Peperomias are popular houseplants that tolerate indoor conditions and require only minimal care to thrive. They are native to tropical areas of South Africa, South America and the West Indies and cannot tolerate cold temperatures. For this reason, they are grown primarily indoors in the United States. Peperomia plants vary widely in appearance depending on the variety, but all are easy to grow with proper maintenance.
Plant peperomia plants in pots, hanging baskets or decorative planters. They may also be planted in shallow pans for small dish gardens if desired. Use a potting mix rich in organic material and with good drainage for the best results. If using commercial potting soil, combine with equal parts organic compost and peat moss to increase fertility and drainage.
Peperomias prefer bright, indirect light, but do not expose them to direct sunlight because their delicate foliage may scorch. They flourish under fluorescent lights or in a sunny, west- or south-facing window. Many varieties of peperomia will tolerate low-light conditions to some extent, particularly when temperatures are high. Variegated leaves, however, will lose their distinctive coloration when grown in poor light.
Keep peperomia plants at a constant temperature of 50 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. For the best results, keep temperatures around 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit at night. Peperomia plants may be placed outdoors during the summer months as long as they are kept in a partially shaded location and provided with plenty of water. Bring them back indoors before temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent damage.
Over-fertilization of peperomia plants can cause excessive growth, but mild feedings are beneficial. Use an all-purpose houseplant fertilizer once every six months according to the manufacturer's directions for the best results. As a general rule, peperomias should be kept slightly pot-bound. They are slow-growing and typically only need repotting about once every three years. Move to a slightly larger pot each time, but avoid repotting in a much larger container.
Plant care Instructions
Grow peperomias with all green leaves in bright light, but not direct sunlight. A west window or an east window shaded by a transparent curtain works best. Peperomias with variegated leaves can tolerate more light and need more light to generate bright colors. These plants can be grown in an unshaded east window or a shaded south window.
Give peperomias warm temperatures of at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Peperomias will tolerate most temperatures above 55 degrees Fahrenheit, but prefer temperatures no higher than 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Treat a peperomia like a tropical plant. It is important to remember that peperomias, despite the fact that many have thick, succulent leaves, are not in fact succulents. They are more like tropical plants and require high humidity. Placing the plants on trays of pebbles and misting the foliage once a week will help give them the humidity they need.
Water peperomias sparingly because over-watering will cause them to drop leaves. This is one area where peperomias differ from a lot of other tropical plants. They should be watered only when their soil has dried out. If growing in a west or east window, they will need water once every 2 weeks and perhaps slightly more often. If you can not feel moisture by sticking your finger most of the way down to the bottom of the pot, it is probably safe to water a peperomia.
Repot peperomias only when their roots have wrapped fully around the bottom of their pots. Peperomias have few roots and therefore should not be repotted often. They are unlikely to need pots larger than 4 inches.
Group peperomias together in shallow rectangular pots and hanging baskets. Because they have shallow roots and stay small, peperomias do well grouped together. Grouping several different varieties makes an attractive planter and also helps give the plants the humidity they need. Care for grouped plants as you would individual peperomias.
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