How To Care For A Peperomia Plant: Ultimate Growing Guide

How To Care For A Peperomia Plant

The majority of Peperomia plants need temperatures between 65 and 80 °F and bright, indirect sunlight. Once the top inch of soil has dried out, they should only be watered infrequently. Throughout the growing season, they should also receive monthly fertilization, and they should be potted in potting soil that drains well.

About Peperomia Plants

Tropical and subtropical regions of the world, particularly Central America, are home to peperomia. The majority are compact perennial plants that are grown more for their decorative foliage than their rather meager flowers.

One of the really fascinating things about Peperomia plants is how different they can look from one another. Even if you accumulated a sizable collection of Peperomia plants, no two would ever be exactly alike.

In an indoor environment, peperomia plants rarely reach a height of more than 12 inches, making them perfect for containers, balconies, and small rooms. They typically have strong stems and many have fleshy, succulent leaves.

Peperomia Varieties

We are unable to cover all of the more than a thousand peperomia species here. You can get a sense of the vast world of peperomias by looking at some of the classics and our personal favorites, though.

  • Watermelon peperomia (Peperomia argyreia) is known for its dark green leaves with lighter parallel stripes and red stems.
  • Baby rubber plant (Peperomia obtusifolia) is another upright peperomia, with oval leaves that may be green or variegated.
  • Peperomia Rosso (Peperomia caperata ‘The lance-shaped green leaves of Rosso’) have sharp red undersides and deep ridges.
  • String of Turtles (Peperomia prostrata) is a trailing peperomia with small round leaves that are patterned like turtle shells.
  • Peperomia Frost (Peperomia caperata ‘Frost’) is a mounding peperomia with deeply ridged or rippled silvery leaves.
  • Owl Eye Peperomia (Peperomia polybotrya) is one of the larger peperomia, with large, teardrop-shaped leaves that grow on upright stems.

Height And Spread

Even though there are numerous species of peperomia plants, most only reach heights of 1 foot (30 cm) or less, with a few reaching heights of 2 feet (60 cm). Although there are bushy and trailing varieties, most peperomia have a mature spread of only 8 to 12 inches (20 to 30 cm). Because of this, they are perfect indoor plants for small spaces and require little repotting.

Peperomia Care

How To Care For A Peperomia Plant

When Often to Water Peperomia

Once the top 1-2 inches of soil have dried completely, you should water a peperomia plant, and you should water the plant well.

When watering peperomia plants, problems most frequently occur. When keeping peperomia plants indoors, the most common issue is overwatering. Being a little too enthusiastic with the watering can is a common way for many of us to kill houseplants.

Rotting stalks, wilting or yellowing leaves, a heavy pot, and waterlogged soil are all indicators of overwatering in peperomia plants.

My peperomia plants only need watering every 7 to 10 days, but I always decide when to water them based on how dry the soil is rather than how long it has been since they were last watered.

How To Tell If Peperomia Needs Water

Rather than relying on a set schedule for watering your peperomia, your best bet is to watch your plant for visual cues that it is ready for another drink:

  • Feel the leaves. The leaves of your peperomia plant ought to be solid. Your plant needs more moisture if they appear soft or floppy.
  • Check the soil. Before you give your plant more water, stick your finger into the soil and check that the top two inches are dry.

In general, if your peperomia is in brighter light or has thinner leaves, you should water it more frequently.

Peperomia Light Needs

Bright, indirect sunlight is ideal for peperomia plants. Most of the year, they do best on an east or west-facing window sill. During the summer, the only thing to watch out for is too much direct sunlight, which can scorch the leaves.

Your peperomia plant will grow leggy as it stretches toward the available light if you place it in an area where it doesn’t receive enough light. If this occurs, you can simply cut it back to keep the plant’s compact shape. Just be sure to relocate the plant if this occurs to a more suitable area.

Peperomia Humidity Requirements

Although they have a reputation for needing high humidity levels, the majority of varieties do not. Since many peperomia have succulent-like leaves, they can withstand low humidity and infrequent watering. As a result, they make the best houseplants in indoor environments with generally low humidity levels.

Of course, depending on the type of peperomia plant you have, different types will require different levels of humidity. The best indicator is to look at the leaves; the plant will tolerate lower humidity levels the thicker and more succulent the leaves appear.

What Soil For Peperomia Plants

Given that one of the issues to avoid is overwatering, peperomia plants require a potting mix that drains well. A good choice is typically equal parts peat moss and perlite or coarse sand.

Repotting Peperomia Plants

Feel free to leave your peperomia plant in its current pot as you are unlikely to be doing it much harm and most Peperomia plants don’t require frequent repotting and typically do better in pots that are a little on the small side.

Repotting Peperomia plants is typically a good idea every two to three years to avoid the potting mix getting too compacted, which will eventually lead to decreased drainage. Your Peperomia can be repotted in a pot of the same size or, if you prefer, one that is slightly larger.

As mentioned above, pre-prepare your new pot with a suitable potting mix. Add half of the new potting mix to the pot and set the other half aside.

Carefully remove as much of the old potting soil from the Peperomia’s roots as you can after gently removing it from its current container. Place the plant in the new container with care, and then begin surrounding it with the remaining potting soil. Gently compress the potting mixture around the roots without overdoing it. In order to ensure that the plant settles into its new home well, water it well in the final step.

Peperomia Fertilizer

The fertilizing needs of peperomia species are extremely low, so fertilizing too frequently is more problematic than fertilizing too infrequently. When my peperomia plants are growing, I usually fertilize them with a balanced 10-10-10 water-soluble fertilizer once a month.

Overfertilizing peperomia plants can result in a variety of issues, including the toxicity of some nutrients and deficiency of others, which will make your plant very unhappy. As a result, you should exercise caution when fertilizing peperomia plants.

How To Prune Peperomia 

Pruning peperomia plants doesn’t require being overly delicate. Don’t be timid about pruning them; they tolerate it very well. The delicate, compact appearance of peperomia plants is one of the reasons I adore them, so I tend to be quite aggressive when pruning my own back to maintain their ornamental appearance.

You should use this opportunity to remove any dead growth and leaves that exhibit damage or disease in addition to doing so for cosmetic reasons. Keep your plant healthy by identifying unhealthy foliage early, getting rid of it, and avoiding a repeat of the issue.

How To Propagate Peperomia

It’s very simple to propagate Peperomia plants, which is a great way to add to your collection of plants or to share your lovely plants with friends and family.

Stem and leaf cuttings are the two main methods for propagating peperomia plants.

The technique you choose will depend on the type of peperomia you have and your personal preferences. One thing to keep in mind is that stem cutting are a better method of propagation for peperomia varieties with variegated leaves because they more reliably preserve the leaf color.

Plant Problems

Pests. Although peperomias are generally resistant to pests, mealybugs can still cause problems. Use a preventative spray, such as this Leaf Wellness Spray (my personal favorite), to shield your plant from mealybugs and other pests.

Root Rot. The best (and occasionally the only) way to treat root rot is to prevent it in the first place. Peperomias are particularly prone to the disease. Make sure the pot you choose for your peperomia is the appropriate size to prevent root rot because a pot that is too large will keep too much moisture close to the roots for an extended period of time. Make sure to let the soil dry out between waterings as well.

Edema. Your peperomia’s leaves may develop swollen spots, or you may experience brown, cork-like bumps that are difficult to remove. While edema is a sign of excessive or uneven watering, it won’t necessarily harm your plant and won’t go away from leaves that have already been harmed. Going forward, remember to aerate the soil before watering your peperomia and to only water it when the top two inches of soil are dry and the leaves are starting to feel a little floppy.

Leaf Drop. A peperomia that is losing leaves is not satisfied with the way it is being watered. It usually indicates overwatering. The leaves should feel full and firm, the petioles should feel squishy or appear dark, and the potting soil should always feel moist. These are signs of overwatering. Check to see if your peperomia isn’t near a cold draft, underwater, or in direct sunlight if it doesn’t seem to be a problem with overwatering.

How To Care For A Peperomia Plant

Propagating Peperomia By Leaf Cuttings

  • Set aside time to prepare your plant pots or propagation tray. Use a 50/50 mixture of perlite and potting compost.
  • As the fungal disease is the main risk factor for unsuccessful Peperomia propagation, make sure your propagation tray and all other tools you use are clean and, ideally, sterile.
  • Take a leaf from a plant that is healthy. Either with a small stem attached or at the stem’s base, you can remove this. For this, use a clean set of pruning shears or sharp scissors.
  • While whole leaves can be used for propagation, I advise slicing the leaf in half across the width.
  • Put rooting powder on the leaf’s cut edges. In response, new roots will be encouraged to form.
  • Create a tiny channel in the potting medium with a knife or spoon so that you can quickly insert your leaf cutting, which should be about 1-2 cm long, into the potting medium.
  • Place the cutting into the soil, cut the edge of the leaf down, and compact the potting soil around it.
  • Fill the potting medium completely with water.
  • Use a covered propagation tray to protect the cuttings, or you can make do by draping a polythene bag over the plant pot’s top.
  • The propagating plants should be kept in bright indirect light at a comfortable indoor room temperature.
  • To avoid the accumulation of too much humidity, which increases the risk of fungus, remove the cover for a few hours every few days.
  • The first thing you might see is the growth of new roots from the leaf’s cut edge. After that, you will notice a new shoot and eventually, leaves will begin to form.
  • It is possible to pot up the plants in individual pots once they are actively growing and have produced several new sets of leaves.
  • You shouldn’t rush to pot your new plants because peperomias typically have shallow root systems and won’t be severely constrained in a propagation tray for some time.

Propagating Peperomia By Stem Cuttings

When new growth is at its most vibrant, this is best done in the spring. Here’s a step-by-step tutorial for taking a stem cutting and potting it for a peperomia plant.

  • Follow the same setup steps as for leaf cuttings
  • Ideally, the plant should have three sets of leaves when you cut a healthy stem off it. For this, use a clean set of pruning shears or sharp scissors.
  • In order to expose a small portion of the stem, remove the bottom pair of leaves.
  • Cut end: dunk in rooting powder.
  • Make a small hole in the potting media
  • Insert the cutting and firm the potting soil around the cutting
  • Water the potting medium thoroughly.
  • Follow the remaining steps for leaf cutting

Peperomia Flowers

How To Care For A Peperomia Plant

Since they are rather unimpressive and resemble a bushy spike or tail, peperomia plants aren’t particularly known for their flowers. Some species’ flower spikes will be fairly noticeable, while others won’t even be noticed. These plants’ amazing foliage, which more than makes up for their lackluster flowering display, is what really draws people in.

What To Look For When Buying A Peperomia Plant

These helpful hints will help you pick out a healthy Peperomia plant when you go plant shopping.

Start by attempting to purchase from a reputable nursery or garden center. Due to their sensitivity to low temperatures, peperomia plants may be seriously harmed by improper handling or storage. Even though the damage may have already been done if a plant has only recently been exposed to unfavorable conditions, it might not yet be noticeable in the way the plant looks.

Examine the leaves for physical damage indications such as black spots, yellowing, wilting, or black spots. To check for fungal diseases and pests, make sure to inspect the front and back of the leaves.

You might want to find out how long the plants have been on hand and under what circumstances from the store staff. Any reputable retailer ought to be able to describe in detail how they were handled as well as the logistics of getting them from the grower to the store.

FAQs About Peperomia Care

Are Plants Called Peperomia Poisonous?

Thankfully, peperomia plants are completely safe for both people and animals. Contact or consumption poses no risk to your pets. Despite the unappealing taste, I’m sure they have, you shouldn’t be concerned if your pet enjoys the occasional nibble of a leaf.

It’s also comforting for parents of young children to know that they can grow peperomia plants anywhere in their house without worrying about the safety of their kids’ health.

Is Peperomia A Succulent?

Succulent traits are present in many, but not all, species of Peperomia plants. This indicates that they have specific adaptations to help them store water or reduce water loss, as well as to help them deal with sparse watering or dry conditions.

Plants from different genera will display a variety of adaptations that are loosely categorized as succulents. Some plants, like many peperomia, exhibit varying levels of succulence, while others, like others, are categorically classified as succulents. Peperomia dolabriform, Peperomia rotundifolia, and Peperomia graveolens are some examples of Peperomia with succulent adaptations.

Can Peperomia Live Outside?

In the warmer months, avoid direct sunlight and place peperomias in dappled shade to the dappled sun outdoors. Just be sure to bring them inside before the overnight lows reach the fifties.