Want to learn about watermelon peperomia care and how to propagate it? This gorgeous plant is easy to take care of and is safe to have around pets. Learn about this shimmery beauty.
Watermelon peperomia care & propagation
The watermelon peperomia is the absolute best name for this plant, because each of the leaves look like tiny watermelons. They have waxy, green and silver striped leaves attached to short, reddish-purple stems. This peperomia variety is the perfect addition to your indoor plant collection.
The watermelon peperomia is easy to grow and is very adaptable, making it great for beginners. It fills up small spaces nicely, and it stays fairly compact, only growing about a foot in height—there is even a mini variety that grows only 6 inches tall!
Since these plants grow so small and their leaves form a rotund, bush shape, they look best when surrounded by other indoor plants to make them appear more full. And they make perfect desktop plants since they don’t take up much space.
Is Watermelon peperomia an indoor plant?
Although the peperomia argyreia is native to South America, more specifically Brazil. The name peperomia means “resembling peppers” while argyreia means silvery. It is part of the Piperaceae family, also known as the pepper family. It contains about 3,600 species split into two genera: Piper and Peperomia.
Most of these species, including the Peperomia argyreia, are herbaceous perennials. The watermelon peperomia is one of the more popular peperomia varieties, and it grows best in USDA hardiness zones 10 to 12. Therefore, it’s usually best as an indoor plant in the majority of U.S. growing zones (including where I’m at).
Their compact size and ease of care make them fantastic indoor plants. However, you can generally take them outside for the spring and summer if you have a nice shady spot for them. Otherwise, yes—they are best as indoor plants.
How much light does a watermelon Peperomia need?
Light is an essential piece of your watermelon peperomia care routine. These plants are generally best grown indoors with bright, indirect light. They are tropical plants that are accustomed to growing underneath lots of foliage, so they do not depend on direct sunlight to survive. Excessive sunlight, even indirectly, can cause the dark green veins on the leaves to fade.
Inadequate light will sadly cause the leaves to lose their watermelon pattern. The best place to put a watermelon peperomia plant is in an east or south facing window. Like I mentioned above, if you’re moving your peperomia outdoors for the summer, make sure it stays in a shaded spot.
How do you know if Peperomia needs water?
Water requirements for the watermelon peperomia plant are low, which is why overwatering is the number one problem. You should wait until the top inch of soil dries out before watering the plant thoroughly. This means about once a week, depending on the humidity.
Your watermelon peperomia plant will give signs and let you know if it needs more or less watering. If the leaves start to feel thin or their colors look less vibrant, it’s a sign you need to water more often. The leaves can be somewhat heavy on the ends of the thin stems, leading to the plant to droop when it needs water too.
However, drooping can also be a sign of overwatering. If the stems and leaves start to droop or wilt and the pot feels heavy, you might be watering it too much. (Note: you should always water less during their semi-dormant season in winter). Soil also plays an important role in moisture regulation, so let’s talk about that next.
Watermelon peperomia care and soil needs
Like its cousin the Peperomia Polybotrya, this plant does well in a rich, well-draining potting soil. You can buy pretty much any soil labeled “indoor potting soil” or even “succulent potting soil” in a store (check out my DIY succulent soil recipe as well). You can also work coco coir or fine moss, perlite, or sand (or any combination of the three) into a heavier soil to lighten it up.
Similar to succulents, watermelon peperomia plants don’t do well with overwatering and require proper drainage. Make sure you plant them in a small pot with a drainage hole, and never let the soil get waterlogged. (See my post about how to drill drainage holes in pots or how to plant succulents in pots without drainage holes.)
Temperature needs for watermelon peperomias
The watermelon peperomia’s ideal temperature range is what makes them the perfect indoor plant. They do best in room temperature; anywhere from 65 degrees to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Remember, they originated in the tropics so they do not tolerate the cold at all. Anything below 50 degrees and they will not survive, so keep them indoors–especially in the fall and winter.
Do Peperomia like to be misted?
Yes! They will appreciate a good misting every one in a while, much like other plants that hail from tropical environments. However, another reason why they make great indoor plants is that they grow just fine in average indoor humidity. Really, the only time you should consider misting the leaves is during its growing season in the spring, or during summer months when the air becomes more hot and dry.
In the fall and winter when the days are shorter and the temperatures drop, your watermelon peperomia will do just fine with no misting. In fact, the colder temps could lead to the extra moisture hanging around a bit longer and potentially leading to some mold growth on top of the soil. Placing your plant near other plants should give it plenty of humidity to thrive.
Watermelon peperomia propagation
Watermelon peperomia propagation is easy. You can either grow a new plant from a stem cutting—or even with just a leaf! Let’s talk soil propagation first because it is generally the best way to grow strong roots right out of the gate. To propagate leaf cuttings in soil, cut a healthy leaf off.
Then, cut the leaf in half perpendicular to its markings. Roots grow from the veins of leaves, so make sure the vein is buried in soil. You can also dip the vein in rooting hormone to speed up the process. I like using rooting hormone for propagations in general, too.
Since it has no roots yet, it’ll need lots of humidity to survive. The best way of doing this is putting a plastic bag over the top until roots grow. When picking a pot, go for a container that looks slightly too small; they don’t like too much room, and it could lead to complications with drainage.
Does peperomia root in water?
Although rooting in soil generally leads to the strongest root systems, I also love rooting plants in water. It’s just so easy, and if you put the cuttings in a clear jar, you can watch the whole process. For what it’s worth, I’ve always had a great experience propagating peperomia cuttings in water. The water roots transition very well to soil, which you can’t say for every plant.
Peperomias in general are very easy to root in water, so that includes watermelon peperomia. To do it, take a stem cutting and put it in a jar of water. And then wait 🙂 That’s it! This is also great for when you are repotting a peperomia and some of the fragile leaves or stems
How long does it take to propagate watermelon peperomia?
You can expect to see roots sprout in about a month, and you can transplant the cuttings into their own pots in about three months. You also might start to see teeny tiny new leaf growth sprouting from the surface of the soil. I think these propagate pretty quickly, especially compared to some other houseplants.
Is Watermelon peperomia toxic to dogs and cats?
No! Peperomia plants are not toxic to pets or kids. However, they are not meant to be ingested, so it’s always a best practice to try to keep your cats away from houseplants. My Blanche isn’t interested in plants, but my Henry is very interested in leafy plants. I keep tempting ones in hanging planters, up on shelves out of reach, or in my Ikea greenhouse cabinet.
Why is my watermelon peperomia dying?
As a final thought—let’s go over a few things you can consider when diagnosing why your watermelon peperomia is dying.
Issue #1: The leaves are faded, not as shimmery, or don’t have as much of a deep green/silver contrast
Your plant could be getting too much light. Too much direct (or even too much bright indirect light) could lead to lackluster colors. Too little light could leave the plant looking sad too, but there will probably be other issues like leaf/stem drooping.
Issue #2: Peperomia plant is flopping over
If this issue is accompanied by something else like faded leaves, heavy soil, or lack of light, it’s probably due to either too much or too little water. If the soil is really dry, generally giving the plant a drink will perk them up. If the soil is very wet and heavy, the plant might be suffering from root rot.
If the plant otherwise looks healthy, you might just need to stake it. Watermelon peperomia plants can develop some pretty impressively sized leaves. The size of their leaves can weigh down the stems a bit, too. Simply use a small stake and some vinyl plant tape to help prop your plant up as I’ve done with mine here.
Issue #3: My peperomia leaves are yellowing and dying
It’s likely you’re overwatering. The faded yellow leaves will just not look good at all and may develop brown spots as well. Back off of watering and trim the damages leaves off to see if you can save the plant!