Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:44 pm
Pilea peperomioides, the name alone enchants. But it was not until 1946 that this special plant, which belongs to the nettle family, made it to Europe through a Swedish missionary. Originally, the ufo plant, also known as Chinese money tree, lucky thaler or belly button plant, comes from the Cangshang Mountains in Yunnan Province in China.
There it grows at altitudes of up to 3000m. According to the tradition in China, it is supposed to provide wealth. After about 70 years, the plant has also become a popular houseplant worldwide, although it is rarely available. We show you, among other things, where you can buy your ufo plant and what you should pay attention to everything in the care.
- 1 Characteristics of the ufo plant: play of colors and shapes
- 2 Flowers
- 3 The ufo plant at home
- 4 Location
- 5 The right potting soil
- 6 Water and fertilize regularly
- 7 The right repotting and pruning
- 8 Your ufo plant family, how to propagate
- 9 Disease infestation
- 10 Is the ufo plant poisonous to my cat?
- 11 Author
Characteristics of the ufo plant: play of colors and shapes
The Ufo plant owes its name to its unusual appearance. Its growth height of about 30-40 cm is not very considerable. But its leaf decoration is all the more impressive! The leaves grow on thin petioles and have the shape of a flying object as if from another galaxy. The thin stems make it look as if the leaves are floating in space. The older the plant gets, the more the stems can bend. These, like flying saucers, leaves make it unique among houseplants.
The leaves appear a rich dark green and can reach 15 cm in diameter. Mostly they are circular in shape, with a leathery firm shine.
Of course, the popular ufo plant is also suitable as a houseplant. Unfortunately, it very rarely develops its flowers. Often it blooms only when placed in a cool place in winter. And then the white flowers are also very inconspicuous.
Despite inconspicuousness, the flower of the ufo plant has a special feature. When the flowering period is over, the mature stamens burst open explosively. In doing so, they eject their pollen from themselves. This kind of plant reproduction is called wind-flowering, i.e. pollen dispersal takes place with the help of the wind.
The ufo plant at home
If you are now convinced that you want to buy the extraordinary ufo plant and have it flown to your home, you can easily order it in our store. But that’s not all. We will now show you how to properly care for your new houseplant.
After you have bought the ufo plant, it is best to place it in a light to partial shade location. You should always make sure that the plant is not exposed to direct sunlight.
If it is placed in a dark location, the leaves will quickly lose their lush green color. You see, it is very important where exactly you place your ufo plant in your home. Temperatures between 15 and 18 degrees are ideal. However, as mentioned earlier, it can tolerate cooler temperatures down to 5 degrees during its winter blooming period. This is due to its original habitat, the high mountains of China. Also, ensure a balanced fresh indoor climate.
The right potting soil
Buying a ufo plant also means using the right potting soil. It should be a conventional potting soil, rich in humus. This also makes it well permeable to air and water.
Tip: If you also add sand to the soil, your ufo plant will like it very much.
Water and fertilize regularly
Always keep it moist, that’s the rule you should follow when watering. Make sure that the root ball of the plant never dries out completely. Nevertheless, the water should never stand at the bottom of the pot, otherwise the roots of the plant will start to rot and your just bought ufo plant will die.
In winter you can water a little less, because your ufo plant does not need so much water.
Tip: Never pour the water directly over the leaves, but always directly on the soil.
Buying a ufo plant also means fertilizing it regularly, i.e. about every two weeks. For this you can use normal green plant fertilizer.
In winter, however, you only need to fertilize it every 4-5 weeks.
The right repotting and pruning
The younger your ufo plant is, the more often you have to repot it, because it still has an increased growth. Young plants should therefore be repotted every year in spring into a slightly larger container. Older plants only need to be repotted every 3-4 years. In our article “Repotting houseplants correctly. What you need to pay attention to” you will find some helpful tips.
If your ufo plant becomes too large or the shoots too long, it is best to cut them back in the spring. However, cutting back the shoots is not absolutely necessary for healthy plant growth, but it can make for denser growth.
Your ufo plant family, how to propagate
Once you have bought a ufo plant and decorated your home with it, you can easily propagate more small ufo plants from it. Since this houseplant is very rare in the specialized trade, this is a great idea to skip this problem. Besides, older ufo plants calcify from the bottom, which makes them look not so splendid anymore. Therefore, it is even more important from time to time to give your old ufo plant a new home:
- Cut off plant stems with at least five leaves and a length of four centimeters.
- Plant your cuttings directly afterwards in moist soil.
- After just two weeks, the little cuttings will have formed new roots.
- Alternatively, they also form roots very well in a water glass. Here you should make sure that the roots are not already too long when planting. If this is the case, shorten them a bit before you plant them in the pot.
This way you can grow many of the magnificent saucers at home without buying another ufo plant.
Normally, ufo plants are not particularly susceptible to disease. But even the healthiest plant can get it once. Most often the ufo plant is attacked by gray mold. This is noticeable by brownish spots on the leaves. Sometimes the whole leaf can be brown. In addition, gray mold is characterized by a gray coating on the underside of the leaf.
Tip: If your beloved ufo plant should ever be infested with gray mold, simply remove all infested leaves from the plant.
Is the ufo plant poisonous to my cat?
If you have a cat, you may have noticed that it likes to chew on the leaves of your ufo plant. You have often wondered if it is healthy for your pet or if it is poisonous? We can reassure you! The ufo plant contains no toxins and is therefore safe for your pet. The only problem is that your ufo plant does not like to be chewed on. Therefore, it’s best to keep your newly purchased plant out of reach of your pets.