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Can you propagate Pilea from a single leaf? YES! Here’s How

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You may be shocked to learn that you can propagate Pilea from a single leaf. I’ve done it and will show you exactly how to make a new plant from a single leaf in this step-by-step photo guide. 



Most people propagate Pilea peperomioides using small pups that eventually form at the base of the parent plant. But there is a way to propagate with single leaves so that you don’t have to wait!

You may also know Pilea peperomioides from the following common names: friendship plant, pancake plant, ufo plant and Chinese money plant. 

Here are the steps that you need in order to succeed with water propagation of single leaf cuttings.


I like to use a clean, thin, sharp knife (such as a paring knife) to make your cutting. This is important because you want to make a nice clean cut. Select a healthy leaf that is nice and green. If your Pilea leaf is yellow or looks unhealthy, don’t use it for propagation.

 In order to ensure that you have success, you may want to make more than 1 cutting if you can. 

You don’t want to just snap a leaf off. You need to get part of the trunk as well. Use your sharp knife, and make a cut just like in the photo below. 


​Once you’re done, the cutting should look similar to the photo below.


You need to include part of the trunk, otherwise your Pilea cuttings will not end up growing any new plants. 

Be careful not to cut too deeply into the stem of the parent plant that the stem becomes wobbly or breaks off. If you’re careful, it won’t happen, but just in case it does happen, you can always place the stem cutting that you accidentally created right into water and it will root!


Next, all you need to do is place your leaf cuttings in a glass of water, vase or into your favorite propagation unit. Just make sure that the cut end of the cutting is under water at all times. Tap water is just fine for this, unless you have a water softener that treats your water using sodium which is toxic to plants. 

If you do have a water softener, you can can purchase a jug of distilled water or filtered water.


For best results, you’ll need to change your water frequently. Change your water completely about once each week. You want your water and your propagation vessel to stay nice and clean.  

Place your cuttings in a spot where you would normally grow plants. Many people make the mistake of setting their cuttings in low light conditions, and this is not ideal.

Your cuttings still need light. Ideally, you can set your cuttings in front of a window that has just indirect light (no direct sunlight), but if you have a window that has morning sun, this will be great.

A warm room with enough light will speed up the propagation process. If you really want to speed up the process, you can set your propagations on a heating mat. The additional heat from the mat will greatly speed up the rate of your Chinese money plant propagation. 

One week after I placed the single leaf cuttings in water, one of them already had signs of root growth.


Seventeen days after initially placing in water, here is what one of the 3 cuttings that I made looked like.


You will see new roots first before you have any signs of baby plants growing. Less than 2 months later, here are what all my cuttings looked like. You can see small plants growing right at the base of the petiole. 



Lastly, go ahead and pot up your rooted baby plants. Use a small pot. I’d recommend no larger than a 3.5 inch diameter pot to start off with. Make sure your pot has drainage holes. Good drainage is NOT optional! 

If your leaf from the mother plant is still green, leave it and pot it up with the babies. If it has yellowed, snip the entire leaf off and just pot up the babies.


If you are potting up the new Pilea plants along with the attached parent leaf, you may want to support the parent leaf with a small stake so that the cutting is stable in soil. Once the plantlets start growing more and produce more roots, you can snip off the original leaf that you propagated from. 

A well-draining soil is a must. I like to use about 2-3 parts of any good all-purpose potting mix along with 1 part of pumice. I like pumice vs perlite, but you can also use perlite. One con is that perlite tends to float to the top when you water. 

Leaf propagation is only one way to propagate your Pilea peperomioides. Check out my blog post on 3 different ways to propagate Pilea. For more details on how to care for this popular houseplant, don’t miss my extensive post on Chinese Money Plant care

Lastly, the best time of year to propagate is during the growing season. If you have short, dark winters, wait until late winter or early Spring to propagate. Anytime from that point and throughout summertime works well.

But if you are growing your plants under lights year round, or live in a location that has plenty of light and your plants don’t have any “down time”, go ahead and propagate whenever! After all, experimenting is the best part. 

Have you tried propagating Pilea peperomioides from a single leaf? Comment below. I’d love to hear!