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Pilea Light Requirements: Everything You Need to Know

The Pilea plant is a perennial herb with succulent behaviors, making it trickier for gardeners to offer the optimal requirements, including light.

Generally, Pilea prefers 8 to 12 hours of indirect but bright light daily. It also needs the fulfillment of 1000 to 2000-foot candles’ light intensity, location of the light source, duration of the light received, and the light quality. Additionally, artificial grow lights also help Pilea during the winter season.

Read along to understand the detailed light requirements so the Pilea gets the best dream home.

Overview of Pilea Peperomioides

Pilea peperomioides is a tropical plant genus with 700+ species and is very popular for its bright green foliage.

Here is the general overview of the Pilea.

Scientific NamePilea peperomioides
Common NamesMissionary plant
UFO plant
Chinese money plant
Coin plant
Baby Tears
Plant OriginSouthern China
USDA Zones9 to 12
Flower ColorWhite, Pink
Flowering SeasonSpring
FoliageBright green, coin-shaped foliage
Native RegionTropical and subtropical regions around the world
Growth RateGrows quickly
Life SpanApprox. 10 years
ToxicityNon-toxic to pets and humans

How Much Light Does Pilea Need?

Pilea loves bright indirect light and thrives more with more prolonged exposure. However, just like other plants, Pilea has its limitations with light requirements.

To ensure optimum light, you must understand the following parameters better.

1. Light Intensity

To measure the light intensity the plant receives, you can use the light meter by holding it close to the leaves in the direction of the light source.

Generally, the ideal light intensity Pilea requires is about 1000 to 2000-foot candles ≈21500 lux.

Here is an approximate light intensity values at different window locations.

Light IntensityFootcandlesLight Exposure
Low-Medium 25 - 400North-Facing Window
Medium-Bright500East-Facing Window
Bright-High Light500 - 1000South-Facing Window
Direct SunlightOver 1000South or West-Facing Window

2. Light Duration

Provide your Pilea with filtered light daily for at least 8 hours to fulfill its requirements and avoid bright direct sunlight as it burns plants’ leaves.

Additionally, two hours of the direct morning sun will benefit your Pilea but not the afternoon sun.

Protect your Pilea using sheer curtains to avoid sunburn and lower the sun basking time during hot summer.

In contrast, compensate for insufficient sunlight with grow lights for 8-12 hours during winter.

However, be wary of over-exposure as it results in brittleness, dark patches, and small yellow spots on the leaves.

3. Light Quality

As sunlight consists of a wide range of the color spectrum, they influence the plant differently.

The Pilea plant’s growth, blossoming, color, and budding depend upon the color combination of light they receive.

For optimal plant growth, violet, blue and red light are the most suited.

Violet blue light (400-520 nm) encourages chlorophyll absorption, photosynthesis, and growth. At the same time, red light (610-720 nm) boosts blossoming and budding.

Moreover, artificial lights offer various light temperatures to suit different plants.

4. Location of the plant

The optimal place to keep the Pilea would be near the east or west-facing window.

However, keeping the plant next to your window may result in sunburn. So, ensure the intensity of light falling upon the plant is about the suggested level.
A pot containing the Pilea plant is kept over another pot and is lying in a shelf.
Place the Pilea in area receiving indirect bright light.

You can place your Pilea on top of a shelf if you have one near a south-facing window, as light intensity decreases with proximity to the ceiling.

Also, use sheer curtains to prevent the direct rays from falling upon the leaves.

Signs Your Pilea Requires More or Less Sunlight

Pilea kept at the lower light area adapts by turning leaves darker green and spreading out more, while the one receiving more light has paler green colored leaves.

So it is essential to know if it is getting everything in the right amount.

1. Signs of Light-Deprived Pilea

The first and most noticeable symptom is yellowish and curled-up leaves in an upward direction in search of light, with stunted growth.

Also, the Pilea will grow leggy while its leaves are small and weak, causing drooping.

So, if your Pilea is exhibiting those signs with a bare and weak stem, it is more likely your plant is not getting enough light.

2. Signs of Light Saturated Pilea

You made an understandable rookie mistake if your plant gains a pale and light yellowish loom instead of glossy green leaves.

Overexposure to light affects Pilea’s health and leads to exhibiting the following signs.

  • Leaves have dry, brown sunburn spots
  • Small yellow spots on the Pilea leaves edges
  • Dry, crispy, and brittle leaves
  • The edges of the leaves turn red.

Try relocating the Pilea to less bright places to reduce the light intensity in this condition. If you are confused about the window’s face, take help from the video below.

Tips to Maintain Proper Light Condition for Pilea

Clean leaves often to make Pilea Plants shine. Cleansing every leaf may not be possible every time, so try cleaning the dirt-covered ones only.

Also, add your to-do list with the following tips!

  • You can rotate the plant for equal growth in every direction at least two to three times a week.
  • Ensure no obstructions in a Pilea light source, such as curtains in low light conditions.
  • Also, Pilea does not like cold winds and draughts, so avoid placing them near radiators, vents, or windows you keep open often.
  • Use artificial lights with warmer or cooler lighting.

Does Pilea Grow in Artificial Light?

If you’re worried about your plant not getting enough sunlight during winter, you may consider buying artificial grow lights.

Usually, the compact fluorescent or LED lights with a minimum output of 1000 lumens kept at 1-3 feet are best fitted for the Pilea.

But using artificial lights doesn’t necessarily mean using them all the time, even when natural light is accessible.

Therefore, the maximum duration for using artificial light is 12 hours.

Generally, in the summer, the amount of sunlight is at its prime, so drop the usage of grow light to adjust the amount of light it is getting.

However, use artificial grow lights up to the maximum hours to compensate sun during winter.

Here are some best grow lights for your Pilea.

Grow LightsFeature
Bamboo Mini LED Grow LightEmits lights of wavelength 380nm to 700nm, automatic timer with adjustable height.
GooingTop LED Grow LightIt has 10 red and 74 white LEDs, offers circular memory timer function, and has flexible gooseneck.
Lxyoug LED Grow LightIt offers 3 different spectrums and comes with durable tripod stand featuring auto circular memory timing function.
SUWITU Grow LightWith 144 LED beads it offers 380nm to 800nm spectrum. It has 3 different switch modes and 10 dimming levels with auto timing function.

Final Thought

Although Pilea has a set of rules for light requirements, you should not neglect its other care regarding water, soil, and fertilizer to enjoy its aesthetic look.

If provided with the ultimate care for the bright indirect light lover, Pilea can even gift you small balls like blooms in a multi-branched inflorescence during the summer and spring.

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