We can’t stop ourselves from getting concerned about our peperomia plant when we fail to notice any growth in it. But is it something to worry about? Are you expecting growth in the wrong season? Or, have you just brought a new peperomia home, and it doesn’t show any growth? We’ll talk about why is your peperomia not growing and what you can do about it.
Poor lighting, inadequate watering, and lack of nutrients are primary causes of stunted growth in peperomia. Providing bright indirect light, adequate fertilizer, and correct watering will boost the growth of peperomia. Peperomia will also grow slowly as the temperature drops during winters.
Although it is easy to care for your peperomia, which means you don’t need to invest a lot of time to keep it happy, but you must understand how to care for the plant inside your house. Finding a balancing environment for the plant can be the main hurdle.
Now, let’s discuss the factors affecting the growth of your peperomia and how you can correct them to save the plant.
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Are peperomia slow growing?
Peperomia is considered a slow-growing plant, but the plant’s growth will depend upon how much light it is receiving inside the house, the amount of water you give it, and the temperature and humidity of the area.
But, on average, a peperomia can grow up to a height of 10 to 12 inches, and its width can be around 8 to 12 inches.
The slow-developing nature and the compact size make peperomia an ideal houseplant, especially for those who don’t have the space to keep a large houseplant in their homes.
My peperomia is not growing
Let’s start by saying that you must not set unrealistic goals for your houseplants and their growth. A plant will not grow all year round, and its growth will vary from time to time.
Cultural factors like season, temperature, humidity, etc., can play significant roles in determining the rate of growth of the plants.
Do not try to force growth in your houseplants, and take out some time to understand what is not working out for your peperomia.
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Peperomia not getting enough light
Peperomia will not do well in low light conditions. While some tropical plants do well in low light, the radiator plant is not one of them.
Light is a crucial factor as plants eat light. They use light to convert water and nutrients into carbohydrates. This process helps them to sustain themselves. So, you can understand that without enough light, the plant will remain hungry and become weak.
All these will not support the growth of the peperomia plants.
It might be difficult for you to determine if your peperomia is getting enough light. What may seem enough to your eyes might not be enough.
Do not think about what kind of light you can see. Try to keep yourself in your peperomia’s spot and understand what kind of light the plant is getting. That will slowly help you grasp the lighting conditions of the house.
You can also use a light meter to determine the light’s intensity at different spots in the house. You can get one online or download an app on your mobile that can help you with this.
If your peperomia is not exposed to the right amount of bright indirect sunlight, you need to move it to a better spot.
The ideal spot for your peperomia would be close to the window with a curtain to diffuse the light.
Peperomia is not getting the right amount of humidity
Peperomia is a tropical plant, and all tropical plants are exposed to high humidity levels of up to 90% in their natural environments.
But if you measure the relative humidity level of the house with a hygrometer, it will range anything between 30-50%. While some people suggest that peperomia can survive in a 40-50% humidity range, it might not support proper growth.
Peperomia is a resilient houseplant that can tolerate humidity levels of 40-50%. Still, if you want to see good growth, you can increase the humidity with some simple measures.
However, some peperomia species can thrive and grow without the support of any extra humidity.
Assess your peperomia and try to figure out if it is having problems due to low humidity. Then, follow any of these methods to increase the humidity.
- Group your peperomia with other moisture-loving plants in the house.
- Create a pebble tray by taking a tray and adding some pebbles and water to it. Place the peperomia on top of the pebbles. Let the water evaporate from the tray and add moisture around your peperomia.
- Keep a humidifier near your peperomia to increase the humidity.
Increasing the humidity will indeed mark a difference in the growth of your peperomia plant. However, misting might not be as effective as the other methods.
Peperomia getting the wrong quantity of water
The water requirement of peperomia is slightly different from other tropical plants. Peperomia is a compact plant with a shallow root system. This indicates that the plant will not require as much water as other plants.
Overwatering is common as many peperomia owners might mistake watering it more, thinking it is a tropical plant with high water requirements. That, however, is not true.
Peperomia is prone to root rot, so keeping it overwatered will affect the roots, making the plant unhealthy and stopping its growth.
You might need to repot your peperomia after getting rid of the roots that have started to rot. Once the plant recovers, you will notice growth in it.
On the other hand, letting the soil get completely dry will lead to underwatering. You will need to fix the soil that gets compact due to underwatering by poking some holes into it and then watering it thoroughly.
Underwatering will not allow the plant to access nutrients from the soil. Without water and nutrients, the plant will fail to synthesize food and energy. As a result, you will not see any growth.
Remember one golden rule: your plant’s water requirement will depend on the kind of light it is receiving. Keeping that in mind, don’t forget to check the soil before you water the plant.
Water the peperomia when the top 2-3 inches of the soil feel dry. On average, your peperomia might require water once every one to two weeks.
Peperomia is not getting proper nutrients
Peperomia can survive and thrive even without fertilizers, but the problem is no matter how much nutrients are there in the soil, those will drain out every time you water the plant.
So, soon the water will be devoid of nutrients, and that is where fertilizers help. Fertilizers add nutrients to the soil to keep it balanced so that the plant can absorb nutrients from it.
So, if you have not been fertilizing your peperomia, that might be the very reason behind no growth of the plant.
So you can start fertilizing your peperomia by diluting a well-balanced liquid fertilizer and applying it once a month during the spring and summers.
Avoid fertilizing in winter as that is the dormant period of the peperomia plant. Also, if the peperomia is going through any problem such as root rot or pest infestation, avoid fertilizing till the plant recovers.
If you have an overfertilized peperomia, give the soil a good shower or let it sit in a sink filled with water to leach out the excess salt. You can also repot the plant using fresh soil mix.
You are using the wrong potting soil
The soil type can make or break your plant. If you do not use suitable soil, you will fail to notice any significant growth of your peperomia.
The ideal soil will retain moisture and drain excess water. The right mix will have the balance between the two.
If you use a heavy soil mix that has more retaining properties than draining, the soil will hold excess water, leading to root rot and stunted growth.
In contrast, if the soil has more sand content, it will fail to retain the required moisture. So, finding the balance is the key.
Your peperomia might not be growing well if you are using regular garden soil.
Pest infestation is another reason that might be the reason behind the no growth of your peperomia plant.
You must always check the plant thoroughly while buying it from the nursery to ensure that it doesn’t have any pest infestation.
However, it might be challenging to understand a pest infestation as the plants might have eggs of pests lying dormant in them and waiting for the right conditions to come out and infest your plant.
Therefore, it is vital to take care of your plant by giving it sufficient light and not overwatering it so the pests cannot get the ideal conditions for populating.
Pests can populate fast due to the absence of predators that take care of them in nature. So, you must take action as soon as you detect them on your plant.
Some common pests that can infest your peperomia are mealybugs, scales, spider mites, fungus gnats, etc.
If you have a pest-infested peperomia, treat it with these three steps depending on the level of infestation.
- Prune: Prune the infected area to get rid of a lot of pests.
- Spray neem oil: Spraying neem oil might not eliminate all the pests but will kill many. Do this for two weeks.
- Replace the soil: If the pests grow on the soil, you can replace the top few inches of the soil with fresh soil mix. Make sure to dump the old soil in the dustbin.
Expecting growth at the wrong time of the year
Winter is the dormant period for most houseplants. During the dormant period, the plants rest and do not remain very active. So, if you don’t see much growth in your peperomia between autumn and winter, do not panic!
If the peperomia was growing well during the other months and suddenly the growth stopped during winter, it is natural and nothing to be worried about.
During winter, plants do not get enough light, and the temperatures drop low. The plants fail to generate as much energy as they do during the other times of the year. That is why they get into the resting mode to save up energy for the growing season.
Are you repotting your peperomia too frequently? You cannot afford to get impatient with your peperomia and repot it repeatedly as instead of helping, it can harm your peperomia.
Frequent repotting can stress the plant that will affect its growth. Every time you repot your peperomia, it will go through stress, and a lot of its energy will go into adjusting with the new change. Therefore, the plant will not be able to focus much on growth.
Peperomia, or the radiator plant, comes with a shallow root system. It means that the plant doesn’t require as much repotting. You must repot it only when the roots start coming out of the drainage holes, or the soil has run out of all nutrients.
How can I make my peperomia grow faster?
If you take proper care of your peperomia, it will grow at its natural speed, and you will see it happy. Having a happy and healthy plant is more important than making it grow faster.
Here are some tips that will boost the growth of your peperomia along with keeping it healthy.
- Maintain the ideal temperatures for peperomia, 65 and 80°F and don’t expose the plant to low temperatures.
- Make sure that the humidity is not below 40-50%. If the plant requires some more humidity, you can do so by grouping it with some other tropical plants that you own or keeping it on a pebble tray.
- Water your peperomia after making sure that the topsoil has dried out evenly. Reduce watering as winter approaches.
- Peperomia requires bright indirect sunlight. Keep your peperomia close to a window that is covered with a curtain. Don’t expose the plant to intense sunlight.
- Use grow lights to make up for the lack of natural light in your house.
- Use a rich and nutritious potting mix that is well-draining at the same time. Use a mixture of 50% peat moss and 50% perlite to make the perfect mix.
- Do not overfertilize by giving a strong dose of fertilizer or by fertilizing too frequently. Give the peperomia a diluted dose of a well-balanced liquid fertilizer.
- Use a neem oil spray to keep the pests away from your peperomia.
- Repot the peperomia when it gets root-bound or if you want to improve the soil quality by placing it in a fresh mix. Do not overdo it and try to repot after every 2-3 years.
- Keep the peperomia away from hot or cold drafts, heating sources, frost, or the dry air of the AC.
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.