Friendship Plant: Great Succulents to Share with Friends

One of the things you can do to beautify the design of your interior is to introduce houseplants. Decorating your home with indoor plants offers many benefits. It adds visual appeal, helps improve air quality, minimizes stress, and more.

If your home garden is full or you want to introduce plants in your living space, consider getting a friendship plant. This guide will tell you how to grow and care for this special houseplant. You’ll also learn how you could propagate this plant and “share” it with friends, neighbors, or anyone who has a green thumb or is interested in taking care of plants.

What is a Friendship Plant?

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A friendship plant is a tropical plant native to South and Central America. It thrives on the edges of tropical forests, which means that this plant requires a lot of humidity, like its native habitat. People frequently grow this plant in terrariums that mimic its highly humid home.

A friendship plant also has other names, including the moon valley friendship plant, pancake plant, missionary plant, UFO plant, Chinese money plant, and pilea plant.

Friendship Plant History

The Friendship Plant (Pilea species) is native to Central and South America and was first discovered by botanist George Forrest in 1906 while collecting plants in Yunnan Province, Southern China. During his explorations, he collected specimens of the Friendship Plant from the Cang Mountain Range.

Then, in 1945, Agnar Espegren, a Norwegian missionary, rediscovered the Friendship Plant species while living in Hunan Province. A week later, he journeyed to Kunming and brought some plants with him, thus introducing them to a new environment. He put the plants he collected in a box and brought them to Calcutta, where he and his family stayed for a year.

When Espegren and his family returned to Norway in March 1946, they discovered that the Friendship Plant had survived their travels. Agnar started spreading the friendship plant around Norway by giving root cuttings to friends. This led to its spread throughout Europe.

Historical Significance

The Friendship Plant is an important symbol of friendship and unity. The plant’s ability to withstand harsh conditions and its resilient nature has become a symbol of friendship that can last through anything.

This plant started as a small sample brought back to Norway by Agnar Espegren, but it has now spread worldwide. Sharing this plant with family and friends has become a symbol of friendship that transcends boundaries and cultural differences.

Cultural Significance

In many countries, the Friendship Plant is also given as a token of appreciation or a gift of love. It is often given on special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, and weddings. The easy-to-care-for nature of the Friendship Plant makes it a great choice for gifting to friends and family.

Why People Call It a Friendship Plant

George Forrest, a Scottish botanist, collected this plant in 1906 and 1910 in Yunnan Province, Southern China, specifically in the Cang Mountain Range.

In 1945, a Norwegian missionary named Agnar Espegren rediscovered the friendship plant species. During this time, he was residing with his family in Hunan Province. He then traveled to Kunming where he stayed in this location for a week.

Here, Espegren got a live sample of the famous houseplant, presumably from a local market. He then placed it in a box and brought it to Calcutta with his family, where they stayed for approximately a year. The Espegren family traveled to Norway only in March 1946. They then discovered that the plant is surprisingly still alive.

Agnar Espegren began traveling around Norway and providing sprouts of the friendship plant to friends. By doing this, the plant spread around Norway, and then to England, Sweden, and beyond.

The ease of propagation and the high success rate of rooting are the reason behind the plant’s name — and why it’s easy to share with plant-loving friends and relatives.

Friendship Plant Varieties And Types

The Friendship Plant belongs to the Pilea family, which is comprised of over 600 different species. Each species has its own unique characteristics and can vary in size, shape, and color.

Distinguishing between the different types and varieties of Friendship Plant can be difficult, as some species look very similar. And if you look up Friendship Plant online, you’ll see various types labeled as the same plant. But, with some research, you can become an expert on the different types.

The most popular species of Friendship Plant are the Pilea glauca, Pilea involucrata, Pilea peperomioides, and Pilea depressa, and each species has its own unique characteristics. They all have succulent-like leaves and are easy to care for, making them popular indoor and outdoor gardening choices.

Pilea glauca is a small, bushy plant with pale green leaves and pinkish-white flowers. Also called the artillery plant, this variety is great indoors as it doesn’t require much sunlight.

Pilea involucrata is a larger plant with thick, dark green leaves and white flowers. This variety is a great outdoor choice as it can tolerate more direct sunlight.

Pilea peperomioides, or the Chinese money plant, are compact plants with bright green, waxy leaves, and white flowers. Its distinctive pancake-shaped leaves make it a great choice for adding interest to any garden.

Pilea depressa, or Baby Tears, is a low-growing plant with tiny, bright green leaves and white flowers. This variety is great for ground covering as it grows quickly and is low-maintenance.

No matter which variety you choose, the Friendship Plant is an excellent choice for adding texture and color to your garden. Its resilient nature makes it the perfect plant for sharing with friends and family!

How to Grow a Friendship Plant

A friendship plant isn’t widely available in garden shops or plant centers, possibly because they grow too slowly to be profitable. If you can’t get a plantlet from a friend, your other option is to purchase this houseplant from an online seller on Craigslist, Etsy, eBay, or Amazon.

Once you have the friendship plant, put it in well-draining potting soil and a pot with drainage holes.

How to Take Care of a Friendship Plant

Grow your friendship plant and other indoor plants in a terrarium. Photo by Maud Bocquillod on Unsplash

When you’re taking care of a friendship plant in your home, make sure to keep this houseplant away from sunny windows. If you have north-facing windows, this should give the plant the right amount of light.

Like the bonsai money tree, humidity is the key to keeping the friendship plant healthy and happy. If your home is too dry to provide humidity, house your friendship plant in a terrarium.

A terrarium is a collection of plants that can thrive in sealed containers. The goal is to water the houseplant and then seal the container. The terrarium then turns into a self-sustaining small world where water’s constantly recycled between the inside atmosphere, the soil, and the plants. This makes the environment incredibly humid — and ideal for your friendship plant.

If you do not have a terrarium or can’t find a store in your area that sells this product, don’t fret. Another option is to mist your friendship plant every day. Misting your plant covers the leaves with fine water droplets that offer humidity as they evaporate.

Another thing to remember here is that the friendship plant grows fast. The process usually takes about a month. You’ll find ovate leaves growing in opposite leaves. If you want to keep the plant compact, don’t forget to pinch off the growing tips.

As for temperature, place your friendship plant in an average to warm room temperature (65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit). Make sure to keep this houseplant away from AC or heating vents and drafts from windows and doors.

Friendship Plant Companion Plants

As the name suggests, companion planting is a gardening technique where two or more plants are grown together to create an environment beneficial for both species. This technique can provide plants with additional resources, such as nutrients or protection from pests and diseases.

Companion planting is also a great way to diversify your garden and create an ecosystem that will help keep your plants healthy and thriving. The Friendship Plant is a great choice for companion planting, as it’s a resilient species that can survive in almost any environment and will thrive with the help of other plants.

One of the best companion plants for the Friendship Plant is Dracaena. This woody succulent is a great addition to any garden, as its thin leaves and bright green hue will provide your Friendship Plant with additional color and texture. Some Dracaena species are also said to emit a strong smell that can repel certain pests, which is a bonus.

Dieffenbachia, also known as the Dumb Cane plant, is another great companion plant for the Friendship Plant. This evergreen shrub has large, bright leaves and is easy to care for. It can also help keep the Friendship Plant healthy by providing additional shade and nutrients. While Dieffenia is slightly more high-maintenance than the Friendship Plant, it’s still a great choice for companion planting.

Lastly, Aglaonema is an easy-to-grow ornamental plant that is great for companion planting with the Friendship Plant. This low-maintenance, tropical houseplant is easy to care for and provides the perfect shade and nutrients. Its colorful foliage will also add a pop of color to your garden.

How to Share a Friendship Plant

Now comes the fun part. The reason behind the popularity of the friendship plant is its ease of propagation. A healthy plant will produce plantlets, which you can safely separate from the mother plant.

Follow the stem approximately an inch beneath the soil. Then, use a sharp, clean knife to free the baby plant. Put the baby friendship plant and keep the soil moist until the plant becomes well-anchored and starts to produce new leaves.

Take note that new plantlets will also grow straight from the stem. You can cut them free, place them in water until roots develop in a couple of weeks, and then follow the above directions.

The friendship plant is a popular and fun plant you should grow in your home. You can share this indoor plant with your plants or pot them to fill your living space with lots of green elements.

Friendship Plant Care

The Friendship Plant is a resilient species that’s easy to care for but still needs proper care if you want it to thrive. Every plant needs adequate sunlight, water, and nutrients to stay healthy—and the Friendship Plant is no exception. Taking good care of your Friendship Plant will ensure it continues to grow and flourish.

The Friendship Plant prefers indirect sunlight and should be placed in an area that gets several hours of bright, but not direct, light daily, just like when propagating a polka dot plant. Water your Friendship Plant once weekly, but ensure the soil isn’t soggy. Humidity is also important, as the plant prefers humid environments due to its origins in the tropics.

Fertilizing your Friendship Plant every few months will help ensure it gets the nutrients it needs. Using a balanced fertilizer made specifically for succulents is excellent for giving your plant the nutrition it needs. The most common mistake when caring for the Friendship Plant is overwatering. This can lead to root rot, a serious issue that can kill your plant if not taken care of. It’s best to let the soil dry out completely between waterings and only water when the top inch of the soil is dry.

Another common mistake is not providing enough sunlight. The Friendship Plant needs at least 4-6 hours of bright, indirect light daily to stay healthy. Don’t place it in a room that doesn’t get any natural light, as this can lead to leggy growth and weak stems.


Although the Friendship Plant is a low-maintenance species, it still needs some pruning to stay healthy. Pruning helps encourage new growth and helps keep the plant in shape. You want it to remain bushy and full, so pruning regularly will help.

When pruning the Friendship Plant, use sharp scissors or shears. Start by removing dead or damaged leaves and stems, which can attract pests and disease. If the plant gets too tall or leggy, trim the stems to encourage new growth around the base. Some plant varieties also produce flowers, so you can prune them off to keep the plant from becoming overgrown.

Always cut at a 45-degree angle when pruning larger plants to ensure the stems heal properly. This will help reduce the risk of disease and pests. When growing flowering plants, it would be best to sterilize your scissors or shears between each pruning session to prevent the spread of diseases. For example, you want to be careful when pruning growing cornflowers.

Many people have problems when it comes to pruning their Friendship Plant. One of the most common problems is over-pruning, leading to weak stems and sparse foliage. To address this, ensure you only remove the dead or damaged parts of the plant and avoid cutting too much.

Another common problem is plants that grow too tall and leggy. The Friendship Plant grows toward the sun, so you can rotate the pot every few weeks to ensure even growth. Pruning the stems back will also help encourage new growth. You’ll notice that new stems will appear in just a few weeks.


The Friendship Plant is unique because it doesn’t require pollination to produce flowers. The flowers are self-pollinating, meaning they contain both male and female parts. This makes it much easier to care for than other flowering plants, as you don’t have to worry about pollinating them. But, if you want to encourage more flowers, humidity and proper care can help.

Humidity plays a vital role in the pollination process of the Friendship Plant. The more humid the environment is, the more likely the flowers will pollinate. You can increase humidity by misting the leaves with a spray bottle or using a humidifier.

Common Pests And Diseases

The Friendship Plant is an incredibly resilient species, but it’s still susceptible to certain pests and diseases. Common pests include mealybugs, spider mites, and aphids. These pests can cause discoloration and damage to the plant if left untreated.

If you notice any discoloration or damage to your Friendship Plant, it’s important to check for pests and diseases. Common signs of pests include white spots on the leaves, yellowing leaves, or wilting. You can also check for leaf webbing that indicates a spider mite infestation. Common diseases include root rot, caused by overwatering, and bacterial blight, which causes yellow spots on the leaves. If you notice any pests or diseases on your Friendship Plant, taking action quickly is important. For minor infestations, you can simply remove the pests with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. For more serious infestations, you may need to use insecticides or fungicides.

To prevent pests and diseases, provide your Friendship Plant with the proper care. This includes providing it with adequate sunlight, water, and nutrients. You should also inspect your plant regularly for any signs of pests or diseases.

Growing Friendship Plant From Seeds

Growing the Friendship Plant from seed is a great way to get your hands on this beautiful plant without buying a grown one. Growing from seed is a fun and rewarding experience—much cheaper than buying the plant. Growing the Friendship Plant from seed is and doesn’t require any special equipment or tools. You only need a container with potting soil, drainage holes, and Friendship Plant seeds. Put the potting soil in the container and sprinkle the seeds on top. Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged, as this could cause root rot. The seeds should germinate within 4-6 weeks, and you can transplant the seedlings once they’re established.

Frequently Asked Questions

1) What are the benefits of having a Friendship Plant?

The Friendship Plant is a great choice for any garden because it’s easy to care for and provides a pop of color. It also makes a great gift, as it’s easy to propagate and share with friends and family.

2) What kind of soil does a Friendship Plant need?

The Friendship Plant prefers well-draining, slightly acidic soil. It doesn’t require special fertilizers or nutrients, but you can add a balanced fertilizer every few months.

3) How much sunlight does a Friendship Plant require?

The Friendship Plant prefers indirect sunlight and should be placed in an area that gets 4-6 hours of bright, but not direct, light daily.

4) How often should I water my Friendship Plant?

Water your Friendship Plant once weekly, but ensure the soil isn’t soggy. Let the soil dry out completely between waterings and only water when the top inch of the soil is dry. You can also mist the leaves every few days to increase humidity.

5) What are some common pests and diseases that affect Friendship Plants?

Common pests include mealybugs, spider mites, and aphids. Common diseases include root rot and bacterial blight. It’s important to inspect your plant regularly for any signs of pests or diseases and take action quickly if you notice any.

6) How often should I fertilize my Friendship Plant?

Fertilize your Friendship Plant every few months to ensure it gets the nutrients it needs. Use a balanced fertilizer made for succulents to give your plant the nutrition it needs.

Bottom Line

The Friendship Plant is a beautiful and resilient species that’s easy to care for. With proper care, it will thrive indoors or outdoors and can add a pop of color and texture to any garden. Plus, it’s great for companion planting and can be grown from seed if you’re looking for an inexpensive way to get your hands on one.

If you’re looking for a low-maintenance plant that adds interest to any garden, the Friendship Plant is a great choice. Share the love and give a sprout or two to a friend or family member! They’ll be sure to thank you.

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