There are over 1,000 species of peperomia plants in the world, and most of them are easy to grow. Peperomias are found mostly in tropical and subtropical regions of Central and South America. Peperomia plants are very adaptable in nature; some grow on trees, others live on rocks, and most cultivars are drought-tolerant. This adaptable tendency makes peperomia care easy because this beauty requires little attention. An easy-going nature and lovely foliage make peperomia an excellent houseplant.
Types of Peperomia
Peperomias are all leafy plants but can have very different looks. Cupped foliage is typically rounded near the stem but pointed at the base. The leaves can be solid green or red or have cream or silver variegation. The underside of the leaves and stems may have a dark burgundy color, or they may be green.
Some peperomias have thick, glossy leaves, while others have thin, rippled foliage with a velvet-like texture. Most peperomia plants have an upright, branched growth habit, but some produce vines. Some of the more popular peperomia houseplants include:
- Baby Rubber Plant
- Emerald Ripple peperomia
- Hope peperomia
- Jayde peperomia
- Jelly peperomia
- Metallic peperomia
- Red Ripple peperomia
- String of Turtles
- Watermelon peperomia
Peperomia Light Needs
Locate peperomia plants in medium to bright indirect light. Plants with variegated or marbled foliage tend to need increased light. Near a sunny window with sheer curtains or a few feet away from a bright window are good spots that offer excellent peperomia care. Direct sunlight will burn the foliage. Give the pot a quarter turn every time you water the plant, so each side receives even sunlight.
How Often to Water Peperomia
Water peperomia plants when the soil is dry. Peperomia care is similar to succulents in terms of water needs. Some peperomia cultivars have thick, fleshy leaves that the plant uses to store water. Other varieties have thick, tuber-like roots that hold water. Peperomias are much happier being dry than soggy, so wait until the soil is dry to prevent overwatering the plant.
Best Soil for Peperomia
Soil should be loose and well-drained, and all the better if it has an acidic pH. Potting mixes intended for orchids are a good choice, but any soil that allows excess water to run through the container is suitable. Many peperomia plants naturally grow on other plants or even on rocks, so rich soil doesn’t do much.
Temperature for Peperomia
Sometimes known as radiator plants, peperomias like warm temperatures. Temperatures between 60° and 80° F are preferred, but anything colder is a problem. An ideal winter location is near a radiator where the plant can be engulfed in warmth. Consider moving your peperomia to a covered porch or patio in the summer. Avoid direct sunlight, but your plant will appreciate the warm temperatures. Get the plant back inside well before the weather turns chilly.
Steamy conditions remind peperomia plants of home and help this stunner look its best. Most plants will live comfortably in average humidity, but increased dampness in the air is not a problem. Low humidity can be an issue, so check the foliage for dry, crispy edges and increase the dampness if needed.
Peperomias are not heavy feeders, so fertilizing is unnecessary, but a well-balanced diet will help these slow-growing plants reach their full potential. Feed peperomia plants using balanced, water-soluble plant food. Apply fertilizer every two to four weeks during the spring and summer when the plant is actively growing. Hold off applying fertilizer in the colder months when the plant is dormant.
Pruning is not always necessary, but it is an important part of peperomia care. Trim the plant to create a balanced and even look. Remove leggy stems or branches with bare spots. Trim the stem back to a set of leaves using clean, sharp shears. You can also pinch back new growth to encourage more branching. Spring is the best time to prune peperomia plants because that’s the start of the growing season, and the plant will respond with new growth.
Do Peperomia Bloom?
Peperomia bloom, but most homes do not provide the conditions these plants need to set flowers. The flowers have a spike-like look and are often brown or white. For what it’s worth, the flowers are not as impressive as the foliage, so many plant owners remove them. Pinching back or trimming the flowers redirects energy into the plant and may encourage more leaf growth.
When to Repot Peperomia
Peperomia plants are perfectly fine being rootbound, and you can let the plant enjoy its container for several years before upgrading to a new pot. Peperomias are slow-growers that do not require rich soil, so they are content to sit tight for extended periods. When the roots start to grow through the holes in the container, you’ll know it’s time for a new pot. Select a container a couple of inches larger with drainage holes.
Save stems removed during pruning to propagate and create new peperomia plants. A cutting should have one inch of stem and one leaf. Place the cut end in soil and locate the pot in a warm, sunny spot. Tent the container with plastic wrap to create a greenhouse effect. Water the cutting consistently so the soil is always moist. The cutting should set roots in a few weeks, and at that time, you can remove the plastic and provide the peperomia care necessary for established plants.
Is Peperomia Pet Friendly?
Peperomia are people and pet friendly, so enjoy these plants if you have curious kids or pets. Eating the leaves or stems of peperomia plants will not harm cats or dogs. Most peperomia have an upright growth habit, and they are not likely to entice pets, but vining varieties, like the string of turtles, may cause a playful cat to take a swipe. Consider the placement of the plant so your pets and plants can peacefully coexist.
Peperomia Styling Tips
The ornamental foliage of peperomia plants looks lovely in an unglazed ceramic pot or a container with subdued colors. These smaller houseplants are perfectly sized for an end table or desk. Although, the vining cultivars look spectacular in a hanging basket.
Peperomia Care Tips
If you are new to houseplants or like the look of greenery but not the care most plants require, consider peperomia. These leafy plants like warm conditions and lots of sunlight and are okay with extra humidity. Otherwise, leave them alone, and they’ll be just fine. Peperomia care is about finding the right location and allowing the plant to thrive.