Pilea Light Requirements: Everything You Need to Know

Pilea plant on Pot
Pilea basking on the sun (Source: Flickr)

Did you know? Vastu experts say keeping a money plant (Pilea Peperomioides) in the room’s southeast corner attracts luck and money.

Pilea (pil.ee.uh) is a popular succulent plant for its attractive looks and interesting names.

Being a tropical plant, the Pilea has unique demands regarding light requirements.

Generally, Pilea prefers 8 to 9 hours of indirect but bright sunlight daily. As Pilea tends to grow towards the light source, rotating the plant once in a while will enhance its growth. Additionally, artificial grow lights also help Pilea during the winter season.

Pilea Plant in a pot
Pilea Plant in a pot (Source: Pexels)

The Pilea plants are comparatively easy to care for and maintain, making them the best plant to start your plant parenting journey.

However, leaving it in low or direct sunlight is a punishment for your plant, causing slow growth.

Therefore, keep reading to understand the detailed light requirements so it gets the best dream home.

Overview of Pilea Peperomiodes

You may have encountered Pilea kept as indoor houseplants, or perhaps you own one.

Pilea is a tropical plant genus with 700+ species and is very popular for its unique leaves.

Its bright green foliage ensures the lively looks and addition of aesthetic beauty to the interior decor.

Cat With Pilea
Cat With Pilea (Source: Instagram)

Also, you may wonder if Pilea is suitable for your children and pets.

Do not worry, the Pilea is both a pet and human-friendly plant according to ASCPA.

However, ingestion might cause an upset stomach but nothing crazier than that.

Moreover, here is the general overview of the Pilea.

Scientific NamePilea peperomioides
Common NamesMissionary plant, UFO plant, Money plant, Baby Tears, etc.
Plant OriginSouthern China
USDA Zones9 to 11
FloweringYes
Flower ColorWhite, Pink
Flowering SeasonSpring
FoliageBright Green, coin-shaped foliage
NaturePerennial
Native RegionTropical and subtropical regions around the world
Growth RateGrows quickly
ToxicityNon-toxic to pets and humans
Life SpanApprox. 10 years

How Much Light Does Pilea Need?

The Pilea peperomiodes have varying growth correspondence to the sunlight it receives. Meaning its growth majorly depends upon the energy it receives from sunlight.

Most Pilea species thrive under a bright indirect light for 12-16 hours a day.

So, you can notice the significant changes in growth rate by changing its position in your room.

Sunlit-Window
Sunlit Window (Source: Pexels)

Try finding a bright place where indirect sunlight is available throughout the day. Also, they survive fine even when artificial lights are used.

While Pilea is famous as an excellent indoor plant, you can grow Pilea outdoors as well under some conditions.

Pilea survives in bright sunlit outdoors but under lower exposure to direct sunlight.

An exciting thing about Pilea is that when the plant receives insufficient light, its leaves get smaller and start curling. A natural adaptation, one may say.

It can survive a while without lights with leggy growth, but it will die off eventually.

How to Ensure Optimum Light for Pilea?

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

Dimensions of light
Dimensions of light (Source: Michigan State University)

By looking at Pilea leaves, you can determine if your plant is receiving the right amount of light or not.

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

1. Light Intensity

As the growth rate of Pilea varies with the intensity of light it receives, it is essential to maintain the suitable light intensity.

Being a favorite indoor houseplant, the Pilea loves bright light intensity.

Bright Indirect Light
Bright Indirect Light (Source: Mr.HousePlant)

But having said that, they don’t survive in direct sunlight.

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

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

Find an optimal location with similar light intensity throughout the day for the best growth of Pilea.

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

Light IntensityFootcandlesLight Exposure
Low-medium 25 - 400North-facing window
Medium-Bright500East-west facing window
Bright-High Light500 - 1000South-facing window
Direct SunlightOver 10004-6 hours of direct sunlight

2. Light Duration

The growth rate of Pilea depends upon the light duration it receives.

Provide your Pilea with 12 to 16 hours of indirect sunlight daily. Remember, bright direct sunlight burns plants’ leave.

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

If you live in an area where your plant cannot receive 12 hours of indirect bright sunlight, you can use artificial lighting.

plants under lights
Grow Lights for Plant (Source: Pexels)

But it doesn’t mean you can substitute natural light with artificial light.

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 8-10 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 the sunlight consists of a wide range of colorful light intensity, they influence the plant differently.

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

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

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.

Color Temperature Chart
Color Temperature Chart (Source: Illumi)

Moreover, artificial lights offer a wide range of light temperatures to suit different plants.

For my Pilea, I used the grow lights with a 4500-6500K range, which worked like a charm during low sunlight seasons.

4. Location for the plant

It is necessary to place the Pilea where indirect sunlight lits up the place most of the time.

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

indoor plants at the windowsill
Plant kept by Window (Source: Pexels)

However, keeping the plant right next to your window may result in sunburn. So, ensure the intensity of light falling upon the plant is about the suggested level.

I had no choice because I only have a south-facing window in my home.

So I placed my Pilea on top of the shelf because light intensity decreases with proximity to the ceiling.

And if you share the same problem with me, you may use sheer curtains and place Pilea next to the window.

Signs Your Pilea Requires More or Less Sunlight

Even though light is crucial for plants to survive, it doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t destroy if given too much.

While Pilea kept at the lower light area, adapt by turning leaves darker green and spreading out more.

When taking care of the plant, it is essential to know if it is getting everything in the right amount.

Let us look at the signs of light-deprived and light-saturated Pilea.

1. Signs of Light Deprived Pilea

When the Pilea does not get enough sunlight, it starts showing signs of distress.

The first and foremost noticeable symptom is yellowish leaves along with curled-up leaves.

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

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

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

Therefore, you need to reconsider the positioning of your plant to indirectly bright sunlit places or use artificial lighting.

2. Signs of Light Saturated Pilea

If your plant shows the following symptoms, it is because you made an understandable rookie mistake.

That is overexposure to light which affects the health of Pilea. They exhibit the following signs when getting too much light.

  • Leaves have brown sunburn spots.
  • Small yellow spots on the Pilea leaves edges 
  • Dry, crispy, and Brittle leaves
  • The edges of leaves turn red.
dried leaf
Sunburn Leaf (Source: Unsplash)

Therefore, if you observe these symptoms, then you need to limit the amount of light they are receiving.

Also, try relocating them to less bright places to reduce light intensity.

Tips to Maintain Proper Light Condition for Pilea

Here are a few things I frequently do to keep my Pilea plant beautiful and healthy. Hopefully, it works well for you too.

  • Clean leaves often to make them shine.
  • You can rotate the plant for equal growth in every direction.
  • Ensure no obstructions in a Pilea light source, such as curtains.
  • Use artificial lights with warmer or cooler lighting.

Cleaning every leaf may not be possible to do every time, so try cleaning the ones covered in dirt.

Watch the full video to get more information about Pilea light requirements.

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.

The Pilea plant has no problem growing along with artificial lighting.

hanging light bulbs with plants
Artificial Lighting for Plants (Source: Unsplash)

There are varieties of artificial grow lights available; however, you need to consider the temperature and location of the light.

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

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

Therefore, the maximum duration for using artificial light is 8 to 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 LightsFeatureProduct Image
Bamboo Mini LED Grow LightEmits lights of wavelength 380nm to 700nm, automatic timer with adjustable height.Bamboo Mini LED Grow Light
GooingTop LED Grow LightIt has 10 red and 74 white LEDs, offers circular memory timer function, and has flexible gooseneck.GooingTop LED Grow Light
Lxyoug LED Grow LightIt offers 3 different spectrums and comes with durable tripod stand featuring auto circular memory timing function.Lxyoug LED Grow Light
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.SUWITU Grow Light

Conclusion

Pilea is widely populating social media with its easy care and pet-friendly behavior while adding an aesthetic look to room decors.

They are bright indirect light-loving plants with sensitive foliage, so be wary of keeping them too close to or too far away from the natural light source.

Good Luck with your Pilea!

Wondering about Pilea flowers? Follow the article about Pilea Flower: Everything You Need to Know.

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