can suffer from both the upper conditions side-by-side. In this type of Pilea leaves curling, the leaves are partially cupped and partially doomed.

Pilea Leaves Curling Outwards

The bright-green leaves of the Chinese Money plant are completely flat normally. However, certain circumstances can change the form of their leaves. Outward curling of a Pilea Peperomioides is mainly due to less light exposure and overwatering. If this plant is kept in a spot where the sun rays do not reach its stems and foliage, its leaves might start to curl. The central portion of the leaves bulge outwards and form a doom-like shape. This is why the outward Pilea leaves curling is also named doming. As soon as you see this type of curling on the leaves of your plant, move it to a well-lit spot, probably in an east-facing window. Also, cut down its watering frequency and let its soil dry between waterings.

Pilea Peperomioides Leaves Curling Inwards

The inward curling of the Pilea leaves is also common if you do not pay attention to its requirements. The main reasons behind this type of curling include mainly high temperature and under-watering. In this type, the leaf edges start to curl upwards while the center part remains in its place. This way, the leaf resembles a cup; hence the name, cupping. To save your plant from such a problem, keep it away from a warmer spot. Insufficient nutrition and droughts can also result in a cupping of the Pilea plant. You just have to make sure that your plant is getting all that it needs in the recommended amount.

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Causes of Pilea Leaves Curling

New Leaves

When new leaves bud out from the stem, their edges are a little curled, and this is all normal. The new leaves of the Chinese Money plant take some time to mature and flatten out. If you notice some curled leaves at the top of the stem, but the rest of the foliage is normal and healthy, you need not worry. Those curled leaves are just the new ones that will eventually flatten out.

Low Light

Low light exposure leads to doming of the Pilea leaves. It is one of the major causes of Pilea leaves curling outwards. This plant requires bright, indirect light to grow properly. If it is not provided with sufficient exposure hours, its leaves start to curl outwards and form a dome. This way, they increase their surface to get enough light for photosynthesis. Some hours of the morning sun will also prove beneficial for this plant’s healthy growth, and it will prevent it from getting outward curling. If your plant already has this problem, try placing it in a well-lit spot, but keep it away from the direct sun.


If Pilea Peperomioides is watered more than its required amount, its leaves start to curl downwards. Apparently, the leaves try to hold onto as much water as they could, so they absorb maximum water. This leads to the change in their form.

Yellowing of the leaves and root rot also indicates that the plant is being overwatered. If you see any of these signs, reduce the watering frequency of this plant. Water it only when the top 1-2 inches of its soil is completely dry.

Warm Temperature

Most people mistake this plant’s temperature requirement. They believe that this tropical plant likes warmer spots. However, this peep is more of a cool-spot fella rather than a warm-spot fella. It prefers the temperature range of 13-18°C. If the temperature rises above this range, the leaves of this plant start to curl upwards. These leaves start to lose extra moisture due to hotter temperatures; this increased evaporation leads to cupping or inward curling of the leaves.

You should never place this Chinese Money Plant in front of a radiator or air conditioner because these can dry the surrounding air and will lead to an increased evaporation rate.


In times of low-water availability, the leaves of Pilea curl upwards to reduce their surface area. Less surface area will decrease the rate at which moisture evaporates out of the leaves. This is why you should never stick to a particular watering schedule. You should always keep looking if the soil has completely dried out and need watering.

Final Thoughts

Pilea Peperomioides is a beautiful plant but requires extra care and attention. The major cause behind the curling of its leaves is, no doubt, difficult to determine. However, if you focus on its basic requirements and resolve any apparent problems, this Chinese Money plant will thrive and grow lush inside your homes.

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