If you’re looking for a fun, easy-care, interesting new houseplant, give peperomia a try. We’ve rounded up everything you need to know to grow a thriving, perky peperomia, including water, light and fertilizer needs, how to propagate your peperomia, and repotting, pruning, and pest-control tips and tricks.
AKA Pepper elder, shining bush plant, radiator plant, baby rubber plant
Ease of Care: easy
Light: 12 – 16 hours of bright light per day
Water: only when soil is dry
Temperature: 65 – 75 degrees Fahrenheit
Height: 10 – 12 inches
Growth Rate: slow-growing
Pests: mealybugs, mites, fungus gnats
Diseases: Pythium, Phyllosticta leaf spot, Cercospora leaf spot
Toxicity: Nontoxic to animals and people
Benefits of Growing Peperomia Plants
The peperomia plant is an excellent choice for people who are first-time plant enthusiasts. It’s very easy to care for and therefore makes a great choice for people who don’t have that much experience looking after plants. Peperomia is a highly tolerant specimen, but also one that can grow in a wide variety of colors. That means that you can have multiple variations of the same plant and still have much visual variety in your home.
As we mentioned earlier, the peperomia plant is one of the best options for beginners because of its tolerance. If you are thinking about getting this plant and growing it yourself, here are some things that you should know about it:
If you want a plant that has vibrant colors, you should keep it in medium to bright light conditions. It loves morning light a lot, but filtered light works just fine too. If your house doesn’t benefit from that much natural light, you will have to replace it with artificial light. This means that you need to provide it with some glow lamps, as it needs about 12 to 16 hours of light every day. If you fail to do so, then you will notice that the leaves start to drop, or the foliage isn’t that rich and beautiful.
When it comes to the plant’s watering needs, there’s a lot of good news for people who often forget to water their plants. Even with less frequent watering, the peperomia plant can still thrive, as this is often a trait of succulents (like the peperomia plant itself). Before you add water to the plant, you need to let the soil dry out for a bit. It is way better if the soil gets a little dry rather than watering it while it’s still moist and risking overwatering that can lead to root rot on fungi problems.
As far as soil is concerned, you need to understand a little bit about the natural habitat of the plant in order to further comprehend its soil needs. When outside, the peperomia plant has similar soil requirements to that of the famous orchid. In order to replicate the soil needs, you need to have loose, chunky, and acidic soil. In other words, if you choose an orchid potting medium, your peperomia plant should have just about everything it needs in terms of soil. Alternatively, you can use regular potting soil and combine it with peat moss.
Peperomias are a tropical plant, which means they don’t do well in low temperatures. If you were to grow this outside, you would have to be in the USDA Growing Zone 10 to be successful. These plants love high temperatures and lots of humidity, particularly during the growing season which is in the summer. If the air inside your home is dry, you want to raise the humidity for the plant to thrive. This means that you can put the plant on a water and pebble tray.
Another piece of great news: the peperomia plant isn’t that demanding in terms of fertilizer either. If you notice that the leaves of the plants are discolored or falling off, that usually means that the plant is either overwatered or isn’t getting enough light. It is rarely a sign of a lack of nutrients. Unlike most other plants, the peperomia can take everything it needs from its growing medium and can thrive even if you don’t use any fertilizer at all.
Peperomia plants are really tolerant of pruning, which means that you won’t have to be as gentle as with other plants. You can prune them in order to give them a nice shape, otherwise, the plant might outgrow your desired dimensions.
Aside from the cosmetic reasons, you can also prune the plant if you notice any dead growth or if the leaves show signs of disease. You want to remove dead or diseased leaves as soon as possible in order to have a healthy-looking peperomia plant.
Peperomia plants are succulents, which makes it easy for you to propagate them using vegetative methods. You want to propagate from cuttings during spring when the plant is in an active growth stage. For propagation, proceed to cut a leaf with a little bit of the stem from the mother plant.
Add sterile potting soil into a small container and place the stem inside the soil. Make sure that the soil is moist at all times. This means that you might have to cover the container with the stem with another container, to make sure that the soil stays moist if you can’t check it all the time.
It will take about a few weeks for the roots to form. When that happens, you can move the propagation to another container but you can postpone this until the roots are too big for their current pot.
As we said, one of the benefits of growing a peperomia plant is that there are a lot of different varieties that can be combined under the same roof to give you a plant that’s easy to care for, but also looks different depending on the variety chosen. For those of you not sure which peperomia variety to pick, here are some common names to look into:
Peperomia nitida (cupid peperomia)
This is a peperomia variety that’s ideal for hanging baskets. The “cupid” denomination comes from the fact that the leaves are shaped like little hearts and they’re edges have a cream color.
Peperomia verticillata (Belly Button)
If you know what baby tears plants look like, then you will be able to recognize the Belly Button peperomia with ease. It has compact and tiny leaves that resemble that of baby tears plants.
Peperomia caperata (Suzanne)
This particular peperomia variety is quite similar to rex begonias. It has silver accents and has deeply ridged foliage.
If want a peperomia plant for yourself, you’re in luck. Several reputable plant retailers sell all kinds of peperomia carities in different sizes, levels of maturity, and planters. Here are a few of our favorites.
You can find several varieties of peperomia at Bloomscape year-round, any of which comes in a planter of your chosen color. We love this Watermelon Peperomia in the bold indigo planter.
Peperomia Watermelon in Custom Ecopot
An easy-care compact plant. This plant resembles the watermelon fruit inside and out! The Peperomia Watermelon is adaptable, incredibly easy, and grows compactly, providing it is given dappled light and a bit of humidity.
You can also find other varieties on The Sill’s website, like this Marble variety, which we think is perfect in the blush-colored Grant planter—but you can choose your own!
Marble Peperomia in Custom Planter
The Peperomia Marble is characterized by its thick spoon-shaped variegated leaves. Thrives in medium to bright indirect light but can tolerate low indirect light. Not suited for intense, direct sun.
Steve’s Leaves offers a number of peperomia varieties at different times, based on what’s mature and well-rooted enough to sell.
Do peperomia plants have flowers?
Peperomia plants aren’t well-known for their flowers. That’s because they are not impressive and have a tail-like appearance. Depending on the variety, some can have flower spikes, with others going by completely unnoticed. Even if they do have flowers, peperomia plants are mostly known for their foliage.
Are peperomia plants toxic?
Even if certain succulents are toxic, the peperomia plant is not one of them. Should your pets or children ingest the plant, they should be safe (unless they ingest a large amount that could give them an upset stomach).
Why is my peperomia wilting?
For the most part, a peperomia plant will wilt if it has either too much or not enough water. However, overwatering this plant is a way more common problem than underwatering. When this occurs, the roots of the plant are more likely to rot, which causes the leaves to wilt. Unlike underwatering, overwatering is a more severe problem and there are chances that you might not be able to revive the plant when this occurs. You can try to leave the plant without water until the soil completely dries out. You can also remove damaged foliage or try repotting. If you choose the latter option, you are going to have to remove any rotten roots.
Does peperomia have any pests?
Even if the plant is fairly resistant overall, there are chances of it being attacked by some pests. The most common pests are fungus gnats. They are little black flies present in the plant’s soil. The larvae will feed on the root of the plant. They are often a consequence of overwatering. Mealybugs can also attack your peperomia plant. They are recognizable through white masses found on the roots and leaves’ lower surfaces. They are often accompanied by mold. You will need insecticidal soap to get rid of them.
Can peperomia plants catch diseases?
Yes. Pythium is one of the most common diseases that can affect a peperomia plant. In turn, this disease can cause root rot. Needless to say, not treating this can lead to plant death. It is also a consequence of overwatering the plant. Sadly, it can show late signs of presence. If you see any black spots on the plant’s stem, that means that it might be too late to save the plant. To identify it, you have to inspect the roots of an overwatered plant. If you notice soggy and delicate roots, remove them. It is also best if you repot the plant after having done so.