Peperomia Verticillata Plant Care – Growing Peperomia Red Log

The Peperomia Verticillata is also called the Belly Button Peperomia. But more often, it is referred to as the:

  • Peperomia Red Log
  • Peperomia Verticillata Red Log
  • Red Log Peperomia
  • Red Log Plant

These three names all mean the same thing. And they refer to the plant’s very distinguished red colored foliage.

However, it is worth noting that the

The Peperomia Verticillata and the Peperomia Red Log (Peperomia Verticillata Red Log) are actually two different plants, with the latter being a variant of the former.

And while they look almost exactly alike, the biggest difference is that the Peperomia Verticillata has green leaves and the Peperomia Red Log has leaves with green colored faces and red undersides.

That said, the latter is the more popular one that you’ll almost always see.

The Peperomia Verticillata is best known for its unique looking leaves and sought after because of its colors. If you touch its leaves, you’ll also notice that they are thick and fleshy as they have succulent features.

By storing moisture in its foliage, the plant is able to tolerate drought and low humidity.

Its small size (less than 12 inches tall) makes it easy to keep on desks, shelves or hang in baskets. With the latter you can let the stems grow out which gives the plant a lovely look when displayed.

Peperomia Verticillata Plant Care

Light Requirements

The Peperomia Verticillata grows best in medium to bright, indirect light. But keep it away from direct sunlight or very intense light as this can burn its foliage.

This makes either an east or west facing window the best options. There it is able to get the 4 to 6 hours of light it needs on a daily basis.

Additionally, it is a good idea to rotate the plant every few days or a quarter turn a week so each side of the plant gets balanced amount of light. This keeps the plant from leaning towards one side since it is attracted to the source.

Similarly, the Peperomia Verticillata does well in low light.

Therefore, a north facing window will also work. It also means you don’t necessarily need to keep the plant near a window. As long as the room or position it is in is well-lit it will grow and be healthy.

If you’re not sure, a good way to test for sufficient lighting is to sit in that spot and open up a newspaper or magazine and read. Try to test this during the morning and also in the afternoon.

Ideally, you should be able to read the text in the publications without having to turn on lighting or a lamp at different times of the day.

If you can, there’s enough light. It not, light will be insufficient at some point.



The Peperomia Verticillata is native to the Caribbean including countries like the Dominican Republic and Cuba. You’ll also find it in some South American regions.

All these places share a common climate, sunny and warm, but not overly hot. This is why people like going there for vacation.

As such, the Peperomia Verticillata prefers temperatures between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. And while it can tolerate hotter weather, it is best to keep in away from 90 to 100 degrees heat since this will affect its moisture levels (which is the most sensitive part of caring for the plant).

More importantly, the plant is not overly fussy about temperature. And, as long as you feel comfortable in that climate, it will likely feel happy too.

The one thing you want to avoid is cold weather.

The Caribbean region does not get snow. Nor do temperatures drop to freezing (or anywhere near freezing) during the year. Therefore, the Peperomia Verticillata is ill-equipped to handle the cold.

Try to keep it away from temperatures below 50 degrees as it will begin to struggle past this point.



One of the biggest differences between the climate in the Caribbean with that of South America (where most other peperomia species come from) is humidity.

It is not as humid nor does it get as hot in the Caribbean. Again, this is why people like to vacation there.

This makes the Peperomia Verticillata prefer moderate humidity compared to other peperomia which are accustomed to higher levels.

Just as importantly the Peperomia Verticillata has fleshy leaves (like succulents do) which it uses to store water for dry periods.

As such, it is both tolerate or drought or low humidity levels.

This makes it very easy for it to adapt to most homes. And you’ll likely won’t need to mist it or use a humidifier to keep it healthy and looking colorful unless you live in somewhere very dry like the deserts of Nevada or Arizona where humidity can consistently stay under 30%.


How Often to Water Peperomia Verticillata

Watering is where you want to pay the most attention when it comes to caring for the Peperomia Verticillata. This is why I don’t recommend misting the plant unless you absolutely have to (it shows symptoms in its leaves of dryness).

When it gets too much moisture, many bad things can happen. These include:

  • Fungus gnats
  • Stem rotting
  • Root rot
  • Wilting
  • Discolored leaves
  • Leaf drop


The plant has a small, shallow root system which can easily be overwhelmed by too much water. Also, its succulent-like leaves store water. Therefore, it is easier to overwater the plant if you’re not careful.

On average it takes about 7 to 10 days before you need to water it. In the winter that interval goes down to 14 to 20 days.

But I do prefer to feel the soil. You can do this in one of 3 ways.

  • Use your finger – stick your finger into the soil and only water if the top 2 inches of soil is completely dry.
  • Use a wooden stick – chopsticks will work as well. You want to use wood so once you stick it all the way down to the pot and pull it out, you’ll see until where the water (wet line) is. If the top 2 inches of soil is dry or more than that is dry, you can water. But avoid doing so until at least that level.
  • Moisture meter – if you want something that gives you numbers to rely on for consistency, you can invest in a moisture meter. It is quite affordable and easy to use. Just stick it into the soil and check the reading.

Finally, because the Peperomia Verticillata’s roots like moisture (but are susceptible to overwatering), the best way to water is to give them a thorough watering then immediately, let the excess drain.

You can do this by adding water until the entire root ball (soil is saturated with water). You’ll know this has happened because liquid will drop from the holes of the pot. Then stop.

Saturating the root ball will ensure that the roots get to drink the water they want.

Now comes the next step which is to let all the excess moisture drain. Do so by letting the pot drip out completely. This will ensure that the roots are not left standing in water.

Thus, you need to have a pot with drainage holes.

And only return the plant to its place after it has completely drained. If there’s a pool of water in the saucer under the pot, throw it away or else the soil will suck that back up later on.


Peperomia Verticillata Potting Soil

The best soil for the Peperomia Verticillata is well-draining, light, airy and rich in organic matter. It also likes soil pH between 6.0 and 6.6 which is slightly acidic.

The first 3 features ensure that the plant’s roots get a balance of both oxygen and water. Both of which it needs.

The reason why overwatering is harmful is because when there’s too much water, the plant’s roots end up in water. When there’s water all around, there are no air pockets for oxygen to get through the roots.

Much like when you’re holding your breath underwater, soon enough you’ll run out of oxygen. That’s what happens to plants. Then they suffocate.

Without oxygen the roots will rot causing your plant incapable of absorbing nutrients and moisture in the soil no matter how much you water or fertilize it.

Therefore, after a while, it will weaken, get malnourished and die.

Thus, choosing the right kind of soil is the other part of preventing overwatering because you avoid waterlogged soil.

You can do so by using well-draining ingredietns like perlite, pumice, coarse sand and even coco coir.

Here are some potting mix recipes for the Peperomia Verticillata to ensure good drainage.

  • 50% peat and 50% perlite
  • 50% potting soil and 50% perlite or pumice
  • 33% potting soil, 33% perlite and 33% coco coir
  • 50% potting soil and 50% orchid bark
  • 50% succulent mix and 50% potting soil

I’ve put up a few potting mix recipes so you can go with the ingredients you already have.



Once you get watering right, the other aspects are fairly easy, including fertilizing. The most important thing with fertilizer is not to get overzealous with it.

Many new growers like to add more after seeing the plant grow faster with more fertilizer. Unfortunately, the plant can only take so much of it because commercial products contain salt.

More importantly, houseplants cannot tolerate lots of salt. When excess salt builds up in the soil, it will burn the roots of the plant.

Thus, moderation is key with fertilizer.

Luckily the plant does not need a lot of it.

Apply a water soluble balanced fertilizer once a month during the spring and summer. Dilute the application by 50% to reduce its potency (and therefore toxicity as well).

If you are not a fan of chemical fertilizers, you can opt for fish emulsion (fish fertilizer) which is organic. Do watch out for the fishy smell when you’re starting out. I suggest applying it in an open air location so your room won’t smell like fish (like mine did the first time I used it).



The Peperomia Verticillata is a slow growing plant. It also grows to about 12 inches in most cases. Although you might see a few that get to as high as 2 feet high.

As the vines grow, the plant can stay neat and bushy. But they can likewise go all over the place. I particularly don’t like it when they flop over, so I’ll prune them if they do.

That said, the look you get will vary. And whether you like it or not will let you determine whether you want to trim it or not.

From experience, it looks the best when bushy so a little pruning here and there to shape it often produces the best results.


How to Propagate Peperomia Verticillata

The Peperomia Verticillata is an easy plant to propagate. Just as importantly, there are many methods you can use to do it.

The most common are:

  • Leaf cuttings
  • Stem cuttings
  • Division
  • Seed

Commercial operations and many stores will grow the plant from seeds. However, I don’t recommend doing that unless you enjoy going through the process of germination or experimenting with it.

The reason is that it takes a lot longer and requires more work. Thus, if you have a busy life, one can get in the way of the other.

Division is another good option but it is somewhat limited in use. That’s because you can only divide a small plant so much. And once you have, it will take a while before you can do it again given that the Peperomia Verticillata is not a very fast grower.

But, if the plant is quite bushy and has grown quite a bit since you got it, division is a great way to create another plant from your existing one.

This leaves us with leaf and stem cuttings which are the two most popular for home growers.

Here’s how to do each of them.

Propagating Peperomia Verticillata Using Leaf Cuttings

  • Take a leaf cutting. If you want to grow more than one, take as many leaves as you want as long as you don’t leave the plant bare.
  • Note that you can propagate from a single leaf or cut the leaf in half to get 2 plants from 1 leaf. The choice is yours, although how you’ll plant them will vary a bit as I’ll explain below.
  • If you want to use a single leaf cutting, take the leaf along with the petiole. Therefore, you cut it where it connects to the stem. If you’re splitting a leaf into half, cut that leaf lengthwise.
  • Next apply rooting hormone. With a single leaf, apply the rooting hormone at the petiole and bottom part of the leaf. With leaf halves, apply on the edges.
  • Plant the leaf cuttings into potting mix. Use a well-draining mix (you can choose from the Soil section above). If you’re using a single leaf cutting, plant it facing up (petiole and a bit of the leaf in the soil and tip facing up). If you’re planting half leaves, bury a side (edge) into the mix.
  • Water the soil and keep it consistently moist but not wet.
  • Then make a mini-greenhouse by covering the pot with a plastic bag. This will increase humidity by trapping moisture (the plant’s transpiration). But make sure to remove the bag every few days to allow fresh air in. This will prevent too much excess moisture (which can lead to rotting).
  • Place the cuttings under bright, indirect light, ideally in a moderate to warm spot.
  • In about 4 weeks or a little more, you should see the leaf cuttings root.

Propagating Peperomia Verticillata Using Stem Cuttings

  • Take a stem cutting. Try to look for a healthy stem with at least a few leaves on it. And snip off the stem with at least a few inches. You’ll need that extra 2-4 inches (if possible) to bury into the soil or submerge into the water.
  • If you can’t find long stems, remove the lower leaves to improvise. This will give you a “longer stem”.
  • You can propagate the stem cutting in water or in soil. Both methods yield very high success rates. So, go with what you prefer.
  • If you want to propagate the stem cutting in water, place the cutting in a glass container such that the a good section of the stem is underwater. It is this part that will root not the portion above the liquid. Remove any leaves that end up in the water as they will rot after a while. Also, change the water to keep it clear.
  • If you want to propagate the stem cutting in soil, plant a good portion of the stem under the mix. Again, remove any leaves that end up under the soil. Keep the soil moist but not soggy. You can likewise cover the pot with a plastic bag as this speeds up the rooting process and increases success rates.
  • Leave the stem cuttings under bright, indirect light.
  • It will take a month for the cuttings to root.
  • With the water propagation, you’ll eventually need to move the cutting to soil. But you can take your time since you want at least 2 inches of root to grow. You can also keep it there for over 6 to 8 months. Although the longer you leave it in water, the higher the risk of root rot.
  • If you happen to see any, prune the rotting roots and the others will be fine. Once you get past 1.5 years, this will happen more regularly.


How to Repot or Transplant Peperomia Verticillata

There’s no hurry to repot your Peperomia Verticillata as it will not grow into a large plant nor is it a fast grower. Also, it enjoys being pot bound.

On average it can take anywhere from 3 to 5 years before you repot. This depends on its living conditions. For example, more light will speed up its growth. The combination of temperature, light, humidity, watering and others will determine how quickly or slowly it grows.

That said, I do prefer to listen to what the plant is telling me when it comes to repotting.

You can do this by checking the bottom holes of the pot. Once roots come out of there and start extending farther out, it means the plant needs more room to grow.

This is your sign to repot.

The best time to do so is early spring. This will give the plant an entire season to grow before the cold weather comes.

When repotting, be careful with handling it since the roots are very delicate. There aren’t a ton of them there either.


Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs

Thankfully no. This will let you place it anywhere you want including desktops, shelves and countertops where everyone can see it. It does not pose any toxicity risk to people or animals even if ingested.


Problems & Troubleshooting

The Plant is Leggy

A leggy Peperomia Verticillata needs more light. If it is not getting enough illumination, the plant will try its hardest to stretch towards the source of the light.

In doing so, it becomes leggy towards one direction.

Therefore, help it along by moving it to a brighter spot. Then, trim off the leggy stems to allow new ones to grow.


Yellow Leaves

Yellow leaves are often caused by too much light, direct sun or long exposure to harsh light. Therefore, move the plant to somewhere with less light or indirect lighting. You can also filter the light using blinds or sheer curtains.

After you move it, trim off the yellow leaves as they won’t recover. This will allow new healthy leaves to grow.


Drooping & Wilting

Wilting often points to a moisture issue. This can be caused by

  • Overwatering
  • Underwatering
  • Low Humidity

Of the 3, overwatering is the most serious because it can kill your plant. The other two cause lack of moisture to which the plant is better able to cope and recover from.

However, avoid letting the plant completely dry out for very long periods at a time since this will ultimately dehydrate it and damage it (or destroy it).

On the other hand, overwatering can lead to root rot, which is more dangerous.

Therefore, check the status of the soil to confirm the cause.

If the soil is very dry, then water the plant because it is underwatered.

If the soil is very wet, soggy or mucky, cut back on water. Also, check the roots for potential rotting. If the soil is really wet and you don’t feel comfortable with it, repot the plant with fresh dry soil to help it recover.



Mealybugs, mites and fungus gnats can come around and try to prey on the Peperomia Verticillata. Therefore, you want to regular inspect the plant before these bugs grow into infestations.

They’re much easier to eradicate when few in number because they lay eggs. This allows their population to grow quickly (and keep laying more eggs).

Neem oil and insecticidal soap are good options once you see any bugs. You can also spray the pests away with water (but make sure to get the eggs off as well).



Wet, soggy soil is the biggest thing that can lead to disease problems. And among these issues, root rot is the most serious one.

The plant is prone to root rot which can be caused by overwatering or waterlogged soil.

Therefore, you want to make sure you let the soil dry enough between waterings. Also, use the right kind of soil so it won’t retain too much moisture.

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