8 Possible Causes for Pilea Drooping [With Solutions]

Beautiful Pilea Plant
Beautiful Pilea Plant (Source: Unsplash)

Pilea plants are one of the most attractive decorative plants for the home. One corner of my house was oozing dullness and was asking for a charming and elegant plant. So I decided to bring in the Pilea plant.

As I expected, the linear stems of Pilea added majestic charm to the corner. But, after some time, my plant started drooping.

In general, Pilea starts drooping due to different factors like improper watering, inadequate light, too much light, temperature extremities, and a completely new environment.

Pilea Plant
Pilea Plant (Source: Pexels)

Are you worried about your pretty Pilea drooping? Fret not! I had the same problem, and I got out of it with a few care tips and strategies.

My Pilea is standing erect now. If you want yours to do the same, continue reading below.

Is it Normal for Pilea to Droop?

Pilea is a plant with a long linear stem, which looks gloomy while drooping. But it is entirely normal for the Pilea plant to wilt under different conditions.

Pilea reacts to conditions they are not used to. While changing from one environment to another, one light and water condition to another, Pilea tends to take time to adapt to the surrounding.

Do not overstress yourself. Your pretty Pilea is not dying.

It is not only you or only me. Everyone with Pilea as their decoration plant may face this problem once in the plant’s lifetime.

Pilea plant with some drooped leaves
Pilea Plant with some Drooped Leaves. (Source: Wikimedia)

8 Possible Causes for Pilea Drooping [With Solutions]

Pilea Drooping is caused by various substantial factors which directly or indirectly contribute to the plant looking gloomy and losing its natural composure.

Common causes of drooping include improper lighting, watering, pests, repotting, varying temperature, and changes in the color of the leaves.

Let’s have a look at a quick summary of possible causes.

CausesSolutionPrevention
Inappropriate LightingBright, indirect but not harsh.Avoid relocating the healthy plant to new, low light environment.
Overwatering Avoid watering for few days and let the plant dry out.Always water the plant as required for its size.
UnderwateringImmediately water the plant.Improvise a watering schedule and stick to that.
Pests and Insects infestationUse suitable pesticide.
Horticultural oil does better.
Natural insecticides should be used on a regular basis to avoid infestation.
Repotting stressTake the plant out of the soil and put it into the water.Handle the plant specially the root while repotting.
Temperature ExtremitiesKeep your plant cozy and let it recover.Place your plant near an AC vent or a window with passing breeze.

Continue reading to learn everything there is to know about drooping Pilea.

1. Inadequate Lighting

Pilea, or the “Chinese money plant,” prefers warm, bright, indirect but not too harsh, light on itself.

Due to the conditions it enjoys, the plant is excellent for indoors rather than outside conditions.

You should rotate the plant once every two to three weeks to prevent it from drooping in a specific direction due to the absence of enough sunlight.

If the plant is under the continuous shade of something and not getting the required amount of sunlight, Pilea may lose its shape and sag.

Light Requirement for Plant
Light Requirement for Plant (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Low light causes slow growth, reduces water use, and reduces water evaporation, resulting in the soil staying wetter for a more extended period. And moist soil equals root rot which leads to the plant drooping.

Research conducted on the Effects of Low Light Intensity in the Plant showed that,

The amount of chlorophyll in the leaves was affected by the amount of light and the temperature. The research concluded that low light intensity results in leaf drop, extended internodes in young shoots, and very small leaves.

Solutions

  • Move your Pilea pot to a sunny, south-facing window and observe its condition and how it reacts to the new light environment.
  • Make sure the light it’s getting is not too scorching and indirect.
  • If you don’t have enough sunlight in your area, resort to grow lights.
Grow lights as a form of supplemental lighting for indoor plants
Grow light for indoor plants (Source: Amazon)

2. Overwatering the Pilea

Like many other terrestrial plants, Pileas will not thrive and be at their best on too much soggy soil.

Overwatering the plant doesn’t only cause drooping but also leads to root rot which can ultimately be the principal cause of its death.

It is necessary to get rid of excess water in the pot because if the soil is soggy, it may lead to root rot, eventually causing the plant to droop.

Overwatered Pilea loses its natural green color, and the leaves start looking pale and yellow.

Soggy Soil
Soggy Soil

Save an Overwatered Pilea

  • It would be best to stop overwatering the plant and dry the soil.
  • Remove the plant from the soil carefully. Carefully prune the damaged roots to avoid transferring the damage to other healthy roots.
  • Rinse the pot thoroughly with a bleach solution. Dip the healthy roots in a fungicide solution to kill any rot fungus.
  • Water accumulation invites a type of water mold, Phytophthora. You can treat mildly damaged plants by letting the soil dry out.
  • Prepare a peat moss-based potting mix and add leaf mold and perlite. Mix for African violets works best for Pilea as well.

Preventive measures

  • Water Pilea plant every 1-2 weeks by allowing the soil to dry out between waterings.
  • Resort to clay pots or terracotta pots with a drainage hole.
  • Watering at night causes the water to cling to the leaves for long, unlike daytime when the water evaporates quickly. Avoid wetting the plant at night.
  • Always have a provision of draining the excess water accumulated in the pot.
  • Healthy roots look light-colored and hardy. Occasionally check for the root color.

3. Underwatering the Pilea

Although underwatering does not pose a grave threat as overwatering, it still damages Pilea and plays a more significant role in drooping.

Due to water deficiency, Pilea cannot get enough nutrients required to stand firm and maintain its charm.

If the soil is dry for longer, the leaves head south and create a gloomy-looking plant.

Dry and Cracked Soil
Dry and Cracked Soil

Solutions

  • Water the plant immediately and thoroughly, but make sure not to overwater it and make a passage for the water to drain.
  • Develop a habit of routinely checking the plant by (1) inserting your finger 2-3 inches into the soil (2) lifting the pot to feel the weight. Dry soil makes the pot feel light.
  • Generally, watering this plant once a week will suffice, but that will depend on the amount of light.
  • Invest in a soil probe to check the moisture at the root level of the soil.

Want to know how often you should water your pilea? Read our article “How Often to Water Pilea?”

4. Pests Infestation

Pests and insect infestations are common in plants that are green and succulent.

Pilea is also not safe from these tiny pesky bugs and may attack the plant’s foliage, primarily causing drooping.

Pilea is prone to various pests like aphids, moths, mealybugs. These pests attack the juicy part of the plant like leaves stems and feed on the juices, leaving the plant drooping.

InsectsSymptoms
AphidsPear-shaped, green insects.
Foliage looks crinkled or stunted.
Spider MitesLower side of leaves have spidery webs.
Mealy bugsWhite, cottony masses.
Plant wilts, discolor and curl.
Fungus gnatPlants will grow poorly and have foliage loss.

Solutions

  • Handpick the insects when the number is low.
  • Use yellow sticky traps to control the population.
  • Use rubbing alcohol diluted with equal water to wipe off the pests.
    Spray neem oil after diluting it with water.
  • Apply insecticides by soil drenching so that the roots stay safe from pests.
  • Use horticultural oil to suffocate pests and insects as an immediate solution.
  • Always keep an eye on reinfestations.
Bugs on a leaf
Bugs on a leaf (Source: Unsplash)

Preventive Measures

  • Pests prefer to attack plants that are growing in poor conditions. A correct amount of light and water is key to avoiding pests.
  • Make sure the soil you are using for growing the plant is in excellent condition. Clean the outer part of the pot occasionally.
  • Keep a keen eye on the plant and always notice sudden changes in the condition of foliage and roots. Regularly inspect the root of the plant while watering them.

5. Repotting Stress

Moving to a new soil condition or environment can be stressful for the Pilea plant.

Like humans, plants, too, need some time to adjust to the surroundings and environment it is brought.

Pilea sometimes goes into a transplant shock right after the repotting takes place and thus may lose its composure and start drooping.

If the roots are disturbed during the repotting process, they may show some faults in their functionality.

If the problem is not so severe, Pilea will get accustomed to the environment in a few days.

Solutions

  • After transplanting, a weak sugar and water solution can help plants recover faster from transplant shock.
  • Trim back roughly a third of the plant. If you trim too much, you risk exacerbating the transplant shock.

Preventive Measures

There is no sure-shot way to get rid of transplant shock, but you can do things to minimize it.

  • You should handle the root very carefully and only as much as required during the repotting process.
  • If your plant is rootbound when repotting, don’t loosen the densely packed roots.
  • Trim the plant, keep the roots moist, ensure the plant has a good drainage system, and wait patiently.
  • Apply a few inches of organic mulch, such as shredded bark or compost, around the base of the newly repotted plant.

This video would be helpful,

6. Fungal Diseases

Like every other house plant, Pilea is also susceptible to fungal diseases.

Some of these fungal diseases contribute to the droopiness of Pilea, while other types may be too dangerous for the plant.

Type of DiseaseSymptoms
Southern BlightThe collar region rots, which causes the stem to collapse
Pythium Root RotDroopy Pilea with brown, mushy and rotten roots.
AnthracnoseWater-soaked bruise on leaves
Rhizoctonia Aerial BlightLesions turn brownish and spots appear on petioles, stems and younglings.

Solutions

  • Clean the infected parts of the plant with fungicides like Neem oil.
  • Place the plant under the sun till the fungus infection goes away.
  • Place the infected plant away from other healthy plants.
  • You can use chemical fertilizers like Propiconazole (for Southern Blight).
  • Applying fludioxonil (Medallion 50W) for Rhizoctonia Aerial Blight would help.
  • Apply Daconil for Anthracnose infestation.
  • Drench the soil with Bio fungicides for root infection.
  • If you encounter fungi on your plant, try spraying the baking soda solution. Baking soda is an antifungal agent and can even kill some sturdy types of fungus.
Root rot caused by Pythium species
Root rot caused by Pythium species (Source: blogs.cornell.edu)

Preventive Measures

  • Be careful to check for fungal infections before multiplication the Pilea plant. Remember to use infection-free materials.
  • Don’t overwater the plant and keep the dryness of the foliage in check.
  • Keep plants away from each other when the humidity is high.
  • Keep the humidity of the room in check. Use a humidifier if necessary.

7. Temperature Extremities

Pilea can suddenly start drooping if the temperature suddenly changes or cold wind breezes.

Pilea grows best in the temperature range from 60°F to 95°F and can suffer real cold shock If the temperature falls below that.

Cold drafts make Pilea lose its rigidity, and also, the plant’s cells get pretty wrecked up. Also, when placed near a windowsill with a regular cold wind flow, Plants lose heat quickly.

You should keep the plant to its optimal temperature and make sure the sudden rise or drop of temperature doesn’t affect them.

Any plant exposure to the temperature outside its comfort zone may cause the Pilea to wilt.

Temperature in relation to plant's growth
The temperature with plant’s growth (Source: ResearchGate)

Solutions

  • Keep the Pilea away from drafty windows and front doors to avoid the cold draft.
  • Prune the dead leaves but leave the damaged leaves as they are. They provide an extra layer of protection if extreme cold strikes again.
  • Pilea also hates extreme hot temperatures. Be sure to water more often, keep the humidity in check, avoid the direct, harsh sun, fertilize monthly, and avoid repotting frequently.

8. Old Foliage

As your Pilea grows, the older leaves at the bottom of the plant start to droop and eventually shed away.

During the shedding process, the leaves may droop and get ready to shed to make way for new leaves.

The process starts with the Pilea leaf turning yellow and a bit drooping, with the leaves falling off eventually.

This behavior of the plant can generally be seen in autumn when the light and temperature levels drop.

Pro Tips to Keep your Pilea Healthy

No matter why the Pilea starts drooping, if the reason is found in the early stages, You can find the remedy.

Below are the tips for caring for your plant, keeping your beloved and lovely plant “droop-free,” and making sure it never droops again.

  • Make sure your plant is getting bright enough, indirect light. Although the plant can grow in low-light areas, providing enough sunshine will turn its leaves into darker green, and the plant will spread out more.
  • Water the plant when 3/4th of the soil is dry. Make sure the excess water is flowing out through the drainage hole.
  • Remember to give your plant occasional misting to keep it fresh and humid.
  • Pilea would prefer your average household temperature between 65 to 75°F. Remember not to put the plant near the heating vents or lose its leaves.
  • Fertilize your plants once a month during spring and summer using liquid fertilizer.
  • Test your tap water for salts and chemicals before watering the plant. Too many chemicals may cause white spots to appear in the plant’s leaves. Make sure to use proper filtration.
Healthy Pilea in a Pot
Healthy Pilea in a Pot (Source: Ubuy)

Conclusion

Keep in mind that the Pilea plant is sensitive to changes in weather and growing conditions, and droopiness is a means to communicate that something is wrong.

To keep your Pilea healthy, it needs to be kept in a warm, well-lit environment and watered once every 7-10 days.

Happy Gardening!

Read our other article if your Pilea is on the verge of dying. Why is my Pilea Dying?

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