It is often hard to identify a peperomia plant since there are over 1000 varieties that look quite different from each other. Peperomia plants are native to Central and South America, all belong to the Pepper family, and are semi-succulents with very similar care requirements. One main difference is that those with thick leaves that store water are more drought resistant and forgiving if you forget to water than those varieties with thin leaves. Nicknames for the plant include Baby rubber plant, Pepper elder, and Radiator plant.
Peperomia Plant Description
Peperomia plant leaves can be thick, plump, rippled, quilted, corrugated, smooth, hairy, or shiny; and can be various shades of green, red, gray, and cream. The pattern on the leaves may be marbled, striped, or a solid color. When small, peperomia houseplants can be used in dish gardens and terrariums. Indoors, mature peperomia plants rarely grow taller than 10”-16″ and are perfect sitting on a table or desk. Though usually an upright plant, some varieties make excellent hanging plants. Peperomia plant flowers are tiny and inconsequential, growing in clusters on upright conical spikes. They get the unpleasant name “rat-tail” flowers because of their appearance.
Peperomia Plant Varieties
The most popular peperomias used as indoor house plants are the caperata and the obtusifolia varieties.
Peperomia Caperata Rosso is a dramatic looking plant. The dark green pointed leaves have red undersides; the top surface of the leaf appears wrinkled or corrugated. The very small, light green flowers appear in the spring and summer atop 2”-3” spikes.
Peperomia Icana (Felted peperomia) has round to oval, 2”-3,” gray green leaves. The leaves are covered in whitish gray hairs which gives the plant a fuzzy appearance. A peperomia icana has thick green stems with a touch of red.
Peperomia obtusifolia Variegata is a compact plant with shiny, leathery cup shaped leaves. The patterned leaves come in various shades of dark green, light green, and cream. It produces reddish brown flower spikes topped with tiny cream-colored flowers.
Watermelon Peperomia (Peperomia argyreia) has oval to tear-drop shaped green and silver striped leaves with red stems. The small, inconsequential flowers appear at the top of thin flower stalks in the summer. flowers
Peperomia Tri Color (Red Edge Peperomia or Peperomia Ginny) has large leaves for a peperomia plant. The inner part of the thick leaves is green, and the leaf edges are bordered in cream and pink.
Other popular varieties include the: Peperomia Hope, Emerald Ripple, Raindrop Peperomia, and String of Turtles
“Rosso” “Icana” “Variegated” “Watermelon” “TriColor”
Quick Care Tips
Leaves lose color in low lightWhen you select “Low Light” a list of the most adaptive plants in our database appears. These plants can live in lighting conditions too low to support any other plants in our database, but will grow faster in medium and high light. Variegation (color) in the leaves is often lost in low light. A plant in low light needs less water and fertilizer than the same plant in better light. Place a low-light plant within 2-3 ft. of a window with a northern exposure, 3-5 ft. of a window with an eastern exposure, 4-10 ft. of a window with a western exposure, and 10-18ft. of a window with a southern exposure. A low light area has between 50-150 ft. candles of light. The best low light house plants are: Chinese Evergreen, Dracaena Janet Craig, Peace Lily, Heart leaf Philodendron., provide 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.
Do not over-water, semi succulentLearn the definition of a succulent plant and why they are called a "fat plant." Peperomia stores water in its leaves
Minimum temperature of 50°- 55°F (10°-12.8°C)
Do not rush to re-pot
Easily propagated using stem cutting in spring and summer
Water less and do not fertilize in the fall and winter
Peperomia plants are compact, easy care, semi – succulents that come in many varieties. Some varieties are small enough to planted in a dish garden, some are perfect as a table plant for a small area, while other varieties look beautiful in a hanging basket. The very popular Peperomia plant was chosen as the 2022’s Houseplant of the Year by the National Garden Bureau’s annual “Year of Plants” program.
The leaves and stems of a Peperomia plant contain alkaloids so the plant is considered a poisonous indoor house plant. Please keep peperomia plants away from small children and pets.
Peperomia plants usually start to lose leaves when the soil stays too wet.This is a semi succulent plant and does like dry soil.
Your Peperomia plant may be getting brown leaf tips because the temperature is too cold. Be sure your plantis not sitting on a cold windowsill or near a door during cold weather. Also, be careful with your fertilizer; too much plant food can cause brown leaf tips on plants. Feed a peperomia plant monthly in the spring and summer when it is actively growing, never in the fall and winter.
My favorite indoor peperomia houseplants are: Peperomia Emerald Ripple, a bushy table plant with quilted green leaves; Peperomia Cupid, a hanging variety; Watermelon Peperomia, a variety with grayish stripes on green leaves; and Peperomia obtusifolia, a Peperomia that resembles a baby Rubber Tree plant.
In cool weather, Peperomia plants need less water and no plant food at all. Cut back on your water, let the soil dry out, eliminate any plant food and move your peperomia to a warm bright location. Hopefully it will recover soon.