At McDonald Garden Center, we’ve been carrying the rare pilea peperomioides for a while. Their adorable, pancake-shaped leaves and easy-to-grow nature already made them a superstar in our eyes. But when we started to receive numerous phone calls inquiring if we carried them, we took notice.
The story of the pilea peperomioides’ success is as endearing as it is enlivening. According to legend, in the 1940s Norwegian missionary Agnar Espegren brought cuttings home after his travels to the southwestern Yunnan province of China. Because it’s easy to propagate, he shared cuttings with friends and family. With all these Scandinavian homes adorning their décor with the pilea, it was only a matter of time before international demand took over. Friends and family began sharing cuttings since it was in such low supply, allowing this “friendship plant’ to become more than just ornamental, but a reminder of how connected we are.
If you’re lucky enough to snag one, here’s some tips on keeping your pilea peperomioides happy and thriving.
• Bright light, but not direct sunlight
• Is hardy up to freezing.
• Rotate weekly to maintain shape
• Use a good draining potting soil as the pilea needs to dry out after watering
• Make sure your pot has drainage holes
• Wipe down leaves as the wide foliage tends to collect dust
• Treat monthly with McDonald Garden Center Greenleaf fertilizer