The Peperomia pellucida is also called the shiny bush, silver bush and clearweed to name a few. It is a very popular medicinal herb that doubles as houseplant or annual for your garden.
For ornamental purposes, it is often grown in containers indoors which allows it to showcase its beautiful leaves that look stunning when the plant gets bush.
Because it hails from tropical regions it easily adapts to household conditions making it very easy to care for.
The plant itself will grow to between half a foot to a foot and a half feet tall. And, as its heart-shaped leaves increase in number the plant expands to the side.
As with many herbs, it produces an aroma when its leaves are crushed. It is often used for medical purposes thanks to its benefits. This include being anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and an analgesic.
The plant looks great in pots, hanging baskets and as ground cover.
Peperomia Pellucida Plant Care
The Peperomia pellucida houseplant thrives in bright, indirect light. Thus, it enjoys medium light away from the direct rays of the sun.
This makes an east or north facing window optimal for growth. Both locations give it enough light without the harshness of the afternoon sun.
If you live in an apartment where you don’t have the luxury of choosing which side the window is on, don’t worry.
It will do okay with fluorescent lights which is what makes it perfect for indoor settings including offices and homes. Artificial lights work as well, although, you’ll need to run the longer since they don’t cover the entire color spectrum of the sun.
If you do go with grow lights, make sure to keep the plant far enough from the bulbs. Otherwise the heat from the bulbs combined with the long hours of exposure will eventually burn the leaves.
You can also position it near west or south facing windows provided that you keep it far enough from where the light hits the surfaces. This usually is about 3 to 6 feet from the window.
Another option would be to use sheer curtains or drapes to filter out some of the sun so the plant only receives part of it.
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Your Peperomia pellucida is native to the tropical regions of Asia, Central and South America where it is best known for its medicinal properties.
Thus, it is used to moderate to warm conditions. This makes temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees ideal for growing the plant indoors.
It also won’t mind it if the climate gets a bit warmer as it is used to this. However, it is worth noting that the higher above 75 degrees you go, the more it will stress the plant especially once you get into the mid 90s. in doing so, it increases the risk of disease and pests.
Cold weather is another story.
It cannot tolerate freezing temperatures. And, it won’t survive frost. So, it is not a good idea to grow it in the ground or keep it in a container left outside if you have snowy winters in your area.
If you do bring it outside during summertime, be ready to take it indoors as the weather gets cooler around fall.
It will be able to tolerate conditions down to about 55 degrees. But as it drops under 50 degrees, it will begin experiencing issues.
Since it comes from tropical rainforest environments, the Peperomia pellucida is used to damp conditions. This makes it thrive in humidity. Ideally, 60% or higher.
Fortunately, it has succulent-life features that allow it to do well even when humidity isn’t ideal. As long as you can keep indoor humidity between 40% and 50%, it will be fine.
I don’t recommend guessing nor do I suggest basing your home humidity on the weather channel. The latter only gives you the relative humidity in your city.
Unfortunately, different parts of the city will experience different temperatures and humidity depending on the microclimates in these areas. As such, the humidity in your street may be different from that just 3 blocks away.
More importantly, indoor humidity, just like indoor temperature is very different from outdoor humidity and temperature, respectively.
And, some rooms are more humid than others. For example, bathrooms and kitchens tend to have the highest because they have faucets which we use often.
Thus, I do recommend using a digital hygrometer to make sure. This will let you know what the humidity is in each of the rooms in your home.
And, if needed increase it to keep your tropical plants happy.
A good way to do this for your Peperomia pellucida is to group it with other plants or place it over a water tray. You can also mist it 2 to 3 times a week. Or, use a humidifier if you want to cover more floor area.
source: wikimedia commons
How Often to Water Peperomia Pellucida
Being an epiphyte, your Peperomia pellucida has small roots. This makes it easy to plant and reduces the need to repot frequently.
However, the size of its roots also make it more susceptible to overwatering. Their lack of volume means you don’t want to keep them in too big a pot with too much soil.
As the soil gets wet, it will leave the roots in water for longer periods of time.
That is why using the right kind of soil is crucial (I’ll discuss that in detail below).
One of the reasons for this is that plant thrives in moist soil, during the spring and summer. But, there’s a fine line between moist and soggy. And, you want to avoid the latter.
In the fall and winter, you’ll want to cut back and allow the soil to dry a bit more between waterings.
Deep watering is recommended.
This means pouring water slowly via a watering can or garden hose into the soil until the liquid starts dripping through the drainage holes.
In essence you’re soaking the entire root ball. This allows moisture to reach to roots.
Then, allow all excess moisture to drain. This takes between 5 to 12 minutes depending on big the plant is.
It is no doubt time consuming so I often just leave the container on a stand in the backyard sink while I do something else.
This step is crucial as it allows excess water to drain so your plant does not end up sitting in water.
Soil for Peperomia Pellucida
The right soil is important for your Peperomia pellucida houseplant because of its susceptibility to overwatering. Plus, soil provides added nutrients and allows enough air to get through the roots (remember the plant is an epiphyte).
Thus, the simplest mix that works for the plant I’ve found is combining:
- 1 part peat moss
- 1 part perlite
If you tend to have a heavier watering hand, add some fine gravel to increase drainage.
The goal of soil is to hold enough moisture and nutrients to sustain the plant but drain out all the excess moisture so the plant does not get oversaturated.
Soil with pH between 5.5 and 8.0 is likewise ideal for optimum growth.
I like to use a balanced liquid fertilizer for my Peperomia pellucida. You can use a 15-15-15 or 20-20-20 formulation. But, make sure to dilute it to half strength when you apply. Also, always water when you use fertilizer.
You only need to feed the plant in spring and summer which are its growing seasons. There’s no need to apply fertilizer in the fall and winter.
I suggest starting once a month and working your way up to once every 2 weeks.
Because fertilizer contains chemicals, these salts will eventually accumulate in the soil. And, where there’s enough, they can damage your plant’s roots.
Thus, it is a good idea to flush the soil every 4 to 6 months depending on how much fertilizer you use and what kind of fertilizer you use.
Cheaper, low quality products will leave more fertilizer salts which is why I don’t recommend them.
To flush, just soak the root ball like you would when deep watering. But, allow the water to run between 3 to 5 minutes.
The goal here is to allow the moving water to wash or carry away mineral residues left in the soil. It will also carry out some dirt and small soil particles.
After this, allow the root ball to drain completely. Again, this is a time consuming but very important step to avoid overwatering.
Like most peperomia, the Peperomia pellucida is a fairly small plant. It grows to between 6 to 18 inches making it perfect for shelves, tabletops, balconies or porches.
While they don’t get tall, they do get bushy especially with proper care. This will allow them to become a bit dense and feature vibrant green color.
Here’s where pruning can come in.
Depending on the look you’re going for you may or may not trim it. The longer and thicker it gets, the possibility of it looking messy increases.
So, you do need to check on it every so often to see if it is getting too unruly.
Pruning will help keep it neat and tidy looking.
Similarly, pruning also reduces the risk of infections and pests. Thus, doing it once a year is a good idea.
Finally, if you see leggy growth or discolorations, trim these off. It will allow the plant to grow again without the isues.
Peperomia Pellucida Propagation
The Peperomia pellucida houseplant can be propagated via leaf cuttings. This is the most common (and easiest) method to grow more of the plant.
It uses leaves from the mother plant to grow new plants.
- Pick a few large leaves from the plant.
- Prepare a container or try and fill it with fresh, well-draining potting mix.
- Make small cuts on the leaves and place them on the potting soil. Pat down a bit to keep them on. You can also put small pebbles over the leaves to keep them down in case there are winds.
- Add rooting hormone on top of the leaves.
- Water the soil to keep it moist.
- Put the container in a warm spot with bright, indirect light.
It will take a bit of time as the roots will need to grow from the leaves. But, after a while, you’ll see them start growing.
Roots will take about a month to grow.
How to Repot Peperomia Pellucida
The Peperomia Pellucida is a fine plant with small, heart-shaped leaves and a compact rooting system. Some plant experts may also agree that this particular prefers being root-bound to having a large growing space.
Therefore, repotting the Peperomia Pellucida plant monthly, or even annually, is not essential. You can leave the Pellucida plant for a good 1.2 to 2.5 years before it requires a change of pots.
Additionally, I suggest using a small compact pot rather than a massive pot. More importantly, please make sure that the pot has drainage holes at the bottom.
The Peperomia pellucida is not toxic. In fact, it is edible. And, it is best known for being a medicinal plant.
It is often used as a remedy for certain infections, anti-inflammation and bacterial problems.
That said, I don’t suggest eating it unless you really know what you’re doing or have specific guidance.
Pests & Disease
Your Peperomia pellucida is quite resistant to pets and disease. As such, keeping it healthy by giving it all its requirements listed above is the best way to keep pests and disease away.
That said, problems can arise for any plant at any given time.
And, as far as the Peperomia pellucida goes, there are a few pests that will try to attack it. This includes, spider mites, fungus gnats, thrips and mealybugs. Caterpillars and other insects are less likely but can likewise happen on rare occasion.
As mentioned above, watering is important.
And, improper watering can lead to leaf spot and root rot.