Peperomia is a unique, compact plant that is a favorite houseplant and terrarium plant. Find facts and information on growing and caring for peperomia.
The peperomia is a tropical ornamental-leaved plant which is chiefly native to tropical America and belongs to the Pepper family, Piperceae. The name Peperomia means pepper-like. There are many different varieties of Peperomia. Each variety makes a neatly formed houseplant and can also serve as an ornamental plant in a greenhouse. They are dwarf and compact, and rarely exceed 12 inches in height. They vary considerably in appearance.
Some have threadlike, trailing stems and others have thick, succulent, upright stems. The leaves are entire (undivided), smooth and fleshy, and may be ovate, peltate (leafstalks at are near the center of the leaf blade), cordate (heart-shaped) or lanceolate (lance-shaped).
They will vary in size from 1 to 4 inches in length. They are green or striped, marbled or margined with pale green, red or gray, and the petioles of some kinds are red. The flowers, which are inconspicuous, are very small and are produced in the form of a cordlike spike. P. resedeflora, which has white, fragrant flowers, is the only kind grown for its blossoms.
Peperomia plants may be grown in pots, shallow pans or in hanging baskets. They require a minimum winter temperature of 55 degrees and a soil compost of equal parts of peat moss, loam, and sand.
*You may want to consider purchasing a potting bench, if you don't already have one. It makes potting and clean ups so much easier, especially since everything is all in one spot.
Repotting is usually done in March. Make sure that the new pots are well drained. The plants are then removed from the old pots, or crocks, and with as much of the old soil being removed without damaging the roots. The plants should then be set in the new pots, which should be slightly larger, and just big enough to hold the roots comfortably without cramping them.
No water is given until the soil becomes nearly dry, and then it is thoroughly saturated. This method of watering is followed throughout the year, but the intervals between the waterings are longer in winter, as the plants, being partially resting, extract less moisture from the soil.
This plant is great in hanging baskets. P. Rotundifolia, P. Brevipes, and others of trailing growth are suitable for growing in hanging baskets. The baskets should first be lined with sphagnum moss and then filled with the prepared soil. Small plants, or rooted cuttings, are planted at the top of the baskets, about 3 inches apart. The baskets should be hung in a shaded corner of the greenhouse and watered in the manner recommended for pot plants.
Progagation is by cuttings, leaf cuttings, or by division. The plants are divided at potting time. When they are removed from the pots and separated into smaller pieces, each of which should have a few roots attached. They are potted separately in small pots.
Taking Peperomia Cuttings
Cuttings are taken in spring or summer. The shoots are removed, the lower leaves cut off, and a cut made below the bottom node (joint). The prepared cuttings are laid on the potting bench for an hour or two to allow a corky skin to form over the cut end. They are then inserted in a propagating case with a bottom heat of 70-75 degrees.
The top should not be completely closed, since the plants, being of a semi-succulent nature, do not transpire (give off water) very rapidly. When sufficient roots are formed, the plants are either potted separately in 3 in. Pots or planted in hanging baskets.
Types of Peperomia (species available)
P. Acuminata, has narrow grass-green leaves.
P. Capreata (Emerald Ripples), has bright green leaves with dark veins.
P. Clusiifolia, has thick green leaves with narrow red edges.
P. Crassifolia, has round, fleshy leaves of a dill green color.
P. Griseo-argentea, has metallic-gray with olive veins, rounded and glossy.
P. Incana, has thick, gray-green leaves
P. Rotundifolia, has small roundish leaves
P. Obtusifolia varigata, has green, variegated leaves with creamy yellow and white.
P. Rubella, has tiny olive-green leaves that are red beneath.
P. Sandersii, has red leaf stalks and green leaves.
P. Sandersii argyreia, is similar, but has silvery blotches between the veins.
P. Velutina, has silky green with light veins.
*Peperomias are very nice plants for indoor enjoyment, or for growing in a greenhouse. I have used them in terrariums at times, but don't let them get too much water. They have very unusual leaves that I am sure you will love.
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