Peperomias are attractive and relatively easy plant to grow. They are native to South American rain forests, where they grow quite happily in the loamy, dappled light, cool understory of the rain forest. These plants have all the features we look for in houseplants: variability, interesting leaves, and tolerance for a relatively wide range of conditions.
Light: Peperomias do well in bright to moderate light, such as found in a northern or east-facing window. They can be easily grown under grow lights.
Water: Keep the soil moist during the growing season and provide relatively high humidity through spraying or setting the pot in a gravel tray.
Temperature: Peperomias do well in most homes’ relatively cool environment (although they dislike the dry). Aim for 65˚F to 75˚F (18˚C to 24˚C).
Soil: A well-drained but nutrient-rich potting mix.
Fertilizer: Fertilize every two weeks during the growing season with a diluted liquid fertilizer or use controlled-release fertilizer pellets at the beginning of the growing season.
Peperomia thrives when slightly pot-bound, so do not over pot them. Repot plants in spring, especially to refresh the existing soil, but place either back into the same size container after root-pruning or only one pot size. The largest Peperomias remain relatively small, so they will never grow into large specimen plants.
Most Peperomias can be relatively easily propagated from leaf cuttings. Remove large leaves with their stalks (petioles) and bury in seedling starting soil mix. The use of a rooting hormone can increase the odds of success. Place the cutting in a warm, bright place until new growth emerges.
Peperomias are not particularly hard plants to grow, and their small size and delicate leaves make them perfect for desktops and dish gardens. They will rarely overtake their neighbors or shade them out. In short, they are perfectly mannered and attractive little plants. The biggest problem facing Peperomias are usually related to watering. They like steadily moist soil but can be very sensitive to overwatering. Overwatered Peperomias tend to wilt or have raised, scab-like protrusions on their leaves. Do not be alarmed if your plant loses a few bottom leaves, but a massive leaf-drop is usually due to a temperature change or fertilizer problem. Lastly, Peperomias are susceptible to mealybugs, so keep an eye out for cottony white masses on the stems and leaves’ undersides.
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