Peperomia Plants (Everything You Need to Know)

Peperomia is one of the few plants with many species (over 1000 plant types) and foliage variations that can thrive comfortably outdoors and indoors.

So if you love houseplants and want one that is low maintenance and perfect for your home, Peperomia ticks the right boxes. 

It has beautiful leaves, tolerates, and thrives in various conditions, and it’s a slow grower. And because of its slow growth rate, this plant can go for years without needing repotting, so you don’t have to worry about that.

What’s more? This plant does not attract bugs unless its living conditions are not ideal. With proper care and best practices, your Peperomia will not attract bugs and give you less to worry about.

More about this later in this guide.

Also, because it is a small plant, you don’t have to worry about Peperomia overshadowing other plants and creating an environment that encourages insects like mosquitoes. 

Peperomia Plant Overview

Peperomia plants are primarily found in the southern parts of the world and predominantly in central, northern, and southern America.

These are tropical plants with over a thousand species sporting different, unidentical appearances. In addition, there are a wide variety of colors, textures, and sizes, such that an average person may think they are different plants.

This variety can come in handy for houseplants, as you would have gorgeous-looking plants with different alluring features.

Peperomia is also a small plant, not growing longer than 12 inches, so they are ideal for placements on the balcony, in containers, and in corners. However, exposing the plant to low light may lead to elongated stems searching for light. 

Peperomia plants prefer bright indirect sunlight. They may survive in other lighting conditions, but that may come at a cost.

After a while, the leaves might get scorched from bright direct light, and low light can make the stem grow longer as it searches for light.

Growing & Propagating Peperomia Plants

Whether you’re looking to introduce Peperomia plants to your home or garden or make more of them, it is a simple process, and there are three ways to do it.

You can grow the plant from the seed, stem cutting, or leaf cuttings.

See the methods below and decide which works best for you.

Growing Peperomia From the Seed

You will need to get the Peperomia seeds, and it’s best to get them from reputable sources for a higher chance of success. You will also need seed starting containers to place a soilless seed starting mix.

This mix is beneficial for the delicate nature of young seedlings. When you have these, it’s time to plant the Peperomia seeds. 

Sow the seeds, water them, and place the pot in a warm area. The plant needs sufficient water, lighting, and a warm spot to grow unimpeded.

Ensure the soil stays moist until germination, and export the seedlings to a container with a soil pH of 6.0 – 6.5.

Next, plant in a spot where it has access to bright indirect sunlight. You now have yourself a Peperomia plant. 

Propagating Peperomia by Stem Cutting

Stem cutting is a viable option if you already have a Peperomia plant and want to multiply or give them out to friends.

In addition, some people prefer stem cutting because it ensures that the new plant is genetically identical to the parent plant.

So, how do you grow more Peperomia by stem cutting? 

Like the seed sowing method, you need a small container for planting and a soilless potting mix. You will also need the parent plant, a pair of scissors or razor blades, and set up a bright spot so you can see what you’re doing clearly.

Now follow the steps below:

  • Cut off a sizeable portion of the stem with a few leaves attached 
  • Place it in the nearby pot with potting soil
  • Take it out to a spot with bright indirect light 
  • Water the potting and cover it up with a plastic wrap
  • Water consistently over the next few days and remove the cover for some time to prevent excessive humidity 
  • When the roots form in a few weeks and outgrow the original container, transplant them to a bigger container.

You have successfully grown a Peperomia plant by stem cutting. Now let’s see another alternative you can use.

Propagating Peperomia by Leaf Cuttings

If you don’t want to use a stem cutting to grow another Peperomia plant, the leaves will work too. It’s practically the same process as stem cutting propagation, and the only difference is that you’re to cut and plant some parts of the leaves of the parent plant with tiny stems.

Keep in mind that propagating by leaf cuttings works best with non-variegated varieties of the plant. 

Peperomia Care Guide

The Peperomia plant is ideal for beginner gardeners and those trying indoor plants for the first time.

The reason is that this plant is relatively easy to care for and can thrive with little attention. However, that’s not to say that they don’t need care and attention.

The following are some of the ways to grow healthy Peperomia plants.

Water With Caution

The Peperomia plant requires regular watering, but you have to be careful not to give more than it needs. The leaves are succulent, and the plant has a shallow root, so you need to go easy with water.

It is best to water again after the soil’s surface becomes noticeably dry. 

Fertilizer

Your Peperomia plant wouldn’t mind if you fertilize infrequently or not at all. If you decide to fertilize the plant, the principle of less is more should apply.

Too much fertilizer can cause problems for the plant. Stick to feeding the plant once in a few weeks and avoid it during winter. 

Temperature and Humidity

Tropical plants love warm temperatures, and Peperomia is a tropical plant. Therefore, they prefer moderate to high temperatures.

You can achieve that by using a humidifier, taking them outdoors during summer, or placing them on a tray with pebbles and water to boost ambient humidity. Generally, it would help if you aimed between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Lighting

The Peperomia plant does best in medium to bright light conditions but ensure the light is not directly beaming on them. They won’t complain in low light, but don’t make it a habit because it will cause leaf discoloration, discourage growth, and drop the leaves. And how about bright direct sunlight? This will burn the leaves.

It’s all about positioning; find an appropriate spot in your room where the plant can enjoy the right amount of sunlight.

Soil 

Recall that overwatering Peperomia plants can cause problems and that the plant is prone to root rot. In light of this, you should use a pot with drainage holes and a well-draining potting mix. 

Pruning

Like every other plant, pruning is a welcome idea for Peperomia plants, and you don’t have to be delicate about it.

When pruning, pluck off dead or overgrown leaves and stems that may be impeding growth or the plant’s gorgeous appearance. You don’t need tools for this operation; pinch them off with your fingers. 

Problems Affecting Peperomia Plants

Growing Peperomia plants in your house is a relatively stress-less experience. You’re good to go as long as you take care of the basics like watering once in a while, exposing the plant to bright indirect sunlight, and ensuring warm humidity.

However, if you don’t play your part to the T, the following problems may affect your Peperomia plant.

Deformed Leaves

Depending on the species, the plant naturally sports vibrant foliage, sometimes multi-colored.

However, you might find that some of the leaves are deformed. A cucumber mosaic virus causes this anomaly, and it rears its ugly head when you’re guilty of overwatering the plant.

You can prevent this from happening by watering the plant only when it needs water, not all the time. 

Yellowing Leaves

Once the plant leaves turn yellow, the plant loses its allure, and you don’t want that to happen. Yellowing leaves could be caused by bright direct sunlight, excessive watering, or exposing the plant to temperatures it doesn’t like.

So, if you notice yellow leaves, check that you’re not defaulting on the requirements for growing a healthy Peperomia plant. 

Dropping Leaves

It is expected for Peperomia plants to shade their leaves as new leaves sprout. However, if the leaves are falling from different parts of the plant, that could signify that something is wrong.

So again, check that you’re optimizing care for the plant as you should. It’s unlikely a disease causes this, but it’s worth checking to confirm and take action.

Moldy Soil

Molds will likely appear on the topsoil if you overwater the plant. If this happens, don’t leave it as is and hope for the best. Instead, replace the top layer of the soil with a sterile mix.

If the mold goes beyond the surface to the inner parts of the soil, you have to take the soil out, wash the pot, and replace the mix again. 

Common Questions About Peperomia

Are Peperomia plants life-threatening?

Fortunately, this plant is not like dragon trees or umbrella trees that make pets sick, and you can have them around without ever worrying about an incident. Peperomia plants are also safe for people, especially children who could be adventurous. 

Which soil is best for Peperomia plants?

A well-draining potting mix is best for Peperomia plants.

When should you water a Peperomia plant?

Once every two weeks should do; only water again when the soil becomes dry. As we’ve seen, overwatering can cause many problems for the plant. 

What are the common pests of the Peperomia plant?

They include mealybugs, whiteflies, mites, caterpillars, and fungus gnats. You can use insecticidal soap to mitigate their efforts and preserve your plant.

Is the Peperomia plant toxic to cats and dogs?

In general, the peperomia plant is considered non-toxic. But, it is best to look up the specific variety you plan on purchasing to make sure. You can check this website: ASPCA.

Will this plant help purify the air in my home?

The Peperomia will act as a mini air purifier. But don’t expect drastic results unless you have a lot of plants. A study done by NASA showed houseplants’ ability to clean the air. Here is the PDF.

Final Words

Peperomia is a lovely tropical plant and an ideal houseplant. As long as you do the needful to care for the plant, you will have an easier time growing it and enjoy the full benefits of its presence in your home. 

References

Peperomia plant types: http://peperomia.net