Peperomia Plant – Care, Growing, Watering, Requirements, Propagation
Out of a 1000 of peperomia varieties registered, this plant boasts an impressive variety that is bound to offer everyone and anyone a plant to like.
Even though not all peperomia varieties are available to be grown by the public, there are plenty of varieties that can brighten up your home.
If you’re more impressed by ornamental foliage than you are by flowers, peperomia plants have impressive leaves that overshadow any flowers they may bloom.
This plant isn’t difficult to care for and makes a smart choice for any beginner who wants a compact plant that can add a touch of nature to a room, desk or office.
Despite its low requirements, I’m confident you don’t want to wing it when it comes to growing this plant. The tips below are a good summary of what this plant needs to stay healthy.
Peperomia Plant Care Tips
To make sure your peperomia plant is growing and developing well, take your time to familiarize yourself with its requirements.
Peperomia plant size varies by type. Depending on its variety, peperomia plants can reach 8 inches in height and trailing varieties can grow to 3 feet long.
Peperomias grow well both if exposed to natural or artificial light, provided they get 12 to 16 hours of the latter.
Direct sunlight is not beneficial to these plants, but that doesn’t mean you should keep it in the shade. To maintain the bright, vibrant color of their foliage, indirect sunlight or filtered light will work best.
I keep mine in an east-facing windowsill, but a west facing windowsill works fine too. Simply make sure they don’t get too much sun during the summer months to avoid scorching of the leaves.
A good rule to follow when caring for peperomia plants is to allow the top inch of the soil to dry out before you water the plant. The succulent leaves of the plant are good at retaining water, so infrequent watering is ideal.
Giving the plant too much water can cause a host of issues including root rot, which is fatal, and fungus gnat, which can also do their share of damage to these plants.
Temperature & Humidity
Peperomia plants are native to Mexico, South America, and the West Indies and should be kept in temperatures between 65-80 °F.
As tropical plants, peperomias thrive in warm and high-humidity environments and they’re not tolerant of cold temperatures.
If the air in your area is too dry during the summer, you can place the plant on a tray of pebbles that you can water to increase the humidity around the plant.
Some peperomia varieties will do well even in low humidity, so you may want to look for one that can tolerate the dry air in your home.
Because in the wild many of these peperomia plants grow nestled in the nook of a tree, they require loose, chunky soil that drains well and offers enough air circulation to their roots.
Here are some soil options that can work well for these plants:
- Mix of peat moss and perlite or coarse sand
- Orchid potting mix
- Regular potting soil combined with peat moss or vermiculite
- Light houseplant mixture with perlite or coarse gravel
Overall, any soil that can mimic the natural conditions in which these plants grow will be successful.
I don’t encourage the idea of fertilizing your peperomia plants because it more often causes problems than it helps. Because it’s easy to overfertilize this plant, I recommend doing it only once per month during the growing season.
Use a balanced water-soluble liquid fertilizer or better yet, don’t fertilize your peperomia plant unless it’s a variety that requires it, or the plant is obviously lacking nutrients.
Discoloration of the leaves or drooping leaves are usually a sign that light and watering requirements aren’t adjusted, so make sure to check those first, and only then reach for the fertilizer.
Potting & Repotting
Frequent repotting is not needed for peperomias. In fact, the plant does well in small containers, and usually there isn’t a need for repotting sooner than every 2-3 years.
With time, the potting soil can become compacted and its drainage will be reduced, so it’s not that your plant has outgrown its pot — although that too can be a reason — it’s more like the soil needs to be refreshed.
You may not even need to repot it into a bigger container, unless you see the roots poking out of the drainage holes of the pot.
Peperomia Plant Propagation
Peperomia plants can be propagated by cutting a leaf from the mother plant and replanting it.
When cutting the leaf, make sure to keep an inch of stem and place it in moist, sterile planting soil.
Cover the leaf with a transparent plastic cover to retain moisture. Within a couple of weeks, the roots will form and you can transplant the new plant to its own container.
Different Types of Peperomia Plant
There are so many interesting types of peperomia plants — sme feature tri-colored leaves, others have little heart-shaped leaves, or they’re distinctively variegated.
As always, here are the peperomia species I like most:
Also known as ‘baby rubber plant’, this variety has oval, succulent leaves. The plant can reach 2 feet in height and has an upright growth tendency.
This variety comonnly known as Peperomia argyreia and also called the “Watermelon peperomia” and rightfully so, because the variegation on its leaves resembles the white streaks of the watermelon. The leaves are held by red petioles.
The leaves of this variety are green with silver accents, but what makes this variety stand out even more is the deeply ridged foliage. This gives the leaves a textured or wrinkled appearance.
This variety has tiny, folded leaves with pronounced succulent characteristics. This is a creeping variety that stays small and it’s ideal for space-constrained rooms.
With its heart-shaped leaves and trailing stems, this variety is an ideal choice for hanging baskets. The edges of the leaves sport a cream or yellowish coloring.
Obviously the varieties I listed are my favorite ones, and there are many more varieties, each more special than the other. Do make sure to read up on the individual keeping requirements of each variety you choose to grow in your home.
Peperomia Plant FAQs
If you’re still curious to find out more about the peperomia plant, here are some interesting facts that you may like to read about them:
Why are Peperomia Plant Leaves Curling?
Curling leaves on your peperomia plant may indicate the presence of some pest or a nutritional deficiency. Mind you, curling leaves on peperomia plants isn’t usual, unless the plant has naturally curved leaves. Be sure to check for a bug infestation and see if your plant is getting too little or even too many nutrients (e.g. through overfertilization).
Why are My Peperomia Plant’s Leaves Turning Yellow?
Yellow leaves on your peperomia plant can be caused by a variety of factors including too much sunlight, improper watering, or a change in temperature.
Most commonly, however, yellowing leaves are caused by excessive sunlight. Be sure to check the keeping requirements of your peperomia variety and see if you need to make any adjustments.
Is Peperomia Plant Toxic for Pets?
Luckily, this plant isn’t toxic for pets or humans, so it’s safe to keep it in your home even if you have pets or children.
Do Peperomia Plants Bloom?
Yes, peperomia plants produce flowers but they’re lackluster compared to the plant’s foliage. Flowers are more like spikes with tiny white or green flowers. But this is not a plant that’s admired for its flowers, but it’s rather impressive foliage.
Are Peperomias Prone to Diseases?
These are hardy plants that have a relatively good disease and pest-resistance. That said, there are a few fungal and bacterial diseases to watch out for, namely Pythium, which is a fungal infection that causes stem rot. As you may have guessed, it’s caused by overwatering the plant.
Mites, mealybugs and fungus gnats are other pests to watch out for. Insecticidal spray or neem oil works well on these.
Peperomias are a varied genus that’s represented through hundreds of interesting varieties. While many peperomia species have succulent leaves, not all do. Therefore, it’s important to adapt the things you’ve read in this article to the needs of your specific variety.
Once you set up your peperomia plant with all it needs to thrive – light, soil, watering, temperature, etc. – it won’t require too much upkeep down the line, yet it will produce beautiful foliage.
Peperomias are hardy plants that may require the occasional pruning and the very occasional repotting and fertilizing.
With succulent varieties, it’s crucial to avoid overwatering, which can easily lead to a host of diseases and bacterial or fungal infections that may prove fatal to your plant.
I hope you have enjoyed reading about my plant care tips for peperomias and you’re now equipped with the basics of caring for this plant.