Last Updated on January 6, 2023 by Admin
The Peperomia Axillaris looks like a succulent but is not a succulent. However, it does have succulent-like leaves where it stores water. This allows it to tolerate dry periods better than other plants.
The plant features thick, fleshy leaves that are light green in color. And while it does produce yellow flowers, most growers will prune these to allow the plant to focus its energy to foliage development.
How do you care for Peperomia Axillaris? The plant enjoys bright, indirect light, warm climate and good humidity. Since it is a peperomia and not a succulent, you do need to let part of the soil dry between waterings.
However, don’t let the soil dry out completely as you do with succulents. That said, this is an easy to care for plant that propagates well via stem or leaf cuttings.
Peperomia Axillaris Plant Care
The Peperomia Axillaris needs medium to bright indirect light to maintain its beautiful light green leaves. These leaves start out as very short but will grow a little bit longer and bend downwards making the plant look like a minim forest of palm trees if you look from the top.
To maintain its growth and beautiful succulent-like leaves, it needs sufficient lighting. Therefore a well-lit location is best.
It will be happy with indirect, filtered, dapples or diffused light.
The important thing is to keep it away from direct sunlight. While it likes a lot of light. the Peperomia Axillaris cannot tolerant staying under the direct rays of the sun for more than 1-2 hours on a daily basis.
If they do, they will get discolored and may even get sunburned.
When the latter happens, you’ll see brown burn marks on its foliage.
The reason for this is that the Peperomia Axillaris is an understory plant in the jungle. As such, it lives under the shade of the larger trees. But, the spaces between the canopy allow for some light to get through.
This means that an east facing window is the best location for the plant. It will likewise do well in the other directions, but you do need to know where to place it there.
- North facing window – since this direction has the least sunlight, try to keep it near the window opening for the most exposure. And monitor how much light your home gets from there in the winter. If the light gets too low, move the plant to a brighter location.
- West and South-facing windows – both get a lot of sun. But they received the exposure that’s close to noon up to about mid afternoon. This is when the sun is most intense. So, keep the plant a few feet from the opening (at least 3 feet) and away from any f the sun’s rays. You can also use blinds or curtains to filter the light instead.
Outdoors, the plant will thrive in partial shade. So, placing it on a balcony with a cover or the patio will work really well.
The Peperomia Axillaris is a tropical plant. Therefore, it enjoys warm weather.
This means that if you live somewhere with perpetual sunshine, you never have to worry about the plant’s temperature preference.
Although, the Peperomia Axillaris prefers temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Thus, it is a good idea to avoid overly hot conditions.
That said, the plant has no problem tolerating 90-95 degree Fahrenheit temperatures. Still, you want to watch out for dehydration.
On the other hand, the cold is more problematic for the plant.
This is due to its tropical origins, which means it is not used to cold climate. In fact, it does not see snow, frost or freezing conditions there.
As such, avoid leaving the plant in temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
Because of all this, if you live in USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 11, you’ll be able to enjoy keeping the plant outdoors all year round, be it in pot or your garden.
However, in colder regions, the Peperomia Axillaris is usually kept indoors as a houseplant.
You can still take out for some time outdoors during the summer when the weather is warm. But don’t forget to bring the plant back indoors once the temperature starts nearing 55 degrees.
The Peperomia Axillaris is not picky about humidity.
While it does prefer moderate to humid environments with humidity of 40% to 70%, it can tolerate drier air. This makes it so much easier to care for indoors since many homes have low humidity.
As such, you don’t have to worry about this aspect of care.
The reason for this is its thick, fleshy, succulent-like leaves. These leaves store water which is why they’re “fat”.
This feature lets tolerate low humidity as well as drought.
However, if you want the plant to grow faster and produce more lush-looking leaves, it is a good idea to push up the humidity around the plant. That’s all you need to do.
You don’t need to increase humidity in your entire home, nor the entire room, just around the plant will do.
Keeping air moisture at the range it prefers will allow the Peperomia Axillaris to grow its best.
How Often to Water Peperomia Axillaris
The Peperomia Axillaris only needs infrequent watering. Again, this is because of its succulent-like leaves which store moisture.
This allows the plant not only to go longer without water but also tolerate periods of dryness without any problems.
However, there is also a “downside” to these succulent-like leaves if you can call it that.
Their ability to store water, coupled with the plant’s small root system, makes it susceptible to overwatering.
As such, not only is infrequently watering a luxury for you (since you don’t need to water is often) it is a requirement for the plant.
If you water it too often or water it like your other houseplants, there’s a good chance it will become overwatered and later suffer root rot as a result.
This is why you want to let the soil dry between waterings.
At least, wait until the top 2 inches of soil has dried before you add more water. You can use your fingers to feel for moistness.
If you want to play is safer (or be more conservative), wait until the soil is dry about halfway down before you water.
The latter is what I do because I lost a couple of peperomia early on by watering them like my other houseplants. So, I feel it is better safe than sorry.
But anything in between those two levels works really well.
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Peperomia Axillaris Potting Soil
Because the Peperomia Axillaris is prone to overwatering, it needs well-draining soil. Additionally, it will benefit from soil that is loose, has good aeration and organic matter.
A simple way to make this at home is to combine:
- 1 part potting soil
- 1 part perlite or pumice
Alternatively, if you have and prefer to use peat moss, you can go with this recipe combination instead.
- 1 part peat moss
- 1 part perlite or coarse sand
Both work very well because they bot have one component that will hold the moisture which will keep the plant well-hydrated.
Meanwhile the other component provides drainage.
So, what happens is that the roots are about enjoy moist soil without being waterlogged. That’s because the perlite will quickly drain the excess water from the soil.
Of course, it is important to have a pot with drainage holes as well.
This way the excess moisture from the soil has a way to getting out of the pot. Otherwise, it will just sit at the bottom of the container keeping the soil wet.
The Peperomia Axillaris does not need fertilizer to survive or do okay. But I do suggest using fertilizer because it will allow the plant to grow faster, produce more foliage with better quality.
But this comes with a caveat.
And that is fertilizer can work as a double-edged sword.
The reason is that while it does provide the plant with nutrients to grow at its best, too much fertilizer becomes harmful.
In fact, if you end up over fertilizing your plant, you’re better off not using any fertilizer.
The problem here is that some growers, especially beginners, fall into the belief that because fertilizer helps the plant grow faster, then the more you feed it, the better it will get.
In theory that is true.
But in reality, it does not work.
That’s because manufacturers use salt as a medium of delivery for the nutrients. And plants hate salt.
So, after the plants absorb the nutrients and the water has evaporated, what you’re left with are the salts in the soil.
And the more you fertilize, the more salt you allow you build up in the soil. It will reach a point where it is toxic enough to the plant that it will damage the roots.
This is what they call fertilizer burn.
As such, avoid the temptation to use too much fertilizer.
Instead, only ally during the plant’s growing season which is spring and summer. Stop by early to mid-fall. And do not feed the plant during winter.
All the Peperomia Axillaris needs is a balanced water-soluble fertilizer once a month during this time. Also, don’t forget to dilute the application by 50% to avoid overconcentration.
If you want to play It safer, you can use slow-release fertilizer instead.
The Peperomia Axillaris is slow growing. And it won’t grow into a big plant.
On average, it will reach between 9 to 12 inches high and about 6 inches from side to side.
This makes it a great indoor tabletop or countertop plant you can put in the living room, office or kitchen.
Its leaves also don’t get long, so you don’t really need to do any pruning.
That said, you can prune the plant as it gets bushier if you don’t want it to get too dense or don’t want so much foliage. But this is really more for aesthetics.
You can likely prune the plant if you want to encourage it to grow more.
How to Propagate Peperomia Axillaris
The Peperomia Axillaris can be propagated in a few ways. These include:
- Stem cuttings
- Leaf cuttings
Of the three, stem and leaf cuttings are more practical because division can limit you due to the size of the plant.
Therefore, will likely end up with 2, at most 3 divisions. Then you’ll need to wait quite a while before you can propagate again.
That said, the other two do take a bit longer since the new plant has to develop new roots from scratch. So, each of the methods have their pros and cons.
Proapgating Peperomia Axillaris from Stem Cuttings
Stem cuttings are simple to do for the Peperomia Axillaris. They work well too in that you have a high success rate.
Here, take a healthy stem cutting with a few leaves on it.
You want to remove the lower leaves to expose the stem. Additionally, the leaves that end up in the soil will not survive, So, they’re better off removed before you propagate.
Leave the upper leaves on the stem.
Then, prepare a small container and fill with well-draining soil. And plant the cutting into the soil. Make sure the stem is deep enough but you don’t want to bury the entire stem.
Once you’re done, water the soil to until moist. Avoid getting it too wet.
You’ll need to keep watering the soil once it gets dry throughout the propagation period.
Also place the new plant in bright, indirect light with good humidity.
In about 4 weeks, the cutting till grow roots. It will take a couple or so months for leaves to grow as well.
Proapgating Peperomia Axillaris from Leaf Cuttings
Leaf cutting propagation is very similar to stem cuttings. But instead of taking stems, you are going to use leaves.
Thus, you’ll need the plant to grow its leaves a bit before you do this.
Leaf Cuttings can be easily done by taking leaves from the plant. Because its leaves are succulent-like, you want to be a bit more careful. With other peperomia varieties, you can just take the leaf and pull out the petiole.
Take a few leaf cuttings. if you’re confident in your abilities, you can just use one. But this will mean you need to ensure that it succeeds.
If you have a few leaves, you only need one to two to succeed.
Allow the leaf cuttings to dry a bit.
Meanwhile, prepare a pot and fill it with potting mix.
Then plant the cuttings so part the leaf is buried in the soil. This is important. Otherwise, they will not root.
Then water the soil and place the cutting in a well-lit location with no direct light.
It will take about 4-8 weeks for leaf cuttings to develop roots.
How to Repot or Transplant Peperomia Axillaris
The Peperomia Axillaris does not need regular repotting. It takes about 2-3 years before it needs to be repot.
Additionally, it has a small root system that will never get big. The plant is likewise small and won’t become large by any means.
Finally, the Peperomia Axillaris also likes being kept in a tight pot for a while. So, it does not mind being slightly root bound.
As such, you can wait a while before repotting.
It is also worth mentioning that when you repot, make sure to be careful when handling its roots. Its root system is fragile and can easily be damaged.
Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs
This peperomia plant is non-toxic, even when ingested. So, you can have peace of mind keeping it in your home even if you have curious young children or pets running around.
While it is not a good idea for them to chew or consume parts of the plant, it does not pose any poison risk if they accidentally do.
Peperomia Axillaris Problems & Troubleshooting
The Peperomia Axillaris is not a pest magnet. Nor is it prone to pests. So, you may never have to deal with them, at least for this plant.
However, like other houseplants and pests, there’s no such thing as a 100% guarantee.
Therefore, it is very important to keep the plant as healthy as possible as this is when it has the best resistance to the bugs.
Additionally cleaning the plant does keep the insects away since they are attracted to dust.
You can give the plant a light shower or use a light spraying or air to bow off the dust.
I know some growers that will apply neem oil on their plants on a weekly basis to prevent pests as well. I think that this works because they haven’t seemed to have experienced any infestations.
However, I still believe that regular inspection is good practice.
This lets you spot the pests early so you can get rid of them as soon as possible.
With the Peperomia Axillaris, the sap sucking insects like spider mites, aphids, mealybugs and scale are the most common.
If they do come around, use neem oil to get rid of them.
Root rot is the biggest thing to look out for. It can destroy your plant.
And knowing that the Peperomia Axillaris is prone to overwatering, there’s always a possibility of root rot.
As such, it is important to be mindful of when you water and how you water. Additionally, make sure to use well-draining potting soil and a pot with holes at the bottom.