Fertilizing Pilea

Plants in nature receive a nutrient boost as surrounding plant matter dies and breaks down. Potted plants, especially houseplants, do not benefit from decomposing plant debris, so they depend on you to give them the nutrition they need. Pilea plants are not heavy feeders and typically grow well with proper care and rich soil. Potting mix with high organic content or a slow-release fertilizer included in the mix is often enough to help pilea plants grow big and healthy. Fertilizing is another strategy to support new growth and help the pilea plant grow as big as possible.


Why Fertilize Pilea

Plant food provides nutrients houseplants would not otherwise receive. Pilea plants are vigorous growers, and plant food ensures the plant has enough nutrients to grow full and dense. Fertilizing helps the plant to push out its charming and unique foliage during the growing season. Pilea plants benefit from rich soil, but these plants may only need to be repotted every other year. The organic content in the potting mix will be depleted by the time the plant needs a new container. Fertilize your pilea regularly to support continued growth.

How Often To Fertilize Pilea

Fertilize pilea plants once per month. Feeding every four weeks is enough to keep the plant growing and thriving. Overly frequent feeding may encourage the plant to become spindly or leggy instead of full and dense. Fertilize pilea plants during the spring and summer when the plant is actively growing. Stop fertilizing during the fall and winter when the plant is dormant.

How To Tell If Pilea Needs Fertilizer

Slow, weak growth is the easiest way to tell that a pilea plant needs fertilizer. Plants grown in poor-quality potting mix may fail to thrive, and if the plant isn’t rootbound, it is likely suffering from a nutrient deficiency. Thin stems that can barely support the foliage, along with smaller than average leaves, are also clues the pilea needs fertilizer. Lack of growth can be attributed to the plant needing a routine fertilizer schedule. 


Best Fertilizer For Pilea

Pilea houseplants benefit from a balanced fertilizer. A plant food with a ratio of 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 supports steady growth to help the pilea bulk up and thrive. Liquid fertilizers are often easy to apply and can be combined with routine watering. Spread worm castings on top of the potting mix in the spring on years the plant is not repotted to enrich the soil and support new growth.

Pilea Fertilizing Tips

Fertilizing pilea plants encourages abundant growth and helps the plants thrive. Only fertilize pileas when they are actively growing, using a balanced plant food. Stop fertilizing when the pilea is dormant during the fall and winter.

  • Use a fertilizer with a balanced NPK ratio
  • Apply fertilizer during the growing season and stop fertilizing when the plant is dormant
  • Liquid fertilizers are convenient and can be combined with regular watering
  • Fertilize monthly


-Always wear protective gloves and a face mask when handling chemical fertilizers.

-Closely follow all directions and storage guidelines that are on the fertilizer label.

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Author Alison Cotsonas - Published 11-15-2023