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Peperomia Caperata “Red Luna” Care — An In-Depth Look

Peperomia Caperata “Red Luna” Care — An In-Depth Look

There are over 1,000 different tropical and subtropical plants that make up the Peperomia family. 

A similarity shared by these plants is the fact that they’re incredibly easy to grow, making them ideal house plants even for those with a green thumb. Furthermore, they’re grown primarily for their gorgeous foliage, which comes in all sorts of textures and colors. 

One particular plant that we’ve set our eyes on is the Peperomia Caperata Red Luna. Native to Brazil, this tropical plant is sure to add some drama to your space thanks to its nicely-shaped, purple-red leaves. 

If you’ve been thinking about adding the Red Luna to your plant collection, here’s everything you need to know regarding its care. 

 

Peperomia Caperata “Red Luna” Care

Grown indoors, the Red Luna prefers a spot with bright indirect sunlight. Water sparingly in spring and summer. Also, remember to fertilize once a month using a well-balanced liquid fertilizer. Maintain temperature in the range of 60 and 80°F (16°C to 27°C) and a humidity of at least 40%. 

 

Soil

The Red Luna Peperomia Caperata thrives in loosely compacted and well-draining soil. If using regular potting soil, be sure to amend it by mixing in perlite, vermiculite, mulch or compost

The growing medium is one of the most important factors to consider when planting this Peperomia.

Now, since it needs plenty of air around its root system, ensure you choose a potting mixture that is relatively loose. 

If you’ve opted to use regular potting soil, you can amend it by incorporating a generous dose of perlite. In fact, perlite not only improves aeration but the soil’s drainage capabilities as well. If you don’t have access to perlite, you can add in other substances like vermiculite or mulch.

I prefer to amend my potting soil with compost, which is readily available. Adding this organic matter enables the soil to drain freely as well as retain the right amount of water and nutrients to support plant growth and biological activity.

 

Light

For it to grow its stunning foliage, the Red Luna Caperata prefers bright, indirect sunlight. An east- or west-facing window is the best spot. If placing it in a south-facing window, add a sheer curtain to filter light or place it in a dark room and install artificial grow lights. 

The Luna’s natural habitat is the tropical rainforest. As such, you’ll want to imitate these conditions when considering the amount of sunlight to expose it to. 

In the wild, any direct rays of the sun are usually impeded by taller trees. It means you should aim to provide it with bright indirect sunlight. Placing your peperomia on an east– or west-facing window works really well.

If your only option is a south-facing window, which allows the full sun to penetrate, consider adding a sheer curtain. Alternatively, position the plant further away from the window. 

There’s a third option: Red Luna has been found to grow pretty well under artificial grow lights. It means you can still grow it in a dark or poorly-lit room. 

Should you decide to go with this option, there are a couple of points you ought to keep in mind. For one, always opt for LED over fluorescent bulbs. Sure, LEDs cost way more than the latter but they’re also more energy-efficient. Plus, they last five times longer than typical fluorescent lighting fixtures. 

The fact they emit less heat than fluorescent bulbs is also an advantage. It means you can position the fixtures close to your plant without worrying that they’ll give off too much heat. 

Finally, LED tubes are less likely to shatter like the glass fluorescent tubes. This minimizes safety hazards, which is particularly important if you have kids or pets in your home. 

 

Watering

Always gauge the moisture level in soil before watering this plant. You can use a moisture meter or do the finger test. Based on this, water only when the top couple of inches of soil are dry. 

Red Luna is highly sensitive to watering. If you end up overwatering, the roots will start to rot, which will in turn lead to leaf loss and ultimately, kill the plant. 

So just how frequently should you water this plant? The secret is to ensure the soil completely dries out between waterings. In other words, the frequency will depend on how long it takes for the potting soil to dry. 

To determine this, stick your forefinger deep into the soil. If the top inch to one and a half inch of the soil is dry, then you can water. While this finger test is easy to do, it’s not recommended for small-sized or young plants because you may end up disturbing the root system. 

To avoid this risk, I prefer to use a moisture meter test. The device has a gauge, which lets me know whether the soil is too dry, too wet or in middle ground. 

Another approach that some gardeners use is the pick-up test. If you lift the pot up, and feel that it’s very light, there’s a good chance that the soil is dry and needs watering. 

 

Temperature

Red Luna thrives in warm temperatures, ranging from 60 to 80°F (16°C to 27°C). It may not survive at temperatures below 50°F (10°C).

As this plant hails from the tropical regions, it’s not surprising that it prefers warmer temperatures. To be more specific, you’ll want to maintain a temperature ranging between 60 and 80°F (16°C to 27°C).

Although it can withstand slightly lower temperatures, do your best to ensure that it never goes below 50°F (10°C). 

If your house is too cold, here are a few tricks to help you raise the room’s temperature:

  • Install an electric space heater
  • Place a seedling heat mat underneath your potted Peperomia
  • Wrap the pot in bubble wrap

 

Humidity

The Red Luna Caperata prefers a highly-humid environment, specifically moisture levels ranging from 40 to 50%. To guarantee this, place your plant in areas like the bathroom or position your plants together to increase moisture in their immediate environment

Just as in the tropics, Red Luna Peperomia Caperata likes it when the environment is humid. Aim for 40 to 50% humidity level. One way to achieve this is to grow your plant in a terrarium. 

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to convert your home into a jungle. There are a couple of other ways to raise the humidity levels. A simple approach is to mist your Caperata either daily or once every two days; depending on how dry the atmosphere is in your home.

Another technique I like to use is to place my house plants together. In addition to increasing moisture in the atmosphere, this also creates a really stunning decor. If this is not an option, consider placing a tray of pebbles and water underneath your potted plant. 

 

Fertilizer

Feed your Red Luna with a well-balanced liquid fertilizer to reduce the risk of over-fertilizing. Do this once every month during spring and summer then suspend fertilizing when winter sets in. 

Although this is not mandatory, it’s good practice to feed your Red Luna once every month, especially when it’s growing actively (usually in spring and summer). 

Peperomias prefer well-balanced fertilizers, and the Red Luna is no exception. “Well-balanced” means that the fertilizer contains roughly equal amounts of the three nutrients- nitrogen, potassium and calcium. 

Apart from quantity, another decision you’ll have to make is regarding the type of fertilizer. Do you go for a slow-release fertilizer, which is usually in the form of granules? Or, would a liquid fertilizer work better? 

With the slow-release, the nutrients are released to the plant gradually, over a period of time. The problem with these fertilizers is that it’s not easy to figure out just how much fertilizer the plant is getting. 

There’s just no way of knowing the rate at which the pellets are being broken down. This then means that you could wind up with an over-fertilized or undernourished Caperata on your hands. 

For this reason, I prefer to use a mild liquid fertilizer. With this option, I can dilute it by mixing it with water to reduce its strength. This mitigates the risk of fertilizer burn. 

That said, liquid fertilizers ought to be administered on a specific schedule. To achieve this, I feed my plant just as frequently as I water. 

I have been using the Miracle-Gro Indoor Plant Food, and so far, it’s worked pretty well for my Red Luna. Its NPK ratio is 1-1-1, meaning it’s well-balanced. And, it comes in a two pack 8-ounce bottle so you’ll have plenty to use throughout its growth cycle. 

As soon as the cold season sets in, you’ll want to cut back or completely suspend this practice.

This is because this Caperata won’t be growing actively at this point, which eliminates the need to continue nourishing it. 

 

Growth

A slow grower, the Red Luna can grow up to 0.5 meters (1.6 feet) tall and spread by the same margin. It rewards your efforts of caring for it with strikingly beautiful heart-shaped leaves, which take on a deep crimson red color. 

Have you always wanted to have a dish garden or a planter to decorate your home? If you have, this Red Luna would be an excellent addition. 

Upon maturity, this plant can grow up to 1.6 feet tall with a spread of the same margin. However, it takes 2 to 5 years to reach maturity so you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy it while it’s young. Plus, you can always prune it to your desired height. 

Red Luna Peperomia Caperata is one of the easiest houseplants to maintain. It also doesn’t hurt that this Peperomia has such eye-catching foliage. Its leaves adapt a heart shape, and they usually acquire a purplish-crimson hue. 

 

Potting

You don’t need to repot your Red Luna more frequently than once every two to three years. One sign that your plant needs to be repotted is if you notice its roots protruding from the drainage holes. At that point, look for a slightly bigger pot, fill it with a suitable potting media and transplant your Peperomia

One thing you should keep in mind is that Red Luna prefers to be slightly potbound. So when choosing the container to grow it in, pick one that snugly fits its root ball. 

Based on this, you also don’t have to repot frequently. Once every two to three years is a reasonable frequency. 

I usually wait until I see the plant’s roots popping out through the drainage holes so that I can repot them. But I recently repotted my Red Luna even though this wasn’t the case. 

Here’s the thing, I’ve had this plant for nearly two years now, and I wasn’t sure how long the plant had spent at the nursery before being shipped. So I decided to repot it to refresh the soil. 

When it’s time to repot, don’t choose an overly large pot as this will increase the risk of poor drainage. Instead, go just one size higher and fill it with a fresh potting mix. 

The timing of your repotting also matters. For the best outcome, wait until spring to repot your Red Luna. At that time, the conditions are just right, which increases the chance of its roots continuing to grow healthily. 

 

Propagation

To propagate your Red Luna, look for sharp gardening shears or a knife to get a stem cutting. Dab the cutting with a rooting hormone, then place it in either water or seed-starting mix. Once it roots, transfer it to a suitable growing medium then continue caring for it as usual

The Red Luna Peperomia Caperata is a very attractive plant. So it makes sense why you’d want to propagate it and grow many more. 

Propagation is an easy and fairly flexible process, and it’s best done using the plant’s stem cuttings. You can choose to propagate in soil or start off in water then transplant to a potting mix once it roots.

Here’s how to go about this:

Propagating in water 

  • Look for some sharp garden shears or knife to get a stem cutting.
  • Dab the cutting in a rooting hormone then place it in a container filled with water.
  • Within six weeks, your Red Luna will have started to root. 
  • After rooting, transplant it into a tiny pot filled with a suitable potting mix. The pot should also have drainage holes.
  • Pick an ideal spot where your plant can continue growing. That is, it should be well-lit, have warm temperatures and be humid.
  • Water to keep the soil slightly moist but not to the point it becomes waterlogged.

Propagating in soil

  • Use your garden shears to get a stem cutting.
  • Bury the cutting in a seedling starting soil with the cut end facing downwards.
  • Place your Red Luna in a warm, brightly-lit area till it starts to sprout
  • Once it does, transplant it to a pot with drainage holes and well-draining potting mix.
  • Keep the young plant in a highly humid and brightly-lit spot. 
  • Water to keep the soil just slightly moist but not too wet.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Common Problems with Red Luna Peperomia Caperata

While the Red Luna is a hardy plant, it may fall prey to certain diseases. The two most common are:

 

Ring spot

This is a viral infection that occurs when a cutting is obtained from an infected plant. It leads to the formation of brown spots on the surface of the leaves. When this happens, the leaves slowly start to curl or twist. 

To prevent your Red Luna from falling prey to this, follow these steps:

  • Discard the parts that are affected as soon as you notice them to prevent it from spreading
  • Get your cuttings only from known healthy plants
  • When propagating or repotting, opt for a sterilized potting mix
  • Keep your plant pest-free as certain bugs can transmit the disease
  • Provide ample air circulation to prevent the disease from attacking your peperomia in the first place

 

Stem and root rot

The roots of the Red Luna Caperata are very sensitive to soggy potting mixtures, which hinder free flow of air within the container. 

This limits the amount of oxygen the roots are receiving, which in turn causes them to grow under stress. The end result is that the roots begin to rot, and this condition may spread up to the leaves. 

To prevent this, ensure you use a growing media with good aeration. Also, think about what you’ve placed below and around your potted plant. Is it something that would restrict water drainage? 

On the same note, water only when necessary, that is, when the top 1 to 2 inches of soil completely dry out. 

 

Frequently Asked Questions about Peperomia Caperata

 

Is Peperomia Caperata Red Luna toxic?

It’s not toxic. So if you’ve been hesitant to add this houseplant because you’re worried about your pets’ or children’s safety, the Red Luna is a safe bet. 

 

Why are my Red Luna’s leaves turning yellow?

The most common culprit is overwatering. Its leaves are a little thick, which allows them to retain moisture longer. Be careful not to overwater and remember to discard the excess water, which flows from the pot to the saucer. 

 

Can I mist my Red Luna?

You can mist your plant if you want to increase its moisture levels. However, there are other techniques of raising humidity, such as using wet pebble trays and installing a humidifier. 

 

Wrap Up

Have you been looking to add a little greenery to your home but are fairly new to gardening? The Red Luna Peperomia Caperata is a suitable plant to get started with. Grown primarily for its foliage, this plant is very forgiving and doesn’t require much in the way of maintenance. 

All it requires is a bit of indirect sunlight, and it prefers to get quite dry between waterings. It retains moisture fairly well so you won’t have to water frequently and fertilizing should only be done once a month.