Back in 2005, I put up a page on my old Wildchicken site about a popular but not easy to find house plant, Pilea peperomioides, or the Chinese missionary plant. There is also an interesting page about where it comes from and the story which goes with it. Since those pages were first published I’ve had a steady stream of emails and messages asking where the plant can be found. People from all over the world write and ask about it and there’s no way I can tell everyone where they might find a Pilea peperomioides in their country, but in the last few months, I’ve had more messages than usual so I thought it might help to give some pointers on finding one.
This is what I say in my replies to queries:
‘Thanks for getting in touch.
From what I’ve been able to gather, nurseries and garden centres don’t tend to sell Pilea peperomioides and they’re usually passed around by individuals.
If you have a local Women’s Institute, there will be some plant enthusiasts amongst them who may be able to help you. The WI is a great source of knowledge and information.
Local gardening clubs are also a good place to ask.
Also investigate botanical gardens as they sometimes have this plant in their collection.
Sometimes this plant turns up at car boot/garage sales.
Failing that, try asking on a local Freecycle type group. These are increasingly popular.
And keep your eyes open for sightings on the windowsills of neighbours and places of business, then beg for a plantlet. Maybe offer them some home-baked goods in return.
Somewhere out there is a Pilea peperomioides waiting for you to give it a home!