Quick plant care: Peperomia

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Peperomia houseplants are small, compact plants that are easy to care for and perfect if you’re new to houseplant ownership. With so many different varieties and colours to choose from, there’s a Peperomia plant to suit every room in your home. 

What is it? 

Peperomia plants are compact plants which are commonly grown for their beautiful, ornamental foliage. 

With over 1,000 different species, it’s not hard to find the right Peperomia for that windowsill in your home or for your desk. There might be a huge range of types of Peperomia but every single one of them is slow growing and low maintenance so it’s really hard to go wrong. 

Each type features fleshy leaves which help to make the plants drought tolerant and can often be mistaken for succulent plants as a result.

Where is it from?

These plants are native to tropical and subtropical regions of the world, in particular Mexico, South America and the West Indies.

Light conditions & location 

Peperomia tend to thrive in bright, indirect sunlight but they are also tolerant of low indirect light too. So, an east or west facing windowsill will be the perfect spot all year round. 

However, during the summer months, ensure that your plant doesn’t get too much sunlight as this can burn their leaves. If they don’t get enough light, the plant will have fewer leaves, can become leggy, and you might find that the leaves start to drop.

Watering 

Peperomia can go for much longer between waterings than most other houseplants so keeping it on the dry side is much better than saturating the plant which can lead to root rot and will kill your plant. 

Overwatering is one of the main problems that plant owners experience with a Peperomia plant and this is the main cause of the plant dying. Look out for the common signs of overwatering such as rotting stalks, wilting or yellow leaves and waterlogged soil. 

We recommend you water your Peperomia plant every one or two weeks and allow the top one to two inches of soil to dry out before you water again. You will find that it will need watering much less if you keep it in lower light conditions.

Temperature 

A Peperomia is happy with an average home temperature of between 18-26 degrees Celsius. We generally find that, if you’re comfortable in your home, your Peperomia will be too!

Humidity 

Peperomia have a reputation for needing high humidity levels but there are a huge number of varieties for which this isn’t the case. Many of them have succulent characteristics in their leaves which means they're able to tolerate low humidity levels and infrequent watering. 

Being tolerant of low humidity levels, makes Peperomia the ideal houseplant as the humidity levels of most spaces in your home are usually relatively low.

Soil  

For Peperomia plants, we recommend a chunky, loose and acidic soil. An orchid potting medium would be suitable but, if you can’t find this, regular potting soil will work and you could add perlite or course sand into the mix to help with drainage. 

With Peperomia, overwatering can be a common problem so a well draining potting mix will help to prevent your plants from becoming waterlogged.

Size 

Peperomia plants tend to stay relatively small and compact and will only reach a maximum height of 8-12 inches.

Good to know

  • Repotting - Peperomia do not need to be repotted too often and tend to thrive best in smaller pots. We would recommend repotting them every two to three years to prevent the roots from becoming too compacted.

  • Fertiliser - these plants have extremely light fertilising requirements and fertilising too often can cause problems.

  • Not poisonous - unlike many houseplant varieties, Peperomia plants are not poisonous to humans or pets.

Common problems to look out for

  • Wilting - Peperomia will wilt as a result of overwatering or under watering so if you see that your plant is starting to wilt, just check the soil. If it’s damp, you may need to water less, if it’s dry, you will need to water more often.

  • Dropping leaves - leaves dropping can be a common sign of the plant’s growth as Peperomia will shed their lower, older leaves to focus on new growth and is completely normal.

  • Yellowing leaves - this can be a sign of overwatering, too much sunlight or a sudden change in location or temperature. Try altering your care of the plant in different ways until it starts to produce new growth again.

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