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Peperomia is a popular houseplant that is loved for its succulent-like leaves and easy care routine. Peperomia gives your space a complete transformation with exotic features. But to see this plant thrive, you need to have thorough knowledge about how to care for it.
Plants that require little care must not be neglected. You must keep an eye on your peperomia to make sure the plant is doing well.
If you notice any signs of any problem in your peperomia, the external conditions might not be favorable, or something might be wrong with your care routine.
Peperomia requires bright indirect light and thrives in temperatures between 55-80°F with average humidity levels between 40-50%. Peperomia needs infrequent but thorough watering. Also, adding a balanced liquid fertilizer during the growing season can help with its growth.
In this article, we will present all the required information to keep your peperomia healthy. We will discuss the requirements, common problems, and care tips for your peperomia plant. So you don’t want to miss this.
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Peperomia are tropical plants that come from the Mexico and South American regions. Peperomia is also called the radiator plant and is an epiphyte. In its natural habitat, it grows its roots inside the bark of canopies and not necessarily soil.
Peperomia is loved for its ornamental foliage and the flowers it produces. There are different peperomias with different types of leaves that come in green, red, or purple colors, and there are variegated varieties also. You will find both trailing and upright species of peperomia plants.
Let’s look at some of the common varieties of peperomia plants.
- Peperomia Rotundifolia (Trailing Jade Peperomia): This perennial epiphyte is perfect for your hanging basket. This species has round, light green, and fleshy leaves that thrive in a warm environment and tolerate low light.
- Peperomia Scandens (Cupid Peperomia): This species comes in two types, one has green leaves, and the other has variegated ones. This is a trailing species that comes with heart-shaped and glossy leaves. These plants have long and trailing stems with thick oval leaves. These plants can survive in low to moderate indirect light. Best suited for hanging baskets.
- Peperomia obtusifolia (Baby Rubber Plant): This species requires bright indirect light and is mainly grown outdoors. This is an upright plant that has different leaf varieties, such as golden yellow or dark green.
- Peperomia Argyreia (Watermelon Peperomia): This species has large heart-shaped leaves with silver stripes resembling a watermelon. This plants pressure high humidity and bright light but can survive in low light as well.
Is peperomia easy to care for?
Peperomia is a plant that is easy to grow and care for. With its little demand, this plant makes itself an ideal choice, both for beginners and experts.
The light requirements can differ depending on the species you are going for. Some peperomia species require bright indirect light, while some can tolerate moderate to low indirect light.
Other than this, they mostly have the same requirements. Giving them what they need can easily help your peperomia grow and thrive.
Is peperomia indoor or outdoor?
Peperomia is popularly known as an indoor or houseplant. Although these plants can be grown outside, they do best in the controlled conditions of the houses.
If you place your peperomia outside, you need to protect it from the sun’s direct rays that can scorch the leaves and cause sunburn.
And during winter, extreme conditions like low temperatures and frost can kill your peperomia, so you have to bring it inside before winter arrives.
All these suggest that peperomia is better off as a houseplant or indoor plant.
Peperomia is a hardy plant that won’t die easily. It can tolerate different conditions with little care and attention.
If something is wrong with your care routine, your peperomia will develop problems. However, the plant will give you several chances to revive it from those conditions and see it healthy again.
Don’t worry if you don’t know how to care for your peperomia plant, as we will take you through every detail you might require to grow peperomia successfully.
Before we discuss the problems and give you some tips, we will go through all the requirements of your peperomia plant.
Peperomia light requirements
Peperomia requires bright indirect sunlight. However, some peperomia species can survive in moderate to low indirect light.
Bright and indirect sunlight is required for a healthy and bushy peperomia. If the light is insufficient, the peperomia will not grow as much as it would in bright light.
Keep your peperomia away from the direct sunlight that can burn the leaves and scorch the plant. If you are placing your peperomia outside, you need to be even more careful and protect your peperomia from direct sunlight.
Rotate your peperomia to 45 or 90 degrees after few days to make sure that the plant is getting light on all sides and not growing leggy. 12-16 hours of artificial light will work well for your peperomia if it is not getting enough natural light.
Peperomia water requirements
One common mistake hobbyists make is that they think their peperomia will require a lot of water since it is a tropical plant. However, that is not the case.
Peperomia has thick succulent-like leaves that store water. Depending on the external conditions that influence it, Peperomia might not require water for as long as one or two weeks.
Peperomia likes the soil to be slightly moist, so you should not let it dry completely. Water your peperomia when the topsoil is dry.
You can take the help of a watering schedule so that you neither underwater nor overwater your peperomia. However, watering a peperomia just by following a watering schedule blindly will lead to various problems.
Always water your peperomia after checking the soil. You can use a skewer or your finger to check the soil. If it is moist, you should not water your peperomia.
The water requirement of your peperomia will reduce further in the winter season, so make the changes if you want to avoid overwatering.
Peperomia soil requirements
Peperomia prefers a balance of drainage and retention when it comes to soil. Peperomia prefers the soil to remain slightly moist, which means that the soil should hold the required moisture.
On the other hand, the soil should have the capacity to drain excess water out of the system.
You can prepare the ideal soil mix for your peperomia by adding:
The pH of the soil should remain slightly acidic (between 6 to 6.6).
Peperomia fertilizer needs
Peperomia is a light feeder. It doesn’t require heavy doses of fertilizing. Some even suggest that their peperomia plants do well even without any fertilizer.
However, we recommend adding some fertilizer to your peperomia during the growing season to support growth and replenish the soil with nutrients.
Use an all-purpose fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 3:1:2 and dilute it to make the dose half-strength. Add this to the peperomia once a month during the growing season, which will be enough for the plant. Fertilizing with a diluted dose will help avoid overfertilization.
You must avoid fertilizing the peperomia entirely during the winter season. The plant remains dormant and doesn’t need any fertilizer during winter. If you have fertilized your peperomia well during the growing season, it will survive the winter without any.
Avoid fertilizing if you have a stressed or diseased plant, as that can aggravate the problems.
Peperomia temperature tolerance
Peperomia is a tropical plant; hence it prefers a warm environment with high temperatures. The ideal temperature for your peperomia ranges between 65-80°F.
Peperomia cannot tolerate low temperatures, so growing them in colder regions or the winter will be challenging if you cannot maintain the correct temperatures.
It can tolerate slight variations, but a lot of differences will shock the plant. The peperomia must be saved from frost, low temperatures, or cold drafts during winter.
Peperomia humidity requirement
Peperomia comes from regions where it experiences as high as 90% humidity levels. It is not possible to provide such humidity levels even in the controlled environment of the houses.
But don’t worry. Peperomia can thrive even in average room humidity that ranges between 40-50%.
However, if you feel that your peperomia is not getting enough humidity, you can either opt for a humidifier or group it with other humidity-loving plants to increase the humidity.
You can move the peperomia to the bathroom, basement, or kitchen if there is enough light in those rooms. These rooms have higher humidity levels than your living room or bedroom.
If the peperomia is placed in the bedroom, you must keep it away from the dry air of the AC that can reduce the humidity for the plant.
Pruning the peperomia
Peperomia is a slow-growing and compact houseplant, so it doesn’t require frequent pruning. However, you must not neglect this step as pruning can help your peperomia in different ways.
Pruning a peperomia:
- Keeps the plant in shape
- Boosts growth
- Helps to remove dead, damaged, or leggy parts
You should not prune your peperomia aggressively as that will put stress on your plant. Prune the plant only when it is required.
Never prune too much at once, as that can shock the plant severely.
Use sterilized garden shears or pruners to make clean cuts whenever you are pruning your peperomia. You can use garden gloves as pruning can get messy.
The best time to prune your peperomia is during the spring and early fall seasons. You can keep the healthy cuttings and propagate them if you want.
Peperomia plants have a shallow root system. This indicates that they will not outgrow the pot very fast.
Peperomia is a compact plant that enjoys being root-bound. Whenever you are getting a pot for your peperomia, get a compact pot, but that doesn’t mean that you should leave your peperomia root-bound for days.
Whenever your peperomia gets root-bound, shift it to a bigger pot but don’t go for a pot that is too big.
The best time to repot your peperomia is during the early springtime. You can repot it during the other times of the year if required, but you should be extra careful.
You must repot your peperomia if the soil loses its nutrients over the years. This might require you to repot the peperomia once every 2-3 years.
Root rot and other diseases where the soil has developed fungal or bacterial growth will call for repotting.
In root rot, prune the damaged roots and repot the peperomia in a new pot with fresh soil mix. Use a well-draining potting mix and ensure that the pot has suitable drainage holes.
Do not fertilize if you are repotting your peperomia because of root rot. You can resume fertilizing once the plant recovers.
Water the plant the night before you repot it and water it after repotting. This will make the repotting easier and less stressful for the plant.
You can propagate your peperomia if:
- You have pruned some healthy parts that you don’t want to throw away.
- You want to buy more peperomia plants. You don’t need to, as you can propagate.
- You want to gift a peperomia to someone or sell propagated plants.
- Your existing peperomia is dying.
You can propagate your peperomia both in soil and in water. You can use stem cuttings, leaves with their petioles, or a leaf cut into half for propagation.
When taking a cutting from your peperomia, use sharp and sterilized pruners to make clean cuts. A clean-cut indicates a higher chance of successful propagation.
Always use healthy cuttings for propagation. Avoid using unhealthy stems or leaves as those will lead to unhealthy plants sooner or later.
Place the stem or leaf cuttings in the medium of your choice – soil or water. Whenever the water gets dirty, change it. Keep the soil moist if your propagating medium is soil.
Next, you need to wait for the roots to grow. Once the roots grow 2 inches long, you can repot the new plant in the right-sized pot and a rich and well-draining soil mix.
Peperomia is considered non-toxic both for pets and humans. However, we would still recommend that you keep it away from the reach of your pets or children.
If your pets consume a large amount of your peperomia, they can develop digestive problems or oral infections even if the plant is not toxic.
While children might not consume the plant, they might damage it by tearing the leaves or jerking the stems. This will cause stress to your peperomia.
Therefore, it is best to find a place for your peperomia where it will stay protected from the ever-curious pets and children.
Peperomia is not prone to pest attacks. There have been instances where pests have infected the plants near the peperomia, but the peperomia has remained unaffected.
When you have a healthy peperomia that gets all the right living conditions, the pests might not affect it. Still, an unhealthy plant living in a damp environment can attract pests.
The common houseplant pests such as mealybugs, aphids, spider mites, scales, and fungus gnats can affect your peperomia.
You can spray a neem oil solution once a month on your peperomia every month to keep the pests away.
If you already have an infected peperomia, isolate it, prune the damaged parts, and apply neem oil every other day to eliminate the pests. You can also dip a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol and apply it to the affected areas of the plant.
Keep the peperomia in bright light, avoid overwatering, and allow the soil to dry in between waterings to keep the plant healthy.
Peperomia is a tolerant plant that can tolerate different conditions. But the wrong care routine or unfavorable conditions can bring problems to your peperomia.
Overwatering is a common problem in peperomia plants. Other issues such as overfertilizing, low humidity, or temperature fluctuations can lead to different problems in your peperomia.
Peperomia leaves turning yellow
Yellow leaves might be a sign of inappropriate watering, repotting stress, lack of nutrients, etc.
Yellow leaves are early signs of overwatering. If the peperomia sits in water for a long time, the roots will get suffocated, due to which they will not absorb the required nutrients from the soil. This will lead to a weak plant that is unable to produce any energy to sustain itself. All these will lead to yellow leaves.
Do not water the peperomia without checking the soil. On average, peperomia requires water once every one or two weeks.
Frequent repotting is not required for your peperomia plants as these have a shallow root system. If you see the leaves of your peperomia turning yellow right after you have repotted it, it means that your plant is stressed.
Taking care of the plant and giving it the right living conditions will help it recover from this. But repotting too frequently can cause irreversible damage.
Avoid placing your peperomia in direct sunlight, as that will be too harsh for the plant, causing the leaves to get discolored and turn yellow.
Peperomia leaves turning brown
Watching the leaves of your peperomia turn brown can become a concern. The usual reason behind this include overfertilization, overwatering, and direct sunlight.
Letting the peperomia be in the direct sunlight for a long time can scorch the leaves, making them turn brown. It usually starts with a spot but spreads across the leaves fast. These brown spots are crisp and have no chance of recovery.
Overwatering is another reason that causes different types of browning in your peperomia – brown tips, edges, spots, or the whole leaf turning brown.
Water only when the peperomia requires it, and the best way to find that out is by checking the soil. Water if the topsoil feels dry and wait for a few days if it is still moist.
Peperomia is a light feeder, so it doesn’t require a lot of fertilizer. Always dilute the fertilizer to reduce the strength whenever you are fertilizing the plant. If not, you might have an over-fertilized peperomia with brown leaves.
Don’t forget to remove the brown leaves as they will waste the plant’s energy instead of focusing on new growth.
Peperomia droopy leaves
Both overwatering and underwatering can cause droopy leaves in your peperomia plant.
Overwatering your peperomia out of too much care can prove to be deadly for the plant. This will cause droopy leaves that are are yellow or have brown edges on the leaves.
On the other hand, underwatering the peperomia will lead to dry and droopy leaves along with stunted growth.
Follow a watering schedule to avoid both overwatering and underwatering but never water without checking the soil first.
Low humidity can also lead to droopy leaves. Peperomia comes from tropical regions and is a humidity-loving plant.
Therefore, you should always strive to keep the plant healthy and avoid droopy leaves by providing as much humidity as possible.
Peperomia black leaves
Black leaves indicate that something has been bothering your peperomia for quite some time. This is because black leaves take time to develop.
Overwatering, a poor drainage system, overfertilizing, and leaf spot diseases are common reasons behind black leaves in your peperomia.
Besides rectifying your watering pattern, you need to ensure that the pot contains working drainage holes to drain the excess water out. Using soil that supports sound drainage is another important factor.
Overfertilizing can cause many problems. Fertilizing the peperomia once a month with the half-strength liquid fertilizer during the growing season is more than enough.
You should stop fertilizing the peperomia in the winter altogether. If not, the roots and leaves will get burned and will turn black.
Leaf spot diseases are fungal diseases that cause black spots on the leaves of your peperomia plant.
If you provide all the right living conditions to your peperomia, you can prevent leaf spot diseases.
Root rot in peperomia
Root rot is a fungal disease caused due to reasons like overwatering, a poor drainage system, low light, and wrong potting mix.
If your peperomia is going through root rot, you will need to repot the plant.
But before that, you must prune the roots that have turned mushy and brown and the affected leaves or stems.
Leave the roots outside on paper and let them remain under indirect light for a while. You can spray fungicides on the roots.
Get a new pot and make some drainage holes on it if it doesn’t have any. Pour a well-draining soil mix inside the pot and place your peperomia in it.
Let the peperomia remain in indirect light and water once the plant recovers. Avoid fertilizing till you notice new growth. Do not overwater the peperomia and water only if the topsoil is dry.
My peperomia is leggy
Peperomia is a compact and bushy plant, but suddenly, if the stems start growing tall and slim along with fewer leaves on them, you know something is wrong!
A leggy peperomia will not have the energy for healthy growth, which is why the stems will grow long and weak, and there will be fewer leaves.
The leading reason behind leggy peperomia is the lack of light. If your peperomia is placed in a low light area, the plant will not produce enough energy for healthy growth.
If you have a leggy peperomia, you must prune the leggy growths and place the plant in a bright spot so that it will get enough indirect light.
Placing the peperomia near a window that is covered with a curtain would be ideal for the plant.
Peperomia leaves wilting
The leaves of the peperomia usually wilt either due to overwatering or underwatering.
When you have an underwatered peperomia, the soil gets completely dry due to a lack of water, so the roots cannot carry any water to the plant. This will make the leaves wilt.
However, you can fix this by watering the plant thoroughly and coming up with a schedule so that you don’t forget to water the plant.
Overwatering causes root rot, and if not treated on time, this can even kill your peperomia. An overwatered plant sits in excess water that suffocates the roots.
Despite the abundance of water, the roots cannot absorb it, making the plant unhealthy and weak. This will make the leaves wilt.
Watering after checking the moisture of the soil will help you avoid both overwatering and underwatering. Water the peperomia based on external and cultural conditions.
For example, water the peperomia less during winter is the dormant period where the plant doesn’t require as much water.
Or, water the peperomia less if it is in a low light area. The soil will take longer to dry when the plant is not getting enough light, requiring less water.
My peperomia leaves are soft
Soft leaves are a sign of overwatering. If you have an overwatered peperomia, the leaves will become weak. Due to the excess water, they will change the texture and become soft and droopy.
Overwatering is the cause of most problems in houseplants so you must be extremely careful and water the peperomia only when it needs it.
Water when the topsoil is dry and provides bright and indirect light so that the soil doesn’t remain soggy.
Peperomia leaves falling off
The leaves of peperomia can fall off due to some of the following reasons.
- Direct sunlight: Peperomia cannot tolerate direct sunlight, which makes the leaves dry and crisp, due to which they eventually fall off.
- Low light: Even low light can lead to falling leaves. Low light doesn’t allow the plant to produce enough food and energy, leading to peperomia leaves falling.
- Underwatering: If your peperomia doesn’t get enough water, it will lose leaves due to dehydration and lack of energy.
- Overwatering: This will lead to root rot where the roots will fail to function, leading to an unhealthy peperomia that will lose its leaves.
- Pest infestation: If a bug has attacked your peperomia, it will multiply and affect the plant in just a few days, leading to falling leaves.
However, do not get worried if the peperomia is losing old leaves as that is natural.
Care tips for your peperomia
Here are the fundamental factors you need to take care of to have a healthy peperomia in the house.
Light: Peperomia requires bright indirect sunlight. Some peperomia species can survive in moderate to low indirect sunlight. You must never expose these plants to direct sunlight.
Water: Water the peperomia once every one or two weeks. Although a tropical plant, peperomia has different water requirements. Do not water without checking the topsoil and making sure it’s dry.
Soil: Peperomia requires a rich, well-draining potting mix. A mixture of 50% Peat Moss and 50% perlite will work well for your peperomia.
Fertilizer: A diluted dose of a well-balanced fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 3:1:2 will be ideal for the peperomia plant. Fertilize once a month during summer and spring and avoid fertilizing in winter.
Temperature: Peperomia loves a warm environment. Try to maintain temperature levels of 55-80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Humidity: Peperomia comes from regions where you made its levels remain as high as 90%. When growing as a houseplant, peperomia can thrive in average humidity levels of 40 to 50%.
You can increase the humidity during winter by using a humidifier or grouping moisture-loving plants together.
Repotting: Peperomia has a Shallow root system. This means that the roots take a lot of time to grow long and outgrow the pot. You must report your peperomia only when it gets root-bound.
Peperomia enjoys staying slightly root-bound, so do not go for a large pot if you think of repotting the plant.
However, repotting once every 2-3 years is a good idea as it will help the plant to get nutrients through the fresh potting mix.
Pruning: Prune the peperomia to remove the overgrowth, diseased and dead parts, and the leggy growths.
Occasional pruning is required to keep your plant healthy and in shape.
Propagation: You can propagate your peperomia using both stem cutting and leaf-cutting in either soil or water. Place the cuttings in bright indirect light and keep the soil moist. In the case of water propagation, change the water whenever it gets dirty.
Is peperomia a succulent?
Peperomia is a tropical house plant that comes with succulent-like leaves and stems. These are not succulents but are considered semi-succulents. Peperomia stores water in its leaves, due to which the leaves appear thick and fleshy.
How much sun do peperomia plants need?
Most peperomia is required bright indirect light. Although it can adjust to moderate and low light, you won’t see much growth. However, peperomia plants cannot tolerate direct sunlight.
Does peperomia like to be misted?
Peperomia preface a humid environment, and if misting helps to increase the humidity, you can do it. However, there are other effective methods to increase the humidity, like using a pebble tray, installing a humidifier, or grouping your peperomia with other humidity-loving plants.
Ref: University of Florida, Sage Journal, University of Vermont, New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station Rutgers, The University of Arkansas, Britannica, Wikipedia, Peperomia Diseases, NC State University.