(image credits, IG: rootedinfayetteville)
Peperomia argyreia, also called the Watermelon Peperomia, is a herbaceous perennial plant that is native to Brazil.
The plant is called ‘watermelon’ Peperomia due to its leaves resembling the outer rinds of the said fruit. The argyreia belongs to the “Peperomia” genus. The name comes from two Greek words; peperi, meaning pepper, and homoios, meaning resemblance.
The argyreia is an indoor plant which grows vigorously in temperatures between 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 26 degree Celsius). The plant also enjoys humidity of 40% and bright-indirect light. The plant prefers heat; therefore, keep the indoor temperature between 65 to 85-degree Fahrenheit.
According to NC State University, Peperomia Sandersii or Watermelon Peperomia has waxy, succulent leaves that have white or green patterns on them.
The argyreia is not toxic to pets, so I think they are a wonderful addition to indoor plants. Furthermore, they provide an ornamental effect with their small bushy, rosette look.
- 1 Peperomia argyreia Plant Care
- 2 Common Problems for Peperomia argyreia
- 3 Tips for Growing Peperomia argyreia
- 4 Frequently Asked Questions about Peperomia argyreia
- 5 Conclusion
Peperomia argyreia Plant Care
Peperomia argyreia should be grown in a rich potting mix. This mix should also drain well. I create my household potting mix by combining two parts peat moss with one-part perlite. I then add one-part coarse horticulture sand. Sometimes, I alternate my home-made mixture with a commercial one.
When getting the right potting mix for my Peperomia argyreia, I look for the right balance between organic and inorganic matter.
Under organic matter, I choose the sphagnum peat moss, whereas, for the inorganic, I choose gravel or perlite.
I go for the peat moss because it is not only light and airy but also holds the right amount of moisture. Perlite loosens the potting soil, which I believe helps in the drainage process.
My advice is to never let your Peperomia argyreia’s roots sit for too long in waterlogged soil. It will cause the plant’s roots to rot and eventually die.
Therefore, keep the soil dry between watering. A tip to check whether your soil is doing its job is to check if it is drying halfway in a few days.
Peperomia argyreia needs to be watered often, especially when the top layer of the soil is dried out.
Radiator plants like the argyreia need to be watered once every week in summers or during hot weather conditions.
In contrast, the argyreia doesn’t need as much watering in winter, probably after every 2-3 weeks. The dryness of the soil is usually a good indicator of whether your plant needs watering or not.
When I need to check if my Peperomia requires watering, I check about 3 inches (7 centimeters) of the soil for moisture.
If I feel that there is some, I hold back from watering and check after a few days. While Peperomia’s love water, we do not want to deprive them of oxygen by clogging them.
They are drought-resistant in nature, which is why their leaves can store water to keep them going through dry days.
- The first step to watering a Peperomia argyreia is to completely drench the soil to let out any excess water.
- Next, I wait until the potting mix is dry.
Peperomia argyreia loves bright and indirect light. If you plan to grow your argyreia indoors, place it in a well-lit room as that encourages a healthy watermelon like appearance.
I strongly suggest not placing them anywhere close to direct sunlight as that can yellow their leaves.
I highly recommend the east or west-facing rooms when placing indoors. During the intense mid-day sun, your plant will be in a safe spot.
If you have a southern-facing room, keep the plant far from the windowsill or behind a curtain that isn’t too thick.
The argyreia easily adapts to low-light conditions. Therefore, you do not have to worry if your area has lesser lights than the tropics.
This plant is compact, so you can even grow them in your bathrooms or offices where light is usually minimal.
However, not getting enough light has just as many consequences:
- Your peperomia can become leggy.
- It can also cause the stems to stretch.
- The red stems become long and wrapped.
- The leaves of the plant no longer have the watermelon pattern.
On average, the argyreia grows well between 65 to 85-degree Fahrenheit (18 to 26 degrees Celsius). The least temperature your peperomia can thrive in is 50-degree Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius). As the plant is native to the tropical climate, it requires warm temperatures.
I always tell prospective Peperomia growers to avoid placing an argyreia under fluctuating temperatures.
For example, in winters, never keep your argyreia Infront of a heater. Similarly, in summers, keep your plant away from air conditioners.
On average, your house humidity (around 40%) should be enough for the Peperomia. These plants are extremely adaptable; therefore, they can grow in slightly drier household environments.
However, if you still want to have the best for your plant, mist it every now and then to ensure a native environment.
I believe that misting during summers is important as the warm outdoor air can make your indoors drier. Similarly, if you have central heating during winters, you might need to mist then as well.
- Fill a bottle with distilled water.
- The spray should be set at the finest setting.
- Next, finely place mist on plant foliage.
Follow the above-mentioned steps at least once a week, especially during summers, when the leaves are more prone to drooping. Another method to keep the humidity up is by making a DIY humidifier.
Following are the steps to making your own pebble tray humidifier:
- Place some water inside a tray or plate.
- Place the stones or gravels around the pot without disturbing the water.
- Do not let the water touch the bottom of the soil.
If the above-mentioned method is not for you, then invest in a humidifier or place your argyreia around plants for extra moisture.
Peperomia argyreia is a slow grower, thereby needing only a moderate amount of fertilizer. To keep my Peperomia’s growth stable, I dilute the plant’s soil with organic fertilizer – this step is usually beneficial during the growing season.
I personally recommend using household fertilizers over synthetic ones. I use tea compost, seal kelp, and extracts from plants to make my own fertilizer. They provide all the essential nutrients to the plant.
Fertilizers need to be provided depending on the season. I would not recommend applying it during winters as the plant is in a dormant stage.
Similarly, in summers, too many fertilizers should be avoided as they can cause a buildup of mineral salts. The monsoon season around August is the best.
Repotting can be stressful for plants, so it should only be done when necessary. If you see that your plant needs more space to grow, then you can consider repotting them. Luckily, Peperomia’s don’t need to be repotted that often.
These plants are compact in nature and prefer to be root bound. I repot my Peperomia after two to three years.
Repotting can be useful as it encourages refreshing of the potting mix, which is important for healthy growth. If you are not sure when to repot, look out for the roots poking out of the pot’s drainage holes.
Method of Repotting
- Choose a pot that is one size more than the old container.
- Remove the Peperomia and root from the pot.
- Shake off the soil and trim the plant (if necessary).
- Carefully place the plant in a slightly bigger pot and fill it with the potting mix.
I prefer pruning my Peperomia argyreia during the spring season. I find pruning to be useful for leggy stems. By trimming dead leaves, I improve the plant’s look. Pruning also helps to get rid of foliage that might be unnecessary. This way, your plant will use the energy towards a bushier growth.
Propagation is extremely useful if you want more of the Peperomia argyreia; also, it’s cheaper on the pocket to grow your own plant. When I want to propagate my argyreia, I use the following methods.
Rooting-Stem Cutting Method
- Start by choosing a stem that has few leaves on it.
- I then snip one healthy leaf and keep the 1 inch (2 centimeters) of the stem.
- Next, I choose a shallow jar and fill it with water.
- I place the Peperomia stem inside the jar and put it in a sunny location.
- After some weeks, when the roots appear, I transfer the stem to a smaller pot with the moist potting soil.
The other method is leaf-cutting:
- I first take a healthy leaf by cutting it off the plant.
- Next, I cut the leaf in half horizontally.
- Then I place it on a towel for the cut to callus.
- Next, I place the leaf in moist soil.
- Lastly, I place a plastic to prevent the moisture from leaving.
The Peperomia argyreia has flowers that are greenish in color and only appear in summers. This plant is not for flowers. It is all about foliage.
The Peperomia argyreia grows up to 8 inches (20 centimeters). The flower stems of the argyreia grow as long as 4 inches (10 centimeters). The decorative stripes and the succulent leaves make this plant an interesting variety. Given the right kind of environment, the plant grows very fast and quite healthy.
Sieh dir diesen Beitrag auf Instagram an
Common Problems for Peperomia argyreia
A healthy Peperomia argyreia has almost no problems with pests or diseases. I always say that overwatering is the cause of many plant problems without which your Peperomia should thrive for many years.
Secondly, indirect light does not mean dim light. Plants like argyreia need indirect but bright light to make them resistant to Bugs.
These are sap-sucking insects that can damage your argyreia. They are small and white in color. They collectively look like white fuzz on a plant stem or leaf. If not taken care of immediately, these bugs can cause wilting and loss of color. These bugs leave beside a cotton-like residue and sweet honeydew. The honeydew can cause fungal infections leading to sooty mold formation.
- To save your plant from mealybugs, isolate them to prevent spreading to other plants.
- Next, you should eradicate these bugs by spraying or washing using natural killer products.
I would not recommend using chemical pesticides as these can be toxic to humans as well as pets. Furthermore, the bugs can develop resistance to them, making it harder to eradicate them.
You can also use isopropyl alcohol to kill mealybugs:
- Dip a cotton swab in 70% alcohol.
- Next, rub the swab directly onto the bugs.
Another method is to use liquid soap spray:
- Fill an empty spray bottle with 1 liter of warm water.
- Next, add a teaspoon of liquid soap.
- To mix, shake well, and spray directly on the infected area.
- After one and half hour, wash the argyreia or use a damp cloth to remove the soap.
You can also use neem oil spray:
- Take two teaspoons of organic neem oil.
- Mix the oil with one teaspoon castile soap.
- Add the mixture to an empty bottle and spray it on the plant.
Spider mites can do a lot of damage to plants. If you notice tiny webs on your argyreia, then your plant is infested with spider mites. They are not easy to spot as they live under leaves for protection.
Apart from leaving behind webs, spider mites damage plant leaves by sucking the sap out of them.
The leaves start to have brown or yellow blotches, eventually losing their green color. Loss of green color signifies lesser chlorophyll, which is important for the plant to metabolize food.
If you notice that your Peperomia argyreia has been infested with spider mites, isolate it away from the rest of the plants.
Next, you should prune off the affected leaves if the damage isn’t too extensive yet. These leaves should be discarded outside your home to prevent spread in your yard.
Next, treat the rest of the plant with natural spider mite controllers like neem oil or alcohol swabs.
You can also shower your Peperomia argyreia using a bathroom shower. The force from the water will dislodge the spider mites off.
Another method is to use apple cider vinegar:
- Take ¼ cup of vinegar: one teaspoon baking soda, and some drops of liquid soap.
- Mix the above ingredients with water.
- Spray the areas of the plant infested with spider mite.
You can also use rosemary oil to get rid of spider mites as that is a natural insecticide:
- Add one teaspoon of rosemary oil with water
- Fill it in a spray bottle and treat the spider mite infected areas.
Whiteflies are small insects that can fly and infest Peperomia argyreia. They damage the plant by sucking the juice out of them.
They are close relatives of aphids, which are also notorious for house plants. Normally it is hard to look for these pests; however, if you turn the leaves of the Peperomia, you will find them hiding underneath or in unfurled new leaves.
Whitefly weakens the plant growth as they infest in groups. They feed on the plant’s juices resulting in yellow and shriveled leaves, which drop off. This eventually results in plant death.
Next, these whiteflies can also spread diseases between plants. The disease is usually spread when they suck on the plant leaves.
Lastly, these pests secrete honeydew, which causes black sooty fungus to form, resulting in stress. This eventually affects the photosynthesis process of the plant.
I recommend using hosepipes to wash off the whiteflies or use an insecticidal soap spray. Another method is to use whitefly predators like ladybugs, which feed on them.
These predatory insects do not let the whitefly develop at any stage of the life cycle. Lastly, do not stress your Peperomia argyreia. Drought stress or under-fertilization can cause the plant to become an easy target.
Tips for Growing Peperomia argyreia
Following are some tips to grow your Peperomia argyreia healthy:
- Do not water your argyreia during the winters as that is their resting stage. The plant requires almost minimal watering during November and February.
- Terracotta pots are a good choice as they are porous and thereby allow moisture evaporation faster.
- A potting mix with high organic matter retains moisture for a long period of time, thereby requiring less watering.
- If you are using synthetic fertilizers, do not forget to clean the soil every three months to prevent acidity.
- If you live in a dry region, use plastic to cover the plant pot to prevent moisture loss.
- If your Peperomia argyreia’s roots look like they are decaying, repot the plant to bring them back to life.
Frequently Asked Questions about Peperomia argyreia
Why are my Peperomia’s leaves starting to droop?
Lack of water is the most common cause of droopy leaves. Also, if the soil is too dry or too damp, it can also affect the plant’s growth. The end result is a loss of strength in stems and wilting. If it’s either of the issues, then control it to prevent your plant from dying.
What should I do if my argyreia’s leaves are turning yellow?
The yellowing of leaves is a significant lack of nutrients like iron and magnesium. Get nutrient-rich pot mix for your Peperomia argyreia.
Peperomia argyreia is a popular household plant because of its bushy appearance and variegated leaves. Not only is it compact, but it also does not require repotting quite often. This variety is resistant to most plant pests, making it cost-effective as well as easy to take care of.
This compact plant likes growing in a group with other similar houseplants.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.