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How do you make Pilea Peperomioides grow faster? [LED grow lights test]

How do you make Pilea Peperomioides grow faster? [LED grow lights test]

Here's how to make Pilea Peperomioides grow faster

Is your Pilea slow-growing and have you tried all other plant growth hacks found online? When all the usual attempts have been attempted, here’s a fun plant hack for you: grow lights for indoor plants.


Back in 2016, I did my first experiment with LED grow lights for indoor plants. Through the lens of a newbie, grow lights for plants are truly a jungle and there’s a lot of technical aspects behind the different lamps and bulbs.

I decided that the best way to find the best LED grow lights for my needs was to simply start somewhere and from there on gather results and gain experience. In other words: don’t buy the most expensive solution, to begin with.

At the time of this test, the Pilea Peperomioides hype was at its highest in Scandinavia, and I running multiple experiments with the plant to try and uncover some of the mystery around it.

I decided to run an experiment to see if exposing a Pilea to indoor grow lights would have an impact, and if so, how much growth were we talking about.

The results were quite impressive. Have a look for yourself further down and drop a comment if you have advice or experience to share.


How long does it take for Pilea to grow?

From my experience, Pilea Peperomioides has a decent growth rate for an indoor plant with a single stem, but it all depends on the conditions, surprise surprise.

There is no doubt that Pilea Peperomioides is following a growing season, and depending on where you are in the world this may differ greatly.

Here in the Nordics where we have long, dark days for several months each year, the growth period runs from around March to September. This is where the Pilea Peperomiodes grow the most. From October to February the natural growth is minimal.

How fast it grows also depends on the size of the plant when you get it, or how developed it is. Small cuttings can, from my experience, take a long time to develop roots, and with these, it may take even longer before you see visible growth on leaves and stems.

But let’s dive directly into the test with LED grow lights vs. Pilea Peperomioides.


How to make your Pilea Peperomioides grow faster with LED grow light

Here’s the test setup

  • For the grow light test I was using an Apollo 180W grow lamp that covers up to 12 m2 (much more than what is needed for this test)
  • Two cuttings of similar size were selected and placed in the same soil and pots
    • The cutting exposed to grow light was placed in a room with one south-facing window and one west-facing window but received no direct sunlight
    • The cutting exposed to no grow lights was placed in a west-facing window
  • The grow lights were on 4 times a day for a period of 2 hours each time (controlled with a timer). This means a total of 8 hours of LED grow lights received per day
  • There was approximately 1,3 meters of distance between the plant and grow light
  • The test ran for a 1,5 month (December-January)


Test results of Pilea Peperomioides vs. LED grow lights

See the growth development from day zero to day 56 in the images below.

The pink pot is the Pilea exposed to grow lights, and the green one is the Pilea placed in a west-facing window.

Day 0

Pilea Peperomioides LED grow lights test - day zero

Both Pilea babies are in similar size and placed and same pots and soil.

Day 11

Pilea Peperomioides LED grow lights test - day 11

On day 11 not much growth has happened, but you can already sense the

Day 31

Pilea Peperomioides LED grow lights test - day 31

On day 31 it’s clear that the plant has already grown significantly. You will also notice how the petioles are reaching for the sky.


Day 46

Pilea Peperomioides LED grow lights test - day 42

Pilea Peperomioides LED grow lights test - day 46

On day 46 you not only notice a visible difference in size but also that the Pilea exposed to grow lights has changed colors on some of the petioles from green to red.


Day 53

Pilea Peperomioides grow light test day 53

Day 53 was the last day of the test, and here you see the final result of growth. The test has proven, that one way of getting your Pilea Peperomioides to grow faster is by the help of grow lights.

Is it necessary? Definitely not.

Is it fun and fascinating? Absolutely!


Pileas exposed to grow lights produce more babies

The test above is not the only test I’ve done with LED grow lights and Pilea.

I’ve also tested it on bigger plants, and one of the interesting things here is, that the larger plants exposed to plant light produce Pilea babies at a much higher rate than other Pileas.

This is not a big surprise as the lights stimulate growth, but I know of many Pilea owners who are struggling to get their plants to produce any offshoots at all, and if this is the case for you..

Well, consider giving grow lights a try!


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