There are reports of a new It Plant in town—the Pilea peperomioides—and folks, I’m tired. Just once, can there not be a new thing that I MUST possess just because other people have it? Please??
The Pilea peperomioides—if you haven’t seen it—has small, deep green leaves are shaped like coins, and is known to some as the Chinese money plant. They’re pretty small—they only grow to be a few inches tall. As Vox’s The Goods breaks down, it was once hard to find; aspiring Pilea peperomioides owners had to know someone who knows someone, or DM someone on Instagram and pay top dollars just for cuttings and then cross their fingers and hope the cuttings would reproduce. The Pilea peperomioides comes from the Yunnan province in southern China, and has caught on in the U.S. in large part because people keep posting pictures of their own Pilea peperomioides on Instagram and Pinterest.
That is how this works—the more other people are bragging about their small, cute, coin-shaped plant on social media, the higher the demand for said plant grows, and the more likely you are to see it in your friends’s homes, or at a coffee shop, or your neighborhood Home Depot. The Pilea peperomioides, like the Monstera deliciosa before it, has become so trendy that it’s almost aspirational; you find yourself asking, “Who am I, even, if I don’t own this plant?”
But here’s where I would like to say that I cannot stand this plant and I feel zero urge to bring it into my home. None. Nada! To begin with, I just don’t think it’s very cute. It’s not luscious enough for me. I like—I crave, I need—big, juicy plants, plants that are playful and leafy and have some movement and invite you to touch, and the Pilea peperomioides just ain’t it. It’s far too stately. The younger ones, with very few leaves and long, thin branches that jut out to nowhere, just look wrong. Plants shouldn’t look this wimpy. Plants should inspire you to be a fuller person! The Pilea peperomioides does not.
I did a search for #pilea and #pileapeperomioides on Instagram, and felt like I’d been plopped down into an Mondrian-inspired art exhibit both times. I like art, but that’s not how I want to feel around my plants. Do you feel like you can grab a beer with a Pilea peperomioides, or talk shit about someone who just left the room? Or do you feel like Pilea peperomioides would look down on you for wanting to talk about last night’s episode of The Bachelor?
Life is all about your choices—I choose not to buy a Pilea peperomioides for myself. Give me a filthy pothos or a sky-high snake plant or another one of these super leafy plants my friend gave me. No seriously though, give me another one—I don’t know the name of it and cannot find by Googling “leafy plant,” and I want to them to have a cool plant friend.