Officially, 2022 has been proclaimed the Year of the Peperomia by the National Garden Bureau. Despite being offered as houseplants since the 1930s, NGB notes that “Peperomia are enjoying their well-earned moment in the sun.
More than 1,000 species in the genus have a variety of leaf shapes, including some with lance- or heart-shaped leaves and others with almond- or oval-shaped leaves. Their leaves might be grey, red, or even completely green, marbled, or striped. Peperomia plants, which can be found on the forest floor and are indigenous to tropical regions like southern Florida and South & Central America, can withstand reduced light levels.
Wait until your plant blooms to see if it belongs to the Peperomia genus. Peperomia’s “rat-tail inflorescence, or cluster of blooms, is a means to recognise its species,” according to the National Garden Bureau. But Peperomia plants are grown more for their lovely foliage, easygoing temperament, and ability to tolerate pets than for their flowers.
A succulent-like form of Peperomia called Peperomia obtusifolia was first discovered in the South American rainforests. Despite having no connection to either Ficus elastica, also known as the Rubber Tree, or Hevea brasiliensis, the main source of natural rubber, it is known by the nick name “Baby Rubber Plant.”
The glossy, spoon-shaped leaves of the Peperomia Obtusifolia are thick, upright stalks that hold water. The plant’s leaves will naturally shrivel during a drought and puff up after rain. The leaves are normally a vivid green, but they can also have marbling-like white-and-green variegation.
Although they can tolerate low indirect light, the majority of Peperomia plant species prefer medium to bright indirect light. Intense, direct sunlight is not good for Peperomia plants.
Water once every two to four weeks, letting the potting soil dry out in between. Expect to water your cactus more frequently in brighter light and less frequently in darker light.
Some of the less succulent forms of Peperomia, which are native to the tropics, can benefit from greater humidity. But take care not to overwater them. When coupled with wet potting soil, yellowing and dropping leaves may indicate overwatering.
Peperomia plants, like the majority of typical houseplants, prefer a temperature range of 65F to 75F. Your houseplants are probably at ease in your home if you are. To avoid temperature changes and draughts, keep plants away from heating and cooling units as well as open doors and windows.
Due to their small size and compact nature, members of the Peperomia genus make for popular indoor plants. Most Peperomia plants will remain quite little indoors, never growing taller than two feet.
Peperomia are typically simple indoor plants to grow. Although they are resistant to the majority of plant pests, they should nevertheless be treated as soon as they show up with weekly applications of neem oil or an insecticide, as well as routine wipings of the afflicted plant. These are some additional typical plant issues to watch out for:
The Peperomia family welcomes pets! Since peperomia are non-toxic, you can keep them close to your pet pals without worrying. To be safe, it’s important to always keep new houseplants out of the reach of curious animals and young children.
The beautiful thing about caring for Peperomia obtusifolia is that these plants don’t have high lighting requirements. They thrive in direct, bright to moderate sunshine. They normally fare well as long as they are close to a window!
According to some, young rubber plants can also thrive in low light. The issue is that etiolation can happen if you grow yours in a position that is too dark: new leaves will spread out more and more, giving your plant a thin appearance and destroying its pleasant bushy appearance.
A grow lamp could be able to give your infant rubber plant the extra brightness it needs if you can’t find it a great place by the window.
Note on Peperomia obtusifolia ‘variegata’ care
There are various varieties of this houseplant, some of which have leaves that are variegated. Care for Peperomia obtusifolia “variegata” is essentially the same as for a regular green baby rubber plant, although you do need to pay close attention to the lighting. The leaves may lose their exquisite cream marbling if they receive too much shadow.
Don’t be alarmed if your Peperomia obtusifolia ‘variegata’ has already begun to produce green foliage instead of colourful foliage owing to a lack of light. Fortunately, if you move the plant and make sure it gets enough sun, it will resume growing variegated leaves.
For Peperomia obtusifolia care, a temperature range of 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit is excellent (or 18 to 26 degrees Celsius). As a result, your home’s temperature should be perfect for this one! Your plants won’t thrive if the temperature falls into the 50s (or low teens) or if your home is draughty.
Baby rubber plants like humidity, with around 40-50 percent ideal. Try placing your plants in a bathroom with a window if your home is on the dry side; this area has a tendency to be more humid. Even if the humidity is on the low side for people as well, you might want to use a humidifier.
A Peperomia obtusifolia needs how much light?
They can grow well in bright light and, for the variegated varieties, in some direct sunshine for a few hours. Direct sunlight should be avoided if the leaves are dark green since it will damage them; yet, variegated varieties may lose their variegation if not given enough light. Windows that face south, east, or west are ideal, but again, this depends on the colour of the leaves.
Watering the infant rubber plant is not too difficult. After letting the top soil totally dry out, water it well. When you first start cultivating Peperomias, it can be advisable to err on the side of less watering rather than too much because overwatering can be more harmful than not enough. You don’t want to overwater this plant and cause the soil to become saturated.
Don’t worry too much about the soil being dry throughout the winter because the thick leaves will retain water.
It is recommended to utilise a peat-based soil with good drainage. A excellent mixture is 2 parts peat to 1 part perlite or sand. Other mixtures will also work, but the key is that the medium drains effectively and is well aerated.
Since this plant’s root system is not extensive, you won’t need to repot it or move it up a size very frequently. A young plant that has outgrown its current pot may be repotted in the spring if the soil or at least the top soil should be changed annually. To avoid the soil becoming saturated, it is preferable to lean toward a smaller pot rather than a container that is overly large. For Peperomias, shallow pots are a suitable choice.
Use a diluted liquid fertiliser once every two weeks in the spring, while the plant is growing, and once a month in the summer. From autumn through spring, no feeding is necessary.
This species does benefit from humidity. You can spritz the foliage and/or set the plant on a pebble tray with water at the bottom during the warmer months. If the air is not too dry, most dwellings should be good with their natural humidity.
Taking a few centimetres of stem tip cuttings is a simple way to reproduce an organism. Remove a petiole (tip) with one or two leaves on it that is 5 to 8 cm long. The cutting should be placed in a very small pot with fresh, wet potting soil. Try to maintain a warm environment with temperatures around 20°C (68°F) and lots of bright light (warmth and light is the key to success). On the cut that is being planted, you might want to apply a rooting hormone.
However, variegated varieties may lose their variegation, leaf cuttings are another way to reproduce the baby rubber plant. To find out which technique of propagation works best for you, you might wish to try a few leaves and stem tips. Before planting, I would give cuttings with leaves or stem tips a day to dry out. Wait for fresh growth to appear, avoid overwatering, and when sufficient growth has taken place, switch to a larger pot.
You can pinch out the top of some stems to stop growth if they start to overgrow; otherwise, they start to look spindly and out of shape. Try to grow and prune them to have a bushy appearance to make them look their best.
Lack of water is the main reason why a plant starts to wilt. Wilting can also be brought on by over fertilisation and sunshine. Overwatering may also be indicated by limp leaves and stems, but by examining the soil, it would be simple to determine whether there has been an excessive amount of watering or not.
Pests don’t seem to be a big problem for peperomias, but fungal diseases can be problematic and may be brought on by overwatering the plant.
Lack of light is the most frequent culprit, while a lack of fertiliser can also result in colour loss.
How do you keep Peperomia alive?
Care for Peperomia Plants Using an orchid potting mix, plant Peperomia in a container with lots of drainage holes, and then put the plant somewhere with lots of indirect light. Plants in the peperomia genus require little care. Watering them is only necessary when the soil is dry. Rarely is plant food or fertiliser required.
Are Peperomia obtusifolia plants tolerant of misting?
The Peperomia obtusifolia comes in many different variegated varieties. The care advice in this essay is applicable if you have one of them. One distinction is that they require a little more light to preserve and bring out the lovely variegation.
The Peperomia obtusifolia is similar to many other houseplants in this regard. It prefers and performs best in moderate to bright natural light. One of mine blooms in the guest bathroom beneath a skylight, and the other in my dining room, 10 feet from a wide bay window.
Although I’ve never tried growing it in lower light, I assume it would be tolerant of mild to low lighting.
Simply make sure to keep yours out of the hot, direct sun because the leaves’ thick, meaty texture will burn.
Succulent-like Peperomia obtusifolias store water in their fleshy, thick leaves, stems, and roots. Avoid overwatering this epiphytic plant since it will suffer from root rot.
My mine was nearly dry until I watered it once more. Every week in the summer and every two to three weeks in the winter.
I just published a tutorial on how to water houseplants. You can use this to determine the variables that will affect how frequently you water yours. I always let you know how frequently I water each of my individual houseplants so you have a reference point and can change the frequency to suit your needs.
Your houseplants will also feel comfortable in it if you do. Just make sure to keep the vents for the air conditioning or heating as well as any chilly draughts away from your peperomias.
In nature, peperomias thrive in humid conditions. They also gather water through their leaves because their roots are tiny.
I moisten the foliage every time I water the plant because I live in a dry desert region. I also occasionally put mine out in the rain to add some moisture and wash the greenery off.
If your house is dry and you feel it needs it, you could spritz your Peperomia obtusifolia a few times a week. Another choice is to place the plant on top of a saucer that has been filled with small rocks and water. The rock prevents the roots from getting wet.
Feeding / Fertilizer
Every spring, I lightly apply worm compost to the majority of my indoor plants before covering it with a thin layer of compost. For these smaller plants, like the Baby Rubber Plant, a 1/4 coating of each is sufficient. Here is a description of my worm composting and feeding system.
In the late spring, mid-summer, and at the end of the summer, I feed my Peperomias with Eleanor’s vf-11. Here, because the growing season is lengthy, they value the minerals that this plant food offers. For your plant, once or twice a year might be plenty. For foliar feeding, you can also put it in a spray bottle.
Don’t over-fertilize your Peperomia obtusifolia since salts can build up and damage the plant’s roots if you do. Brown stains on the leaves are the result of this.
Avoid fertilising any indoor plant that is under stress, such as one that is drenched in water or bone dry.
Last but not least, avoid fertilising indoor plants in the late fall or winter when they need to rest.
Soil / Repotting
Check out the article and video on repotting peperomias for information on the ideal time to do it, the methods to take, and the soil mixture to use. They prefer a thick, chunky, and well-draining blend, to put it simply.
They don’t require frequent repotting because their root systems are small. Every five years, I repot mine to replace the soil mix or if the roots are emerging from the bottom. And I only go up by one pot size, from four to six or eight.
This basic repotting instruction manual will be useful to you, especially if you’re a novice gardener.
I occasionally have to remove a dead leaf. I’ve already pruned the Baby Rubber Plant a few times because of how quickly it grows. The thick, long stems cause the plants to flop out of the pot. I’m letting the mother plant do its thing, as I mentioned in “Size,” so I can observe how long the stems will grow.
How can you promote the growth of peperomia?
In general, peperomia prefers to grow in some shade. Avoid placing the plants in the midday sun since the foliage could get burned. Place them indoors where they can benefit from a window’s strong, indirect light. Although the leaves might not be as brilliant, they can endure low light conditions.
Do you need to mist pepperomia?
Peperomia plants, like many of the plants we write about, are native to tropical areas and are therefore accustomed to far more moisture in the air than they are likely to encounter in your house.
Your plants’ leaves can benefit from misting by getting the moisture it needs to thrive outside. For optimal moisture, mist your Peperomia once a day or once every other day. However, if you forget, even performing them once a week can have an impact.
There are various methods you can achieve this if misting your Peperomia is not for you, even though it is a terrific way to keep them wet and a method we would recommend.
Let’s look at a few choices we can employ as the goal behind this is to get fluids into the air for your plants to absorb. One suggestion is to put your potted plants in liquid-filled pebble trays. The leaves will absorb the moisture when the water dries up. Another way to do this is to surround your water with a bunch of cups and bowls. This liquid will evaporate at higher indoor temperatures, which will benefit your plants’ health.
Use of a humidifier is a final, slightly more pricey solution you may consider. If you don’t already have one, you can purchase cheaper, but less powerful, humidifiers. If you decide to get one, it can be a terrific alternative because your plant will get more moisture from it than if you only misted it because you can leave them running all day.
In order to summarise, should I spray peperomia? Indeed, you should! Although a Peperomia prefers moisture in the air, you may also grow it using alternative techniques, such as wet pebble trays, humidifiers, and water jugs.