Your Guide To: Peperomia

Everything you need to know to care for this small but snazzy houseplant.

As far as houseplants that are easy to care for while lending a finished look to any shelf, peperomia can’t be beaten. This plant’s oversized, waxy leaf design makes it a showstopper, and variegated shades of green add dimension. Also known as the baby rubber plant, peperomia has a compact, vertical growth pattern that lends a distinctive look too small spaces.

Shelf-sized peperomia plants have been known to spruce up a radiator or two and also class up bookshelves, kitchen nooks, and window sills. Peperomia can make a great addition to a shelf stocked with several small houseplants, or it can be a standalone beauty wherever it fits in your space.

How To Keep Your Peperomia Plant Happy

Peperomia plants sometimes grow as epiphytes, meaning they grow on top of trees and other plants without becoming parasitic. They are also keen on tropical environments and tend to store water in their thick, glossy leaves. Keeping these factors in mind will help you understand how best to care for your peperomia. They’re forgiving, low-maintenance plants known for being great for the novice gardener.

How Much Light Does a Peperomia Plant Need?

Peperomia tolerates a wide range of light settings. For maximum growth and vibrant, interesting leaf colors and patterns, bright or medium light is best. Don’t get enough sunlight? Twelve to 16 hours of artificial light each day will keep peperomia happy at its current height.

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When Should I Water My Peperomia Plant?

Peperomia plants need to be watered about once a week. You can let the top inch of your peperomia’s soil become dry to the touch before watering it. Test the soil by feeling the top inch with your fingertip. When this soil is dry to the touch, saturate your peperomia plant’s potting soil with water from a small container or watering can. Pour the water out slowly, moving in a clockwise motion so that you can evenly water your plant’s roots.

Any excess water will drip into the tray at the bottom of your plant. Empty that tray within half an hour of watering—peperomia plant roots can be damaged by sitting in water for too long. On that note, these plants will tolerate a skipped watering better than some other houseplants, especially if you are misting it regularly and giving it plenty of sunlight.

How Do I Use Plant Food for My Peperomia Plant?

Once your peperomia plant is settled into its new digs, plant food is an important part of fostering its growth and keeping its signature variegated leaf pattern going strong.

For a shelf-sized peperomia plant in a container that’s between 5 and 6 inches in diameter, insert 3 new plant food spikes (included with your peperomia plant purchase) into the soil once a month during the spring, summer, and fall. During the winter months, you can cut back to replacing the plant food spikes every 2 months.

What Is the Ideal Environment for My Peperomia Plant?

Peperomia plants are used to some humidity. That means that misting them regularly is your best bet for making them feel at home in your space. You might also want to consider adding some wet pebbles to the saucer underneath your container to add some extra moisture to the environment. Average room temperature (between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit) will help make your home a happy place for peperomia.

How Do I Prune and Maintain My Peperomia Plant?

Peperomia plants grow slowly, and our shelf-size will grow to a maximum of 12 inches tall. If leaves start to brown at the tips or get droopy, you may want to carefully prune away those leaves using pruning shears. It’s also important to rotate your plant every other week so that it gets adequate light on every side. You can use a plant trivet (like these) to shift and rotate your peperomia by a quarter turn after each watering to make sure that light is being evenly distributed.

Keep Your Peperomia Plant Happy

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Keep Your Peperomia Plant Happy

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What Are Common Peperomia Plant Issues?

Most issues with peperomia plants occur due to overwatering or lack of humidity.

  • Brown leaf tips can indicate that your peperomia needs more humidity. Use a mister regularly to gently add moisture to the air around your plant.
  • Scabs (also called edema) under peperomia’s leaves can happen as a result of over-watering. Wait a while before watering again, and prune back damaged leaves. Make sure you’re letting the top inch of soil dry out before you water your peperomia.
  • Shriveling leaves can be the result of too much salt in the soil where your peperomia is growing. You can remove the container tray and gently flush the soil, allowing a good amount of water to go through the soil and come out of the drain hole. This is best done in an empty sink to prevent a mess. Another option is to gently remove your peperomia plant from its container, rinse out the container, and replant it with fresh potting mix. Carefully replace the plant and wait to see if the leaves stop shriveling.

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What To Do if You Still Have Questions

If your peperomia plant doesn’t seem to feel at home in your space, we’re here to help! You can chat with a live Greendigs representative on our website. You can also shoot us an email at [email protected].