UFO Plant

UFO Plant


Pilea peperomioides (Chinese Money Plant)

Pilea peperomioides (Chinese Money Plant) is an erect, perennial succulent, up to 12 inches (30 cm) tall, with round, dark green leaves…

How and When to Plant a Spring Garden

At this time last year, you may not have given any thought to planting calendars, prepping soil, or growing seasonal vegetables. But a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of at-home gardeners has spiked , and now that we’ve made it back to March, those looking to plant their first spring garden may have a lot of questions. H ere’s what to know about how and when to plant a spring garden.

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When should you plant a spring garden?

Spring officially starts later this month, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve missed your opportunity to plant a spring garden. In fact, the seasonal planting schedule largely depends on where you live, what you’re looking to grow, and whether you’ve prepped your soil sufficiently for a new crop, according to Jessica Woods, a gardener and editor/founder of the homesteading website Chickens+You .

“You can safely begin to plant from ‘last frost’, though many plants will happily grow through frost, so I advise that you check your last frost date and decide on what you would like to harvest—and enjoy on the dinner plate,” she tells Lifehacker. “I strongly advise preparing soil two to three weeks before you plan to plant your seeds. If you have not done this yet, you may need to plan for more summer-friendly veggies.”

In some areas, it’s recommended that you start growing seeds indoors, and then eventually move them outside once they’ll survive. One way to figure out what the best option is for your garden is by checking the USDA Hardiness Zone Map . According to master gardener and founder of Happy DIY Home Jen Stark, the USDA zones “determine the best time to start seeds indoors, when to transplant young plants outside, and when to directly sow seed into the ground.” For most of the United States, the best time to start spring crops is in March, Stark tells Lifehacker.

You can also use an online tool like this planting calculator from Gilmour, which allows users to enter their zip code and the plants they hope to grow, and produces a tailored planting calendar.

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How to prepare the soil

Planting a spring garden takes some preparation—don’t expect to head outside one day and just start planting in a garden bed that has been untouched all winter. “Garden prep for spring should start with a thorough cleaning,” Angelo Randaci, master gardener and horticulture expert at Earth’s Ally tells Lifehacker. “Rake any debris left over from last fall and pull any weeds.”

Next, use a straight spade or shovel to dig eight to 10 inches into the ground. “Turn the soil over, so the topsoil is in the bottom of your plot,” Stark explains. “Break apart large clods of dirt until all of the soil has a similar size and consistency. At least three weeks before you plan on planting vegetables, turn the soil again so the topsoil is in the bottom of your plot.”

And while you may also be tempted to dig out all the existing roots left in the garden bed, Jake Thill, the director of marketing and sales strategy at Fruit Growers Supply Company , advises giving the roots a quick tug, and only removing the ones that come out easily. “Leftover roots will feed beneficial microbes which will keep the soil moist and aerated,” he tells Lifehacker.

It’s also a good idea to test the soil’s pH levels—something that can be done several different ways, including DIY methods and purchasing a pH meter. That’s a topic for another day, but in short, once you know your soil’s pH level, you can then make adjustments to ensure that it meets the needs of your plants. For example, you may need to add pH-raising materials like lime, or acidifying items like sulfur, according to Thill.

Once that part is done, it’s time to add organic matter in the form of compost and aged manure, Jill Sandy, a gardener, and the founder of Constant Delights tells Lifehacker. “You can also use mulch or green manures as they’re more natural and arehelp prepare soil for planting exceptionally,” she adds.

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Make a plan for your garden

Now that your garden bed is cleaned and your soil is prepared, it’s time to plot your plot. “First of all, decide what you want to plant and make a list,” Randaci explains. “It is not too late to start seeds, so you can include them on your list. Plants for early spring include kale, radishes, spring onions, arugula, and spinach. Be sure to follow recommendations on the seed packet.”

If you’ve waited too long to plant a spring garden using seeds—or don’t necessarily want to deal with them—you can always purchase starter plants from your local garden center, which Randaci says will save you a step and give you a jump on the season. “I love growing from seed, but I will often find plants that look absolutely gorgeous in the nursery and take them home to my garden,” Woods adds.

Map it out

Once you have a plan, it’s time to map out your garden on a piece of paper, according to Joseph Marini, a gardening expert and host of the “At Home With Joseph” webinar series on Aspire Design and Home. Here’s how he explained this process to Lifehacker:

Using a quarter, dime and penny draw circles to represent plants in your plot. Stagger your plantings so that you have a full display of flowers and foliage from spring through fall, and even some items which would provide winter interest such as tall grasses. Provide enough space for your perennials to thicken up and expand for a few years before needing to divide them. You can intersperse seeds, bulbs and annuals in between young perennials to keep the garden looking full.

When I plant a new bed, I vary the size pots of plants that I buy so that the garden doesn’t look un-developed. [For] some perennials, I will buy larger-sized pots to have more mature-looking plants, and others I will start with small starter plants that tend to grow more vigorously.

Factor in sun and shade

According to Marini, the most important thing to consider when figuring out where to plant your garden is how much sun or shade a particular area gets. “Since trees still do not have leaves on them yet, a spot in your yard may look like a perfect sunny location only to find out as larger trees above fill in with growth it becomes shaded in two months’ time,” he explains.

That means that your sun-loving plants will have to be moved. “Unless you are planting a shade garden, most perennials, annuals and vegetables need six to eight hours of sun daily, whether direct sun or slightly dappled sun,” he explains.

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About Pilea Peperomioides

  • The species was found by Agnar Espegren, a Norwegian missionary, in Yunnan Province he took cuttings with him back to Norway from where it started to spread throughout Scandinavia, and eventually worldwide, as people used to pass cuttings between friends.
  • It thrives in a bright spot near a window, but too much direct sun can cause the leaves to burn so, it is recommended to keep the plant out of direct sunlight. At the same time, too little light can affect the plant’s overall health, so you might take some time to find a spot in your household that is just right.
  • Because Pilea Peperomioides plants grow quickly and orient towards the light it is best to rotate the succulent frequently.
  • Mature, healthy Chinese Money plants will grow little pups at the same time, which can be cut to create new plants when they are at least 2-3 inches (5-7 cm) tall or left alone to grow where they are. The best period to take baby cuttings of your Pilea is spring when the plant is actively growing and has the most energy.
  • Pilea plants prefer well-drained potting soil, so instead of buying the cheapest potting soil or using garden soil to plant this houseplant, you should consider a high-quality organic potting soil.
  • Houseplants are usually purchased in plastic pots, but occasionally they can be found in terracotta pots, which can dry out very quickly, and will let the soil breathe more than a plastic pot does. If you want to give your Pilea plant the time of its life it is better to place it in terracotta or glazed ceramic pots.
  • If the plant is healthy and happy, it could produce small white flowers with pink-tinged stems in periods with low temperatures.

What is a Chinese money plant? Also known as lefse plant, missionary plant, and UFO plant, Pilea peperomioides is frequently just called “pilea” for short. It is native to the Yunnan Province of China. As legend has it, in 1946 the Norwegian missionary Agnar Espergren brought the plant back home from China and shared cuttings among his friends.

To this day, the Chinese money plant is easiest to find in Scandinavia, where it is very popular. If you live elsewhere in the world, you might have some trouble finding a plant. Pilea is slow to propagate, and most nurseries don’t find them profitable enough to carry. Your best bet is to find someone willing to share their cuttings in person. If that fails, you should be able to order cuttings directly from sellers online.

Chinese money plants are relatively small and very well suited to container life. They grow to a height of 8 to 12 inches (20-30 cm.). They have a very distinctive appearance – green vegetative shoots grow up and out from the crown, each ending in a single saucer shaped leaf that can reach 4 inches (10 cm.) in diameter. If the plant grows healthily and densely, its leaves form an attractive mounding appearance.

Pilea Species, Chinese Money Plant, Missionary Plant, Pancake Plant, UFO Plant


Water Requirements:

Requires consistently moist soil do not let dry out between waterings

Sun Exposure:


Foliage Color:




USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 °C (-30 °F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 °C (15 °F)

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers


Bloom Color:

Bloom Characteristics:

Bloom Size:

Bloom Time:

Other details:

Soil pH requirements:

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:

From herbaceous stem cuttings

Seed Collecting:


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Gardeners' Notes:

On May 25, 2018, Kell from (Zone 9b) wrote:

So similar to Peperomia polybotrya, Coin Leaf Peperomia. The leaves of Pilea peperomioides are rounded while Peperomia polybotrya comes to a point. The flowers are different also. [ [email protected] ]

This article, A Chinese puzzle solved - Pilea peperomioides, discusses the search for this plant's origins as well as its perfect growing conditions.
"Dali itself, at around 6,000 feet elevation (11800m), is renowned for its weather, which is spring-like throughout the year, but the peaks of Tsangshan at almost 14,000 feet (4,250m), were still carrying snow on our visit in late April and early May. Therefore, it seems likely that P. peperomioides survives winter t. read more emperatures down to freezing. Certainly, in the British Isles it is more likely to flower in spring if kept in unheated conditions. Both male and female inflorescences are produced by the same plant, although the latter are far less frequent. Male flowers are reluctant to open but if held in the palm of the hand or placed in water they burst open releasing puffs of pollen as in other Pilea species such as P. muscosa, the artillery plant.

We have yet to see the Chinese money plant on sale in nurseries here but it must surely feature in them soon. It is one of the easiest of houseplants to grow, flourishing in a peat based compost. It needs frequent watering in warm weather and is easily propagated from the basal shoots which are so readily produced. Further cultural details can be found in the recently published The RHS Encyclopaedia of House Plants by Kenneth Beckett, the first such publication to illustrate it."

On Feb 17, 2018, NCMstGardener from Columbus, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:

I believe the zone information is in error.

Although it can be kept outside in warmer regions, Pilea peperomioides is only suitable as a houseplant in most locations. It doesn’t appreciate temperatures below 10 °C/50 °F and should be protected from sudden temperature swings.

On Jun 27, 2017, halo2something from Milan,
Italy wrote:

Beautiful plant. I disagree with light requirements mentioned here, my pilea p. grows on east-facing windowsill with no light damage, producing constantly luscious leaves and "babies". Also, in winter it doesn't go dormant per se, but, it's better not to keep it very moist because it have tendency with shorter days and excessive moist to loose bottom leaves rapidly. To be honest I don't keep it all time moist in hot summer as well.
I saw specimens taller than 45 centimeters.
For propagation I wouldn't recommend to remove early stolons with 4-5 leaves, they grow bigger faster then they are still connected to mother plant. Wait till it's at least up to 15 cm tall.

On Jun 19, 2013, lottiemck from Brighton,
United Kingdom wrote:

This is a question rather than a comment. I have lots of these Chinese money plants, yet one of them appears to be going a purply-brown colour and a bit spotty. It is not looking too well, but I don't know why this only seems to be happening with one of my plants. Any care tips??

On Feb 8, 2011, steadycam3 from Houston Heights, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

Watch the video: How To Propagate Pilea Peperomioides Chinese Money Plant