Why Is My Pilea Drooping?

Why Is My Pilea Drooping

Most plant owners would get a fright if they suddenly saw one of their houseplants looking droopy and sad. So, if you have a droopy Pilea plant, of course you will be looking for what went wrong, as well as how to perk it up again.

There are several possible reasons your Pilea may be drooping. Fortunately, most of these issues can be quite easily fixed with the proper care and treatments, so read on to find out how to save your drooping Pilea and what you can do to prevent this from happening again in the future. 

My Pilea is drooping – is this normal?

Pilea peperomioides, also known as the Chinese money plant, comes with vibrant, coin-shaped leaves on long petioles that make the leaves curve downward slightly. In most cases, this curvature is normal, but you should start to worry if your Pilea develops a drastic downward curve or any unusually droopy appearance.

Drooping is usually a sign of a plant’s distress. You may think that the best course of action to remedy a drooping Pilea is to give the plant a drink, but the drooping problem may not always be that straightforward. 

Although a lack of water is the most common cause of drooping leaves, there are other possible factors that might contribute to the issue. These include waterlogged soil, temperature extremes, lack of sunlight, pests, diseases, and transplant stress. If you do not  understand the underlying cause, you could make some of these problems even worse if you give your plant more water.

Why is my Pilea drooping – causes and solutions

Saving a drooping Pilea requires proper care and attention. To speed its recovery, you will need to identify the underlying issue and address it appropriately. Some of the possible causes of a drooping Pilea are explained in detail below:

1. Lack of water

Underwatering is one of the leading causes of drooping in Pileas. Plants need to be well-hydrated to stand firm and maintain their vigor, so extremely dry soil can have a severe effect on your houseplant and cause it to droop.

If you neglect to water your Pilea for an extended period, it will eventually lose its leaves, shrivel, and die. So, as soon as you notice your Pilea drooping, make sure to check the soil’s moisture  – it might just need a drink to revive itself!

Here are the solutions if you suspect underwatering is the culprit:

  • Give your plant a good shower to hydrate its roots. A dehydrated Pilea, like most houseplants, can easily bounce back to health once its soil is rehydrated. Make sure that the excess water has drained from the pot to prevent standing water collecting around the roots.
  • Routinely check the soil’s moisture content – this will help you determine when to water your Pilea. One way is to insert your finger about two to three inches deep into the soil and, if it feels dry, your plant is probably thirsty. Alternatively, invest in an XLUX Soil Moisture Meter to accurately monitor the soil’s moisture content at root level. This device comes with a sensor probe that you can insert into the soil and a clear dial display. This is a more reliable and convenient method if you find the finger test a bit messy.
  • Make sure to establish a regular watering schedule. Watering your Pilea once a week should suffice in most cases, but this depends on the season and your local climate.

2. Root rot due to waterlogged soil

Overwatering is the number one plant killer. If you notice your Pilea suddenly droop, it might be a cry to be rescued from waterlogged soil.

Too much water can cause more damage to your Pilea than underwatering – it drowns the roots, cutting the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the plant. Root rot is often irreversible, especially if the entire root system has already turned mushy and dark. However, you might still save your plant if there are still some healthy, firm roots remaining.

Aside from too much watering, using the wrong pot size or a pot with poor drainage can also cause the soil to become saturated. So, even if you do not overwater your plant, you might still damage its roots if you fail to recognize these factors.

Here are some solutions if you suspect root rot in your drooping Pilea:

  • First, stop overwatering your plant! Only water it again when the topsoil is dry. You can use a soil probe like the XLUX Soil Moisture Meter to determine the right time to water your plant.
  • To save a chronically overwatered Pilea, gently remove the plant from its pot and cut away the damaged roots using a sterilized pair of scissors or pruning shears. 
  • Root rot and soggy soil can attract molds and fungi, so before transferring your plant to a new container, treat its roots with a fungicide solution. 
  • Use a quick-draining soil that is rich in organic material. The ideal mix for a Pilea contains peat moss, leaf mold, and perlite.
  • Make sure that the new pot has drainage holes. This will allow any excess water to flow out freely and prevent waterlogged soil. Terracotta or clay pots with drainage holes work best for Pileas.
  • To prevent overwatering, it is best to water your plant in the daytime so that the water can evaporate faster. As much as possible, avoid watering at night so that the soil and leaves do not stay wet for long periods.

3. Extreme temperatures and drafts

Pileas prefer temperatures between 60 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures outside the plant’s comfort zone can result in wilting and drooping leaves.

Furthermore, cold drafts can have a detrimental effect on the plant’s cells. Extremely low temperatures can freeze most of the water in the leaves, causing dehydration. Exposure to full sunlight is also harmful, since the sun’s ultraviolet rays can burn the plant’s leaves.

These tips should help protect your plant from temperature swings:

  • Do not place your plant near an open window during the cold months. 
  • Keep your Pilea away from air conditioners or heating devices.
  • To encourage better growth and prevent drooping or leaf discoloration, make sure that your plant sits in a humid environment – ideally between 50 and 75 percent humidity. You can mist the plant’s leaves several times a week or place it on a gravel tray or saucer filled with water to increase the humidity around it. However, investing in a humidifier is the best and most convenient solution to maintain a stable humidity level for your plant.

4. Not enough sunlight

Pilea plants enjoy warm, partial sunlight, making them excellent for indoor conditions. However, keeping them in areas without adequate light can result in droopy, saggy leaves.

A lack of sunlight can influence your plant’s health in many ways. Photosynthesis, the plant’s metabolic process, will be greatly reduced, causing stunted growth, smaller-sized leaves, pale-colored leaves, and stretched-out stems. 

Although Pileas can tolerate lower light levels than some other plants, you still need to make sure that your plant receives enough sunlight to promote dense and healthy foliage. Here are some tips you can follow:

  • Place your Pilea in a shady area with access to partial sunlight. If it has been lacking light, try moving it close to a south-facing window and see if its condition improves.
  • Make sure your plant is not exposed to full, scorching sun.
  • Rotate the plant occasionally to prevent it from leaning to one side due to a lack of sufficient light on the sunless side.
  • Use artificial grow lights if your plant cannot get access to sufficient indirect sunlight.

5. Pest infestation

Pilea plants cannot protect themselves from pest infestations. Mealybugs, aphids, and moths are just some of the bugs that can assault your plant and cause a drooping appearance. 

Pests damage the plant’s foliage by feeding on its sap – or juices – and leaving sticky waste substances on the leaves. Aside from drooping leaves, pest infestations can cause stunted growth, yellowing, and wilting, all of which can turn your beautiful plant into an ugly mess.

Here is what you can do to correct the problem:

  • Remove the insects by hand as soon as you see them on the leaves. This should be your first line of defense while their number is still low.
  • Use eco-friendly sticky traps to manage pest populations.
  • Wipe the leaves with a solution of equal parts rubbing alcohol and water to remove the pests.
  • Apply insecticides, neem oil, or horticultural oil to kill the bugs.

6. Fungal disease

Fungal diseases might be to blame if your Pilea plant is suddenly drooping and looking unhealthy.

Symptoms of fungal infection might vary depending on the type of disease. For example, Pythium root rot might cause droopy leaves and mushy roots. Other fungal diseases that affect Pilea plants include Southern blight, Anthracnose, and Rhizoctonia aerial blight. 

If you notice other symptoms like a weakened stem, powdery mildew, brownish lesions, leaf bruises, or spots along the stem and petioles, then it is likely that your plant has a fungal infection.

The best way to save a plant with fungal disease is to use fungicides. Try some of the tips below:

  • Clean the infected stem and leaves with neem oil.
  • Use propiconazole if your plant has Southern blight disease, and fludioxonil if it is struggling with Rhizoctonia aerial blight. Try Daconil to treat Anthracnose.
  • You can also apply a baking soda solution to the affected parts of the plant to kill fungus.
  • To deal with root infections, apply bio fungicides to the soil.
  • Make sure that your plant receives enough sunlight while you treat the fungal disease.
  • Do not overwater your plant and avoid getting its leaves wet for extended periods. 
  • If one of your plants is infected, make sure to isolate it immediately to prevent spreading the disease to other healthy plants.
  • Keep your Pilea plants in an environment with correct humidity levels.
  • Use sterilized scissors or pruning shears when trimming your plants, and make sure your Pilea is not infected with fungus before you propagate its cuttings.

7. Transplant stress

Like most houseplants, Pileas can experience stress when they are transplanted to new soil or a new environment. They may lose their posture and droop. Do not worry – this reaction is normal. Give your Pilea enough time to adjust to its new pot or soil, and it should return to its normal appearance in a short time.

Here are some tips to reduce transplant shock:

  • There is nothing you can do to prevent transplant shock, so while your plant is acclimatizing to its new home, try to provide it with the ideal conditions to help it recover quickly. That includes keeping it hydrated without overwatering it.
  • Trimming your plant too much after repotting it can add to its stress, so limit the pruning to less than one third of your plant.
  • Make sure to handle the roots with great care while repotting. Do not try to loosen the dense root sections, as this risks damaging them.
  • Add organic mulch around the base of your plant to foster healthier roots and foliage.


Knowing exactly what has made your Pilea droop will go a long way towards finding the appropriate solution to return it to full health. Hopefully, this guide has provided some useful information about the common causes and fixes of drooping Pilea leaves. Just remember to make a habit of checking your plant’s leaves and roots regularly, so you can spot the early signs of any problems and prevent unhealthy-looking foliage in the future. 

Image: istockphoto.com / Akchamczuk