Pilea plants have become trendy nowadays, with most households embracing them in their homes because they are beautiful and easy to keep. However, many people are confused about the amount of water this plant needs without causing root rotting.
So, how often do you water a Pilea? Water Pilea plants every 1 to 2 weeks, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings. During the growing season, water moderately and reduce the watering frequency in fall to late winter (Source: North Carolina State University). Expect to water Pilea plants more often in brighter light and less frequently in lower light.
Always remember, like most succulent house plants, Pilea plants need moderate water; otherwise, you will start seeing undesirable overwatering symptoms. However, Underwatering can also cause problems and affect their growth, hence the need for balance.
This guide highlights how often you should water your Pilea plant and the factors that determine the watering frequency. We will also cover the potential dangers of overwatering and what you can do to avoid or remedy the situation.
If you notice your Pilea leaves start turning yellow, I encourage you to read this article to find out the reasons and how to fix them.
Overview Of The Growing Characteristics Of Pilea
Pilea (Pilea spp.) is a genus of more than 600 species of frost-tender, tropical foliage plants, including upright, bushy, and trailing types.
The table below contains an overview of the growth characteristics of Pilea.
|Genus Name||Pilea spp.|
|Plant Type||– Houseplants|
– Herbaceous perennials and annuals
– Flowering succulents
|Light Requirements||Pilea does best both in:|
– Dappled Sunlight in a spot with shade through the upper canopy throughout the day
– Deep shade with less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight.
|Soil Drainage For Pilea||– Moist|
– Good Drainage
|Pilea Maintenance Requirements||Low|
|Pilea Mature Size||On average, Pilea can grow up to 12 inches (30.48 cm) tall.|
|pH Requirements||Between 5 to 6|
|USDA Hardiness Zones||9 to 12|
How To Water Pilea Plants?
While some households have a watering timetable where they water the plants at specific intervals, like once a week, the practice can lead to inappropriate watering. The best way to water Pilea plants is to check the soil mixture every few days to determine if it needs watering.
You can test the soil’s moisture content by sticking your finger in the soil to feel it or using a moisture meter. You can only water the plant if the soil is dry; otherwise, wait for a few more days if the soil is not ready for watering.
Succulent plants have excess water, so if the few inches from the topsoil are not dry, avoid watering. If you are confused about the soil’s moisture content, it is better to wait a few more days because it is easy to correct under-watering than deal with the effects of overwatering.
How often you water your Pilea plants also depends on your area’s season and weather patterns. For example, you may need to water your plant once a week in the summer because excess heat accelerates evaporation.
However, when the soil tends to hold water during winter, you may water your plants after two or three weeks. The watering schedule may significantly vary depending on Pilea’s environmental conditions.
Note: Before watering your Pilea plants, check the soil’s moisture content.
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What Type Of Water Should I Use To Water My Pilea?
Once you are sure the plant needs a drink, use filtered water at room temperature to hydrate your plant. Why filtered? Tap water is often high in chemicals and salt, which can result in browning and curling leaves.
You can filter your tap water, or if you have not installed filters, let the water settle overnight in an open bowl to allow chlorine and fluoride to escape before using it on your plant.
Hot or cold water can damage your plant roots, resulting in burns and premature death; therefore, ensure the water is at room temperature.
Pilea Plant Watering Procedure
Once you have established the plant needs watering and has the correct water, it is time to give your plan a drink. In this section, we cover things you should avoid when watering Pilea.
Use special watering can or pipe to pour water at the plant’s base. This watering method is good because it prevents water from splashing on Pilea’s leaves, promoting fungal or bacterial growth.
If you notice some water drops on leaves after watering, you could wipe them off using a dry soft cloth or tissue paper to keep them dry.
Continue pouring water until it drains through the holes in the pot’s bottom. You will realize that the soil is wet but not overly wet at this point. Stop watering and allow the plant to absorb it.
The drainage helps to prevent water from accumulating on the plant’s roots which could cause root rot. Additionally, water helps plants absorb nutrients from the soil to keep them healthy.
Alternatively, you can dip the pot in a sink or bathtub to allow the water to enter the soil through holes on the sides and bottom of the pot. This soaking method helps to prevent water from sprinkling on the sensitive Pilea leaves.
Once the water appears on the topsoil, you know it has soaked enough. Remove the pot from the water and return it to its original position.
Note: It is better to deeply water once in a while than to frequent watering in small amounts.
Overwatering: The Quickest Way To Kill Your Pilea Plant
Since Pilea is a member of the Urticaceae family and an evergreen succulent plant, it hates an overly wet environment. Excess water prevents roots from accessing oxygen and nutrients, thus causing root discoloration and rot. And because these plants are hardy, overwatering them will send them fast to their groups.
Root decay can lead to yellowing, curling, and wilting of leaves, eventually leading to a premature demise.
See also: Watermelon Peperomia Care: A helpful guide.
What Causes Overwatering?
If you apply a lot of water to the pot frequently, it will result in overwatering. Nevertheless, poor soil drainage due to the wrong container can also cause overwatering.
The container you use to plant Pilea should have drainage holes on the sides and bottom. It should also be the correct size.
Too large containers without holes will likely lead to overwatering since it takes time before the soil dries between watering. Therefore, ensure you have the correct container size with adequate drainage holes.
Pilea’s soil should be quick-draining to help drain water and prevent root rot. You can also use succulent potting soil blends for proper drainage, although some people make their DIY soil.
Pilea Plant Watering: Environmental Factors
Environmental conditions such as temperature, light, humidity, season, type of container, and plant size can also affect the frequency at which you water your Pilea plant.
This means you can have different watering schedules for Pilea plants in different environments. Consider these factors:
- Light– If your Pilea plants have access to bright indirect light, they will grow faster, thus absorbing water at a higher rate. Moreover, more light makes the room warmer and dries the soil quicker, meaning you will need to increase your watering frequency. Before watering, tip your finger in the soil to determine if the soil is dry enough.
- Temperature– If you live in warmer temperatures, you will water your Pilea plant more frequently than those in cooler temperatures because warmer weather dries soil faster.
- Season– You will need varying amounts of water to plant the Pilea plant, depending on the season of the year. Of course, you will need more water during summer and spring because the temperature is relatively hot than in winter. Furthermore, plants grow faster during the summer, hence the need for regular watering.
- Humidity– If the air in your room is very dry, the soil moisture will evaporate faster, requiring frequent watering.
- Plant size– If you have different sizes of Pilea plants, you may need different watering schedules. Smaller plants may need frequent watering than larger ones since they have less soil that dries quickly. But when the soil is dried, larger plants in big pots may need more water than small potted plants.
Signs Of An Overwatered Pilea
How do you know that your Pilea plant is overwatered? Several signs indicate excess water in the plant pot, including dropping leaves, yellow stems and leaves, curling leaves, mushy stems, and mold on the soil with a musty smell.
If left unchecked, overwatering can eventually cause plant death. However, if you realize that you have been overwatering your Pilea plant, you can remove it from the pot, clean the soil from the roots, examine any signs of root rot, and eliminate them.
While healthy roots are white and firm, rotten roots are often black, dark brown, and slimy. You can remove the rotten roots using sharp sterilizing scissors.
However, before replanting the Pilea plant, thoroughly wash the pot with soap and water, then fill them with fresh potting mix. Moreover, you can add more perlite to the soil mix to enhance drainage.
Some people have found that using a terracotta pot with drainage holes is ideal for removing excess water.
Remove any damaged or yellow leaves and replant your Pilea in the new soil. Return the plant to a place with bright indirect light to facilitate drying and avoid future overwatering.
Pilea Plant Watering: Growing And Dormant Seasons
Pilea plants have different watering demands depending on which season they are in. During summer and warm weather, plants are most active and grow exponentially; therefore, they will need frequent watering to support this growth.
However, during colder seasons like winter, when they are dormant, frequent watering would result in overwatering. This could damage your plant, so set different watering schedules that fit with distinct seasons.
Before watering, you can check the soil’s moisture content with a moisture detector or your fingers.
Have you ever heard the phrase “too much of a good thing is bad, and too little is dangerous?” The expression can be applied when watering Pilea plants. Overwatering Pilea is unhealthy and could cause plant death if not corrected promptly.
And underwatering can also result in dropping and wilting leaves, retarded growth, and eventual death. So, strike a balance with watering needs, factoring in seasons, temperature, light, plant size, and humidity.