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Peperomia

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  • Indoor Plants
Peperomia caperata
Photo: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Josée Bouthot)

Onglets

Botany

Origin and description

Peperomia obtusifolia is native to the tropical rainforests of America. This small plant has thick, waxy, rounded leaves and when conditions are right it produces long, discreet spikes of small, whitish flowers.

Species, cultivars and related plants

Peperomia obtusifolia 'Variegata' has green spotted leaves with creamy white edges and reddish stems. Young leaves turn green as they age. Cultivars with variegated foliage generally require more light, even some sun. Peperomia caperata has wrinkled heart-shaped, dark green leaves. Peperomia griseoargenta has heart-shaped, slightly wrinkled silvery leaves and pale green to pink petioles.

Toxicity

As a precaution, keep this plant out of the reach of children and pets.

Common name

Peperomia / Baby rubber plant

Latin name (genus)

Peperomia obtusifolia

French common name

Botanical family

  • Piperaceae
Horticulture

Growing conditions

Peperomia requires warmth, humidity and bright light. Place it in a bright spot out of direct sunlight during the growing period, for instance near a west-facing window. It does well with normal room temperatures (18 to 21ºC) but the ideal temperature in summer is 24ºC. In winter, cooler, drier conditions are preferable. Temperatures should never go below 13ºC. Although peperomia tolerates dry air, high humidity is preferable especially at temperatures above 24ºC.

Easy to grow?

Peperomia is easy to grow. It adapts well to indoor conditions provided you avoid over-watering. It produces non-showy blooms.

Watering and fertilizer

Peperomia tolerates too little water better than too much because it stores water in its leaves. Its stems will rot and its leaves will fall off if the soil is constantly wet. Water sparingly, never leave any water standing in the saucer and allow the soil to partially dry out between waterings. Cut back on watering in winter. Peperomia is relatively slow growing. Three or four applications of a balanced indoor plant food or an all-purpose fertilizer like 20-20-20 at half strength during the growing period will meet its annual requirements. The soil should be well moistened before you fertilize to avoid burning the roots.

Pruning and maintenance

Pinch stems back to keep the plant compact and bushy. Remove any damaged parts.

Repotting

Peperomia likes to be potbound. Only young plants need to be repotted in spring to a slightly bigger pot.  A well-draining potting mix, such as a mix of peat moss and perlite or coarse sand, is essential.

Pests and diseases
  • Rot
Physiological disorders

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