Peperomia frost is a gorgeous type of peperomia caperata—or the ripple peperomia—peperomia frost has compact silver leaves with an upright growth pattern. Learn how to care for it here.
How do you care for a peperomia frost?
Hey all! Today I am writing about a genus I haven’t written about a ton lately—peperomia. With the exception of my pepeormia rosso care guide, I don’t think I’ve written about any other peperomia varieties this year!
Of course I have written about my experience caring for many other peperomia plants before. See my posts on peperomia polypotrya care, watermelon peperomia care, peperomia hope care, and peperomia beetle care for more.
But I’ve been looking for a few good, compact, and medium-light-tolerant plants for my living room shelving, and peperomia plants are excellent candidates! I have owned both a silver ripple peperomia and a peperomia frost in the past, but I picked up a new frost recently.
What is a peperomia frost?
Peperomia frost is a type of peperomia caperata—the same type of peperomia group that the ripple peperomia varieties belong to as well. It has silver-tinted leaves with a mint green base and a deeper green veining.
The leaves tend to remain small and be a bit puckered. And this plant is often referred to as the “silver peperomia”—which can be confusing because it is often confused with the “silver ripple” peperomia.
Peperomia silver ripple vs. frost
It’s true that peperomia frost and silver ripple peperomia are very similar. And that makes a lot of sense considering that both silver ripple and frost are types of peperomia caperata.
For a very long time, I thought they were the same plant. And, truly, they do not have many differences. Some even argue that they are the same plant. But me? I don’t like arguing about plants. Some days I think they are the same, just slightly different plants. Other days I think they aren’t 🙂
I don’t really like to get bogged down in debates about whether two cultivars of a plant are the same or different. Or exactly how many differences a plant has to have to be considered a separate cultivar.
But I will say that, side by side, there are some obvious differences in silver peperomia plants. One type seems to have larger leaves with lighter veining and much deeper ribs and ripples on the leaves. That is said to be the silver ripple.
The one said to be peperomia frost, on the other hand, has smaller leaves that are smoother. You can see the differences in some of the pictures throughout this post.
All of that said…the plants are largely the same color. Their care needs are pretty much identical, and their growth rate and maximum size is about the same, too. So if you’re stumped on which you have, read on for how to care for each!
Is peperomia frost easy to care for?
Yes, peperomia frost is very easy to care for. Peperomia caperata is a species of flowering plant in the family Piperaceae, which is native to Brazil. They aren’t too picky about light, water, or soil.
And one thing that I really like about peperomia plants is that they stay pretty small. So, that means you don’t have to repot them too often, and you can likely keep a peperomia in the same spot for its entire life.
How much light does a peperomia frost like?
Peperomia frost thrives in medium light levels. You can put it in a windowsill if the window gets only morning sun.
If the window gets strong midday sun, you can place the plant farther from the window. Save those sunny windows for plants that really need that bright, indirect light!
Wherever you put it, make sure to rotate the plant every few weeks. Peperomia plants have a tendency to grow lopsided (at least in my experience!), and rotating them helps to encourage bushy, even growth.
Too much light can burn the leaves, while too little light can lead to dull coloration and leggy, scraggly growth. If you notice that your plant’s leaf size is decreasing and the stems are getting longer and floppier, this may be a sign of too little light.
The only peperomia plant I’ve taken outside for the spring and summer was a peperomia prostrata, or string of beetles. That one did great hanging on my lower deck, which was largely shielded from any direct sun. Bright shade seems to be best.
Is peperomia frost drought tolerant?
If you’re not new to houseplants, you’ve likely already assumed that the peperomia frost’s slightly thicker leaves make it a somewhat drought-tolerant plant. And you’d be mostly right!
While it isn’t necessarily tolerant to drought, it does like its soil to dry out a bit before it is watered again. Shoot for letting the top several inches of soil dry out before watering the peperomia frost again.
If the stems and leaves are not as perky as they usually are, the plant likely needs water. Give it a thorough drink and it should rebound.
Keep in mind that peperomia plants are highly susceptible to root rot from overwatering. If you water the plant too frequently, the roots will suffocate. It will also create a breeding ground for fungus gnats, which no one wants!
Many peperomia enthusiasts opt to bottom water their plants. See my post about how to bottom water plants for more. Peperomia plants have sensitive crowns, so sometimes they can respond negatively to being watered from above.
I personally have not had any issues with watering from above, and it’s easiest for me and my plant care routine. But it’s something I wanted to mention in case.
For soil, think lightweight moisture retention
Any soil designed for tropical houseplants will work just fine. In fact, anything labeled “indoor plants” or “houseplant mix” works great, too.
Peperomia frost enjoys a mix that is both lightweight and well-draining. This means that the soil has the necessary additives to retain moisture without drowning the plant’s roots.
These mixes also encourage good drainage, meaning all of the excess water the plant doesn’t need flows freely through the soil and out the drainage holes.
Does peperomia frost like humidity?
It does! But don’t worry, peperomia frost is also a plant that can tolerate a wide variety of normal household humidity levels well.
It will benefit from being grouped with other plants, which is a way to slightly increase ambient humidity levels. Since it stays pretty small, a glass greenhouse cabinet with grow lights is also a great choice. (See my Ikea greenhouse cabinet project for more.)
Remember what I said about the crown of the plant being susceptible to rot when watering from above? If humidity levels are too high, make sure the plant gets some air circulation. You don’t want too much moisture!
Peperomia frost will do well in temperatures that range from the 60s up through the 80s. If it gets too much hotter as it sometimes does here in the summer, check to make sure it doesn’t dry out.
Frost will begin showing signs of a struggle in the 50s, and it will die in temperatures below that. It is not at all cold or frost hardy. Also try to avoid sudden temperature swings—like next to a frequently used door, drafty old window, or heat register.
Growth rate & pruning
While peperomia frost stays relatively small, only topping out at around a foot tall and wide, it is also a slow grower. And peperomia plants generally have very shallow root structures.
These things together mean that the plant does not need to be repotted frequently (generally every few years). You can also opt for something like a dish garden or terrarium setup since the plant has a shallow root system.
And it also doesn’t need a lot of pruning. You can give the plant an organic diluted houseplant fertilizer to encourage healthy new growth. Otherwise, just trim off leaves as they look blemished or as they begin to die off.
This is a natural part of the plant’s life cycle and is not something to be concerned by if it’s just a leaf here and there. You can also prune the plant to control its shape.
How to propagate peperomia from a stem cutting
I have a whole post about how to propagate peperomia plants from single leaf and stem cuttings. It’s such a fun plant to propagate! But here is an overview of the process.
First take a cutting from a healthy peperomia frost plant. It can have only one leaf, but it can also have a few leaves if you have a stem that is branching from previous pruning. Put the cutting in water.
And that’s it. Just wait. Refresh the water every week or so, making sure the cut end of the cutting remains submerged at all times. It will soon sprout small white roots and then, eventually, a new plant!
I then like to transfer this cutting to a small cup with soil, burying the new roots and leaves and leaving the new cutting above the soil line. Keep the soil moist but not wet for a few weeks until you see the new leaves peek above the surface.
You can cut off the original leaf now, and begin treating the propagation as a new plant. It’s that easy! You can skip the water rooting too if you’d like, but I like monitoring root development.
How to propagate peperomia from a leaf cutting
Much like snake plants (see my post on the different ways to propagate a snake plant), peperomia plants can be propagated from a single leaf.
Take some leaf cuttings, cutting right about where the leaf meets the stem. Then tuck the cut end of the leaves into a shallow tray with rich, well-draining soil. Keep the soil relatively moist, and the plant will soon root.
Keep the humidity high. When I am propagating, I like to use old plastic salad containers, lunch meat containers, or a clear plastic propagation box. All work great because you can keep a lid on to raise the humidity and remove it to air things out.
Eventually, new leaves will emerge. Depending on how weird it looks, you can either cut off the original leaf you used to propagate the plant or leave it on. Up to you!
What are the long spiky things on my peperomia frost?
Those are flowers! The flowers on a peperomia don’t look much like the flowers you’re likely used to, but they are pretty cool. They have ribbed, pointy tips at the end of long tendrils that pop out at random areas all around the plant’s crown.
A flowering peperomia is the sign of a happy peperomia, too. So even if you don’t like the way they look, consider yourself lucky! You can safely trim the flowers off either after they emerge or when they start to wilt a bit.
Problems with a peperomia
Many of the problems you’ll encounter from this plant stem from either planting it on soil that is too dense, watering it too often, or a combination of the two. Limp leaves and wet soil likely mean overwatering.
However, if the leaves are limp and the soil is bone dry—there’s your answer. It’s a thirsty plant! Give it a good drink, and it should perk up. You can trim off any leaves that end up being casualties of the drought.
Much like a ficus lyrata (or fiddle leaf fig), peperomia plants can also drop leaves en masse with little to no warning. And this can happen to an otherwise healthy plant if it is exposed to drastic temperature swings (usually cold drafts).
However, if the plant begins losing leaves and the leaves are also yellowing, wilting, and slowly dying off, this could be a sign of root rot. Make sure you are using a well-draining, lightweight soil and watering only after the top several inches of soil dry out.
Peperomia pest issues
Peperomia plants are generally pretty resistant to pets, but keep an eye out for the run-of-the-mill houseplant pest lineup: fungus gnats, mealybugs, aphids, and spider mites.
Fungus gnats are often a sign of an overwatered plant because they lay their eggs in the top inch or so of soil—and they like it wet! So let the plant dry out a bit more to hopefully kill everything off. See my post about how to get rid of fungus gnats for more.
Mealybugs present themselves usually as little white creepy-crawlies on your plant’s leaves. They also lay their eggs in small masses that look like cotton, generally on the underside of your plant’s leaves or the area where the leaf meets the stems.
These are a slower spreading pest in my experience, so if you can catch them early during routine pest checks, you can probably knock them out with an insecticide spray. See my post on how to get rid of mealybugs for more.
Next up—aphids! The bugs themselves are tiny and hard to see. But a tell-tale sign of them is a sticky residue on or around the plant. Treat with an insecticide to knock them out.
And finally, spider mites. Spider mites thrive in warm, dry conditions, which is why they are such a problem for houseplants. Especially those indoors in the winter.
To help combat spider mites, run a humidifier to keep humidity levels high. Signs of spider mites include a very fine webbing on the tips of the leaves or the areas where the leaves meet the stems.
These can be harder to get rid of completely. I recommend immediately rinsing the plant’s foliage with cold water in the sink and then spray it down entirely with an insecticide spray. Spider mites spread fast, so I’d also treat anything around it even if you don’t see any webbing!
Is peperomia frost non-toxic?
Yes, peperomia is an excellent plant choice if you have kids or pets that get into your plants. It isn’t meant to be eaten, but if a pet or kid does get curious and have a nibble, they’ll likely be fine.
That said, I always recommend keeping plants out of reach from little hands and paws. Up high on a shelf or in an enclosed cabinet works great.
Peperomia frost care overview
Overall, peperomia plants are super easy to care for. Below is a brief peperomia frost care recap of everything I’ve covered in this post.
- Light: Medium light levels; too much sun will burn the plant, too little will lead to leggy growth
- Water: When the top several inches of soil dries out
- Soil: Well-draining, lightweight moisture retention; any houseplant soil will likely work fine
- Temperature: 60s, 70s, and 80 Fahrenheit; not cold or frost hardy
- Humidity: Enjoys higher humidity levels but tolerates normal household humidity levels fine
- Propagation: Can be achieved using a single stem or even leaf cutting
- Toxicity: Not known to be toxic if ingested, but not a plant meant to be ingested