Skip to Content

Peperomia vs. Pilea (The Differences and Similarities)

Peperomia vs. Pilea (The Differences and Similarities)
Disclaimer: Some links found on this page might be affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and make a purchase, I might earn a commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Peperomia and Pilea plants are very similar in appearance and are often confused due to this. However, these plants are not the same, and they have a few differences you should know. So, let’s discover everything you should know about both these plants.

Peperomias are subtropical plants prevalent in western countries, while Pilea plants are more subtropical and pretty rare in western countries. These plants may look very similar, but they have slight differences in their leaves, but the most obvious differences are in the care requirements.

What are the similarities and differences between these two plants? What are the differences in care requirements for these two plants? We will go through and look at all this information and more in this article!

Pilea vs. Peperomia: What’s the Difference?

Peperomia and Pilea plants are both stunning, and they make for excellent houseplants. These plants are very similar in appearance, often confusing people about which one they have in their homes.

These plants have a lot of similarities, but there are also a lot of differences that you should know as they will help you identify between them. So, let’s go through more information about each of these plants and then see how they differ to help you identify which plant you might have.

A Peperomia Plant Defined

Peperomia plants are glorious, and with over 1000 species of plants in this genus, you are bound to find one you adore. These plants are mostly native to South America, but you can find them in other subtropical and tropical locations.

As there are many species under this name, the appearance of the plants will differ. Some will show variegation, while others will not. Some plant’s leaves will be pointed, others round, and others oblong in shape.

Peperomia plants are excellent for beginners as they are relatively easy plants to care for. These plants are also expressive, meaning they will show signs of discomfort quickly when something is wrong. This will alert you to a problem and give you more than enough time to fix it.

A Pilea Plant Defined

The Pilea plant is often referred to as the UFO plant or the Chinese Money plant. This plant is a part of the Nettle family native to southern China. This plant was identified incorrectly as a Peperomia for many years when it was first bought to Europe in the 1900s.

In the 1970s, the plant was recognized as a P.Peperomioides. Their name even means Peperomia-like and was given to this plant due to its similarities to the Peperomia. Pilea plants are easy to care for, but they are rarer than the Peperomia plant.

Pilea plants are also expressive plants that will let you know quickly when something is not right with them, giving you time to fix it before the plant’s health is affected badly. These plants also have round leaves and long stems like the Peperomia.

The Differences and Similarities Between the Plants

The confusion between these two different plants is understandable, especially when you put these two plants next to each other. So, let’s go through the resemblances and differences between these two plants to help you better identify which one is which.

Knowing which plant you have will help you care for the plant better and ensure it stays healthy and happy in your care. Plus, if you have a Pilea plant, you can brag to your friends a little as the plant is rare in western countries.

The Similarities Between Pilea and Peperomia Plants

The Peperomia genus is known for its wide variety of plants with a large variety of features. Some particular plants in this genus, like the Peperomia Polybotrya, share very similar characteristics as the Pilea plant.

The Peperomia Polybotrya plants sprout broad, flat leaves that are very similar to the leaves of the Pilea plant, and they aren’t variegated. Both these plants are dark green, which enhances the confusion between the two.

These two plants also have succulent-like leaves that help them store water. Another similarity between these two plants is on the scientific level. These plants also feature a peltate leaf structure. This is where the stem is attached to the center of the leaf.

The Differences Between Pilea And Peperomia Plants

These plants have many similarities that make it difficult to distinguish between them, but they do have a few differences you can look for. The most obvious difference is in the length of these plants.

The stems of the Pilea plant are long and thin, while the stems of the Peperomia Polybotrya and other Peperomia plants are bushier. The Pilea plants also have one large leaf at the ends of their petiole, giving the plant a droopy appearance.

Some Peperomia plants share the long, thin stem characteristic of the Pilea plant, but these share no other similar characteristics with Pileas, making them easier to identify.

The most desirable trait that people look for in Peperomia plants is the variegation characteristic, which is very rare in Pilea plants.

The Basics for Caring for a Pilea Plant

When looking at the differences between the Pilea plant and the Peperomias, you should also look at the differences in the care requirements for each plant, not just the differences in their appearance.

So, let’s go through the basic care requirements of both these plants to further see the differences between the two. We will start with the Pilea plant care requirements.

Lighting

The Pilea plant prefers bright, indirect sunlight, which can impact the growth of the plant. With this plant, you need to rotate it 2 or 3 times per week to prevent the plant from growing lopsided as it will grow towards the sun.

If you leave Pilea plants in direct sunlight, the sun will burn the leaves. So, the best area to keep this plant in your home is next to a window that gets lots of sun, with a sheer curtain over it to help protect the plant.

This plant can adjust to lower light levels, but the color of the leaves will darken, and the plant will spread out more.

Watering

Pilea plants prefer to be in moist soil and should be watered regularly, even though their leaves can store water. You should be watering your Pilea plant at least twice a week to keep it healthy and happy.

You should water this plant thoroughly until the water starts draining from the bottom of the plant pot. Wait for the extra water to drain and empty the saucer as the plant must not stand in water.

Fertilizing

Pilea plants are hungry plants that require frequent fertilization. You need to fertilize these plants with a liquid houseplant fertilizer diluted to half-strength to ensure it doesn’t burn the roots. You should fertilize your Pilea once a month during its growing stages in spring and summer.

Temperature and Humidity

Pilea plants are not bothered much by humidity and will generally be happy in normal humidity levels in your home. If you want to treat your plant, you can give it a generous misting once a month.

This plant is generally fine with living in a normal household temperature. If the temperature in your home is kept between 65° and 75°F, your plant will thrive. You need to keep your Pilea plant away from heating vents, ACs, and other drafts, as this can cause the Pilea plant to drop its leaves.

The Basics for Caring for a Peperomia Plant

Now you know the basic care requirements of a Pilea plant, we will look at the basic care for a Peperomia plant to see how they compare and the differences between them. So, let’s see how to care for a Peperomia plant.

Lighting

Peperomia plants prefer medium indirect sunlight to thrive. The perfect locations in your home to keep a peperomia is in an east or south-facing window or on your porch. These locations will ensure your Peperomia receives the optimal sunlight needed to grow healthy and stay strong.

However, if you keep your Peperomia on a windowsill, ensure the plant doesn’t receive direct sunlight, especially during the summer, as this can burn the plant’s leaves.

If you see your Peperomia plant beginning to wilt, this could indicate that your plant is not getting enough sunlight, and you need to choose a better location for it.

Watering

Peperomia plants are succulent-type plants that have thick leaves to store water, which help the plant survive in low water conditions. This means that the Peperomias are drought-tolerant, but you still shouldn’t leave the plant without water for an extended time as this can cause the plant to wilt.

This plant doesn’t need regular watering like most other houseplants. Only needing water about once a week, but when you water the plant, you need to ensure you water it thoroughly until all the soil is wet. When the first 2 inches of the soil are dry, you need to water your Peperomia plant again.

Fertilizing

If your Peperomia plant is kept in nutrient-rich potting soil, your plant will not require frequent fertilizing, as it will have the nutrients it needs. If you are unsure of the quality of your potting soil, or you know your potting soil is not of good quality, you need to fertilize your plant to keep it healthy.

You should only fertilize Peperomias during their active growing stages in spring and summer. During this time, only fertilize the plant twice. You don’t need to fertilize the Peperomia plant during the fall and winter.

Fertilize your Peperomia plant with a regular houseplant fertilizer diluted to half its strength. Peperomias are sensitive to over-fertilization, burning the plant’s roots. So, it’s essential to know the quality of your potting soil to ensure you don’t over-fertilize your Peperomia.

Temperature and Humidity

Peperomia plants are subtropical plants, meaning that they live in hot climates with high humidity levels. If Peperomia plants are not kept in high humidity, their growth and overall health can be affected.

To ensure the Humidity level stays above 20%, you can mist the plant with a light spray of water daily to help increase humidity levels. Alternatively, you can keep a humidifier in the room.

Peperomia plants do not do well in cold temperatures as they are native to hot climates. Keeping your Peperomia in temperatures above 55° Fahrenheit is crucial as these low temperatures can damage the plant.

The perfect temperature for a Peperomia plant is between 60° and 80°Fahrenheit. You should keep this plant away from cold drafts or air conditioners and heating vents, as these can cause temperature fluctuations and damage the plant.

Final Thoughts

Pilea plants and Peperomias are very similar in appearance, but they differ in many other ways, including their care requirements, which is why you need to know which plant you have if you want it to thrive in your home.

One thing is for sure, though, both these plants are gorgeous, and you won’t be disappointed no matter which one you own. Good luck identifying your plant!