Peperomia Hope (Peperomia Rotundifolia) Plant Care

Peperomia Hope

The peperomia hope is a lovely houseplant that looks like a succulent but is actually an epiphyte. Like many peperomias, it is often considered a succulent because it has similar characteristics especially its thick leaves that like to store water. However, it isn’t a succulent.

That said, it makes for a great houseplant because of its versatility. Its trailing stems and small round leaves make it perfect for hanging baskets, pots in high shelves and even terrariums. It is also its stems and foliage that make it very attractive.

The peperomia hope is a cross between the peperomia deppeana and  peperomia quadrifolia. It is also only one of over 1,000 species of peperomia plants. Thus, you can actually make an entire collection of them and have none of them looking exactly alike.

As mentioned, the peperomia hope is a small plant. It grows up to about a foot tall and spreads out to around 8 inches around. This, along with being easy to care for, makes it perfect for beginners.

Peperomia Hope Plant Care

Peperomia Hope Light

If you look around the internet, you’ll see lighting recommendations for the peperomia hope ranging from low light to medium to bright light. So which is it?

After some experimenting, bright light is where it does best. However, you want to keep it away from direct sunlight. Too much bright, direct light will cause its round leaves to lose their luster and leave you with a dull look.

As such, the west and south facing windows are the best spots for the plant. But, always make sure to keep it between 3 to 6 feet away from the window. How far will depending on the angle at which the sun enters your home at different times of the day. As the sun moves through noon till the later afternoon, the angle of its rays changes as well.

Similarly, an east facing window does well. Although the west and south do better, especially during the cooler times of the year.

 

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Peperomia Hope Temperature & Humidity

In addition to bright light, the peperomia hope does best in indoor conditions. That’s because this gives I and ideal temperature of about 65 to 75 degrees (which most home have). In contrast, outdoor weather isn’t always the best for it.

If you live in USDA zones 10 through 12, then you can leave the plant outside all year long. However, make sure to keep it away from direct sunlight. As such, somewhere that’s bright with some kind of shade works best. You can also keep them under trees for dapple lighting.

Additionally, providing it with moderate to high humidity lets it grow at tis best. You want to keep relative humidity levels at least 50%. But, 65% or a little higher works really well from experience.

As with other peperomias, this one is native to the tropical regions of Central and Southern America. Thus, keeping it in conditions similar to what it is used to allows it to feel most at home.

peperomia hope

source: wikimedia commons

 

Peperomia Hope Watering

Watering is by far the most important thing to be careful with this plant.

When it comes to watering, your peperomia hope likes regular watering. That’s because it gets wet quite a bit in the native forest environment it comes from. However, it doesn’t like having wet feet.

Thus, you always want to wait until the soil dries before watering again. Watering too much or too often causes it to become waterlogged. And when the plant sits too long in water, it runs the risk of root rot.

Because the plant has a small root system compared to the size of its upper portion, it can easily be overwhelmed by soil that’s too wet or stays wet. When either happens, its leaves will start to droop and its stem becomes soft or soggy.

So, the best way to avoid all these problems is to always check the soil before watering. You can do so by sticking your finger into the soil down 2 inches deep. If the soil is dry, then it is time to water. If not, wait then check again in a couple of days.

When you do water your plant, always make sure to use room temperature water. Water that’s too hot or too cold are both no-nos. Also, you don’t want to water from above the plant such that you get the foliage very wet.

Instead, water the soil. And, make sure that the leaves don’t come into contact with the wet soil. Leaves that stay wet for long periods of time become susceptible to fungal problems.

In some cases, this trailing leaves become overly dense it can become hard to see the soil. Here, you have two options.

  • Carefully work your way in to get to the soil. This may or may not work depending on how dense the clumps are. It may also take some creative repositioning of the stems.
  • Water from below. This entails putting a tray filled with water under the pot. Doing so allows the soil to slowly seep the water from the tray. After a few minutes, depending on how big your plant and pot are, you’ll notice that the top of the soil becomes moist. This method, while more time consuming, is both hands-off (you don’t need to do the watering yourself) and less risky when it comes to root rot.

Last but not least, be aware that your plant the plant will want more water during its growing seasons (spring through fall). And, less during the winter. In fact, watering from below works really well during cold weather.

NOTE: The plant’s leaves are somewhat good at collecting dust. When this happens, you can wipe them manually. Although, doing so is somewhat of a pain and time consuming because the foliage are so small and there are so many of them. Thus, a better way is to put the plant in the sink and give it a quick shower. However, make sure to let the foliage dry as quickly as possible.

 

Soil

Your peperomia hope grows best is soil that’s loose and well-draining. Thus, it is a good idea to choose a high quality potting mix. You can likewise add some perlite and bark to make it better.

Alternatively, you can create a potting mix that made up of 1:1 ratio of perlite and peat moss. This gives you enough moisture retention to keep the plant hydrated. While the perlite allows it to drain excess water well.

Whatever you do, don’t use soil that’s dense. Likewise, don’t pack the soil in too tightly. Both will prevent air and water from easily penetrating the soil. And, once it gets wet, it will take a long time to drain. As a result, your plant will feel a lot of stress from the overwatering.

 

Fertilizing

During its growing season (March to September), apply a balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer once every 2 to 4 weeks diluted to half strength. You can start on the more conservative end of the range and adjust as you go depending on how your plant responds.

As with water, you want stay on the cautious side as opposed to being aggressive. I’ve found that peperomia hope aren’t “hungry” plants. So, you don’t need to stress if you’re late by a little.

During the fall and winter, you don’t need to feed it.

 

Peperomia Hope Pruning

Because of its trailing nature, you’ll need to prune your peperomia hope to keep its shape and looking well maintained. This is especially true if you keep in a hanging basket or on pot in shelves or tabletops.

How and when you trim back the plant will depend on how you use or display it. For example, with baskets and higher up shelves, you can allow the leaves to grow beyond the container.

But, allowing it to do so on tabletops means its leaves start sprawling all over the surface. Thus, it is better to prune once its leaves get lower than the container.

That said, spring is the best time to prune the peperomia hope. During this time, it will be growing and you’ll see fresh growth fairly quickly.

 

Peperomia Hope Propagation

You can propagate your peperomia hope via leaf or stem cuttings. I have found that stem cuttings works pretty well. It is likewise very easy to do.

To propagate your peperomia hope by stem cuttings:

  • Pick a stem with at least a few leaves on it
  • Take the stem cutting leaving anywhere from 4 to 8 inches. This gives you enough length to dip it is water, and later to stand upright in the pot.
  • Once you have the stem cuttings, leave them to dry. The end you cut will have some sap. Thus, let it air out and callous (like a wound) before going to the next step.
  • Once the stem’s end has dried, you can dip it into rooting hormone. This is an optional step. But I’ve found it speeds up the time for the cutting to root.
  • Place the cutting in water. Again, you can skip this stem and jump straight into putting the cutting into potting soil. However, I’ve found that propagating in water increases success rates. So, the extra step is well worth it.
  • Now, it is time to wait.
  • Once the cutting starts to root, you can move it to a pot with soil. Likewise, you can leave it to grow in water for a little while longer before making the move. Either way works.

 

Peperomia Hope Transplanting & Repotting

You’ll need to repot your peperomia hope depending on how big it is. Smaller plants that are growing will likely be repotted once a year or every 15 to 18 months at most. But, for larger peperomia hope, you can wait 2 years before doing so.

The reason that smaller plants need to be repotted a lot is a combination of two things.

  • It is growing quickly
  • You don’t want to move it to too big a pot. Moving it to a slightly bigger pot is more work. But, it also avoids the risk of overwatering. Since peperomia plants don’t like pots that are much too wide or deep relative to their size, you’ll end up moving up one size at a time. This also means more repotting early on.

That said, the only time you need to repot is when its roots start to peek out of the holes or they begin to coil around the container. Similarly, if the soil dries up much faster than it normally does (assuming you use the same water volume and schedule), then the plant has outgrown its pot. This happens because it’s “drinking” all the water fairly quickly and needs more sooner rather than later.

To repot your peperomia hope:

  • Before beginning, be prepared with the new container and potting soil. This makes transferring much easier.
  • Gently take out the plant from the pot.
  • Dust away any excess dirt and soil from the root ball. Also, separate the roots. Rootbound plant will have lots of roots tangled together. You want to separate them.
  • Add fresh potting soil to the new pot. Measure the rootball beside the pot side by side. This will show you how high you need to add potting mix to the pot before placing the plant in.
  • Put the plant into the new container.
  • Fill the extra space with potting mix. Make sure not to pack the soil it too tightly.
  • Water the new soil thoroughly

 

Toxicity

Just like other peperomia plants, you don’t have to worry about toxicity. The peperomia hope is not poisonous to both humans and animals. This means you are free to place it anywhere in your home.

 

Pests and Diseases

Your peperomia hope is relatively pest and disease free. This is provided that you give it enough light, humidity and don’t over water it. When your plant is healthy, it won’t be susceptible to diseases and pests almost never come.

However, dry air or soil and watering too much can result in these problems. When they do, mealybugs, spider mites and scale infestation can happen. As such, always inspect your plant, especially the underside of the leaves where they tend to start.

Should any of these pests come around, quickly treat them with insecticidal soap or use a cotton with rubbing alcohol. And, don’t just do this once. Often, it will take a little bit of time for all of the pests to disappear.

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