by Erin Marissa Russell
Want to know how to take care of peperomia plants? We’ve done the research for you, and this article will take you through everything you need to know to grow strong, healthy peperomia plants. Just keep reading to learn more.
Caring for Peperomia: Fertilizer
Your peperomia plant will benefit from getting fertilizer monthly during the growing season. Choose a 10-10-10 water soluble fertilizer. Check the package directions and follow them. Be careful not to overfertilize peperomia plants, which can lead to problems for your plants.
Caring for Peperomia: Humidity
You may have heard rumors about peperomia plants requiring high humidity, but this isn’t always the case. Some varieties of peperomia plants require higher humidity than others. Take a look at the leaves of your peperomia. Are they thick like a succulent plant? If so, your peperomia will thrive in the low humidity of your home.
Caring for Peperomia: Propagation
The best way to propagate a new peperomia plant is with a leaf cutting. Start by preparing the container you will plant your cutting into, or a tray, if that’s what you will use, by putting the soil into it. Make sure your trays, containers, and gardening tools (you will use shears) are clean and sterile to avoid spreading disease in your garden.
Use the shears to clip a leaf cutting. You can cut at the base of the stem or keep some of the stem intact. Then cut the leaf in half across its width. Treat the cut edges of the leaf with rooting powder to promote new growth.
Use a knife or spoon to clear a spot in the soil for your leaf cutting. You only need it to be one or two centimeters deep. Then plant your leaf cutting here, with the cut end facing down into the soil. Carefully firm up the soil around the leaf cutting, and water so it will settle down into its new home.
If you aren’t using a cutting tray with a cover, consider loosely covering your container with plastic wrap. However, you’ll need to remove the plastic for a few hours each day. This will prevent excess humidity, which can cause plant disease.
Keep the plants indoors in a spot where they will get bright indirect light. Eventually, you’ll see roots emerge from the cut end of the leaf. Then new growth will begin.
Caring for Peperomia: Pruning
Peperomia benefits from a heavy hand when pruning, so don’t be shy. Clip back any parts of the plant that are a little leggy or have overgrown the ideal compact shape. Also remove any areas that are dead or show signs of disease.
Caring for Peperomia: Repotting
Peperomia plants don’t need to be repotted each year like many plants do. In fact, they grow best in pots that are a little smaller than you’d expect the plant to need. Try repotting your peperomia plant every two or three years instead of annually. It does need to be repotted occasionally, because potting soil can become compacted and interfere with good drainage as time goes on.
Repot into a container that’s similar in size, or a little bigger if that’s what you prefer. Start by putting about half the new potting soil mix into the container, and keeping the other half for later. Carefully remove your peperomia plant from its old pot, and gently shake excess soil from its roots. Place the peperomia plant in its new container, and use the potting soil mix you held back to fill up the pot. Press the soil around the roots to firm it a bit, but don’t go overboard. Water the plant well so it settles into position in its new container.
Caring for Peperomia: Soil
The number one thing your peperomia plants need from their soil is good drainage. Mix together equal parts peat moss and perlite or coarse sand. Alternatively, an orchid potting mix can also work well.
Caring for Peperomia: Sunlight
Peperomia plants do best in the bright, indirect light of an east-facing or west-facing window. Make sure that the plants are not getting too much direct sunlight, especially during the summer. Too much direct sunshine can lead to leaves that are scorched by sunscald.
Your plant will tell you if it isn’t getting enough sunshine by growing leggy as it tries to stretch toward the light. If you notice this happening, just prune your peperomia back into its usual shape, and move it to a spot where it will get more indirect light.
If your plant isn’t getting enough light, it will tell you that, too. Watch for dull coloration, fewer leaves, or leaves dropping.
Morning light and filtered light are good for peperomia plants, or you can give them 12 to 16 hours of artificial light each day.
Caring for Peperomia: Water
The most common problem people have when they’re caring for peperomia plants is watering incorrectly. Luckily, there’s a trick to determining whether it’s time yet to water your plants.
You don’t want to water peperomia until the top inch or two of their soil has dried out. To test whether it’s time to water, simply stick a finger an inch or two into the soil where peperomia is growing. If the soil feels damp to your finger or sticks to your skin, it’s still moist and you don’t need to water your peperomia plant again just yet.
Overwatering peperomia is much more common than underwatering. Signs of an overwatered peperomia plant include: a heavy pot, rotting stalks, wilting, waterlogged soil, or yellowing leaves.
Now you know the best way to care for peperomia plants. As with all plants, all you have to do is match your care to the plant’s preferences to help them thrive.