Looking for peperomia beetle care tips? I’m sharing my experience with this cute peperomia variety, including how much light it needs, when to water it, and how to propagate it from cuttings.
How do you treat beetle peperomia?
I’ve written about some of the more popular peperomia varieties in the past, including a general peperomia care guide, as well as guides for Peperomia Hope Care & Propagation, Peperomia Raindrop Care & Propagation, String of Turtles Care & Propagation, and Watermelon Peperomia Care & Propagation. And we’re back at it with another peperomia today!
Today’s peperomia plant is a peperomia quadrangularis or peperomia angulata (an older name), otherwise known as a peperomia beetle. It is part of the piperaceae family and reminds me a lot of its close relative the string of turtles plant, aka the peperomia prostrata plant. Except until of looking like turtles, the quadrangularis leaves look like beetles.
Yes, beetles! Well, some beetles, I suppose. I can definitely see the resemblance, and it’s a fun name. Peperomia beetle is native to South America, where it grows wild in the shady tropical climate. It’s a training plant with thick but small round leaves.
The leaves have stripes and a lighter veining, which—combined with the shape, size, and thickness of the leaves—make them look like little beetles.
Peperomia beetle care & lighting needs
Because peperomia beetle grows in the shade in its natural habitat, as a houseplant, it’s best to mimic that as closely as possible. You might that “tropical” means “sunny”—and it does! But in nature, these plants grow under a canopy of trees, meaning the light is filters, dappled, or blocked.
In your home or garden, look for bright, indirect light. Peperomia beetle can also handle medium light levels, but keep an eye on it to make sure the growth isn’t getting too leggy or scraggly. Avoid direct sun (unless it’s very weak early morning sun) because it can burn the leaves.
How do you water a peperomia beetle plant?
I generally water all peperomia plants when the top few inches of soil dry out. It’s best to err on the side of underwatering rather than overwatering because this plant has very fine roots that are very susceptible to rot.
You will need to water your plant less if you have it in lower light levels. In the summer when it’s warmer and the days are longer, it’s likely your plant will dry out faster and will need more water.
A critical part of the watering equation is soil. Any store-bought soil labeled “indoor plants” or “houseplant soil” will do just fine. These come pre-mixed with things like perlite, which helps to enhance drainage and aeration in the soil.
If the soil is too dense, it will retain too much water. This, combined with the lack of aeration, will likely suffocate the roots and kill your plant.
Temperature & humidity levels
Peperomia beetle will do well in all normal household temperatures and humidity levels. This plant is not cold or frost hardy, so make sure it comes inside before temperatures drop consistently into the low 50s at night.
Unlike some other picky houseplants, this one doesn’t really need extra humidity to be happier. It will do just fine with humidity, though. I’ve found peperomia plants to be some of the best when it comes to lower humidity levels indoors!
Peperomia beetle growth rate, pruning, & repotting
Peperomia plants in general stay pretty compact, making them the perfect plants for your plant shelving, windowsills, and desk tops. And the beetle variety grows to be about 18 inches (1.5 feet). If you live somewhere tropical, you can grow it to spread over the ground. (Though I don’t know anything about whether or not it is invasive in certain parts of the world, so make sure to check first.)
It is a somewhat slow grower, but peperomia plants will grow nicely when they are in ideal conditions. You can give them some houseplant fertilizer every month or so in the spring, summer, and early fall if you’d like. I generally use worm castings for my plants, but this year I’m trying out Liqui-Dirt.
If your beetle peperomia is getting scraggly and leggy (too much space between the leaves), then you can prune it by cutting those pieces off. This can help create a fuller look on your plant, too, since the new growth will sprout above the cut at a somewhat horizontal angle.
Peperomia plants have shallow root systems, making them great for dish gardens and smaller planters. You won’t need to repot this plant often, especially because the beetle enjoys being a bit potbound. Once the roots begin growing out of the pot’s drainage holes, it’s time to size the pot up a bit.
When you do repot, make sure to add fresh soil. Avoid repotting in the winter, but it’s not a huge deal if you must.
Can you propagate beetle peperomia?
I have a whole post about how to propagate peperomia plants, and the guidance is way more in-depth than I’ll go here. But here are the basics for propagating beetle peperomia!
I enjoy propagating peperomia plants in water. Simply take a snip of a stem below a growth point (where the leaves grow out of the stems) and remove the bottom set of leaves. Keep it in fresh water for a few weeks, and once it has some nice roots, transplant it to soil.
Keep the soil a bit damp for the first few weeks while the water roots adjust to the soil. Once you get resistance when you gently tug the plant, back off watering and let the plant ride.
You can skip the water rooting step and put the cutting in moist soil, but it will take a bit more time. I suggest using a bit of rooting hormone or gel before you plant the stem cutting.
And guess what?! You can also propagate peperomia beetle with a single leaf! It’s the same method. You just need less of the plant. Here’s an example of another peperomia plant I grew from a single leaf:
Common problems with peperomia beetle plants
Although this is a pretty easy plant that does well with neglect, there are a few things to keep in mind. Let’s chat about a few.
1. Leggy growth
If you notice that the plant is starting to become more stem than leaves, that’s called leggy growth. Leggy growth is when the space between leaves expands because the plant is literally reaching for the light.
You can’t turn back the time on leggy growth, but you can chop and prop it! The plant will rebound once you move it to a spot with a bit more bright, indirectly light.
2. Yellowing leaves
It leaves on a beetle peperomia are yellowing, you could be overwatering. Check to make sure the top few inches of the soil are drying out between waterings. If the leaves are fading and look burned, though, you could be giving it too much direct light and scorching the leaves.
3. Leaves falling off
Are they droopy and yellow? Probably overwatering. Are the leaves crispy? Probably underwatering. 🙂