Growing Peperomia

Growing Peperomia

Last Updated On: April 18, 2022

Peperomia is a compact plant that is a great addition to both small and large spaces. Though not a flowering plant, it has a unique look that draws the eye. This beauty is also relatively easy to care for, even for novice gardeners. If you’re thinking of growing peperomia but aren’t sure what type of care it requires, the following information can give you everything you need to keep this plant happy.

Varieties

Peperomia is a native of Central and South America, with over 1000 varieties showing up in nature. They have distinctive fleshy leaves that vary in appearance depending on variety.

As well as unique coloring, including red, purple, or gray, they can also be textured or smooth, marbled, variegated, or even heart-shaped. This wide range of options allows you to choose the perfect variety for your home. If you’re not sure which ones to choose, here are some popular options that are easy to find.

  • The Watermelon Peperomia reaches only 8 inches in height and has elliptical, silver-striped leaves.
  • The Baby Rubber Plant can have shiny green leaves or gold and white variegated leaves. Like its name suggests, this plant remains fairly small.
  • The Minima is a dwarf variety, so it is only half the size of regular Peperomia plants. This makes it perfect for a desk or windowsill where space is limited.

Each of the above varieties are easy to grow indoors. As noted above, there are hundreds of different varieties, so if none of the above appeal to you there are still options.

Soil

One of the biggest issues people have when growing peperomia is too much moisture. Using the right soil is one way to prevent wilted leaves or unsightly protrusions. In their natural habitat, these plants grow at the base of trees with their roots in the decaying bark, so a soil that offers that same type of conditions is a good option.

An orchid potting mix can provide the plant with the drainage, air circulation, and nutrients it needs to survive. You can also use regular potting soil, though it’s best to add some peat moss or vermiculite for lighter soil that drains well. In cases of regular soil, you’ll need to take extra care not to overwater the plant.

Water

Peperomia doesn’t like to be overly damp, so it’s best to limit how much water you give it. To ensure that it’s getting the right amount, wait until the soil is dry to the touch before adding more. Too much moisture can cause soggy, rotting roots and wilted leaves, so it’s better to keep this plant drier than overwatering it. During the late fall and winter, you can reduce how often you water it even more since this is the plant’s dormant cycle.

Light

Though this plant grows in shady areas in its natural habitat, it actually likes brighter light when grown indoors. Place it somewhere that will provide it with bright, indirect light, preferably in an east- or west-facing window.

That said, it shouldn’t be placed in direct sunlight. This amount of light can burn out the leaves of the plant and stunt its growth.

You can also place them somewhere with low light, though this may cause the plant to become leggy. Use a small grow light for an hour or two per day to help offset the lack of natural light. Since peperomia doesn’t need a ton of light to begin with, it only takes a short amount of time with a grow light to get the light it needs.

Temperature/Humidity

The peperomia is considered a tropical plant, due to its southern origins, so it doesn’t like chilly temperatures. Keep the area it’s in between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit to keep this plant happy. It also shouldn’t be placed near any vents, air conditioners, or drafty windows. It should also go without saying that it shouldn’t ever be exposed to frost or freezing conditions. Even a short amount of time at these low temperatures can have lasting damage on the plant.

As well as warm temperature, this plant also prefers medium to high humidity levels, even though it prefers limited water in its soil. If your home tends to be drier, you can improve the conditions for the peperomia in a couple of ways. We have an entire article dedicated to improving humidity.

Fertilizer

Peperomia doesn’t require a lot of fertilizer and will often happily grow for long periods without it. If you’re using nutrient rich soil your plant will often get enough nutrients from that alone. That said, you can fertilize every few weeks during the summer and spring for an extra boost.

Use a diluted liquid fertilizer with a balanced 10-10-10 ratio for the best results. Add this fertilizer every few weeks or more during its growing season but never during its dormant period in the winter.

Repotting

Repotting is rarely something you’ll need to worry about with peperomia since it prefers to be root-bound, thriving in smaller containers. If you’re unsure if this plant needs a larger pot, check the drainage holes at the base of the container it’s in. If you see the roots poking out, it’s time for a larger pot. Choose one that is about 2 inches wider and deeper than the pot it is already in. You can also take this opportunity to swap out the soil for some fresh soil.

Pruning

Pruning isn’t a huge part of peperomia care since this plant doesn’t get overly large. The only times that pruning may be necessary is if you’re trying to keep the plant at a certain size or it becomes leggy. To do this properly, use a sterilized knife or scissors and trim away any damaged or dead leaves. You can also use your fingers to pinch off those pieces that you want removed, which helps to encourage branching for a lusher appearance.

Propagation

Propagation is easy with peperomia and starts with simply clipping off a stem that has a handful of large leaves. Plant the cutting in some starter soil and add some rooting hormone to encourage growth. Keep the cutting in a warm, bright spot until you notice new growth. Then transplant it into a more permanent container. It’s really that simple, if you’re new to propagation then peperomia is a great place to start.

Common Pests

Peperomia doesn’t have any specific pest issues, though they may have to deal with pests common among other house plants. These can include spider mites, mealybugs, and whiteflies. If you notice that these pests are making your plant their new home, you can use insecticidal soap to get rid of them. This treatment is safe for your plant while killing the bugs.

Be sure to spray the insecticide beneath the leaves to ensure you’re getting all of the bugs. You may need to reapply it a few times to kill any pests that have hatched after the initial treatment.

It’s also smart to give your plant a spot check every couple of days. This can help you catch any pest issues before they become a larger issue. This is especially important if you move the plant outdoors in the summer, or grow it on a balcony or porch.

Growing Peperomia

Peperomia are a beautiful and easy plant for indoor gardeners to grow. While they don’t flower like some other plants, their natural beauty and unique look more than makes up for it. If you’re looking for a low maintenance plant that doesn’t need a lot of space, try out the peperomia.

Growing Peperomia FAQ

How Much Light Do Peperomia Need?

Most varieties need medium, in-direct light. East or westerly facing windows are often a good place for them. Some varieties can deal with lower light, but direct light should always be avoided.

Do Peperomia Need To Be Misted?

Peperomia like relatively high humidity, so daily misting can help provide this for the plant. This can help keep the humidity high without the risk of overwatering. Note that there are other ways to increase the relative humidity, so misting isn’t strictly necessary but is often the easiest method to do so.

Do Peperomia Like To Be Repotted?

Peperomia grow best when root bound, they don’t like a container that is much larger than their current size. That said, if you notice the roots peeking out the drainage holes you can repot the plant into a slightly larger container. Outside of this, it’s best to leave them be.

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