Peperomia plants are a gorgeous genus from the tropical regions of Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America. There are over 1000 known species of these hearty fleshy plants over the tropical and semi-tropical regions of the world, and they have become a universal favorite ornamental houseplant.
Some popular Peperomia varieties are watermelon peperomia, peperomia hope, peperomia jelly, and red ripple peperomia. Most varieties have similar shapes and sizes but different leaf colors and patterns. They are pet-friendly, non-toxic, and easy-to-grow indoor plants.
In this article, I will share the 11 most popular types of Peperomia available with pictures and briefly describe the care requirement of these plants.
Table Of Contents
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A little note about Peperomia or radiator plants
Peperomia plants are a great choice for beginner plant enthusiasts.
These belong to the Piperaceae family, which includes over a thousand plant species such as the baby rubber plant, watermelon peperomia, ripple peperomia, and so on.
A botanist coined the name Peperomia in 1794.
They are sometimes also known as Radiator plants because many species of this plant enjoy dry and bright conditions similar to a windowsill above a radiator.
They are forgiving and tolerant and can survive neglect and mistakes.
They have spectacular textures and colors of leaves, contributing to their popularity as houseplants across the United States.
The foliage of peperomia has distinctive colors like grey, purple, red, and green and textures including marbled, variegated or solid, tiny or heart-shaped.
They are slow-growing, adaptable, low maintenance, and perennial plants suitable for most homes.
11 Popular Peperomia (Radiator plants)
With numerous species of Peperomia available in the market, I will discuss a few of the most popular ones below and tell you which of these are my absolute favorites.
1. Watermelon Peperomia (Peperomia argyreia)
Let’s start with the most favorite peperomia of mine.
Watermelon peperomia has recently exploded in popularity in the houseplant community due to its distinctive foliage, which resembles the patterns on the body of a watermelon.
This stunning variety has round pointed leaves in dark green color and light green-sliver stripes running from the center of the leaves in a curving line towards the tip of the leaves.
The leaves have red color petioles that hold them together.
The leaves are not just vibrant in color but have a shimmery appeal that gives them a stunning effect, especially when sunlight falls on them.
These plants grow to about 8 inches tall, so they have a compact growth, making them ideal for indoor small-space gardening.
They are natives of South America and are tropical plants that grow in rainforests and adapt themselves very well to indoor gardens.
They do well in indirect lights in well-draining soil that retains slight moisture.
2. Jayde Peperomia (Peperomia polybotrya)
They are known by names like Coin Peperomia, raindrop Peperomia, and Chinese money plant.
They are native to the tropical regions of Peru and Columbia.
The raindrop Peperomia has waxy succulent leaves and stems that store water inside them to survive the dry season.
The foliage is thick, and heart-shaped, with a dark green glossy sheen and a paler green underside.
If they get the right growing conditions, they can grow up to 1 foot.
In the USDA zones 10-12, they are best grown outdoors.
They flower in bright light and open up white spikes that bloom.
The flowers are sweet-smelling and last for a short period.
This species is not for low light areas, so choose a bright window sill or balcony to position them to maintain the dark glossy color.
3. Metallic Peperomia (Peperomia rosso)
These are succulent evergreen plants with succulent leaves that are leathery and have a metallic sheen on them.
The leaves of metallic peperomia are more pointed than the other peperomia plants.
The underside of the leaves is deep red and burgundy, and the top side is dark green-black with silver-green steaks running down the center.
This species of Peperomia flowers if it gets ample bright indirect sunlight, but since the leaves are dark green, it can survive well in medium lights too.
They are slow growers but are very attractive.
They are tender and do not do well in freezing temperatures.
Keep them in partial shade and water when the soil gets completely dry.
4. String of turtles peperomia (Peperomia prostrate)
This variety of Peperomia is getting popular with time.
They are natives of the Brazilian rainforests and thrive in warm climates.
They have tiny round leaves that are smaller than our thumbnails.
They are slender with trailing vines and spotted green patterned foliage, making them a favorite for terrariums and fairy gardens.
The tiny leaves look like miniature turtles strung together.
They have intricate color patterns which tend to become muted with age.
They look gorgeous while cascading over the edges of the hanging baskets.
The plants are slow growers and reach maturity in three to five years, making them ideal for small homes.
Keep them in places where the entire plant gets bright light.
Soil that is rich in organic matter is good for them.
They are sensitive to overwatering.
5. Baby rubber plant (Peperomia obtusifolia)
Peperomia obtussifolia is known as the American rubber plant or the baby rubber plant.
Baby rubber plants are another species of perennial evergreen peperomia that grows in an upright structure.
In their native habitat, they grow in high-humidity forests under bigger trees and absorb their nutrients.
The leaves of these plants are dark green and oval and have a glossy, fleshy texture, and they grow up to a height of 2 feet.
This variety of peperomia comes in multiple variegated cultivars such as yellow, silver, light green, dark green, and white and marbled and blocky patterns.
The leaves have a fleshy succulent feel, and the thin stems are non-woody.
Most grow up to 25-30cm in height and must be pinched at the top to promote more growth.
These species also require a lot of bright natural light to maintain their color.
The variegated ones require more light than the green ones.
In the absence of sufficient light, they tend to grow leggy.
They enjoy humidity and like being misted.
These are beautiful and are one of my favorite peperomia plants.
6. Peperomia Hope (Peperomia tetraphylla)
This is a tropical plant epiphyte with succulent-like tiny leaves.
They thrive in plenty of moisture and bright indirect light.
Hope Peperomias are slow-growing trailing plants and flower in the right conditions.
They are relatively low maintenance and are perfect for beginners.
I highly recommend this one as it is another of my favorite peperomia plants.
7. Trailing jade (Peperomia rotundifolia)
They are an adorable variety of Peperomia with small round leaves.
They are often confused with jade plants but are different.
They are natives of the South American rainforest, where they crawl through and on trees, forest grounds, and rotten logs.
The leaves are semi-succulent and thick that hold water in them.
They need a lot of humidity and moisture, a steady temperature, and a shaded spot.
They look brilliant in hanging baskets with trailing ivy accentuating your room’s beauty.
8. Peperomia Jelly (Peperomia clusiifolia)
Peperomia Jelly is native to southern Florida and certain regions of Central America and is grown as indoor potted plants due to its ability to thrive indoors.
They are also called red-edged peperomia because of their distinct red margins around the leaves and are unique varieties of the plant with curled and large leaves instead of pointed or rounded ones.
The succulent leaves have green, cream, white and yellow colors on the leaves and the edges are pink and red.
They are compact and grow up to a height of 6-7inches.
They grow upright but stay compact.
They are a perfect colorful decor for a table or shelf.
They grow best in full sun or partial shade.
If grown indoors, make sure they receive a lot of indirect bright light.
Though these plants can tolerate lower light conditions, the foliage color will not be vibrant, and the growth will be slower.
It can grow outdoors in USDA zones 10 through 12.
Fluctuating temperatures due to cold drafts or closing and opening windows is harmful to them.
9. Red Ripple Peperomia (Peperomia caperata)
If you are one of those who want a unique-looking plant, this is the plant to choose.
They have astonishingly gorgeous leaves, deep red-burgundy or purple, with gorgeous texture.
The color enables this variant to flourish in low-light environments, so it is ideal for homes with darker rooms and adds a lot of color to homes.
They are perfect in USDA hardiness zones 11-12, grown as groundcovers.
They are low-maintenance plants with moderate watering needs.
They stay compact, growing up to 8 inches in height.
They like humidity so pebble trays are great for them.
10. Peperomia Nivalis
Peperomia Nivalis is a variant of succulent that is native to Peru.
They are tiny plants that grow up to 1-2 inches tall.
The plant has fleshy stems with dark green oval leaves.
They have creamy gold variegation and pointed-edged leaves.
Like other variants, they also like bright indirect light with temperatures ranging between 65-80°F.
Keep the soil moist during the active season and let it dry between watering.
They do not need much watering in the winter, so reduce watering.
Owing to its size, this beautiful succulent Peperomia can be perfect for small hanging baskets.
11. Emerald Ripple Peperomia (Peperomia caperata)
Emerald Ripple Peperomia has an appearance of a rosette, and its foliage is extremely dark green, purple, and red.
They have deep creases along the length giving the leaves a heavily textured wrinkly look.
The flowers are tiny and inconsequential.
These species are ideal for terrariums or window containers as they are very compact species.
They grow well in bright indirect light from east or west-facing windows.
Overwatering is harmful to them so let the soil dry out in between.
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Peperomia Care Guide
If you decide to get any of these beautiful species for your space, you must know how to take care of them.
Since I’ve handled quite a few of these myself, I can help you with that and give you the basic details on caring for a peperomia plant.
1. Light requirements
It grows best in medium to bright light.
However, it can survive in lower lights too.
If the plants get insufficient light, the production of new leaves will reduce, and the colors on the leaves will not develop fully.
Poor lights also tend to make peperomias leggy and thin as it starts to stretch toward the light source.
You can easily fix this by pruning the leggy parts and shifting the plant to more light.
Intense direct sun rays are unsuitable for these plans as they tend to bleach the leaves and turn them dry and yellow.
An east-facing window sill is ideal for them as the early morning sunlight is mild, and then the rest of the day stays in indirect light.
2. Water requirements
Peperomia plants are semi-succulents, meaning the thick fleshy leaves can store water.
This indicates that they do not need frequent watering.
The soil of these plants needs to be let dry in between watering.
Keeping them slightly under-watered is safer than saturating them with water as they are extremely prone to root rot.
Water your peperomia when the top 2 inches of soil dries off completely, and then water it thoroughly and wait until it is dry again.
3. Temperature requirements
Peperomias are tropical plants that enjoy warm environments during the summers when they are highly active.
Their best growth occurs in the 65-75°F temperature range.
If your area has freezing winters, it is recommended to protect your plant.
4. Humidity requirements
The humidity needs of peperomias vary as per their species.
Some species are known to enjoy high humidity, while some can happily thrive in low humidity.
The best way is to observe the leaves of your Peperomia.
The thicker the leaves are, the lower humidity levels they can tolerate.
However, it is advisable to give your plant some humidity in summers when they are most active to help them grow the best.
Using a humidifier can be a good option.
5. Fertilizer requirements
6. Potting mix
Many peperomia plant species in nature grow as epiphytes which means they grow in the tiny nooks of decaying barks and settle their roots comfortably.
So the potting soil of these plants needs to be similar to this condition-loose, acidic, and chunky.
They do not do well in wet soil, so it needs to stay very light and airy.
Orchid potting medium works very well for these plants.
One of the best things about Peperomias is that they are tolerant of heavy pruning.
They stay in a compact, bushy state because they respond well to pruning.
So prune the peperomia plant in the early spring season to maintain its shape and size, remove the dead parts, and encourage new growth and branching.
Peperomias being slow-growing plants, do not need repotting often.
Do not repot your peperomia unless you see they are outgrowing the pot size as they enjoy being in slightly root-bound conditions.
Do not repot them unless you find the roots coming out of the drainage holes, and choose a pot slightly bigger than the present pot.
9. Diseases and Pests
Though fairly resistant and hardy, they are prone to Pythium, which rots the roots and stems.
Overwatering is the primary cause, so keep the soil dry and never let the soil stand waterlogged.
They are also infested by mealy bugs, scales mites, and fungus gnats.
Regularly wipe the leaves with neem oil to keep them clean and repel pests.
Propagating this plant is easy and can be done by leaf and stem cuttings.
The variegated species have higher success in stem propagation, which helps maintain the leaf variegations.
You can do it at any time of the year, although spring is the most recommended season for propagation.
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.