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Care Guide: Peperomia

It’s peperomia time! I'm always surprised how seldom people recommend these delightful plants, especially given how easy they are to care for! With over 1,500 species of peperomia, there's bound to be one that you will love.


What Are Peperomias?

Peperomias are small plants known for their beautiful, varied leaves. The term “peperomia” refers to the genus, and due to the numerous varieties, you might find labels like “various peperomia” at your local nursery.


While generally easy to care for, there are a few key things to remember to keep your peperomia happy and healthy. Whether you're a seasoned plant parent or new to indoor gardening, this guide will be useful. Let's start with a bit of background!





Peperomia Care Overview

- Variety: Over 1,500 species known for unique leaf patterns and textures.

- Light: Medium to high light; avoid extremely bright or dark conditions. They can also thrive under fluorescent lights.

- Soil: Well-draining soil is essential. Water when the top half of the soil dries out; bottom watering is preferred to avoid crown rot but isn't required.

- Temperature: Ideal range is 55 to 80°F. They are adaptable to dry air but appreciate some humidity.

- Pruning: Regular pruning increases bushiness. Peperomias are generally slow-growing.

- Propagation: Use leaf or stem cuttings in well-draining medium or water.

- Safety: Non-toxic and safe around pets, but they are ornamental and not meant to be ingested.


Background on the Peperomia Genus

Peperomia is a large genus of flowering plants in the Piperaceae family. Most species are native to Central and South America, but they also grow in other tropical and subtropical regions, including Africa, southern Asia, and Oceania. They are known for their fleshy, succulent-like leaves and small, nondescript flowers, and their diverse leaf shapes and colors make them popular among plant enthusiasts.


Common Varieties of Peperomia

Here are a few of the most common varieties you might encounter:


1. Peperomia obtusifolia (Baby Rubber Plant)

   - Features smooth, rubbery leaves, often variegated with greens, whites and yellows.

   - Stays quite small compared to other plants with similar leaves.


2. Peperomia argyreia (Watermelon Peperomia)

   - Noted for its circular leaves with gray/silver stripes, resembling a watermelon pattern.

   - Stunning visual appeal.


3. Peperomia prostrata (String of Turtles)

   - Has round, flat leaves with veining that resemble turtle shells.

   - Ideal for hanging baskets.


4. Peperomia caperata (Ripple Peperomia)

   - Often labeled as “assorted peperomia,” featuring crinkly, waxy leaves in various colors, including red (Red Luna), gray, and bold green (Emerald Ripple).


5. Peperomia pilea peperomioides ( Chinese Money Plant, Pancake Plant, UFO Plant)

   - Known for its distinctive round, coin-shaped leaves that grow on long, slender stems. The plant has a unique and attractive appearance, making it the most common peperomia!


Swipe through these popular 5 varieties below -





Light Requirements

Peperomias thrive best in medium to high light. They tolerate some direct sunlight but should avoid intense, prolonged exposure to prevent leaf scorching. Indoors, place them near a window with plenty of indirect light and rotate them every few weeks to ensure balanced growth.


Soil

Peperomias prefer a well-aerated, well-draining potting soil. A succulent or aroid mix with extra perlite or coco coir works well. This prevents water-logging and promotes oxygen flow, avoiding root rot.


Our House Blend Soil is specialy formulated to




Watering

Water your peperomia when the top half of the soil dries out. Generally, this is weekly during spring and summer and every 10-14 days in fall and winter - but don't stick to a routine! Always test the soil with your finger if in doubt. Frequency can vary based on light, temperature, and soil conditions. Watch for signs of needing water, such as thin, flimsy, wilting leaves and dry soil. Consistently wet soil with yellowing leaves indicates overwatering.

You can water peperomias with tap water - they aren't as fussy as other varieties such as Calatheas! However, if your plant isn’t thriving and there are no other obvious issues, consider capturing rain water as it will always work wonders to give any indoor plant a boost.




Humidity and Misting

While peperomias handle dry air well, they appreciate some humidity. Misting can temporarily increase humidity but should be done in the morning to avoid water pooling on leaves. A humidifier is more effective for sustained humidity. This isn't essential but is more a 'nice-to-do' option.



Repotting

Peperomias like being root-bound, so repotting is only necessary when roots circle the pot multiple times or grow out of drainage holes. Use a pot only slightly larger than the current one to avoid excess moisture retention.


Size and Growth

Peperomias are generally small, slow-growing plants. They vary in size, with most species reaching a few inches to a few feet in height and width. Peperomia obtusifolia and Peperomia prostrata stay small, while Peperomia argyreia can grow up to a foot or more.

Pruning peperomias by pinching or snipping at the stem encourages bushier growth. The stem will sprout new growth at the nearest node below the cut. This can help your plant thicken out a little more!

Peperomias do flower, though the blooms are small and spike-like, sprouting from the plant in string-like stalks. While not particularly showy, flowering indicates a healthy plant. You can trim off the flowers if you prefer.


Propagating Peperomia

Peperomias can be propagated from both leaf and stem cuttings. Here’s a brief overview:

From a Leaf:

1. Choose a healthy, mature leaf.

2. Cut the leaf close to the base, leaving a small section of the stem attached.

3. Place the leaf stem-down in a well-draining propagation mix.

4. Lightly water and place in a warm, well-lit location.

5. Wait for new roots and a new plant to sprout, which can take several weeks or months.


From Cuttings:

1. Snip a healthy, mature stem.

2. Remove the lower leaves, leaving a few at the top.

3. Place the cutting in well-draining soil or water.

4. Keep it in a warm, well-lit location and maintain moist soil.




Other FAQs

Is Peperomia a Succulent?

Peperomias are not true succulents, though some have succulent-like leaves that store moisture. They are native to tropical and subtropical regions, not adapted to dry conditions like true succulents.


How Do You Get Big Peperomia Leaves?

   - Provide bright, indirect light, well-draining soil, and regular fertilization. Regular pruning encourages new growth and larger leaves.


Is Peperomia Safe Around Pets?

Yes, peperomias are non-toxic to dogs and cats!






Peperomia plants are true gems, boasting a variety of species with unique, beautiful leaf patterns. Their easy care makes them perfect for all plant enthusiasts. Follow the tips in this guide, and you’ll be successful in growing peperomia!

Have you tried growing any peperomia varieties? Share your challenges and successes in the comments below—happy planting!


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Want to know more?

Keen to learn more about your houseplants? Come along to our next Indoor Plants 101 workshop for a crash course in everything you need to know about keeping your plants happy and healthy.


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