Why Peperomia Plants Lose Leaves

Hi Judy,
I bought a beautiful houseplant a few months ago but have no idea what it is! It seemed to be doing just fine but now has lost all it’s leaves and is discoloring…
Can I save it?

Hi Mathilda,

Your plant is a type of Peperomia plant (green-speckled white peperomia caperata).

Light: Peperomia plants grow well in the bright indirect light provided by a west or east-facing window. These plants even grow under fluorescent lights. Insufficient light causes the slow growing peperomia plant to stop growing all together. Direct sunlight burns the leaves.

Water: I think this is your problem. Peperomia plants lose leaves when they are over watered. Allow the top 50% of the soil to dry out before you water. Over-watering, resulting in root-rot, is the main cause of serious peperomia plant problems. It’s best to water these plants from the bottom. This technique keeps the leaves dry and helps prevent plant diseases. The thick leaves of peperomia plants hold water and allow the plant to withstand long periods without moisture. Does your pot have drip holes in the bottom so excess water can drain? I suggest you take the plant out of the pot and get rid of all of the wet soil. Allow the pant to lay out, bare root, for 24 hours. Repot in a well-aerated loose potting soil that drains quickly ( succulentLearn the definition of a succulent plant and why they are called a "fat plant." soil works well).

You can read all my care tips in the Popular Houseplant section of the website. The picture is of a different variety, but the care is the practically same; the only difference is that the variety you have needs more bright indirect lightVery few houseplants should be placed in direct sun. High light refers only to bright indirect light since direct sun often burns the leaves of indoor houseplants. An area that is too hot and dry encourages Spider Mites and causes blooms to quickly fade. A northern exposure really doesn't provide enough light for high light plants. These plants need to be placed directly in front of an east-facing window, within 1-3 feet of a west-facing window, and within 5 ft. of a south facing window. A high light area has over 300 ft. candles of light..