Today on the Plantophiles menu is the Peperomia blanda, a shrubby Peperomia native to pan-tropical locations like Asia, Africa, Australasia, and Polynesia.
Often found growing on damp rocks, creeping and crawling around river ledges, between boulders, and on tree trunks.
It is a drought-tolerant, wind tolerant, and relatively low maintenance plant considered pretty hardy by most Peperomia fans.
It can be a very charming bushy addition to a garden bed, hanging basket, or simply planted in a pot keeping you company in your office.
- 1 Peperomia blanda Plant Care Guide
- 2 Common Problems with Peperomia blanda
- 3 Tips to keep your Peperomia blanda problem-free
- 4 Frequently asked questions about Peperomia blanda
- 5 Conclusion
Let’s now move over and have an in-depth look at the care for this Peperomia.
Peperomia blanda Plant Care Guide
Use a well-draining medium consisting of wood bark, perlite, gravel or coarse sand, and potting soil. It does best in bright indirect light in a north-east facing window. These quite drought-resistant plants need to be watered just before the soil dries out (about once a week). make sure that temperatures stay within 50 to 95° F (10 to 35 degrees C) for this Peperomia to do well. Keep humidity levels between 40-50%. Feed this plant once a month during spring and summer using an organic fertilizer.
I haven’t already written about plants that live in a similar environment as the Peperomia blanda. I always say it is essential to consider the plant’s original habitat when choosing the growing medium.
If we sum up, the Peperomia blanda can usually be found either growing on mossy rocks or tree trunks, between boulders and rocky ledges. Usually in the vicinity of rivers and other bodies of water.
Therefore its growing medium must be fit for a semiepiphyte that mostly feeds from the moist surface of rocks and nutrients on tree bark and moss.
We can assume root rot is a potential issue, and we have to be mindful of that. A soil mix high in organic material and low in aerating agents will consequently suffocate not be appropriate.
Here is a recipe that will give your peperomia blanda’s roots the right amount of nutrients but will still let them breathe:
- One part wood bark (orchid back or coco coir are the most common to use)
- One part perlite
- Half part gravel or coarse sand
- Half part ordinary growers mix
As you mix, feel the soil, and feel free to tweak the recipe if your mix happens to be too dense.
I recommend both perlite and gravel since perlite is a light material that tends to swim up the pot and gather at the top layer, while gravel has some weight and will stay evenly distributed through the soil.
This way, we make sure that the soil is not packed even at the bottom and even after numerous waterings.
In its natural habitat, the Peperomia blanda lives in partial to full shade. You will read on numerous blogs about how adaptable of a plant it is and that you can put it in full sun as well.
I would respectfully disagree and would recommend against exposing your Peperomia blanda to full direct sun.
I suggest you keep it in a north-east facing window or anywhere where it will never be exposed to direct light. It should still get bright light so that it doesn’t stretch out looking for it.
It also does pretty well under artificial light in terrariums. Either way, extended periods of full sun will cause sunburns, while too little light will cause it to become leggy and stretch around, reaching for more light.
It is a bushy herb, so expect it to grow towards the strongest light source. If you notice it is getting a weird shape, consider turning them around every now and then so that the light hits it on all sides equally.
What kind of ultra-specific, weird, and unattainable watering needs does this Peperomia have? Don’t worry, and don’t throw in the towel just yet.
No extra special watering requirements are needed. The only thing you have to keep an eye out for is overwatering and the consequential root rot.
The good news is this plant will not need much water, and when you forget, you don’t have to sweat it, as it is pretty drought resistant. Considering the Peperomia blanda lives on rocky surfaces next to rivers, you can assume it likes it’s growing medium to be moist.
But rivers dry out every now and then, and this plant has adapted to survive that drought.
To cut a long story short: water your Peperomia about once a week, water it from below if it is at all possible, and make sure you are not overwatering.
Always make sure at least the upper half of soil is dry before you grab the watering can. The stems of this plant are succulent, so they can go a while without water.
That being said, this drought resistance is not continuous, and you should strive to water your Peperomia blanda regularly whenever possible.
As a pan-tropical plant that lives next to the water, the Peperomia blanda is used to a wide range of temperatures. They are said to do well in temperatures ranging from 50 to 95° F (10 to 35 degrees C).
These temperatures are easily achievable in most homes, so the temperature is not something you should sweat with this plant.
As long as the temperature change is equal to something they would experience in the wild (so nighttime temperature drops and sudden weather changes), there is nothing to worry about.
They are also pretty wind-resistant, so you don’t have to move it if planted outside and you get some windy weather.
Try not to fry it with a heater and not to upset it with too much ventilation from a fan or excessive drafts, and this plant will be happy.
While this plant is used to occasional higher humidities in nature, it is still a semi-succulent plant, which means that excessive humidity will be detrimental.
Can you believe what I just wrote? No humidifier needed! Misting? Not recommended, so don’t do it. All you need to do is provide it with average indoor humidity, and you are set.
Peperomias prefer humidity levels between 40-50%.
The Peperomia blanda is not a heavy feeder. It is not used to growing in heavy nutrient material, so you will not need to feed it a lot.
I would avoid synthetic fertilizers with these plants because they tend to be too aggressive. Still, if you don’t have anything else at hand, a balanced liquid fertilizer with a 10 10 10 ratio should be fine if well diluted, even to one-fourth of its strength.
I would strongly advise you to use organic fertilizers and feed this plant once a month during the growing season, even less during winter.
If you just potted your plant into a new growing medium fresh out of the bag, it would take a couple of months for the soil mix to degrade as much to need additional nutrients, so I wouldn’t feed it at all the first 4 or 5 months.
When you decide to fertilize, organic fertilizers like fish emulsion, worm castings, and compost are all appropriate. Some people even opt for a pelleted slow-release fertilizer that they add in small amounts as they are potting the plant. This will usually be enough for 6 months to a year of nutrients.
Although some people have already propagated the Peperomia blanda by leaf cuttings, it is a more challenging way to go.
It is the most productive as you get a new plant for every leaf, but there are high chances of rotting, and the success rates are low if you don’t have the perfect conditions.
I suggest you propagate this plant by stem cuttings as it is the easiest way to go, and you pretty much can’t go too wrong if you follow the instructions below:
- Choose a branch approximately 3 to 4 inches long. Make sure it is healthy and not flowering at the moment.
- Remove the lower leaves to expose the nodes where the roots will come out from.
- Prepare your medium. You can opt for water or for soil, but a mix of half perlite and half peat moss seems to give the best results.
Cut up the moss into little pieces so that when you do put the cutting in, the entire nodes are in contact with the medium.
- Moisten the growing medium in advance
- Put the cutting in. Make sure you are covering at least a node or two and that you pack it down well.
Again, the nodes should be in full contact with the growing medium.
- Keep the cutting in a relatively cool and shaded location.
- Keep the growing medium evenly and constantly moist (not soggy) during the rooting process.
After two weeks, you can start decreasing the watering.
- After 2 to 3 weeks, you should feel some resistance when you gently pull at the cutting. This means that the roots are established, and the propagation is successful.
If you are keeping your Peperomia blanda outdoors, there is another propagation trick you could use. As the plant grows and spreads around, its stems will start to trail over the ground. As they do so, they sometimes develop roots that start growing into the soil around the plant.
If you cut those off and put them in a pot, roots included, it is the safest and most successful way you can propagate this plant.
The peperomia blanda is a small, dense shrub-like herb that can grow between 6 to 8 inches tall (15 – 20 cm). It will also spread to 2 feet or more (60cm+).
Consequently, it makes a perfect hanging basket or bush plant and will not take up much space. Its beauty is more in the dense foliage than the overall size of the plant.
Potting with this plant can be interesting. Firstly it is essential to mention that it’s succulent like stems are very brittle, so you should exercise maximum caution as you are handling it.
Secondly, it is important to note that it is an epiphyte and will not tolerate excessive soil around its roots. This means a smaller pot is needed.
Ideally, you shouldn’t plant the Peperomia blanda in a pot larger than 6 inches, at least at the beginning of its life. The smaller, the better.
This is important because excessive soil around the roots means excessive moisture and organic material around the roots, suffocating them, and leading to root rot. It is harder to overwater a plant that lives in a tiny pot. It is also less probable to experience waterlogging that way.
Apart from that, it is recommended you plant the Peperomia blanda in a terracotta or concrete pot for the same reason. Terracotta and concrete absorb water and will be further insurance you are not drowning your plant.
Repot only when absolutely necessary, do it in spring, and don’t increase the size of the pot by more than an inch or two.
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Common Problems with Peperomia blanda
This peperomia seems to be quite resistant to pests and diseases. As it is often kept outdoors, slugs might be a problem as well as mealybugs. The other major thing you should keep in mind is root rot.
Even though you shouldn’t have many visitors to this plant, let’s go over what you can do if you catch any creepy crawlies munching on your Peperomia blanda and how to save one from root rot.
Slugs can be a real danger for plants grown outdoors. The tricky thing with them is that they do a lot of damage, seemingly overnight. Once the rain starts coming down, they come out of their burrows and feed on anything and everything in their way.
There isn’t a surefire way of getting rid of them, and while some people go for pesticides and poison pellets right away, I recommend you go a more gentle way.
I like to set up a feeding station for them made of a Tupperware filled with damp polenta. When they all gather there in the morning, you can just close the box and take them somewhere far from your garden and release them there.
If you have a huge infestation that can’t be dealt with manually, try to choose organic and ethical feeding deterrents.
Ah, mealybugs. It probably comes as no surprise we are talking about them when writing about a semi-succulent plant.
Mealybugs love succulent plants, and they love the soft parts of the plant, like the nodes and new growth, where they will suck the sap of your plant to feed.
Fortunately, they are pretty easy to get rid of. If you only notice a couple, arm yourself with a q-tip and some alcohol, dip the q-tip in the alcohol, and go at the bugs one by one.
They will die in contact with the alcohol, and you should try to get as many as you can. Repeat this process once a week until they are gone.
If you are dealing with a larger infestation, I recommend a good wash with an insecticidal soap that you either buy in a garden center or make at home by mixing a gallon of water with some dish soap.
I have already mentioned the Peperomia blanda is prone to root rot as an epiphyte. I have also already told you everything you can do to prevent it.
But what are you to do when you already have the issue? Spring into action as soon as possible.
A plant with root rot should be taken out of the pot, the root ball washed thoroughly and inspected. With a pair of disinfected shears or a knife, remove any roots that don’t look light and perfectly healthy.
After that, give the rootball another wash with an anti fungal like neem oil to ensure all the spores are gone and repot in a new pot with fresh and sterile soil.
If the cause of the root rot was dense soil that wasn’t airy enough, consider this as you are mixing the new growing medium.
Tips to keep your Peperomia blanda problem-free
- Give it a well-draining soil rich in perlite and wood bark.
- Keep in a small pot to avoid root rot.
- Water regularly, but only when the soil becomes dry.
- Keep it in dappled to full shade or in a north-east facing window.
- Feed conservatively, only once a month or when needed
- Pot it in a clay pot
Frequently asked questions about Peperomia blanda
Is the Peperomia blanda safe for children and pets?
Peperomia blanda is not toxic and is safe to keep around children and plants.
Why is my Peperomia blanda growing in a weird, leggy, spindly fashion?
Peperomias grow in the direction of the nearest and strongest light source. Consider putting your peperomia somewhere where it gets a little bit more light than it does now, and turn it regularly, so it doesn’t grow in the same direction all the time.
My Peperomia blanda is wilting, the leaves are yellowing and falling off; why?
There could be many reasons, one of which is overwatering. Examine your past watering habits, see if you have been over or underwatering, and tweak your schedule accordingly.
Overall, this is a low maintenance plant that anyone can take care of. As long as you water it when the soil is dry, and you are sure you gave it the perfect growing medium, don’t expect the Peperomia blanda to give you much trouble.
If you were looking for a bushy plant to grow in a hanging basket or next to some rocks in your garden, I think this Peperomia might be just what you are looking for. If it is not, check out our article on the Hoya obovata, another great low maintenance Peperomia that I think you will like.
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.