Although much less popular than they once were, Peperomia are a pretty much fool proof houseplant, and used lots in terrariums and in combination with ferns and other high humidity loving plants.
Their succulent foliage is a bit misleading, as these are more of a jungle or rain forest type plant, requiring a constantly damp soil, but not wet.
There are many different kinds, from the crinkly pleated leaves of the Watermelon Peperomia, Peperomia caperata or P. argyreia to the thick, variegated leaves of Peperomia obtusifolia, also known as the baby rubber plant.
Other species that are commonly found in greenhouses and florists displays are P. metallica with erect dark red stems cloaked with narrow waxy copper coloured leaves with a metallic luster, and a silver green band down the center of the leaf.
Peperomia rotundifolia (also called P. nummulariifolia or P. prostrata) which has tiny dark green round leaves, often reddish underneath on slender trailing stems.
These are low maintenance house plants, requiring little more than fairly bright light, and regular watering.
They prefer a light textured porous soil, comprised of perlite and leaf mold, which mimics their native habitat under forest trees.
Some Peperomia can be propagated by a single leaf, similar to African violets. These are primarily Peperomia caperat and P. argyreia species and varieties, known by the crinkly waffle textured leaves. Other types of Peperomia such as P. obtusifolia are propagated from stem tip cuttings in spring.
These plants dislike excessive fertilizing, and older leaf losses can be due to salt damage.
In summer, leach accumulated salts by flushing with clean water – preferable rain water collected off a roof to avoid any minerals from tap water or well water.
Always dilute fertilizers to half strength, or use worm castings sprinkled on the surface of the soil for an organic alternative.
The flowers of this genus are generally tiny and clustered on a spike or spire. They resemble a rats tail more than anything, and are usually pale green or yellow.
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