Peperomia is enormous

by Andrew S.
(West Henrietta, NY)

I've had this plant for a few years now I think and I really like it, it's very pretty with it's big fat leaves.

Recently, it has gotten a bit top heavy. I've turned the plant so that it's 3 stalks are leaning against the bookcase that the plant is on, so that it doesn't fall over. I know I should probably do something, but I've been slacking (was out of the country, but really I'm just procrastinating).

Also, a few of the bottom leaves are changing color a bit, I wasn't sure why that was happening.

Anyway, I need to do something with it, and now it has these weird tentacles growing. They are going towards the window and are a bit creepy looking.

When I got this plant it was maybe 7 inches tall, it is currently around 15 inches tall, and if I were to measure the stalks with the tentacles, it'd probably around 25 inches.

Any clue what this plant is doing? What can I do to make it happy again?

Hi Andrew - what a beauty! Your Peperomia is totally happy with it's situation; the light levels must be perfect, and the little bit of neglect that it got while you were out gallivanting around has triggered the bloom cycle - those are the flowers that you speak of as 'tentacles'.

The only thing that I would recommend is that you start to do some judicious pruning - this will keep it from being too top heavy, and as an added bonus, you'll be able to root the parts you cut off and make more of these great little plants.

Another way to keep it more upright is to use a cache pot; a larger container that you can just stick the plant pot into to support it and give it a bit more weight.

The problem with such rampant growth, even though it's lush and beautiful, is that the plant can topple. You may want to think about repotting it in the not too distant future, although it's a shame to disturb it when it's obviously growing so vigorously - they prefer to be a tiny bit rootbound.

You can also turn the plant so that it will correct itself by leaning towards the light from another direction; a quarter turn every day will even it out nicely.

The bottom leaves are changing color because they are aging; happens to us all. You can cut these off, or wait for them to just fall off naturally.

Hope one or more of these suggestions will help your plant stay healthy and happy.

See more about Peperomia here.

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Jul 18, 2013
Okay then
by: Andrew S.

I figured I'd have to do some pruning, which I am prepared for.

From doing a bit of reading it seems like doing a greenhouse method for stem cuttings is what I should do. Do you have any other method that you would recommend?

I am willing to trim it down, but if I am re-potting the top pieces, should I just cut the flowering stem off?

Thanks again.

You can cut the flowers off, if you're propagating the stem. I usually use a plastic bag method for most houseplants, if you're not really confident that they will root without help. Just use a plastic bag partially filled with some sterilized potting soil (that's important because this will be a closed environment) and stick the pieces in.

Blow in it to add carbon dioxide, and to keep the bag off the cuttings.

The potting soil should be barely damp, and the condensation should be minimal; large droplets on the inside of the bag indicate that the soil is much too wet, and these will cause rotting and decay of the cuttings to start, when the drops fall on them. If this happens, open the bag for a few hours, and then blow into it again, and tie it shut.

In a few weeks, you should see some new growth starting, or even white roots showing at the bottom of the bag.

Have fun!

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