Peperomia (Radiator plant) - Expert tips
How to care for Peperomia: Expert Tips for Thriving Plants
Peperomias are a wide-ranging group of tropical plants native to Central and South America. There are over 1000 different Peperomia, each with lovely and unique foliage. There are a lot of different leaf colours, from deep green to purple and red. Plus, some of them produce cute spikes of tiny, tube-shaped flowers!
They are also very adaptable as indoor plants. They can handle all sorts of growing conditions, making them the perfect choice for those just starting with houseplants or those with busy schedules who don't have much time for plant care. Whether you have a bright windowsill or a north-facing spot, Peperomias are a great choice.
Mature Peperomia plants never grow to be super tall and therefore are ideal for tables and shelves, too. Some varieties make excellent hanging plants. With so many different colours and shapes, you can have a cool and unique collection of Peperomias! They are also ideal for terrariums because of their small size and low maintenance.
Fun fact! Due to their love for a warm environment, Peperomia plants are frequently referred to as "Radiator Plants." In the past, it was commonly grown near radiators as it provided the warmest environment for the plant.
In this article we’ll discuss how to take care of Peperomia plants in general. Remember that the care they need may vary depending on your specific type of Peperomia.
Peperomia Care: 10 expert tips for growing it successfully
- Choose a spot with bright indirect light. They love filtered sunlight to keep leaves healthy and beautiful, but direct sun rays should be avoided.
- Avoid too shady corners. Moderate shade is fine for Peperomias, but too much shade will result in smaller leaves and a tall, leggy plant.
- Let it dry out between waterings. Just let the top soil dry out up to 2-3 cm before watering your Peperomia again.
- Be careful not to overwater. Peperomias are sensitive to root rot. In fact, overwatering is one of the most common problems when growing Peperomia indoors.
- Use well-draining soil. Peperomia plants prefer well-draining soil. This will help prevent root rot, which is often caused by poorly drained soils.
- Use proper potting. Ensure your Peperomia plant's pot is the right size (not too big) and has drainage holes to prevent excess water from accumulating.
- Moderately high humidity is ideal. If your home air is too dry, consider using a small humidifier to provide a humid environment for Peperomia plants.
- Don’t fertilise too much. Since Peperomia plants do not consume a lot of nutrients, they do not require fertilisation very often. It is recommended that liquid fertilisers be diluted to half their recommended concentration.
- Regularly monitor the situation. Keep an eye out for common indoor pests such as spider mites, mealybugs, and scale insects. Treat promptly if you notice any signs of infestation.
- Watch out for droopy and weak growth. There is a need for more water and better lighting conditions, or it may be overwatered.
Peperomia Care Tips
Light and placement
Peperomias love indirect bright light, which is filtered sunlight. They grow best near windows or in rooms with fluorescent lighting. Varieties with green leaves do best in low light and therefore are perfect for a north-facing window. The more colourful and bright its leaves are, the more it wants brighter light (but not direct sun). If it is too dark, these beautiful bright colours can fade.
Good to know! Your Peperomia won't mind a bit of direct sun in the morning or evening. It'll even do some good!
If your Peperomia leaves start to drop, leaves are too small, or growth is stunted, it may have insufficient light and need a brighter spot. Avoid direct sunlight as intense sun rays can damage its beautiful foliage.
Peperomias prefer to dry out a little in between waterings, so it's best to wait until the top 2-3 cm of soil is dry. This way, you prevent root rot and fungus problems. In winter, when the days are shorter and Peperomia is dormant, they need to be watered much less often.
You can check the soil's moisture with your finger or with a water meter. In addition, you can lift the pot to check its weight since a light pot may indicate that you should water it. When you water it, give your Peperomia a good soak, so water reaches the roots. Then, allow the excess moisture to drain away. Don't let the plant sit in water for too long, which can lead to root rot.
Expert tip! Whenever you are unsure whether it is the right time to water, keep in mind that dry soil is better than moist soil.
Peperomia plants are sensitive to overwatering, so not letting the soil become too moist is important. Overwatering can lead to root rot, which can destroy your beautiful Peperomia. To prevent it, ensure the pot has good drainage, and empty any water that accumulates in the saucer beneath the pot after watering.
When it comes to giving nutrition to your Peperomia plants, less is more. Peperomia plants are slow growing and only require a little nutrients to thrive. In fact, too much fertiliser can lead to foliage that is lush but weak and leggy.
Good to know! Discoloured or dropping leaves usually indicate inadequate light or excessive watering, not poor nutrition. Peperomia can go through its entire life without supplemental fertiliser.
Occasional feeding with PLNTS Nutrition plant food in spring and summer can help promote its healthy growth. You can dilute half the recommended amount.
Peperomia plants love moderate warmth and grow best at temperatures between 16 and 24°C. Keep them away from cold drafts. They don't like extreme temperatures (too hot or too cold). Although, some species can tolerate temperatures as low as 10°C.
Is it safe to take it outside in the summer (Europe)?
Peperomia plants can be grown outdoors in Europe during the summer, but they must be adapted gradually to the brighter light and outdoor temperatures. Shade them from direct sunlight to prevent scorching of their leaves.
Keep an eye on the temperature and bring them back indoors if it drops below 10°C. It's also important to inspect the plant carefully for any pests or diseases that may have been brought inside.
As tropical plants, Peperomia plants prefer a warm and humid environment, especially in the summer months when their growth is most active. A humidity level of around 40-60% will be perfect. They will tolerate a wider range of humidity levels, but growth may slow down in too dry or humid conditions.
Peperomia plants retain moisture well because of their fleshy leaves, so the dry indoor air in winter will not exhaust them too much. However, if the air is too dry for a prolonged time, you may notice that their leaves start to turn brown at the edges. To increase humidity levels, place a tray of water with pebbles near it or use a humidifier. Learn more about air humidity and how to raise it.
Peperomia plants can live for years in a relatively small container. They enjoy a somewhat root-bound existence, and this, combined with their slow growth rate, means you can leave them alone unless you see roots coming out of the drainage holes.
Generally, they only need to be repotted once every 2-3 years. Check out our tips for repotting.
Peperomias prefer well-draining potting soil to prevent root rot and overwatering. Avoid too compact soils. We recommend using PLNTS Potting Soil to make your Peperomia feel wonderful. They are not particularly fussy about soil pH but will grow best in soil with a pH range of 6.0-7.5.
Peperomias are known for their ease of propagation, as they can grow roots from various parts of the plant, including leaves and stems. This means that new plants can be produced from multiple parts of the plant. How cool is that! Stem and leaf cuttings are the most effective methods.
Propagating Peperomia with stem cuttings:
- Select a healthy and beautiful stem about 10 cm long with at least one node and a few leaves. Make a clean cut below a node.
- To encourage root growth, dip the cut end of the stem in rooting powder.
- Now, fill a small pot with well-draining potting soil, make a hole in the centre and insert the stem cutting with the node just below the soil surface.
- Gently press the soil around the stem to secure it.
- Alternatively, you can root your stem cuttings in a glass of water, but remember to change the water from time to time. Transplant it into a pot with well-draining soil once the roots have developed.
Roots will take about 2-4 weeks to form. In the meantime, keep soil reasonably moist and provide it with bright indirect light. You can cover your freshly potted stem cutting with a plastic bag or cover to keep humidity higher.
Propagating Peperomia with leaf cuttings:
- Choose a healthy, mature leaf from the Peperomia plant that is firm, vibrant, and free of any damage.
- Using sharp, clean scissors, cut the leaf from the stem. At first, you can cut the leaf with a longer stem on it, but cut the long stems to about 1 cm in length later.
- Divide the larger leaves in half across the veins. Smaller leaves can remain as they are.
- You can dip the cut end of the leaf in rooting powder to encourage faster and more successful rooting.
- Now, place your leaf cuttings into well-draining soil or water. The leaf sides with a small stem on them should be gently inserted into the soil so that the stem is entirely in the soil. The upper side of the leaf should be covered slightly in the soil so that the cut part is covered with the soil.
- You can also root these leaf parts in water similarly.
Place it in a bright, warm location but without direct sunlight. If it is in water, change it every few days. In a few weeks, tiny roots should start growing from the cut end of the leaf. If you use water, you can plant the leaf directly into potting soil or keep it in water until a suitable root system forms.
Both methods require patience since new roots and new growth may take weeks to months to develop, depending on propagation and growing conditions.
Most common pests on Peperomias
Peperomia plants are susceptible to the same pests that affect most indoor plants. Pests such as mealy bugs, red spider mites and white flies. The plants are also susceptible to root rot if the soil is constantly too damp.
Are you unsure if your plant has a problem, such as pests or root rot? We recommend you to check with our PLNTS Doctor.
The Peperomia plantfamily is a diverse group of plants with a wide range of leaf shapes, colors, and textures. One of the most common ones is the Peperomia Prostrata (String of Turtles). If you look at its leaves, you will get why she got the nickname! Other popular varieties are the Peperomia Pepperspot and the Peperomia Hope.
Are Peperomias poisonous for pets or children?
The good news is that Peperomias are considered non-toxic and even pet-friendly plants. Cats and dogs love these plants. This may lead them to eat enough to make them sick despite the plants being non-toxic. Also, be warned! With such a vast number of Peperomia species, it is always possible to run into an uncommon or newly domesticated species with some degree of toxicity. Just always keep an eye on your furry and green friends.
Buy Peperomia online at PLNTS.com
At PLNTS.com you can buy different types of Peperomia. There really is a Peperomia for everyone! Whether you like your Peperomia big from the start or prefer to grow them from tiny BabyPLNTS into full-grown PLNTS - buy Peperomia online at PLNTS.com.