Peperomias are a genus of over 1,000 species of plants native to tropical and subtropical regions around the world. They are popular houseplants because of their attractive foliage. Caring for peperomias is relatively easy to do, with the proper care and attention.
There are many different varieties of peperomias, each with its own unique appearance. Some common peperomias include the peperomia peperomioides, the peperomia obtusifolia, and the peperomia caperata.
General Care Requirements
While peperomias are low-maintenance plants, but there are a few things you can do to ensure that they thrive.
Peperomias prefer bright, indirect light. Avoid placing them in direct sunlight, as this can scorch the leaves. A south-facing window with sheer curtains is ideal. If you don’t have a south-facing window, an east- or west-facing window will also work. If you only have a north-facing window, your peperomia will still be able to survive, but it may not grow as quickly or produce as many leaves.
Proper watering is essential to caring for peperomias. Peperomias should be watered when the top inch of soil is dry. Allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings, as overwatering can lead to root rot. When you do water your peperomia, make sure to water the soil directly and avoid getting water on the leaves.
Peperomias do well in a well-draining potting mix. You can make your own potting mix or purchase one from a garden center. If you make your own potting mix, be sure to include a good amount of perlite or sand to help with drainage.
Peperomias should be fertilized every two weeks during the spring and summer with a balanced liquid fertilizer. Dilute the fertilizer to half strength to avoid burning the roots. Fertilizing your peperomia in the fall and winter is not necessary, as it is a dormant plant during these months.
Pests and Diseases
Peperomias are relatively resistant to pests and diseases. However, they can be susceptible to mealybugs, scale, and spider mites. If you notice any pests on your plant, isolate it from other plants and treat it with an insecticidal soap or neem oil.
Part of caring for peperomias includes repotting. Peperomias should be repotted every year or two. When repotting, choose a pot that is only slightly larger than the current pot. Use fresh potting mix and be sure to water the plant well after repotting.
Peperomias are easily propagated. My preferred method is propagating in water, but you can place the cuttings in soil, too.
How to Propagate Peperomias
- Use a sharp knife or pruning shears to cut a 4-6 inch piece of stem from the mother plant.
- Remove the lower leaves from the cutting.
- Place the cutting in a jar of water.
- Keep the water fresh and the cutting will root in a few weeks.
Once the roots are an inch or two long, you can plant the cutting in a pot of well-draining potting mix. Water the plant well and place it in a bright, indirect light location.
Common Types of Peperomias
There are over 1,000 species of peperomias, but here are some of the most common types:
- Peperomia obtusifolia: This is one of the most popular peperomias, and it’s easy to see why. It has thick, fleshy leaves that are green or variegated, and it’s very easy to care for.
- Peperomia caperata: This peperomia is known for its rippled leaves. It comes in a variety of colors, including green, red, and silver.
- Peperomia scandens: This peperomia is a trailing plant, so it’s perfect for hanging baskets or trailing over the edge of a shelf. It has small, heart-shaped leaves that are green or variegated.
- Peperomia rotundifolia: This peperomia is also known as the “baby rubber plant.” It has small, round leaves that are green or variegated.
- Peperomia pilea: This peperomia is known as the “friendship plant.” It has round, coin-shaped leaves that are green.
- Peperomia argyreia: This peperomia is known as the “watermelon peperomia.” It has heart-shaped leaves that are green with silver veins.
- Peperomia metallica: This peperomia is known as the “metallic peperomia.” It has thick, fleshy leaves that are green with silver spots.
- Peperomia polybotrya: This peperomia is known as the “raindrop peperomia.” It has small, round leaves that are green with silver spots.
While they are relatively low-maintenance plants, there are a few issues you may come across when caring for peperomias.
If your peperomia’s leaves are turning yellow, it may be a sign of overwatering. Allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings.
Brown Tips on Leaves
Brown tips on leaves can be a sign of underwatering or low humidity. Water your peperomia more often and mist the leaves regularly.
Wilting leaves can be a sign of overwatering, underwatering, or too much direct sunlight. Check the soil moisture and adjust your watering schedule as needed. Move your peperomia to a spot with brighter, indirect light.
Mushy leaves are caused from overwatering and possibly root rot. Since peperomias are technically succulents, this means they store water in their leaves. If you overwater your peperomia, the leaves can become waterlogged and mushy. To prevent overwatering, allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings.
With so many different varieties of peperomias, there should be at least a few in every collection. These are beautiful and easy-to-care-for houseplants. With proper care, they will thrive for many years.