Pilea Lower Leaves Dying – House Plant Journal

Pilea Lower Leaves Dying

Plant: Pilea peperomioides

How long have you had the plant? 1 to 2 years


She started having many yellow leaves about 3 months ago and they become brown and fall off. The speed of this seems to increase over time.

The overall plant:

Light Situation:

Plant Parent: in this space, it gets more than 3 hours of direct sun a day

How do you determine WHEN to water: I follow the schedule I was told/researched for this plant – roughly every 3 days

Describe HOW you water: I fully soak the soil, letting excess drain away. I’m careful not to let it sit in water.

What fertilizer do you use? I’ve never used any fertilizer.

When was the last time you repotted? Recently – less than 6 months ago.

Darryl’s Analysis

This is an excellent window for the plant – your Pilea has grown very well.

Since you say that you’ve had the plant for over a year, your watering has been working so far but the total number of leaves held on a plant at any one time is a balance of its light, watering, and soil nutrients.  Your plant has likely hit the limit of how many leaves it can hold based on your current light and watering but if you start using fertilizer on a regular basis, I think more leaves would stay on the plant for longer (but please keep reading in the “Expectations” section).

My recommended fertilizers: HERE

As I look at the overall plant – it looks totally fine.  The long-term experience with a Pilea (and all plants) is that older leaves die off at the bottom and new leaves grow at the top.  So far, I’d say the limiting factor is the fact that you weren’t fertilizing but even when you start doing it, there will still come a time when lower leaves start dying off.  Don’t fall into the trap of thinking “proper care = perfect plants forever”.  I’d simply cut off those damaged leaves if you find them unsightly – and thank them for their photosynthetic contributions over the years!

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