The Peperomia Little Toscani is a fairly new cultivar that was created in the Netherlands in 2014 by crossing a Peperomia peruviana cultivar with a Peperomia caperata cultivar.
In some shops, you’ll see it labeled as Peperomia Little Tuscany, which refers to the same plant. Its actual scientific name is Peperomia hybrid. (I know, very clever, right?)
Therefore, its full name is Peperomia hybrid ‘Little Toscani’.
The plant has a compact growth habit that allows it to become somewhat round in shape. Although I’ve noticed that as some stems grow longer, they will get longer to the sides (which makes the plant look a bit flatter).
Of course, you can prune those stems to keep it looking bushy.
Its most striking features are it round shaped, glossy silver and green leaves that have a beautiful pattern. This makes them look like small watermelons (to a degree somewhat resembling the watermelon peperomia).
Speaking of which, two plants that are sometimes confused with the Peperomia Little Toscani are the:
- Peperomia Napoli Nights – this is due to their very similar leaf colors and stripes. However, the Peperomia Little Toscani has smaller leaves that are not as pointy on the tips. Also, if you look at the undersides, the Peperomia Little Toscani has green backsides whereas the Napoli Nights has reddish-pink ones.
- Peperomia Rosso (Peperomia Eden Rosso) – has likewise similar looking colors but the shades of green are a bit different from that of the Peperomia Little Toscani. The Peperomia Little Toscani has a combination of silver and green while the Eden Rosso has green and dark green. Also, the shape of its leaves look sharper as well. If you flip their foliage, you’ll also easily notice the underside of the Peperomia Little Toscani is green while the Eden Rosso’s is very red.
Once you know these details, it is easy to distinguish it from the others.
Now, it is time to learn how to care for the Peperomia Little Toscani.
Peperomia Little Toscani Plant Care
The Peperomia Little Toscani thrives in medium to bright, indirect or filtered light. It cannot tolerate direct sun or very strong, intense light.
Thus, you want to keep its leaves away from the sun’s rays during the hottest times of the day (10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.) and during summertime.
Similarly, if you’re using grow lights, make sure to keep the plant a sufficient distance since many of the bulbs emit heat which ultimately will burn its leaves if kept too close.
That said, the Peperomia Little Toscani does not mind gentle direct sun like that in the morning coming from an east facing window. In fact, it will grow faster and produce more beautiful color.
Another option is late afternoon sun (4:00 p.m. and after) although this does not have the same effect as morning sun, the plant is likewise happy in this location near a west window.
Otherwise, make sure to use sheer curtains, a shade cloth or something similar to filter the sun if you keep the plant near a south or west facing window during mid-day. You can likewise distance the plant about 3 or so feet away from the window to keep it from the sun’s ray.
On the other hand, the Peperomia Little Toscani also does well in low light. However, its growth will not be as optimal as medium or bright locations.
If you do choose this option, a good rule of thumb is to make sure that the low light is not overly dim. You can test this by sitting down and reading a book or magazine in that spot.
If you can read the content text throughout the day without having to turn on a lamp or lighting, then the natural light is enough to keep the plant healthy and looking good.
The Peperomia Little Toscani is a hybrid whose parents trace their native habitats to the tropical forests of South America. Thus, it inherits these traits.
Its ideal temperature is between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. However, based on my experiments, the plant can tolerate between 41 and 105 degrees Fahrenheit without any issues.
That said, I highly advise against the extreme ends because the colder or hotter it gets, the less leeway you have to make mistakes with watering (overwatering in cold, underwatering in hot times) and humidity.
So, keeping the plant in a range of 50 degrees on the low side to about 95 degrees on a high side is a good general range where you’re pretty much risk free of potential problems.
The most important thing to note is that the Peperomia Little Toscani is not frost hardy nor can it tolerate freezing temperatures of North American winters.
The tropical regions of South America get sunshine every day of the year with not long periods of cold. They also don’t get any snow. This is why it is hardy to USDA Zones 10 through 12.
Therefore, you want to be more wary of lower temperatures because the plant will suffer cold injury (which will result in leaf drop).
The safest way to do this is to move it away from any location once temperature nears 50 degrees.
Another aspect of tropical forests is their high humidity. This makes the Peperomia Little Toscani prefer humidity of between 50% and 70%.
Thankfully, it is a fairly hardy plant with fleshy, succulent-like leaves. The latter allows the it to store water in its foliage for dry periods.
In doing so, it is able to tolerate moderate humidity levels (30% to 50%), which is often found in most homes.
From experience, it is very seldom that that plant will need help with humidity despite its high air moisture preference. In the 35% to 45% range, the plant looks good and has no problem.
However, if you live somewhere very dry like desert cities (Arizona and Nevada for example), you may want to observe how well the plant holds up since humidity can average below 30% depending on the time of year.
Unless the plant struggles, I don’t recommend misting since excess moisture can attract fungus gnats. The Peperomia Little Toscani is likewise sensitive to too much moisture, which I’ll discuss in the following section.
How Often to Water Peperomia Little Toscani
Water is the Peperomia Little Toscani’s #1 problem point.
It has a small, shallow root system that can easily be overwhelmed by too much water. Couple that with its succulent-like leaves storing water, it is easy to give it too much moisture.
Once this happens, especially for extended periods of time or on a regular basis, its risk of root rot from overwatering increases.
The problem is the roots are hidden from view because it is under soil. Therefore, the only symptoms you’ll get are once the leaves and plant start wilting.
By then, the roots may have sustained some or a good amount of damage.
Therefore, the best way to water this plant is to wait until the soil is almost dry. Since it is drought tolerant (thanks to its thick leaves), you have more leeway on the dry side.
This is why I like to wait until the soil is dry 50% to 75% of the way down before watering again.
If you’re the type who likes to water regularly, which many of my friend gardeners are, wait until at least the top 2 inches of soil go dry. You can stick your index finger into the soil down to the 2nd knuckle.
Then feel your fingertip for any moisture. Only water if your fingertip does not feel any moisture.
Peperomia Little Toscani Potting Soil
To help prevent overwatering, the best soil for the Peperomia Little Toscani is well-draining, well-aerated potting mix.
Additionally, including some nutrients in there will reduce the amount of fertilizer you need to use. Doing so will reduce the salt residue that’s left behind by chemical products as I’ll explain in the next section.
Here are a few good potting mixes for the Peperomia Little Toscani. You can mix:
- Potting soil with orchid bark and charcoal
- Succulent mix and potting soil
- Potting soil with coco coir
- Succulent mix with coco coir
- Potting mix with perlite
Either one of these will work. You can try them and see which one works best. Or, use the combination that you have on hand.
I also like adding a layer of compost as topdressing. This will give the plant added nutrients.
Feed the Peperomia Little Toscani once a month with liquid houseplant fertilizer during spring and summer. Dilute it to half strength to reduce the amount of salt that will build up in the soil.
If you added compost above, you can do without the fertilizer or use about a quarter strength.
In general, the plant is a light feeder. So, you don’t need to give it a lot of plant food. Also, stop feeding by early or mid fall. It won’t need any fertilizer during winter when it rests.
Fertilizing the Peperomia Little Toscani is quite straightforward. The important thing is not to overdo it since chemical products use salt as the delivery medium for the nutrients. Therefore, the more nutrients you give the plant, the more salt it gets as well.
Unfortunately, houseplants can get damaged by too much salt. So, moderation is essential.
The Peperomia Little Toscani is a small plant that will eventually get wider than it will be tall (assuming you don’t trim the edges.
For this reason, some growers will let it keep growing out to the sides of the pot or container. This way they can hang it up.
Of course, you can keep the plant neat and trim as well so that it will stay compact and bushy.
Since it won’t grow big, is a moderate grower with beautiful leaves, you don’t need to do a lot of pruning outside of shaping it and to remove leggy, dead or discolored foliage.
As a final note, I’ve seen a few Peperomia Little Toscani that have produced really long flowers (which look like thin wiggly antennae). Some people like them, others don’t.
If you don’t, you can snip them off as well. Doing so also lets the plant focus all its energy on foliage instead of reallocating some for blooming.
How to Propagate Peperomia Little Toscani
With proper care, the Peperomia Little Toscani will live for many years. However, because of its beauty it is a good idea to propagate it, so you have a few of them. You can like give them to friends because they make easy to care houseplants that look amazing in homes and offices.
There are a few ways to propagate the Peperomia Little Toscani. The two best ways are through stem and leaf cutting.
Both methods work but leaf cutting is the more common method used because of the plant’s short stems.
Propagating Peperomia Little Toscani from Leaf Cuttings
- Take a leaf cutting. You can take more than one if you want to grow more than one new plant. Also, make sure to sterilize your scissors or blade before making the cut to prevent passing any pathogens to the plant.
- Once you have the leaf cuttings, plant them into a well-draining potting mix with the cut end into the soil.
- Keep the cutting in bright, indirect light.
- Then cover the tray or pot with a plastic to create a mini-greenhouse. This will increase humidity by trapping moisture in. However, make sure to open the plastic every few days to let fresh air in and allow excess moisture out. A few minutes at a time is enough. This will prevent any rotting from happening.
- Also, keep the soil consistently moist but avoid overdoing it such that the soil gets mucky and soggy. To help with this, make sure the potting mix is well draining and there’s a hole at the bottom of the pot or some kind of drainage.
- It will take about 10 days for roots to start growing during spring and summer (which is the best time to propagate). And between 2 to 3 months to get fully rooted cuttings that are somewhat established.
Propagating Peperomia Little Toscani from Stem Cuttings
Stem cuttings work just the same way with leaf cuttings. But in this case, you’ll be using the stem with a few leaves instead of just one leaf at a time.
- Start by taking a stem cutting. Try to get at least 1 to 2 inches of stem, although a little longer will work if you can get them. The purpose here is to have enough stem to bury into the soil or reach the water when in a glass jar or container.
- You can propagate the stem cutting in water or in soil. Most growers like propagating in water because you can monitor the rooting process. It also lets you spot any issues or problems immediately as they happen because of the glass container. But you will need to move the cutting from water to soil at some point. Therefore, other growers prefer going directly to soil.
- If you propagate in water, place the cutting into a glass jar. Make sure there’s enough stem submerged into the water since this is the only way it will root. Also, remove any leaves that may end up in the water as these will rot. Change the water every week to keep it from getting murky.
- If you propagate in soil, allow the cut end of the stem to dry and callous, then dip it into rooting hormone. This will increase the chances of success and speed up root development. Plant the cutting into a well-draining potting mix. Make sure that a good portion of the stem is buried in the soil. And keep the soil moist.
With the water propagation, you can move the cuttings to potting mix once the roots reach about 2 inches long or more. This usually takes around 4 weeks or a little longer.
If you propagated in soil, there’s no need to move it until the new plant outgrows the container. Then just repot.
How to Repot or Transplant Peperomia Little Toscani
The Peperomia Little Toscani is moderate grower. But it will usually take about 2 to 3 years before you need to repot. Therefore, repotting is an infrequent task you need to do.
However, I don’t like relying on number of years when it comes to caring for plants. Instead, I suggest listening to what the Peperomia Little Toscani is telling you.
You can do so by checking the bottom drainage holes once a year to see if roots have come out of there. You can check more often if you wish.
The only time it needs to be repotted is if roots are growing and extending out of the pot.
Otherwise, you can just change the topsoil once a year to keep it fresh.
Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs
No, the Peperomia Little Toscani is not toxic to people or animals. This means there’s no risk of poison in case it is ingested. But, the plant is not meant to be eaten, so consuming the leaves or stems is something you should try to keep your kids or pets from doing.
Problems & Troubleshooting
Too much water will cause the plant’s leaves to turn yellow or curl. Therefore, if you see this happening, check the soil.
If it is soggy and wet, you need to find out the cause. Usually, it is one of these two reasons.
- You’re watering too often
- The soil you’re using is holding on to too much water.
If it is the former, cut back on watering. If it is the latter, change the soil by repotting the plant and use a well-draining potting mix.
Drooping & Wilting
Wilting can happen if there is a watering issue. This can be caused by overwatering or underwatering.
- Too much water will cause the roots to be deprived of oxygen (because they’re drowning in water). As a result, the lack of air will cause it to wilt.
- Lack of water likewise causes the plant to wilt because plants consist of up to 95% water. Therefore, if it lacks water, there’s less “filler” or “volume” to keep the stem up.
The best way to confirm one from the other is to check the soil.
An underwatered plant that’s wilting will have very dry soil. On the other hand, an overwatered plant will have wet, mucky soil.
Depending on what you get, adjust to compensate.
The most often cause of leaf drop is overwatering. This is a later symptom usually after the leaves have changed color and the plant is either wilting or has started to wilt.
Again, check the soil to see if it is wet before cutting back on water.
But in some cases, overwatering may not be the problem. So, if the soil is not wet or soggy, then lack of light is likely the culprit.
Here, you want to check how much light the plant actually gets.
Ideally, it gets 4 to 6 hours of bright, indirect sunlight a day. If not, move it somewhere brighter. But, make sure there is no direct sunlight.
Mealybugs, spider mites, thrips and whiteflies all like to attack the Peperomia Little Toscani. Fungus gnats can also appear if there’s excess moisture.
The simples way to treat these bugs is to wash them off with water. I like to use the sink since the plant is small. You can likewise hose the insects off but make sure to be thorough so you get the eggs as well.
Otherwise, these will grow into adults in a day or two and you’ll be back where you started since they’ll lay new eggs again.
Other options include insecticidal soap and neem oil.
The reason overwatering is your plant’s #1 enemy is that it can lead to root rot if not discovered and averted early enough.
Root rot happens when the plant’s roots stand in water such that they’re suffocated because they can’t get any oxygen.
Unfortunately, once too many roots are damaged or have rotted, the plant won’t be able to support itself since it has no way to get sufficient moisture or nutrients from the soil (due to few roots or no viable roots left).