The Peperomia rotundifolia goes by many names. These include round leaf peperomia, trailing jade, jade necklace and string of turtles just to name a few.
It is an evergreen perennial that features small round foliage. And, it is a native of the South American rainforests.
It is also worth mentioning that it is a fairly difficult plant to find. But, you may get lucky and spot one in an online shop.
If you’re a collector, I highly suggest buying it quickly when you see it (at a reasonable prices that is).
This epiphyte if known for its color which lasts 365 days of the year. It also looks great when allowed to get a little bushier.
Peperomia Rotundifolia Plant Care
The Peperomia rotundifolia is native to the South American rainforest floor where it grows on the ground around rocks, trees and fallen branches.
This makes it used to shade conditions as most of the plants in the forest are taller than it is. Thus, they get more sun and in the process block the sunlight from getting to the plant
As such, it thrives in partial shade. But, will do well also in bright, indirect light if given the opportunity to get it.
You do want to keep it away from direct sunlight as this will scorch its leaves. However, it can tolerate a little bit of this from morning or late afternoon sun which are milder. It won’t be able to withstand the harsh exposure of afternoon sunshine nor that of intense summers.
This means the best spots for keeping the plant include an east and north facing window. You can likewise give it a western or southern exposure provided that you keep it under shade, use drapes or something similar to partially block off the sun’s rays.
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The plant’s rainforest origins, also determine the plant’s temperature and humidity preferences.
Tropical rainforests are fairly warm and humid. That’s because they’re located nearer to the equator. Similarly, the experience quite a bit of rainfall causing conditions to become humid.
As a result you want to closely mimic both to help the plant grow at its best.
Its ideal temperature range is between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Although, it can likewise tolerate warmer conditions. But, the hotter it gets, the slower its growth will be as temperatures over 90 degrees will cause it stress.
On the other hand, its tropical nature makes it susceptible to the cold. It is hardy to zones 10 and 11. As such, it can’t withstand snow, frost or freezing temperatures.
In fact, it is not a good idea to allow it to stay in places under 50 degrees.
Similarly, your Peperomia rotundifolia also enjoys high humidity. Ideally, you want to keep humidity at 60% or higher indoors.
This will allow it to grow optimally with more lush, vibrant looking foliage.
That said, it does not mind average room temperature between 40% and 50%. This makes it easier for most homeowners to grow the plant since many homes maintain these conditions.
However, it is always a good idea to check what your home’s humidity is and the specific room you want to keep the plant in.
Note that outdoor humidity as mentioned in the news or weather forecast for your city won’t always be the same as that around your home. That’s because you may have microclimates.
More importantly, humidity and temperature outdoors are very different from that inside your home.
So, if you’re not sure, and grow a few houseplants, I highly suggest picking up a digital hygrometer.
This is a portable device with a digital interface that tells you real-time humidity. Thus, you can take it to any room and it will instantly tell you how much moisture there is in that air.
This will let you know if you need to increase humidity or not.
If you do, you can group your Peperomia rotundifolia with other plants, set in on a water tray or mist it regularly. You can also use a humidifier if you want to increase humidity levels in an entire room.
source: wikimedia commons
How Often to Water Peperomia Rotundifolia
When it comes to watering your Peperomia rotundifolia, it is always important to keep in mind that the plant is an epiphyte. Additionally, it has succulent-like leaves.
The former means that it does not like its roots sitting in water for long periods of time. In fact, they prefer being in open air or at least where good air circulation is available. Its small roots also make it prone to too much water more easily than other houseplants.
The latter means that the plant stores some water via its foliage. While it is not as efficient as real succulents which have very thick, fleshy leaves and stems, it still keeps some moisture.
Why are these facts important?
It tells you the plant is susceptible to overwatering. And, while it does need watering, you need to be careful with watering too much or too frequently.
As such, it is good practice to allow the soil to dry between waterings. You also want to err on less than more since it will be able to tolerate some dryness.
Also, the plant will need a bit more water during hotter summers. And, you want to cut back in the cold months.
Soil for Peperomia Rotundifolia
To help prevent against overwatering, choosing the right soil is crucial. In addition to providing nutrients, you need something that is light and airy to allow oxygen to easily get to the plant’s roots.
Just as importantly, well-draining soil is essential.
A good potting mix recipe for your Peperomia rotundifolia would include:
- 2 parts peat
- 1 part perlite or sand
The combination holds just enough water to sustain the plant and keep it hydrated. But, is very good at draining excess moisture sot the soil does not get soggy or wet.
It also prevents your Peperomia rotundifolia’a roots from sitting in water for long periods of time.
To make sure that all the excess liquid escapes, make sure the bottom of the container has drainage holes. Otherwise, the moisture will pool in the bottom of the pot and keep everything wet.
To help your Peperomia rotundifolia grow optimally, apply a liquid fertilizer once every 2 weeks during its growing season (spring and summer).
If you want to be a little more conservative, you can go twice a month during spring and cut it back to once a month during summer.
Make sure to dilute the formulation to half strength. And, always monitor how your plant responds.
A slow growing plant with fewer than normal leaves means it isn’t getting enough sustenance. Often this is either sunlight or plant food.
But, be careful of feeding the plant too much fertilizer. That’s because plant food is chemical-based. As such, it leaves salt residue in the soil. As this accumulates, it harms the plant.
The Peperomia rotundifolia won’t grow as big or as tall as other plants. It grows to at most 12 inches long. In general, peperomia are not huge plants anyways.
Thus, it does not require a lot of pruning. This makes it a popular houseplant since it is low maintenance.
That said, you can trim it as needed to keep the form you want it to keep.
When you do, make sure to sterilized your cutting tool be it a pair of scissors or pruning shears. This will prevent passing on any infection from the blades to the plant.
Peperomia Rotundifolia Propagation
The Peperomia rotundifolia can be propagated from stem and leaf cuttings. The two methods are the most efficient ways t grow more plants at home.
They also yield much faster results than starting from seeds.
With stem cuttings, take a healthy stem with at least a few leaves on it. Then plant it into potting soil and keep the pot under bright, indirect light in a warm location.
With leaf cuttings you’ll be doing the same. But instead of planting the stems, you’ll be laying the leaves on the soil with part of the leaf and stalk buried in the potting mix.
In a few weeks, the cuttings will root.
How to Repot Peperomia Rotundifolia
In keeping with its low maintenance nature, the Peperomia rotundifolia does not need to be repotted often.
Due to its small size, it takes years before you’ll need to move up a pot size. As such, this is one of the lower priority tasks in caring for this plant.
The roots are likewise small so they won’t outgrow the container any time soon. However, this also means that come time to move it to a larger container, go up only 1 to 2 inches in size.
The small roots make it more susceptible to too much water which easily happens with containers that are too big relative to the volume of the plant’s roots.
To help keep the plant growing, it is a good idea to change the topsoil every year around springtime. This gives the plant fresh soil that contains nutrients and is also lighter and airier than spent soil.
Peperomia are not toxic to humans or animals. But, they are not meant to be eaten.
This means while it is safe to keep it around young children, dogs and cats, you still have to be wary if they happen to start eating parts of the plant.
The good news is it won’t cause them harm. The bad news is that they may end up throwing it up later.
Pests and Diseases
Your Peperomia rotundifolia is not susceptible to pests and diseases. And, It is fairly resistant to them when healthy. Thus, proper care following the details mentioned above is important.
But, the plant does experience pests if under stress or not cared for properly. Lack of sunlight, too much water or being kept in cold conditions make it susceptible to mealybugs, and other pest infestations.
Similarly, water problems can result in root rot and other issues.