Peperomia Plant Care – How to Grow Radiator Plants

peperomia

Peperomia are beautiful foliage plants that are easy to grow indoors. They make for wonderful houseplants because they easily adapt to the home environment.

With over 1,000 varieties to choose from, you’ll be able to enjoy their colorful patterned leaves. This makes them perfect if you want to add a pop of brightness and hue to different sections of your home.

Learn how to care for peperomia plants below.

About Peperomia Plants

Peperomia Plant Care and Growing Guide

Peperomia are native to Central America and parts of South America. As such, they enjoy tropical and subtropical conditions.

Most peperomia plants slow growers. And, they’re quite compact in size.

They don’t grow more than than 12 inches high. While only a few get up to 24 inches in height.

As perennials, you get to enjoy them year after year, with lifespans averaging around 6 years or so depending on what conditions they live in and how they’re cared for.

That said, perennials aren’t going to give you much by way of flowers. Instead, they’re grown for their foliage.

These perennials have fleshy leaves that are very similar to those of succulents.

The interesting thing about them is that there are over 1,000 varieties you can choose from. More importantly, you can collect them to your heart’s delight and never have to worry about finding any two varieties that look like one another.

It’s also worth mentioning that they’re among the easiest plants to care for. They are low maintenance and can tolerate neglect.

Plus, they’re not toxic to humans or pets.

All of these features make them ideal houseplants, especially for anyone starting out.

 

Peperomia Plant Care

peperomia

Peperomia Light Requirements

When it comes to light, peperomia like medium to bright light that’s indirect or filtered.

Too much sunlight, especially that from intense mid-afternoon or summertime, can scorch its leaves.

But, too little light makes their leaves lose their lovely colors.

Lack of light can also cause their leaves to drop and make them look spindly.

So, if you see any of these symptoms start to occur, it’s a good idea to start moving them to somewhere they can get more light.

As such, north, east, and west-facing windows work well for them. You do need to place them in a more “protected” position when facing west due to the potentially harsher afternoon sun, especially if you live in a warm climate city.

In addition to natural sunlight, peperomia will likewise do well on artificial lighting. This is a good option if you don’t have any spot in your home where they can get enough light exposure.

But, if you decide to go with grow lights, you’ll need to supply it with 12-16 hours of exposure daily. As such, having a timer with your grow lights help a lot here.

 

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Peperomia Temperature & Humidity

Since peperomia are native to South and Central America, they prefer the warm climate of tropical and subtropical locations.

As such, they’re hardy to USDA Zone 10, which means that they don’t do well when temperatures drop under 30 degrees Fahrenheit.

In fact, they prefer temperatures between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit.

This is why they’re most active growth-wise during the hotter summer months.

When it comes to humidity, peperomias enjoy it best at 40-50% relative humidity. This isn’t quite as high as the 80-90% humidity you experience in tropical forests.

Instead, both its temperature and humidity preferences are much closer to what many homes have (68-75 degrees Fahrenheit and 50% humidity, respectively).

 

Watering Peperomia Plants

Thanks to its thick foliage, peperomias can withstand long periods of no watering. This is one of the reasons why they’re a good choice for novice indoor gardeners.

In fact, they’re more susceptible to overwatering than they are to not being watered.

Too much water can result in wilting, yellowing leaves, root rot, and pests. At worse, it can even kill them.

That said, if they don’t receive enough water, you’ll notice their leaf colors become less vibrant. That’s a sure-fire sign that you need to add water.

When you do, water thoroughly.

Thorough, infrequent watering is the key to keeping your peperomia happy. And, after you do so, wait till the soil dries up before watering again.

The best way to do this is to check to top 1-2 inches of the soil to see if it’s dry. If not, wait till it does before your reach for the watering can again.

Here, checking the soil is better than counting the day. That’s because weather and climate can affect how fast water is lost. But, if you want a general ballpark figure, every 7-12 days is a good benchmark to water your peperomias.

How to Grow & Care for Peperomia

Soil

To start, make sure that the container you’re using has drainage holes. This ensures that your peperomia doesn’t get waterlogged.

Additionally, do choose a potting mix that drains well. Something that includes perlite, coarse sand, or gravel works well to achieve this.

They not only allow water to drain but are loose enough to let air easily circulate, something your peperomia likes.

 

Fertilizing

Like water, peperomia doesn’t need a lot of fertilizer. In fact, they do well when fed once every month or once every two weeks.

And like water, too much fertilizer is worse for them compared to getting too little. That’s because it’s a slow grower. In fact, too much fertilizer can cause mineral imbalances which lead to some nutrients becoming toxic while being deficient in others.

Between spring and fall, you can feed it with a good balanced houseplant fertilizer every 2 or 3 weeks.

Then reduce it the frequency to once a month come fall and then even further during the winter to once every 45 days.

Since it’s most active during the warmer months, that’s when it consumes more food.

 

Peperomia Pruning

Peperomia can be propagated via leaf or stem cuttings. Both are simple and straightforward.

But, before you get started, make sure that all your tools are clean and sterile.

Remember, you’re wounding them by making cuttings. So, it’s key that the sharp tools you use don’t introduce any contaminants to your plants.

You can use scissors or pruning shears for each of the methods below.

For Stem Cuttings

  • Pick a stem. Ideally you want a prolific stem. So, something with at least 3 leaves on it. The more the better.
  • Do consider where the leaves are in the stem. You’ll be removing the ones at the bottom (which will be planted into the potting soil. So, you don’t want all the leaves to be low in the stem.
  • Remove the leaves to expose some stem.
  • Dip the end of the stem into rooting powder. This will speed up the growing process.
  • Place the stem into potting soil and cover it all around in order to keep it standing upright.
  • Water the potting soil thoroughly.

For Leaf Cuttings

  • Choose a leaf you want to cut and snip along with an inch or so of stem. The best time to do this is during springtime.
  • Then, put the stem in a small jar or container with potting soil.
  • Water the potting mix. And, make sure that it stays moist.
  • After a few weeks, you should start seeing roots grow.
  • You can then move it to a larger container

 

Repotting Peperomia Plants

Since they’re slow growers, peperomia don’t need to be repotted often. in fact, they don’t have a problem if you leave them in their current containers, even if the pot gets a little small.

As such, you may be able to get away without ever having to repot your peperomia.

That said, it’s still a good idea to do so every 2-3 years. This allows you to change the potting mix. Doing so prevents the soil from getting compacted which can reduce drainage.

In addition to this, the only other time you’ll need to repot your peperomias is when you see roots start coming out of the drainage holes. This means that they’ve outgrown the pot and it’s time to move to a bigger container.

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