The very popular peperomia plant is a great choice to add color to any room or office. Whether you have one peperomia plant or several grouped together, this attractive plant will brighten up any room.
There are over 1,000 species of peperomias growing throughout North and South America and the Caribbean. All of them are tropical plants and considered to be semisucculents. They have thick, juicy stems and leaves that hold water in reserve. Besides being attractive plants, peperomias make a nice gift to anyone with marginal green thumbs because they’re so easy to grow. Basically, the only way to kill this plant is by overwatering it.
Basic Description of Peperomias
Peperomias are slow-growing tropical plants that are found on tropical floors or at the base of trees in a tropical forest. For this reason, they don’t like direct sun and thrive indoors in a variety of lighting. They actually thrive under fluorescent lights which makes them an ideal candidate for the office.
The attractive stiff, waxy succulent-like leaves will catch your eye and depending on the species, the leaves may be variegated, wrinkled, or white-edged. There’s one species, the Peperomia argyreia that is striped and looks like a watermelon. It’s very attractive but can be hard to find.
Most peperomias do not flower in the traditional sense. Their flowers are a long, rat-tail like stem with tiny greenish flowers on an upright spike. Once this spike dies, remove it and the plant may bloom a second time during the summer months.
Types of Peperomias
There’s 3 different types of peperomias; bushy, upright, and trailing.
Bushy Peperomias: The bushy peperomias are the most popular variety. They generally grow 4-8 inches high and are very compact. They have a variety of leaf shapes and are very attractive all by themselves. The most popular is the wrinkle-leafed Peperomia caperata and I’m sure you’ve seen these in homes or garden nurseries. There’s a stunning white-edged Peperomia caperata variegata and the Peperomia argyreia, or watermelon peperomia has striped leaves that look like watermelons.
Upright Peperomias : These plants are usually between 5-8 inches tall and have more distinct thick stems than the bushy peperomias. The Peperomia magnoliaefolia variegata is the most popular of this group. If you have one of these and plant it with the solid green Peperomia magnoliaefolia it will make an extremely attractive dish garden. If you can find the uncommon Peperomia verticillata, or also known as the whorled peperomia, you’ll have an attractive conversational piece. This plant has a 1 ft. stem and whorls of leaves. It’s quite different and very tropical looking.
Trailing Peperomias : There are several varieties and they look great trailing near a kitchen or office window. The Peperomia rotundifolia is the most common with small round one-third inch leaves that are solid green and fleshy-looking. The cupid peperomia or Peperomia scandens variegata has a variegated leaf that is pointed on long 3-4 ft. stems. This plant can actually be used as an indoor climber with a trellis. It looks great on a trellis in a corner. The creeping peperomia, Peperomia prostrata has a striking green leaf that is marked with silver or cream tones. The leaves are small one-third inch ovals on long red stems. This is quite a colorful plant especially in the office.
Caring For Peperomias
Without a doubt, peperomia care is very easy. Peperomias can live in a variety of light situations from low to very bright. They do not like direct sunlight. High heat is not a problem with this plant and average home temperatures are fine. Surprisingly, they do not need high humidity or constant misting to live. They are just fine with an occasional misting during the summer months and low humidity.
As with all succulents, peperomias do not like to be repotted frequently. They are slow growers and you’ll probably repot them only once or twice in their lifetime. They live practically forever which is another reason why they’re an ideal houseplant. When you do have to repot them, peperomias prefer a peat-based soil or regular potting soil with good drainage.
The quickest way to kill these plants is by overwatering. Peperomias retain water in their leaves and stems so don’t water them until they are nearly dry. After you water them, wait an hour and empty any residual water out from the base. These plants need to be fertilized about once every 3-4 months in spring and summer and no fertilizing during the winter months.
Peperomias are a great choice for an indoor plant and are easily available at most nurseries and florists.