The Peperomia puteolata is also known as the Parallel Peperomia. In terms of appearance, it look very much like the watermelon peperomia in that its leaves have similar striped patterns.
However, if you look closely, you’ll notice that they’re very different. The colors and designs are very distinctive. Similarly, the shape, size and look of the two plants are very different as well.
The plant is fairly short in stature. It grows to above 14 to 16 inches long and if its stems are allowed to grow long, they’ll start trailing.
I for one, prefer them short so they look more like a regular houseplant. This allows you to easily notice its leaves which aren’t the biggest in size.
On the other hand, as the plant gets longer, it gets messier the more it trails. This turns the focus on its trailing looks rather than the gorgeous patterns on its leaves.
The Peperomia puteolata is a native of South America. As such, it is tropical in nature and prefers warm to cold environments.
Their elegant look and upward growth habit make for great container indoor plants.
It is also a good candidate as a terrarium plant, in a dish garden or a hanging basket.
Peperomia Puteolata Plant Care
Your Peperomia puteolata thrives on bright, indirect light. It also does well in medium light as well as filtered and dappled light.
However, keep it away from direct sunlight as exposure will cause its leaves to scorch.
Similarly, it does not do well in low light. Lack of light will cause its leaves to lose their beautiful colors or look dull. Its growth will likewise slow down or get stunted depending on how dark the spot is.
This means the best locations in your home would be near an east or north facing window. A northeast exposure is likewise good.
In the east, it will be able to tolerate 2 or so hours of direct sunlight since the morning sun is quite gentle.
You do want to monitor the plant in the north especially if you live closer to Canada. The norther part of the country is farther from the equator. As such, a north facing window receives less light the farther off you get from this spot.
This is less of a problem for the southern part of the country which experience more sunshine all year round.
Both the west and south are not bad places as well. But, you do need to take some precautions due to the more intense afternoon sun.
Ideally, you either want to keep the plant a few feet away from the window away from where the sun’s rays hit. Or, use some kind of shade to block the sun like drapes or curtains.
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The Peperomia puteolata does best when temperature is kept between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. It is accustomed to tropical conditions, so it prefers warm weather than cold.
In fact, the plant cannot tolerate frost or freezing temperatures. This means it is not a good idea to keep it somewhere the temperature drops below 50 degrees.
Also, it does not appreciate cold drafts and breezes. This including being near vents, air conditioning or even open windows.
In general, you want to keep temperature consistent. Fluctuations are something the plant does not take well.
For this reason it grows best in USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 11 all year long. On the other hand, it will not be able to survive in areas where winters receive snow as it won’t get through the cold months.
Given a choice, your Peperomia puteolata prefers humid environments. This means keeping relative humidity at 60% to even over 90%. This allows it to grow at its best and produce its most vibrant colors.
However, that’s not comfortable for many homes and almost downright impossible to do unless you live in a greenhouse or giant terrarium.
The good news is that it does well in in average household humidity. And, since most homes average between 40% and 50% it won’t have a problem.
But, if you have a hard time keeping humidity in the upper 30s or higher, this can be an issue.
This is often the case, if you live in the desert or other dry places.
If you’re not sure what the humidity is in your area or inside your home (note the two are often different), I suggest picking up a digital hygrometer. It is an inexpensive device that you can easily carry to different rooms to check humidity level.
This device is very helpful especially if you own some humidity-sensitive plants.
In case you need to increase humidity to keep your Peperomia puteolata happy, here are a few things you can do.
- Move it to a more humid room. Kitchens and bathrooms tend to be the most humid rooms in the house, since we often quite a bit of water there.
- Group the plants together.
- Place it on pebbles in a water tray.
- Mist the plant a few times a week.
- Use a humidifier.
How Often to Water Peperomia Puteolata
Your Peperomia puteolata is a semi-succulent. This means that while it is not a succulent, it does have similar features in that it is able to store water in its leaves or stems.
As such, this makes overwatering something you want to avoid as the plant is easily affected by it.
You also want to allow the soil to dry to the touch before watering. Since the plant can tolerate a bit of dryness this is not a problem.
However, it is not a good idea to neglect it or water it too infrequently. If this happens, you’ll see it start wilting which is a sign that it needs water.
Fortunately, once you water it, your Peperomia puteolata can quickly recover within the next 24 to 48 hours.
That’s not the case with overwatering as it takes much longer and requires more help from you to recover if at all.
Once the top few inches of soil dry, give it a deep watering.
This allows the entire root ball to soak so moisture reaches its roots. Then make sure to let any excess moisture completely drain out.
This last step takes between 5 to 10 minutes depending on how much water you put and how big the pot is. And, while it is time consuming and requires patience, it ensures that plant is not sitting in water.
Doing so helps reduce the risk of root rot.
Soil for Peperomia Puteolata
When it comes to soil, your Peperomia puteolata needs well-draining soil. The most important thing is to make sure that the potting mix is able to allow excess moisture to drain.
This prevents the plant’s roots from sitting in water for too long which can result in root rot.
There are a few ways to do this.
One of the easiest ways is to combine 2 parts peat with 1 part perlite.
Alternatively, if you have good quality potting mix at home, you can add perlite or sand to that to improve its drainage as well.
It is likewise essential to use a container with drainage holes at the bottom. This will allow any liquid that’s drained to drip out of the pot.
Your Peperomia puteolata only needs to be fed when it is actively growing. This is during the warm months (spring and summer).
You can use a liquid houseplant fertilizer diluted to half strength once every two weeks. The plant does not need a heavy feeding so making sure that the dosage is diluted is important.
Too much fertilizer will harm the plant because it is chemical-based. As such it will leave salt residue in the soil which accumulates over time.
If you have the budget for it, you can opt for organic fertilizer which leaves fewer residue.
Another option you can take is to use slow release fertilizer. This lets you distribute the pellets onto the soil and forget about it for the remainder of the season.
There’s no need to feed the plant in the fall or winter.
The Peperomia puteolata is one plant that looks much better when it is kept neat and tidy. You’re better able to enjoy its beauty when it doesn’t get to dense or bushy since it becomes a bit unruly.
As such, pruning on occasion is a good idea.
That said, it is optional and you can allow the plant to grow out.
Pinching or trimming it also limits its size and lets you shape the plant to look nice and adorable which is its best state.
Doing so makes it look all together while allowing it to grow makes it look more leggy.
You can likewise use the cuttings to propagate the plant.
Peperomia Puteolata Propagation
You can propagate your Peperomia puteolata via stem and leaf cuttings. I tend to favor stem cuttings especially with this plant because its leaves are smaller than most other peperomia.
That said, using leaves will still work, if you find that you achieve better results from them.
Here’s how to propagate Peperomia puteolata from stem cuttings:
- Look for a stem or stems that are healthy and have at least 2 to 3 leaves on them.
- Cut them off below a leaf node using sterile pair of pruning shears or any other sharp cutting tool.
- Leave the stem cutting to dry in a warm place. You can lay them down on a dry paper towel for this. It will take a few hours for the sap (on the cut end) to dry.
- Once the cutting has dries, dip that end in rooting hormone.
- Then plant it into a small container that’s filled with fresh, well-draining potting mix (see above for recipe).
- Water the soil until moist.
- Cover the plant with a plastic bag to increase humidity. Make sure take the bag off every now and then to allow for air circulation.
- Keep the plant under bright, indirect light.
- It will take about 3 or se weeks for the cutting to take root.
After that, you can get rid of the plastic and care for it like you would your Peperomia puteolata.
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How to Repot Peperomia Puteolata
The Peperomia puteolata is not a large plant. and, it does not need to be repotted often because its roots are relatively small.
This means they’ll happily grow within the container for many years before you need to repot them.
The only time you’ll need to move the plant to another pot is if it outgrows its container. You don’t want to sooner than that because transplanting causes shock to the plant as it is moved from one home to another.
When you do repot, make sure to go up only 1 pot size. Avoid the temptation to going to a much larger container as this increases the risk of overwatering.
Again, make sure to use a pot with drainage holes. And, refresh the soil with new potting mix while you’re at it as well.
The plant is not toxic to people or animals. This makes it a good choice if you have young kids who tend to be curious or pets that like to chew on things they’re not supposed to.
Pests and Diseases
Peperomia puteolata is usually event-free when it comes to pests and diseases. As long as you keep It healthy and keep it away from stress, there’s a very high likelihood that you won’t have to deal with any problems.
The biggest threat to the plant is overwatering.
This is the main source of its diseases. As such, you want to be wary of watering too often, too soon or adding too much water per session.
Also, wetting the leaves is not a good idea as it can lead to infections like leaf spot and other fungal in nature.
The biggest issue with overwater is root rot, which you want to avoid at all costs since if not caught and remedied early, can result In plant death.