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Peperomia is tropical houseplants that come with lush green leaves. These are compact plants that grow up to 12 inches long. Other than light, one major factor that supports their growth is water. One common question that can come to your head is how often you should water your peperomia? And how much water does the plant require? Let’s find out.
As a general rule, the peperomia plant needs to be watered once every 7-10 days. The water requirement of the peperomia plant will depend upon the lighting conditions, humidity, air circulation, pot size, soil type, and much more. Thus, you need to check the soil before watering them.
You must not follow any watering schedule blindly while watering your peperomia. And instead, check the soil and then decide if the plant requires water. You must not water if the soil is still wet as that will lead to overwatering.
In this article, we’ll discuss the water requirements of the peperomia plant, how often to water it, the factors that affect its water requirements, and the effects of overwatering and underwatering the peperomia plant.
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How much water does peperomia need?
The water requirement of the peperomia will depend on the season. How? Let’s take a look.
Summer and spring are the growing seasons of the peperomia plants. During this time, the sun’s intensity remains high that allows the plant to photosynthesize more and grow fast.
If your peperomia is placed at the right spot, it will receive a lot of indirect light during this time. This will help the soil dry out fast, so your peperomia will require frequent watering.
Watering the plant once a week is recommended, but you should not water without checking the soil. Before watering, poke your finger or a stick in the soil to determine whether it is dry or wet.
If you experience a dry summer with high temperatures and low humidity, the soil will lose moisture quickly and need more watering.
Winter is the dormant season for the houseplants. The peperomia rests during this time as the sun’s intensity reduces along with the duration of sunlight because of shorter days.
You might notice slow growth or no growth in your peperomia during the winter months.
But you must be careful while watering in winter. First of all, the soil takes longer to dry in winter due to the mild heat from the sun. So if you water it according to the same schedule as summer, your peperomia will get overwatered. And we don’t want that, do we?
So, consider watering once every two weeks but again, don’t follow this blindly and check the soil before you water your peperomia.
You must not water your plants with cold or hot water. Use room temperature water if you don’t want to shock your peperomia.
|Spring and Summer||Every 5-7 Days|
|Fall and Winter||Every 7-14 Days|
If you are not sure how to check the soil and determine the watering requirements then get a moisture meter asap. It can be extremely useful for this task.
How do I know when my peperomia needs water?
There are different ways to figure out if your peperomia requires water. Let’s check them out.
Finger/Skewer: Inserting your finger or the skewer into the soil is the easiest way to understand the condition of the soil. Poke your finger or skewer inside the soil up to 2-3 inches and take it out to check if any soil is stuck to it. If any soil is stuck, it means that the soil is still wet. You must wait for a few more days and then recheck the soil.
Moisture meter: It is a convenient method of checking the moistness of the soil. Insert it in the soil. If the reading is 2 or 3, you can water your peperomia.
Lifting the pot: Peperomia is a compact plant, so lifting the pot should not be a problem. If you have a small pot, you can lift it and check the weight. If it feels heavy, the soil still has water, but if the weight is not much, the soil is dry and ready for some watering. You might need some experience before you can analyze the weight of the pot.
Wet pot: If you use a terracotta pot, you can understand the soil’s moisture by looking at the pot. If the pot looks dark, it means that the soil is still wet.
You can also understand by touching the pot. If the pot feels moist when you touch it at the bottom, it means that the soil is still wet.
Factors affecting the need for water
A lot of external factors determine the water requirements of the peperomia plant. Let’s understand these as these will help you develop the proper watering schedule for your peperomia.
Peperomia requires bright indirect light, and if it is getting enough of it, it will need frequent watering. Bright light will help the soil get dry faster, so the plant will require more water.
On the other hand, if you cannot provide enough bright indirect light to these plants, the soil will take longer to dry and will require less water.
That is how light affects the water requirement of peperomia. However, to remember, you must never expose the plant to direct sunlight as that can burn the leaves and dehydrate the plant.
You can use artificial lights if your peperomia is not getting enough natural indirect light. Make sure that the intensity of the light is not too harsh for the plant.
You can take a look at this table to remember it easily.
|Low lighting||Every 7-14 Days|
|Medium-Bright Lighting||Every 5-7 Days|
If the temperatures are high, peperomia will require more water, and if the temperatures are low, it will require less water.
You must not expose the peperomia to extremely low temperatures as that will cause many problems for the plant.
During winter, the temperature levels fall, and that’s the time to reduce the watering frequency. But during summer or spring, when the temperatures are high, the plant’s water requirement will be more, so you should water more frequently.
|More than 65°F||Every 5-7 Days|
|Less than 65°F||Every 7-14 Days|
Humidity and water are two different plant requirements, so you must not confuse the two as the same. However, one can depend on the other.
Peperomia plants are tropical plants that are used to over 90% humidity in their native lands. Although they don’t require as much humidity, they require at least 40-50% humidity.
Humidity affects the watering needs slightly. If the humidity levels are on the higher side, the peperomia will require a little less water.
If the humidity levels are low, consider misting or using a humidifier to increase the humidity.
|Humidity level||Water Needs|
|Low humidity||Every 5-7 Days|
|High humidity||Every 7-14 Days|
Peperomia prefers a light and rich soil mix. Using well-draining soil for your peperomia will require frequent watering as the soil will drain excess water and dry up fast.
A well-draining soil is recommended for peperomia as it contains chunky particles and is well aerated, allowing proper airflow through the soil and roots.
If you are using a heavy soil mix for your peperomia, which is not suitable, it will require less watering as the soil will take longer to dry due to lack of aeration and the retaining of excess water.
You must change the soil mix to a well-draining one as if the soil remains soggy for too long. It can cause root rot in your plant.
One factor that makes peperomia an ideal houseplant is its root system. The peperomia has a small root system that requires deep watering.
The problem arises when these roots become clustered, and the plant becomes root-bound. If you haven’t repotted your peperomia for a long time, its roots may have overgrown the pot.
These roots become clustered and fail to function well. If you keep watering the plant as per the usual routine, the plant will get overwatered as the roots will not absorb the water, making the soil soggy. All these will lead to root rot.
It would be best to repot your peperomia every few years not to get root-bound.
Not everyone understands the importance of choosing the right pot for the plants. The water requirement of peperomia will vary as per the pot or planter used for it.
If your peperomia is potted in a plastic pot, it will require less water as plastic pots are not porous and take longer to dry.
If you are using a ceramic pot for your peperomia, the water will dry faster and need watering more frequently.
Terracotta pots are ideal for your peperomia plant, and potting the plant in such a pot would be best as these are highly porous and let the water dry out very fast. You must frequently water if your peperomia is potted in a terracotta pot.
Terracotta pots will also help you understand if the soil is wet or dry just by looking at them. If the pot looks opaque at the bottom, it indicates that the soil is still moist.
The pot’s size should also be considered when you decide the frequency of watering for your peperomia.
|Pot size||Water need|
|Smaller pot||Every 5-7 Days|
|Larger Pot||Every 7-14 Days|
How much do you water peperomia?
You must water your peperomia after considering the environmental conditions such as light, temperature, and humidity levels.
After considering these, water the peperomia based on the size of the pot it is planted in.
- Use 1-2 cups of water when watering. If you are using a small pot, water less.
- If you use a big pot, water more. Consider using 3 to 4 cups of water for a bigger pot.
However, you must water thoroughly as peperomia plants prefer deep watering that will reach the deepest roots.
The watering will also depend on the type of soil mix that is being used. If you are using a well-aerated soil mix, you can give more water to your plant.
Do not follow any watering schedule blindly. Consider the climatic conditions and develop a watering schedule that is suitable for your plant’s requirements.
Signs of overwatering peperomia
Overwatering is a common and severe problem that can lead to different problems. If you are overwatering your peperomia, you will notice some of these signs:
- Yellow leaves
- Brown leaves
- Falling leaves
- Slow growth
- Root rot
- Mold growth
How to fix an overwatered peperomia?
Take a look at the following points if you are trying to fix an overwatered peperomia.
- Avoid watering the peperomia if the soil is still wet.
- Wait for the soil to try before you water the plant.
- If you notice brown spots on the peperomia leaves, your plant might be having root rot.
- If you get any foul smell from the soil, take the plant out of the pot and check the soil.
- The pot must not retain too much water, or there might be chances of a fungal infection that will also bring pests.
- The pot should have working drainage holes to let the excess water drain out.
- If the roots of your peperomia are mushy, then it’s root rot. Repot the plant using fresh well-draining soil mix and a new pot with drainage holes.
- Place the repotted peperomia in a bright area that receives sufficient indirect light to dry the soil.
- It is best to water your peperomia once a week or two weeks. It will depend on the light, temperature, humidity, etc.
Signs of underwatering peperomia
Underwatering is less hard to deal with and easier to treat. But, you should not underwater it for an extended period. Some signs of an underwatered peperomia are as follows:
- Wilting of leaves
- Dry soil
- Brown leaves
- Slow growth
- Dry and dead leaf tips
How to fix an underwatered peperomia?
You can fix a thirsty peperomia with the following steps:
- Bottom watering is an excellent method to revive the underwatered peperomia.
- Brown tips or edges on the leaves indicate that the peperomia is dehydrated due to a lack of water. Therefore, you must increase the amount and frequency of watering.
- If you notice smaller leaves on your peperomia, the reason might be that it is not getting adequate water. So, you would need to increase the water supply.
- Droopy leaves are another sign that your peperomia is not getting enough water. You must keep the peperomia away from cold drafts as this can happen due to low humidity.
- Giving the plant a good shower is an excellent way of increasing the humidity.
To give you an overview, your peperomia will require water once in 7 to 10 days. Before watering the plant, consider the external and environmental factors such as season, light, temperature, humidity, etc.
The most crucial point is to water after checking the soil’s moisture every time you consider watering your peperomia. Check the plant’s reaction after watering it to understand if the plant is happy with it.
If you are having problems deciding the water amount, you can start by watering less, and once you understand the plant’s needs, you can come up with a watering schedule. But don’t follow it blindly.
A watering schedule will help you stay on track and remind you to keep a check on the watering needs of your peperomia so that you don’t forget to water it.
Avoid overwatering at all costs. Use a well-draining soil mix and a pot with working drainage holes. Let the soil get dry in between the waterings and water thoroughly whenever you water the plant.
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.