This post shares everything you need to know about peperomia plant care, including the most common peperomia varieties and how to help them thrive.
Peperomia Plant Care
It’s peperomia time! I’m surprised at how much I don’t see people recommending peperomia plants. Especially given the current obsession with easy-to-care-for houseplants. They are patient and forgiving, and with over 1,500 species of peperomia, you’re sure to find something to your liking. And pet parents rejoice—these are also not poisonous to pets, so you don’t have to get creative with keeping them out of reach.
Peperomias are lovely small plants with a variety of beautiful leaves. “Peperomia” is the scientific name. Since there are so many varieties, you’ll probably see a sign saying something like “various peperomia” at your nursery. You might have heard varieties referred to by the names radiator plants or baby rubber plants.
Like easy-to-care-for plants? You’ll also love my guides on how to take care of snake plants, how to take care of pothos plants, how to take care of rubber plants, how to care for elephant ear varieties, how to care for philodendron, tips for taking care of succulents indoors, and how to care for prickly pear cactus pads.
What are the most common varieties of Peperomia?
There are loads of different varieties of Peperomia, and some can look quite different from what you might typically think of when you think of peperomia. Here are four of the most common varieties you might see at your local nursery.
1. Peperomia obtusifolia (aka baby rubber plant)
This variety is often called the baby rubber plant because the plants have leaves with a smooth, rubbery look to them. And the plants stay quite small, unlike other plants with leaves like these. Leaves are often variegated with greens and yellows.
2. Peperomia argyreia (aka watermelon peperomia)
Watermelon peperomia is a beautiful variety with circular-shaped leaves. The leaves are smooth and shiny looking with gray/silverish “stripes” that give the leaves a watermelon-like pattern.
3. Peperomia clusifolia (aka red edge or rainbow peperomia)
This variety has beautiful succulent-looking leaves with variegated with greens and yellows and red edging. It looks very similar to the “baby rubber plant” variety.
4. Peperomia caperata (aka ripple peperomia)
I think I see this variety the most, usually labeled as “assorted peperomia” and coming in different colors. The leaves have a great crinkly texture, and the leaves have a big of a waxy look. Some varieties have leaves with a red tint (Red Luna), some have a grayish tint, and some of a bold green color (Emerald Ripple).
Peperomia Soil & Water Needs
Peperomia plants enjoy a potting soil that is both well-aerated and well-draining. I have two planted in a well-draining succulent mix with some peat moss added, and they’re both doing really well. Just shoot for a houseplant mixture with some perlite added in. This will help protect the roots from rot and give them some extra air.
This species evidently does best when watered from its roots. To do this, sit your pot in a pan of water for 5 minutes every week or so. But—full disclosure—I do not do that and mine have been fine. Just avoid watering directly into the crown of the plant.
You should also let the soil dry out before you water your peperomia again. Peperomia plants have thick, juicy-looking leaves that store water, much like succulents, to help the plant through longer periods between watering. Oh, and you can give them a normal houseplant fertilizer while they are actively growing.
Peperomia Plant Care: Light Requirements
Peperomia is flexible and forgiving with light as long as you don’t have it in an extremely dark or extremely bright area. Anywhere with low-to-medium, medium, or medium-to-high light is fine. Peperomia pals can also grow under fluorescent lights, making them a great choice to perk up your sad cubicle.
Temperature & Humidity Needs
Most peperomia varieties you’ll find at your local nursery do well in a variety of normal household temperatures—about 55 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Don’t let these plants be exposed to cold or drafts from windows; give them a stable home. Since they first grew in rainforests, peperomia plants enjoy humidity, so give them a spritz!
Peperomia Plant Care: Potting, Pruning, & Fertilizing Peperomia
These plants enjoy being pot-bound, so don’t hurry to repot your peperomia as soon as it grows a bit. They’ll enjoy being snug in their pot. Especially since their root system is shallow, so they can do well in smaller indoor pots or dishes.
You generally shouldn’t have to re-pot peperomia since the plants stay fairly small and like being cozy in their pots. However, you can prune your peperomia by pinching or snipping off pieces at the stem. The stem will sprout new growth at the nearest node below the cut.
Like a lot of similar low-maintenance plants, peperomia plants will thank you for occasional fertilizer, but they aren’t heavy feeders. Just your run-of-the-mill houseplant fertilizer will work well. I use a concentrated form with a dropper that I dilute in a watering can.
Propagating Peperomia Plants
You can propagate peperomia plantsone of two ways: by division or by cutting. To propagate by division, simply cut the plant into smaller pieces, making sure each new piece has sufficient roots. To propagate by cutting, cut off a leaf and stem, plant, water, and cover with a plastic bag to retain moisture and humidity. Take it off every so often to circulate some air. Replant once new growth emerges and the new plant roots and forms.
If you like propagating plants, see my guides for how to propagate pothos from cuttings, the different ways to propagate snake plants, how to propagate prickly pear cactus pads, and how to propagate rubber plants.