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Image of peperomia growing in a garden
Peperomias are popular house plants with colourful patterned foliage. While there are many types, their needs are the same, making it easy to grow several different varieties.

What you need to know about peperomias

Name: peperomia, radiator plant, Peperomia spp., baby rubber plant (Peperomia obtusifolia), watermelon peperomia (Peperomia argyreia), cupid peperomia (Peperomia scandens ‘Variegata’).

Height: up to 30cm, but trailing forms can grow up to 90cm long.

Plant type: evergreen perennial.

Climate: subtropical, tropical, or warm frost-free climates. Adapts well to being grown indoors..

Soil: well-drained soil outdoors; premium-quality potting mix blended with perlite indoors.

Position: partly shaded under trees outdoors. Bright, indirect light indoors. Will also grow in medium light conditions.

Foliage: thick, fleshy leaves in many different sizes, colours, and shapes.

Flowering: slender, tail-like flower spikes.

Feeding: liquid feed regularly during the warmer months, reduce frequency in winter.

Watering: water when the top 2.5-5cm of soil is dry.

Appearance and characteristics of peperomias

Peperomias belong to a large genus or group of plants – with over 1,000 species – that have fleshy leaves in a variety of different shapes, sizes, colours, and textures. They’re popular indoor plants, much loved for their easy-care qualities and interesting foliage.

There are many peperomias to choose from, with some of the most popular listed below.

  • Watermelon peperomia (P. argyreia) is a highly coveted form, with silver and green markings resembling those of a watermelon.
  • Baby rubber plant (P. obtusifolia) is a bushy plant with dark green or variegated leaves.
  • Raindrop peperomia (P. polybotrya) has broad, teardrop-shaped foliage on erect stems.
  • Cupid peperomia (P. scandens ‘Variegata’) has variegated white and green heart-shaped leaves on long trailing stems.
  • Emerald ripple peperomia (P. caperata) has crinkled green, burgundy, or variegated leaves.
  • Ruby glow peperomia (P. graveolens) is a sweet, low-growing form with red stems and small green leaves edged in red.

Peperomias are considered non-toxic to dogs and cats.

A close up of a potted peperomia plant, with green and purple-tinged leaves with textured bumps on them

Uses for peperomias

The beautifully coloured and patterned foliage of peperomias is perfect for brightening homes and breathing life into indoor spaces. Group a few different species together, contrasting heights, textures, and patterns for an eye-catching look.

In tropical, subtropical, and warm frost-free areas, peperomias can be grown outside in dappled light or part shade. Light requirements vary between species, so check the labels before planting.

How to grow peperomias

Most peperomias prefer a warm, brightly lit spot out of direct sunlight. Some species will also tolerate medium light. Plants should be potted using a premium-quality potting mix blended with handfuls of perlite to help with drainage. Ensure the pot drains well, too.

Caring for peperomias

Although peperomias originate in tropical climates, they’re adaptable enough to grow in most home environments. If you give them the right amount of light and water, and feed them during the warmer months, they should reward you with ongoing healthy growth. Repot and refresh the potting mix every one to two years.

How often should you water and feed peperomias?

Water when the top 2.5-5cm of potting mix feels dry. To check, insert your finger into the top of the mix. Alternatively, invest in a moisture meter.

Feed with a slow release fertiliser from spring to autumn. Alternatively, throughout the growing season, regularly apply a liquid fertiliser that’s formulated for indoor plants.

Close up of a cascading peperomia plant with small round leaves

How and when to prune peperomias

Remove dying or browning leaves and spent flowers as required.

Diseases and pests that affect peperomias

Sap-sucking pests like mites, mealybugs and scale can attack peperomias. If you notice any, treat with a suitable insecticide, ensuring you spray the plant thoroughly in a well-ventilated area.

Leaves may drop if peperomias become stressed by too much or too little water. Take care not to overwater, but also don’t let the soil dry out completely.

How to propagate peperomias

Peperomias are easy to propagate and can be done from stem or leaf cuttings in water or soil.

For watermelon and emerald ripple peperomias, cut a healthy stem at least 10cm long and place in a jar of water, changing the water once a week. Tiny white roots should appear at the end of the stem after a few weeks, followed by new leaves. When the roots are 5-7cm long, carefully remove the ‘baby plant’ from the stem and plant it in a small pot filled with premium potting mix.

Cupid and raindrop peperomias can also be propagated from stem cuttings, but the method is slightly different. When taking cuttings, cut the stem just below a leaf node and remove the lower leaves. Place in a jar of water, ensuring the node is submerged. Roots will eventually sprout from the node. Wait until they are 5-10cm long before potting up.

For leaf cuttings, cut a leaf with about 1-2cm of stem attached. Dip the stem into rooting hormone gel and insert in a pot filled with premium potting mix blended with perlite. You can also cut leaves in half (horizontally) and push the exposed halves into the mix. Position in a warm spot with bright, indirect light and water regularly to keep the mix moist. Cover with a plastic bag or cloche to maintain warmth and humidity.

If you like this, then try

Cast-iron plant: a handsome but tough plant with strappy dark green leaves.

Chinese money plant: when gifted, this popular indoor plant symbolises good luck and prosperity.

Monstera deliciosa: a climbing plant with large, perforated leaves that resemble Swiss cheese.

Start planting today

Check out our wide range of indoor plants now and get your indoor garden growing!

 

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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