Pilea might have fertilizer burn – House Plant Journal

Pilea might have fertilizer burn

Plant: Pilea peperomioides

How long have you had the plant? 1 to 6 months


I repotted it because it was in small container and I added fertilizer: used coffee grounds.  After doing research, I found that the blemishes may be due to fertilizer burn – see the leaf edge.  I tried to wash it after watching a YouTube video.  Now, new leaves are growing in slow rate but looks good.

The overall plant:

Light Situation:

From this spot, the plant only gets indirect light.

How do you determine WHEN to water: I wait for the soil to become completely dry

Describe HOW you water: I completely soak the soil, pouring from the top and letting excess water drain away

What fertilizer do you use? I used coffee grounds and a month later, used banana peel diluted with water.

When was the last time you repotted? Less than 6 months ago.


Thanks for the photos and your care details.

First thing I noticed: your soil appears to be much too dense, like dirt from outdoors.

Tropical plant soil needs to be sufficiently porous, which is accomplished by using coco coir or peat moss with some added perlite. Any bagged soil labeled “potting soil” will do.

Secondly: coffee grinds and banana peel water is not going to fertilize your indoor plants. For outdoor plants, insects and worms break down organic matter and their excrement becomes nutrients for plants. For indoor potted plants, this process is not happening fast enough to be considered “fertilizing the plant”.

So the blemishes on your leaves are more likely from the soil you’re using and not fertilizer burn.

Recommendation: repot the plant into an appropriate soil – a well draining potting soil composed of coco coir or peat moss with perlite.

Your window should provide adequate indirect light so you can start using fertilizer – here are my recommendations. It would be great if you could also find a window that provided an hour or two of direct sun.

If you want to develop strong fundamentals in plant care, my book and online course will guide you in the right direction.

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