9 Causes of Chinese Money Plant Leaves Curling (And Fixes)

While Chinese Money plants are known for their easy care and durability, it’s not unusual for their gorgeous coins-shaped leaves to curled up.

Understanding why leaves curl is difficult, particularly if they appear to be doing it in a sudden manner.

Unfortunately,Chinese money plant (Pilea peperomioides) leaves curling is a common problem, and I’ll show you how to fix it today.

Lack of light, insufficient practices for watering, as well as extreme temperatures can cause the curving of Chinese money plant leaves. The leaves will unfurl naturally and flatten out when they reach maturity. The process of drying out between waterings, temperatures ranging from 65 to 85 degrees (18-29degC), and bright, well-filtered light can aid in repairing and stop curving.

Types of Leaf Curling in Pilea Peperomioides

The leaves that grows on Chinese money plants can tell many things about their health and growth habits.

But, your plant could communicate in a variety of ways, so you need to be patient and take your time to understand what it is saying.

The Pilea Peperomioides plants typically show three kinds of leaf curving. The way that leaves curl can help you determine the root of the problem the plant.

  • Outwards: You may have overwatered the Chinese cash plant insufficient lighting if you observe that the leaves are curving outwards (also called doming). Both issues are often connected.
  • Inwards: As a result of the lack of nutrients, hot or cold drafts, or overheating because of high temperatures, Pilea peperomioides’ leaves curl inwards (cupping). Insufficient nutrients, as well as minerals such as potassium and calcium could cause your plant to become dehydrated.
  • Both doming and cupping A lateral and an inward combination of curls on your plant can be an indication of many issues that require immediate attention. It is the same if your foliage shows signs of doming or cupping.

Common Reasons for Chinese Money Plant Leaves Curling

My experience is that to determine the reason behind why a Chinese cash plant’s leaf are been curled, wrinkled, or shrunk, you’ll have to look at the plant’s growth conditions, and also look for indicators of the issue.

The Pilea Peperomioides leaf curling could be caused by a variety of reasons, but there’s no need to be concerned.

Instead, you should go through the following list to remove every possible cause you find.

Fortunately, the curled leaves can be restored to its original form after the issue has been solved. While affected foliage might not be able to return to its normal position however, the new leaves will be normal.

[1] Low Light is Causing Curling of Chinese Money Plant Leaves

Chinese money plants are the most effective and appear their best when put in an area with bright, cheery lighting.

But, these pileas may have smaller leaves, less offshoots, and will become a bit lopsided in dim light conditions.

In low light conditions, the leaves to curl outwards or dorsiflex, exposing as all of the leaf’s surface as is possible towards the light source.

In the end, the leaf’s center moves forward, while the edges curl backwards and form a dome.

This is a response designed to increase the amount of light available and photosynthesis.

If you observe the outer leaves curving outwards towards the window, then low light is likely to be the cause.

Insufficient light may also trigger these symptoms:

  • Leaves changing color or becoming pale yellow
  • Slow growth of the leaf
  • Leaf drop (in inadequate light)
  • Plant leaning towards lighting source (window or door, etc.)
  • Lanky growth
  • It is possible that the soil takes much longer to dry than normal.

How to Fix Curling Leaves due to Low Light

Windows that face North and East are perfect for the growth of Chinese money plants since they like moderate to bright, indirect light.

But, it is important to avoid the plant from intense sunlight. Too much sunlight can cause sunburn to the leaves.

Therefore If you have windows that face west or south then you must make use of blinds, sheers or curtains to block them.

When I shift a plant to a brighter spot the curled leaves are straightened after a couple of weeks.

[2] Overwatering

It is the Chinese cash plant is which is an evergreen perennial, needs only very little watering.

A frequent and excessive watering can result in the leaves becoming curled and distorted and will use much more water that it requires.

Overwatering is commonplace in Pilea and can cause the death of plants and root rot.

But, curling of the leaves is not the main sign of an over-watered pilea. Leaf falloff and becoming yellow are the first warning indicators.

Too much water can cause doming or curling outwards of the leaves, as I have observed.

This is because leaves tend to grow to increase the amount of water they hold. If you inspect the root, search for signs of rot, like soft, black, and brown root.

Any of the following could cause overwatering

  • Pots that are not the correct size
  • Planting your plants in a medium that is not well-drained
  • The absence of drainage holes on the sides of the pot
  • Instead of checking the soil’s water levels, you can count days to determine if your plant requires irrigation.
  • Keep the plant within a dark or in a cool, dark environment

How to Fix Overwatering

The soil you choose for your pilea is one that has a moderate moisture. Be sure to use the soil mix that drains well and doesn’t get soggy.

After the top one up to 2 inches have dried , water it again thoroughly.

The act of counting days or watering the Chinese money plant frequently won’t aid in its growth. Instead, you can use a wooden stick or your fingers to check the soil’s water content.

For pots that are larger that 10 inches, the most precise method to determine soil moisture is to use the use of a moisture meters ( Amazon link).

If the container you are using for your plant doesn’t have drain holes for watering, then the answer lies right in your face. I would suggest making use of a terracotta planter with at minimum two drainage holes instead of the existing one.

Examine for root rot by taking your plant out of the pot in case you suspect that excessive watering has damaged it.

Roots that are infected with the disease tend to be soft dark, smelly, and dark. On the other hand, hard, pale and earthy-smelling roots indicate the health of the plant’s roots.

If you discover that your root is rotting and the affected plant parts and then repot with a new media.

Make sure your plant is surrounded by direct, bright light as well as warm temperatures and adequate air circulation.

The plant is able to recuperate faster from water loss when these conditions are in place.

[3] Diseases

The excess watering can create humid conditions that expose your plant to fungal diseases.

Unfortunately, bacterial and viral illnesses can also affect Chinese money plants So keep an eye on those.

Alongside leaf curling and yellowing of leaves as well as stunting and witting are symptoms of the disease.

Be on the lookout for the following Chinese money plant ailments:


This fungus Colletotrichum spp. often causes this fungal disease in Pileas. Cuttings and plants that are younger are the most vulnerable.

The first signs are usually small brown lesions that appear swelling and wet. The leaves may change color, becoming brown or gray and then turn papery when they expand and dry up.

Pythium root rot

This kind of root rot, which is caused through the fungal fungus Pythium splendens is common in Chinese money plants when they are watered too much.

The roots that are affected tend to be decayed, brown or black, and soft. Other signs of a problem are curled, yellowed, and the leaves are wilted.

Rhizoctonia blight

It is the fungal fungus Rhizoctonia solanicauses this leaf blight disease. It causes a range of reddish-brown to tan leaves spots, or lesion that appear on most leaves. The affected foliage can wilt and then curl quickly.

Southern Blight

Sclerotium Rolfsii is the type of fungus responsible for southern blight on Pilea species.

The fungal infection usually appears initially on the crown, leading the leaves at the top to wrinkle, girdle then curl and finally become limp.

Additionally, spots are seen on leaves often beginning as white, and later becoming brown as they age. (Source: University of Florida).

Treatment of Chinese Diseases of the Money Plant

To stop the spread of the disease, you must isolate the affected plant initially. After that, cut and dispose of the affected leaves as well as other plants’ matter.

There are fungicides and commercial treatments that are available, however they can be ineffective and harmful. They are also not always efficient. I strongly recommend that you utilize copper or sulfur-based solutions ( Amazon link)

The positive side is that avoiding excessive watering and encouraging dry conditions can reduce or even completely eliminate most of the fungal illnesses.

Implementing proper plant care practices and making sure the plant’s health and flourishing can help to prevent fungal infections.

Also, increase air circulation to aid in drying the leaves.

Avoid using overhead watering as well as water which splashes on the foliage.

[4] Extreme Temperatures and Drafts

Chinese cash plants can be prone to extreme temperatures. It is possible to think that they would prefer cooler temperatures however short periods of cold temperatures could stimulate them to flower.

Even a short exposure to hot or cold breezes can cause stress to the plants. Additionally, leaves curling and dark spots may appear when the plant is exposed to extreme temperatures.

The leaves of your plant may start to curl upwards when placed in a hot environment. It is likely because of the rapid loss of water from the leaves caused by the overheating of extreme temperatures.

Leaf curling may occur when the plant is exposed to cold temperatures or freezing drafts for a long time.

If the temperature drops lower than 50 deg F (10degC) the indoor plant is in the zone of damage.

In general older leaves are more than likely to be affected, while newer leaves are more tolerant for cold temperatures.

How to Fix

Instead of moving your plant, you can adjust your temperature to the ideal temperature range between 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (18-29degC). Temperatures that are too extreme can result in negative effects.

Do not place your plant in close contact with hot or cold drafts. This means avoiding the air-ducts and radiators, heater vents, fans, fireplaces, and windows that are open.

[5] Overfeeding and Nutritional Deficiencies

Curling of the leaves could also result from excessive fertilization. But a regular feeding is sufficient to feed this Chinese cash plant. It isn’t an avid consumption of nutrients, but the most efficient source of nutrients.

Since fertilizer salts build up in the soil and cause damage to the roots of plants when they are dormant and feeding them at this period can be detrimental for your plant.

Due to the roots being unable to fulfill their task effectively they will become brown and curly.

If you feed your plant too much you will see the effects. In the event that your plants are lacking in potassium or calcium it is particularly vulnerable.

In any scenario, the tips of the leaves will become yellow and then curve downwards (dome).

How to Fix Nutrient Deficiencies and Overfertilization

It is possible to flush your plant’s media multiple times if you’ve overfed it, to remove any fertilizer salts that are not needed.

Feed your plants only every month, during the summer and spring months. Fertilizer is not recommended during the winter and fall months.

Water-soluble fertilizers can be helpful when your plant’s leaves become curled because of a deficiency in nutrients. Additionally an acidic soil pH can aid in the absorption of vital nutrients.

My preferred method is to incorporate organic matter such as compost into the gardening medium to provide a more simple and natural solution.

[6] Insufficient Humidity

Although Pilea peperomioides generally is fine in moderate humidity but dry air may make its leafs dry out and curled.

In the end, the growth of your plant could slowdown, and the leaves could droop, and even appear to be wilting.

In other words: Chinese money plant leaves curled leaves aren’t typically caused by the absence of humidity.

This means that they can thrive in conditions with humidity levels that are as low as 20 percent.

But, be sure to keep them away from heating vents as their dehydrating effects could cause the leaves to die and curly.

Crisp and brown leaf tips and edges are sure indicators that the humidity is low.

How to Fix

The increase in humidity to 40-50 percent could help to solve the issue. Here’s how you can increase the humidity within your plant:

  • Consider grouping your plants.
  • Set the plant in a shallow water tray that has pebbles.
  • Chinese evergreens aren’t typically in need of an humidifier, however the higher humidity could provide them with a boost.
  • While Chinese money plants don’t require an humidifier, you may make use of one if humidity levels are consistently low.

[7] Underwatering

Other causes for leaf curls are underwatering and inconsistent watering practices. This can happen when you let your soil to dry out completely after long periods of excessive watering.

The leaves will wilt, curl or wrinkle because of a absence of moisture. The leaves dry up and disappear from your plant, in the worst case scenario. The plant is at an end point.

Other signs that an underwater Chinese money plant are:

  • Drooping
  • Yellowed leaves
  • Edges and tips of brown leaf particularly on the outer leaf edges.
  • Crisp leaf surfaces
  • Stunted growth

How to Fix Underwatering

If your leaves are completely dry and crispy it could be that you are to be late for the celebration.

However the plant could be able to be saved if its leaves are still flexible.

It is recommended for your plants to receive a good irrigation, and the leaves should straighten and expand.

Bottom-watering is the best option when the soil is dry.

Let your plant absorb the most water you can when you place it into a basin with 3 to 4 inches of water.

[8] Insect Infestations

Leaves damaged by insects can curl up and disfigure and may have spots as well as other imperfections that are spread over the leaves. The good news is that pests are usually easy to identify.

Mealybugs, spider mites fungus gnats and scale insects are among the most frequent pests that attack Pilea peperomioides.

Make use of a magnifying lens to check crevices and cracks in leaves to find these bugs, which are often tiny.

Soft webbing and black mold are typical signs of a spider mite infestation.

Based on the severity degree of damage to the leaves, they could change color, shift or drop off.

How to Get Rid of Chinese Money Plant Pests

It is always a good idea to inspect your plants for pests on a regular basis. If you spot infestations in the early stages, it’s much simpler to eliminate the problem.

Every day, spraying pyrethrins with pesticides, Neem oils, or any other oils for horticulture should suffice to keep the majority of these insects at bay.

You could also make use of the forceful flow that comes from the hose to convince the plant to go completely.

Diatomaceous earth and diluted alcohol are two additional efficient and safe methods of control and treatment of pests.

To get rid of bugs in a single bite You can also make use of cotton swabs that have been dipped in isopropyl alcohol.

[9] Unfurling New Leaves and Old Foliage

It is important to understand that leaves from Chinese money plants curl up at certain points. The leaves that are yet to open are usually part of the natural curling process.

For instance, the new Pilea peperomioides appear curled however, they gradually become straight.

The majority of these evergreen tropical plants grow new leaves on their stems.

There’s nothing to be concerned about if you notice that only the top leaves of the stem are curled, while the remainder of the plant appears healthy.

For your plant to have to look healthy The top leaves will unfold and flatten.

While you’re at it, discuss the ideal conditions to grow with your plant such as direct, bright sunlight.

Keep in mind that older leaves on your plant could start to curl as the plant ages.

This is due to resources being diverted from the old leaves to create new ones. This is most prevalent in older, lower-growing leaves.

Best Fixes for Curling Chinese Money Plant Leaves

For a recap this, here are the most efficient ways to uncurl Pilea leaves:

  • Follow a regular watering schedule Be sure to examine the soil’s moisture prior to irrigation your plants as an average. Let the top 1-2 inches of soil to air dry in between waterings. This means that you should water more frequently in the summer months (spring as well as the summer) but less in the autumn and winter.
  • Increase the humidity in your surroundings – Think about the use of a humidity tray, an air humidifier, or grouping your plants. A reliable humidity gauge can prove beneficial.
  • Provide plenty of lighting – Put the Chinese cash plant at a location which receives direct, bright sunlight. It is typically a north or east-facing windows.
  • Eliminate pests Be on the lookout for mealybugs, Aphids, spider mites as well as scale insect. Eliminate them as soon as you spot them.


Went from a bad gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)