Why are My Peperomia Leaves Drooping, Limp or Soft

If you wake up one day and notice the leaves of your Monstera drooping, soft or wilting, it often means that the plant is not happy with something.

Changes in the leaves including their shape, form, texture and texture are the plant’s way of warning you that it needs help.

The earlier you can diagnose and fix the issue, the better off your plant will be.

Why are your Peperomia leaves drooping? The most common cause of peperomia leaves dropping is underwatering or dehydration.

Although, this can also be caused by low humidity, pest infestations, extreme temperatures and overwatering.

Therefore, it is important to investigate further to figure out what is causing your Monstera’s drooping leaves.

What Happens When Peperomia Leaves Droop?

When your peperomia leaves droop, it will not behave or feel like it normally does. A healthy peperomia has firm stems and leaves.

The stems keep the plant upright with the leaves closely attached to these stems. If you feel the leaves, you’ll notice they are plump, firm and won’t bend. That’s because Peperomia store moisture in their leaves.

However, if you notice that the stem becomes flexible, soft and start to bend, the plant is likely already sagging. The leaves are likely flatter as they wilt and droop.

This is your plant’s way of telling you that something is not right. And that it needs your help to fix the problem as soon as  you can.

 

Causes of Peperomias Drooping

When Peperomias droop, there are often a few reasons why. Unfortunately, you need to diagnose and narrow down the culprit before you’ll be able to fix the cause.

So, below, I’ve listed down the different causes that can lead to peperomia drooping. For each, I explain what is happening, why the plant is dropping and how you can solve the problem.

Chart of Why are My Peperomia Leaves Drooping Causes
Chart of Why are My Peperomia Leaves Drooping Causes

 

Lack of Moisture is the #1 Reason for Peperomia Leaves Drooping

Underwatering is the most common cause of Peperomia leaves drooping. Peperomia are known for being able tolerate dry periods because they store moisture in their leaves. This is why their leaves feel firm and full.

However, when a peperomia is underwatered, you’ll start noticing its leaves feel softer and look flatter. In fact, I know a few growers who fell the plant’s leaves in order to tell when their peperomia needs watering.

The problem is that the longer the plant lacks water, the weaker is gets. The stems and leaves also get softer until they being to bend and sag.

As your peperomia gets dehydrated, the lack of water means that there is not fluid to “fill” the stems. This is when it becomes unable to stand firmly upright. Instead, it will begin to wilt. Similarly, as the leaves get softer due to lack of water, they will droop.

Therefore, avoid letting your peperomia go completely dry. Once the soil is dry about 50% to 75%, you want to water the plant.

Unfortunately, letting your peperomia stay dehydrated for prolonged periods of time and on a regular basis not only causes plant stress but will also eventually damage the plant’s tissues.

The best way to check whether your peperomia lacks water is to feel the soil.

Stick your finger into he soil and feel for moisture. If your peperomia is dehydrated or underwatered, there’s a very high likelihood that the soil is very dry.

You can likewise use a moisture meter or life the pot up to test its weight.

 

How to Fix an Underwatered Peperomia Plant

Once you confirm that your Peperomia leaves drooping is caused by underwatering, it is time to add water.

The good news is that peperomia are quite resilient which is why they are very easy to care for. Once you give it the water it needs, it will quickly recover and begin to perk up.

It only takes about 24 hours or so before you see a significant improvement.

The simplest way to water your peperomia is to add water directly to the soil. If you have an underwatered peperomia, make sure to saturate the soil so the roots are able to get rehydrated.

That said, there’s a more effective way to rehydrating an underwatered peperomia plant that’s drooping. Here’s how the pros do it.

  1. Put the plant in the sink. Peperomia are small plants so they can easily fit in most sinks. However, you can also use a basin, large pail or bathtub.
  2. Fill the sink with about 3 to 4 inches of soil. Use room temperature water.
  3. Then dunk the plant into the water so the root ball is partially sunk in the liquid. This will allow the soil to get soaked and absorb the water through the drainage hole at the bottom of the pot.
  4. Leave the plant in the water for about 15 to 30 minutes.
  5. Check the plant every now and then and feel the surface of the soil. The goal is to take the plant out of the water soak once the surface of the soil starts feeling moist. This means that the soil has absorbed enough moisture that is now saturated with water.
  6. If you want to speed up the process, you can also add water to the top of the soil. Although, this is optional.
  7. Once the soil is saturated, take it out of the sink and drain the sink. Then leave the plant in the sink or tub to drain.
  8. It will take another 15 to 30 minutes for the plant to completely drain.
  9. Make sure to only return the plant to its original place after the entire root ball has drained completely. Otherwise, you run the risk of overwatering or waterlogged soil, which will lead to a different problem.

 

Low Humidity

Another reason why your Peperomia leaves are drooping is due to low humidity. Peperomia are native to the tropical Americas and the Caribbean.

This means that is it used to warm, humid weather all year round.

In fact, the plant’s ideal humidity is 40% to 50%. It will likewise do well in higher humidity.

However, most homes usually have humidity that’s between 20% and 50%. The air also tends to get very dry during summer and wintertime.

Also keep your peperomia away from heaters, radiators and air conditioners as these appliances will dry the air in the room.

Therefore, low humidity can sometimes be a problem.

Unfortunately, when peperomia do not get the humidity they need, they can begin to droop. You may also notice brown, crispy leaf tips and edges.

That’s because the plant transpires more when humidity is low. Therefore, it loses moisture faster which leads to dehydration or lack of water sooner.

So, if you live somewhere with dry air make sure to keep an eye out for humidity especially when it drops. I highly recommend getting a hygrometer which is an affordable device that lets you know the humidity at any given time.

This will let you know that you need to help the plant out.

Once humidity drops under 40%, you can employ any of the measures below to increase it.

  • Mist the leaves
  • Move the plant to the bathroom
  • Place it on a pebble tray
  • Group it with other plants
  • Give it a shower
  • Use a humidifier

 

Overwatering Can Cause Peperomia Leaves to Droop

In addition to lack of moisture, another reason for drooping peperomia leaves is overwatering.

Of all the different causes on our list, this is the most dangerous. That’s because overwatering is the number one cause of houseplant death.

Therefore, you want to avoid giving your Peperomia too much water.

I know this from experience as I’ve lost a few peperomia early on as I treated it like other houseplants. One thing I learned is that while the plant is very easy to care for, watering is something you want to be very conservative with.

I watered my Peperomia like my other houseplants. And in a few weeks, they started wilting and eventually died.

Only after doing more research, did I realize that you want to stay on the drier side when watering this plant.

In any case, the reason why drooping peperomia leaves due to overwatering is dangerous is that it is a late-stage symptom.

The plant will only droop due to watering after the roots have sustained damage. By then, root rot has taken hold and at least a portion its root system has been damaged.

Here’s why.

 

Related

 

Why Overwatering Causes Peperomia Leaves to Droop

Peperomias need loose, well-aerated soil that have good drainage. This allows excess water to quickly drain so the liquid does not block the small air pockets in the soil.

It needs these tiny air pockets in the soil for oxygen to get through to the roots. That’s because its roots need a balanced of air and water to stay healthy.

So. when you overwater the soil or the soil gets waterlogged, air cannot get through. As a result,, the roots will eventually suffocate, leading to root rot.

Root rot is a very serious problem for plants because the roots are damaged and fail to function as they should. This means that no matter how much you water or fertilize the soil, the roots cannot absorb the moisture or nutrients anymore.

When this happens, the plant will eventually get dehydrated and have nutrient deficiencies.

It will then droop, have soggy, stems and yellow leaves. Over time, it will weaken and deteriorate until it dies due to lack of sustenance.

This is why it is very important to allow the top soil to dry at least 1 to 2 inches from the surface between waterings. I like to wait for the soil to dry halfway down (50%) before adding more water. This ensures that I don’t end up overwatering my peperomias again.

 

Temperature Stress

Peperomias are tropical plants. Because they come from tropical habitats, they are used to warm, sunny weather all year round. They also don’t experience snow or freezing temperature during the wintertime.

This is why the ideal temperature for Peperomia plants is between 60 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. They also don’t have problems with warmer weather.

However, the one risk of hot temperatures is that they will lose water quickly. More sun and warmer climates mean more evaporation. Thus, if you don’t water regularly, they will likely dry out faster.

This is why very hot temperatures above 90 or 95 degrees Fahrenheit can cause Peperomia leaves to droop or curl.

The lack of moisture will also cause dry, crispy edges and tips as well as brown leaves.

That said, Peperomia have more trouble with cold weather. Therefore, avoid leaving it anywhere colder than 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

It is not cold hardy and cannot withstand frost, snow or freezing conditions.

If left in this environment, your peperomia will experience cold stress. Its leaves will curl and droop as well while the plant will wilt.

But there’s a bigger problem, as it stays longer in the cold or the temperature drops even lower, they plant will sustain cold injury and damage.

Therefore, if you leave the plant outside, make sure to bring it indoors once the weather gets colder around late fall. It won’t survive the winter there.

The simplest way to fix a drooping Peperomia caused by temperature stress it to move the plant to its ideal temperature range.

 

Pest Problem

Pest infestations are another reason for your peperomia leaves drooping. In this case, you’ll also likely see yellow patches on its leaves.

As the pests cause more damage, you’ll see more and more leaves turn yellow.

The reason this happens is that Peperomia is often attacked by sap sucking insects. The most common include mealybugs, spider mites, whiteflies and aphids.

When they suck on the plant’s sap, they rob it of its internal fluids which contain moisture and nutrients that are meant for the leaves.

This is not a big issue when there are just a few bugs. However, these pests reproduce very quickly. So, you end up with a pest infestation quite fast.

The larger the pest problem, the more sap they steal from your plant. This results in moisture and nutrient loss, leading to dehydration and nutrient deficiencies.

Both are the reason why your peperomia will begin to droop and exhibit yellow leaves.

Therefore, if you see any sign of pests, it is important to act quickly to eradiate them. You can use neem oil or insecticidal soap.

Regular inspection is likewise an important part of plant care. Make sure to pay special attention to the undersides of the leaves, stems, and the junction between the stem and the petiole as these are places where the bugs like to hide.

 

Too Much Fertilizer

Peperomia grow best when regularly fertilized. However, be careful not to overfeed the plant as too much fertilizer will eventually damage its roots.

The reason is that fertilizer contain salts. These salts are used as transport mechanisms for the nutrients. They are an efficient delivery system that allows plants to readily absorb the nutrients.

However, after the roots take the nutrients, the salts are left as byproducts.

And they end up accumulating in the soil.

The problem is that too much of these salts can cause fertilizer burn.

Initially, the salts draw out moisture from the roots. This increases the risk of dehydration. As a result, you’ll notice your peperomia leaves drooping. Similarly, you’ll notice brown, crispy leaf tips and margins.

Unfortunately, further accumulation of salts will eventually damage the roots. When there’s too much salt build-up it can destroy the roots leaving your plant with black, dead, smelly roots.

Once this happens, the plant cannot absorb moisture or nutrients from the soil. Ad you’ll see yellow leaves, wilting and a sick-looking plant.

The best way to completely avoid this problem is to follow the instructions on the product label and avoid over fertilizing your Peperomia.

I like to apply a balanced, liquid fertilizer once a month during spring and summer. It won’t need feeding during the cold months. Also, dilute the application by 50% each time.

If you suspect that you’re using too much fertilizer, flush the soil every couple of months by running water through it for 5 to 10 minutes. This will dissolve the salts and carry them out along with tiny debris.

 

Repotting Stress or Shock

Repotting is something that you’ll need to do at some point as your plant grows.

That said, Peperomias don’t really like getting repotted or moved. And they’re fond of being slightly root bound. Additionally, they have a delicate root system.

So, when you repot the plant or transplant it, make sure to be extra careful.

That’s because transplant or repotting shock can occur.

This happens as the plant needs to adjust to its new home or surroundings. As it does, you’ll notice it droop, wilt or even drop leaves. It will also stop growing for a while.

Sometimes this happens when you first bring it home from the nursery. Other times, it can occur when you repot or transplant it.

Another possible reason for repotting or transplant stress or shock is when the roots get exposed to the air for long periods of time. As they dry out, they can get damaged which affects their ability to absorb moisture once they are repotted.

This is why it is a good idea to keep the plant in a similar if not same environment as it was before when you repot.

The good news is, the proper care, the plant will eventually recover after several weeks. After that, it will start growing again and begin producing new leaves as well.

 

Checklist of How to Fix Peperomia Leaves Drooping
Checklist of How to Fix Peperomia Leaves Drooping

 

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