The name peperomia may not roll off the tongue, but you could get lost in this wonderful genus of tropical plants: there are more than 1,000 known species, all with thick, fleshy leaves that contribute to their drought tolerance and vigor. If you haven't experienced much luck with flowering houseplants, you will appreciate that the peperomia sports foliage that is highly ornamental in its own right. Leaves may be textured or smooth; red, green, gray, or purple; variegated, marbled, or solid; large, heart-shaped, or tiny. Plants throughout the peperomia genus may look so different from one to the next, that it's difficult to discern if they are even related, but one thing all peperomia plants have in common is that they are slow-growing and low maintenance.
Below are some tips and tricks to best care for your Peperomia!
Light: Peperomia plants need a medium to bright light to maintain their vibrant foliage colors. Morning light and filtered light is fine, as well as 12 to 16 hours of artificial light. Insufficient light will result in fewer leaves, leaf drop, and drab coloration.
Water: The succulent leaves of peperomia plants indicate that the plants don't need frequent watering to maintain vigor. Allow the surface of the soil to dry out between waterings. Keeping the peperomia on the dry side is better than saturating it, which leads to root rot and fungus gnat problems.
Potting and Repotting: Peperomia plants may 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 let them be unless you see roots coming out of the drainage holes. Repot in a slightly larger container with an acidic potting mix or orchid bark.
Temperature and Humidity: Peperomia plants are only hardy down to USDA Growing Zone 10, which means they cannot be exposed to temperatures less than 30 F. As tropical plants, peperomias like it warm and steamy, especially in the summer months when growth is most active. If your plant doesn't get an outdoor vacation in the summer, place it on a tray of pebbles and water to increase ambient humidity.
Fertilizer: When it comes to fertilizing, less is more for the peperomia. Discolored or dropping leaves are usually a result of inadequate light or excessive watering, not poor nutrition. As a slow-growing epiphyte, the peperomia can go its entire life without supplemental fertilizer, getting what it needs from its planting media.