Peperomia Care and Growing Guide
The peperomia plant can be grown both out and indoors, when first introduced to this plant many years ago the name alone was quite interesting. Because I would have to work with this plant I had to associate it with something to remember it so the words pepperoni pizza came to mind which for me made this garden plant easy to remember and that was many years ago and to this day I still associate peperomia with the name of this pizza but I know you did not come here to discuss pizza but to gain insight on how to grow and care for the peperomia plant.
The peperomia plant is a native of Africa, South, and Central America. This tropical-subtropical beauty does not only produces straight green leaves but leaves that are variegated, the variegated variety is so beautiful. It is recorded that there are more than 1500species, I have work with the peperomia plant on so many interior projects creating amazing designs. With that said let’s have a closer look at the care and the growth of this plant that is so popular which is used in many garden and interior plantscape projects.
Peperomia planting location
The planting location when growing peperomia outdoors should be an area that gets partial or filtered sunlight.
The soil type
To keep your peperomia thriving install them in soil that is well-drained.
How to water peperomia
Allow the topsoil to dry out between watering especially during the winter months because peperomias develop a shallow root system.
How to fertilize peperomia
The use of a fertilizer such as 10-10-10 is ideal for your peperomia even though they can thrive without it.
Garden insect pests of peperomia
Keep an eye out for these garden insect pests
- Spider mites
Mealybugs are sucking insects that do damage by extracting the plant’s fluids, mealybugs are covered with a white cottony substance and if observed moves very slowly especially when disturbed. To bring these garden insect pests under control the use of insecticidal soap or horticultural oil will help. Before applying pesticides read and follow the manufacture’s direction for best results.
Whiteflies are tiny white insects that dose damage as spider mites and aphids. They are easy to notice, gently shake the leaves and if the infestation is whiteflies they will quickly dislodge from your peperomia but will quickly reattach to the plant just as fast. Neem oil or insecticidal soap has proven to be effective.
Aphids are pear-shaped and can either be black, red, yellow, green, or brown. Aphids are among the sucking insect group and will cause flowers to drop. These garden insect pests also produce a sticky substance known as honeydew. This honeydew is their excrement that causes sooty mold to form. Applying soapy water or insecticidal soap will bring aphid infestation under control.
Spider mites are very tiny insects that are hard to detect, signs that your plant has spider mites may include webbing on the plant, your peperomia plant may also take on a dusty appearance. A sure test to know if the culprits are spider mites is to hold a white sheet of paper under the stem and leaves, gently sake if spider mites are present you will see tiny specks moving around on that white sheet of paper. You may also feel them crawling on your hands, the use of insecticidal soap or horticultural will bring them under control.
Diseases of peperomia
- Root rot
Overwatering can cause root rot, to bring root rot under control remove your peperomia from the infected soil. Shake and wash the remaining soil from the plant’s roots. With a hand pruner or sharp knife remove the parts of the plant that has rotted, wash and sterilize the container also with bleach and water. Once the container has been thoroughly washed rinse and add fresh potting soil about a quarter or half, return your plant to the container and backfill with the remaining fresh soil. Place your peperomia back in its location to ensure that the topsoil dries out between watering.
Growing peperomia in the home garden
These locations make a good spot to install your peperomias
1. Install peperomias as a border plant in your garden plant bed.
2. Plant alongside your garden path walkway.
3. Use as undergrowth around garden plants including container-grown plants.
4. Plant peperomias in containers and place the container on either side of your front door entrance.
5. Use peperomias as table plants indoors, on your porch, patio, or balcony.
6. Installing the alongside your fence or garden wall.
7. Place them in hanging baskets.
Growing peperomia indoors
Growing peperomias indoors has become so popular, when growing these garden beauties indoors place them in medium to bright light. A good garden soil that holds moisture but will allow excess water to drain is ideal. When watering allow the topsoil to dry out somewhat between watering. Don’t overwater which will lead to root rot. Fertilizer and treat for garden insect pests as discussed above.
Growing peperomia from a container
When growing peperomia from a container the container should have drainage holes for water drainage. A good garden soil mix is ideal, mixing in gravel or sand will help the soil to be porous allowing the proper flow and water drainage and stopping compaction. Add the soil to the container about a quarter or half install your peperomia and backfill with the remaining soil, firm the soil gently around your peperomia and water. Follow the above maintenance practices as discussed for proper plant care.
Growing peperomia from a hanging basket
Gardening above the ground is a great way to utilize that empty space, a hanging basket can help you to achieve this goal, you can install your peperomia into the soil but I love the other method that is to place a plastic tray in your hanging basket next leave your peperomia in the grower’s pot and place the pot in the plastic tray that’s in the basket.
Fill in the sides of the basket with storiform and add Spanish moss for decoration, when watering or fertilizing your hanging basket remove it outdoors in a shaded area once drained return it to its location. The hanging basket should always be in a location that gets medium to bright light. If your peperomia plant outgrows the basket and the grower’s pot switch to a larger grower’s pot and basket and following the same methods.
Pruning your peperomia plant
Pruning will keep your peperomia growing healthy, during the growing season ( early spring ) pinch back the stem by removing each end to the first set of leaves. Peperomia that is larger especially growing in outdoor gardens can be trimmed with a hand pruner, ensure that your hand pruner is sharp and sterilize to avoid transmitting any disease. This pruning operation will take care of peperomia from becoming leggy. Dead leaves should be removed at this time also.
The best time to propagate peperomias is during the spring and summer because this is the time of the year when they are actively growing. There are two ways this is done, you can either propagate by stem or leaf cuttings.
These methods involve the removal of plant parts and planting them in separate containers. To perform this procedure you will need a good potting mix that drains well, a few plastic plant pots 6inches or larger, a knife, scissors, or pruner that is sharp and clean along with growth hormone.
Stem cutting involves removing a small portion of the stem leaving about two leaves attached, the end that was cut from the plant dip in water and then in the growth hormone gently pressing the cut end into the soil firming the soil around it. Note the part of the stem that’s removed should be mature and healthy.
Leaf-cutting is another way to propagate peperomia, this process is done the same as stem cuttings the only difference is that you are using leaves to grow another peperomia plant. The leaves that are used for this method should be mature and healthy, as said earlier follow the same method as propagating from stem cuttings.
With both these methods the soil should not be allowed to dry completely neither should the soil be saturated or waterlogged. Keep cuttings in a warm area that gets bright indirect light. In about 4-6 weeks your cuttings should produce new roots.
The final word on peperomia
The use of peperomia in your garden and interior plantscape will work wonders for you. These garden beauties will give you what you are looking for providing that much-needed flavor. Grow them from your garden area, interior plantscape ( hanging baskets or containers ). Peperomia is easy to grow and care for. Give peperomia a try you will be happy that you did.