Peperomia admirers cannot deny that they were impressed by the foliage of this species that led them to get it for their houses. But what happens when those beautiful leaves start dropping? It is not uncommon for leaves to drop, but an unusual dropping of leaves can leave you worried.
Overwatering is the primary reason behind the dropping of leaves in your peperomia. When the soil of your peperomia remains soggy for an extended period, that damages the roots. The roots fail to absorb nutrients from the soil, leading to a weak plant that starts losing its leaves.
There can be other reasons behind the dropping of leaves, such as pest infestation, low humidity, improper fertilization, and unfavorable temperature levels.
The good news is you can fix these problems with the treatments that we will mention in this article. If you read and understand the requirements of your peperomia and give it care accordingly, you will never come across unusual dropping of leaves again.
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Why does my Peperomia keep losing leaves?
When you don’t care for your peperomia properly, the plant suffers, due to which it starts losing all its leaves.
Identifying all the possible problems or reasons behind the dropping of peperomia leaves is the key to fixing the issue. Once you identify the problem, you’ll be able to figure out the best way to treat the plant and bring it back to health.
Let’s take a quick glance at all the possible problems first.
- Pest infestation
- Low humidity
- Soggy soil
- Root rot
- Poor quality water
- Improper fertilization
- Unfavorable temperatures
- Low light
- Wrong pot
- Wrong soil mix
That is a long list, and you might find more than one problem in your peperomia that finally leads to the dropping of leaves. So, check your plant thoroughly so that you make no mistake in identifying the problem.
Now, let’s understand these issues in detail.
Overwatering is deadly as it can cause severe damage, starting from the roots and slowly spreading to all parts of the plant.
Watering can go wrong if you don’t consider the season, temperature, or humidity of your area.
The radiator plant doesn’t require much water like some other tropical plants, but it can get overwatered if you don’t reduce the watering during the colder months.
If this is the problem and you have an overwatered peperomia, take the following actions:
- Place the peperomia under bright sunlight so that the water can dry up.
- Take your peperomia out of its pot carefully.
- If you notice any unhealthy roots (brown and mushy), prune them with a pair of sterilized scissors.
- Apply a fungicide on the healthy roots.
- Prepare a fresh soil mix, get a new pot with proper drainage holes, and repot the plant.
If you want to prevent overwatering, keep these in mind:
- Don’t forget to check the soil’s moisture before watering your peperomia.
- Let the soil dry in between the watering.
- Try to water using the bottom watering method.
- Reduce the watering during the colder months.
A quick tip: If you are a beginner consider getting a moisture meter to check the soil. This will ensure you don’t overwater or underwater your peperomia.
Underwatering can also make the leaves drop. Plants cannot remain healthy without a sufficient dose of water.
If you neglect your plant and do not water it for an extended period, the soil will become dry, the roots will not be able to absorb any nutrients from the soil, and your peperomia will become weak and unhealthy.
If you have an underwatered peperomia, you must do the following:
- Water the plant a bit more frequently to revive it. However, do not overdo it.
- Take the peperomia out of its pot and put it in a sink filled with water.
- Allow the plant to soak water for 20-30 minutes.
- If the soil feels too wet, you must let the excess water drain before placing the plant back in its pot.
Pests are a challenge. It’s hard to get rid of pests, and they can populate fast and spread all over your plant in no time.
If pests keep feeding your plant, they will suck all the nutrients out of the plant and make the plant weak. Soon, the plant will have dropping leaves.
Pests can attack your peperomia if it is overwatered, living in damp soil, and is not getting enough light.
If you have a pest-infested peperomia, follow these steps to get rid of them:
- Spray horticulture oils like neem oil on all parts of the peperomia. Continue this for one or two weeks.
- You can also opt for insecticidal soap to treat the pests.
Peperomia is a tropical plant that is used to up to 90% humidity in its natural habitat. However, it will do well even in average humidity levels like 40-50% as a houseplant.
But if the humidity levels drop below 40%, the leaves will start curling and dropping.
Keeping the peperomia too close to a heating vent or exposing it to the dry air of the AC can lead to a low humidity environment for the plant.
If this is the issue, you need to increase the humidity for your peperomia.
- First of all, use a humidity monitor(hygrometer) to check the humidity level of the house.
- If the humidity is low, consider misting the leaves of your peperomia.
- Use a humidifier or a pebble tray or group it with other moisture-loving plants.
The radiator plant prefers well-draining and slightly moist soil and not soggy soil.
You must provide the right kind of soil to your peperomia if you do not want to cause more problems. If the soil is damp, the peperomia will develop significant problems like root rot.
Root rot will affect the whole plant, including the leaves.
Here are the ways to fix this problem:
- The straightforward solution to this problem is getting a better soil mix for your peperomia. Prepare a well-draining soil mix by adding peat moss and perlite and repot your peperomia in this soil mix.
- Ensure that there are drainage holes in the pot that work. This will help to drain the extra water.
Also read: How To Save Overwatered Peperomia?
Root rot is caused due to overwatering. When you overwater your peperomia, the soil retains excess water that suffocates the roots.
The roots do not get any oxygen supply and start to rot. The plant doesn’t get any nutrients as the roots fail to supply essential nutrients to the plant.
All these can make the leaves curl and drop.
You must stop overwatering, prune the damaged roots and repot your peperomia to fix the root rot.
Poor quality water
It might not cross your mind, but if everything else seems fine, poor water quality can be the possible reason behind the dropping of peperomia leaves.
You might be using regular tap water for peperomia, but do you know that it can contain harmful minerals for your plant? Yes, chlorine, fluorine, and other salts can build up on the soil, causing damage to your beloved peperomia plant.
You might just switch to filtered water and use that while watering your peperomia. You can also use rainwater if available. These will contain little or no harmful minerals.
If you don’t have any other option available, fill a bucket with tap water and leave it outside for some hours. This will reduce the minerals content of the water.
Peperomia is a plant that can survive without fertilizers. But fertilizing is essential to see fast growth in the plants.
However, excess fertilizer can damage the roots and cause root rot. They will not be able to provide water, oxygen, or nutrients to the plant.
You will notice that the leaves have started developing brown spots and getting weaker. Eventually, these leaves will drop.
If you think that overfertilization is the cause of the dropping of leaves on your peperomia, take the help of the following methods.
- Fertilize your peperomia with diluted liquid fertilizer.
- Water the soil entirely and allow it to drain. You can do this a couple of times.
- Avoid fertilizing till the peperomia recovers.
- If the condition of the soil is irreparable, repot the plant using a fresh soil mix.
- Do not fertilize during the winter season.
- You can use a slow-release pellet to regulate fertilization.
Peperomia thrives in temperatures between 65 and 80°F. If the temperature at your house is not favorable, the peperomia can drop its leaves.
If the temperatures rise higher during the summer months, the plant will transpire more due to more heat and lose moisture faster.
If this continues for too long, the plant will lose all leaves and die.
To avoid such a situation, you can:
- Do not expose your peperomia to intense sunlight, and do not place it too close to any heating source.
- Keep the peperomia away from the dry air of the AC.
- Set the peperomia on a pebble tray or mist the plant to increase the humidity if the plant loses a lot of moisture due to a rise in the temperature level.
Peperomia requires moderate to bright indirect sunlight to stay healthy. The placement of the plant is vital as that will decide if the plant will get enough light.
When the peperomia doesn’t receive enough sunlight, it will develop a lot of problems. And if it gets exposed to the direct sun, it will experience leaf burn and the dropping of leaves.
Here is how you can fix the lighting issues:
- If your peperomia is not getting enough natural light, use artificial lights to provide sufficient light.
- Do not expose the peperomia to direct sunlight.
- If your peperomia is placed outside, keep it in a shaded spot.
- If it is placed inside the house, place it a few feet away from the window to receive indirect light.
Using the wrong pot to grow your peperomia can cause the decline of its health. If you are using a pot that doesn’t support proper drainage, which means, if the pot doesn’t have suitable drainage holes, your peperomia will stand in water.
The soil will retain excess water due to lack of drainage and lead to root rot and leaves dropping.
However, you can fix this by:
- Taking your peperomia out of the pot along with the soil and making drainage holes in it. You can use a drill to make the drainage holes and then place the peperomia back in it.
- Do not use a pot without drainage holes in the first place. Get one that already comes with drainage holes.
- Avoid using a container or pot that is too large for your peperomia, as that will retain excess water. Peperomia, anyway, prefers a compact pot.
Wrong soil mix
Peperomia prefers slightly moist soil, but using a heavy soil mix will retain more water and become compact.
If the soil gets compact, it will not support proper airflow. This will restrict root growth and will lead to the dropping of leaves.
Therefore, you should use rich yet well-draining soil that can drain the excess water out of the pot.
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How to prevent the dropping of leaves in peperomia?
One thing to remember is that leaves can drop naturally also. The leaves that are aging will eventually drop to make space for new leaf growth. This is a natural process that you should not worry about.
However, if you want to prevent the unusual dropping of leaves, all you need to do is take good care of your peperomia plant.
- Avoid watering the peperomia without checking the moisture of the soil.
- Let the excess water drain out of the drainage holes after you water and give the soil enough time to dry before you water again.
- Repot the peperomia if it gets root-bound.
- Keep the plant away from direct sunlight, hot and cold drafts, and frost during the winter season.
- Fertilize with a diluted dose of fertilizer once a month during the growing season and avoid fertilizing in winter.
- Rotate the plant after every few days so that it gets light on all sides and doesn’t lean on one side.
- Don’t forget to empty the cache tray that holds the excess water that drains out of the drainage holes of the pot.
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.