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Peperomia Frost Care from A to Z

Peperomia Frost Care from A to Z

Peperomia Frost is a cultivar of the Peperomia genus, of the Piperaceae plant family which has over a 1000 species largely native to Central and South America. Peperomia Frost is found in the Brazilian rainforests. 

I quickly added this curious little beauty to my own peperomia collection because I wanted to give my lovely Peperomia Caperata some company by the window sill.

You see, Peperomia Frost has the same quilted heart-shaped leaves like Caperata held together in a compact mound. But the leaf coloration is a lot like the Watermelon Peperomia, frosty white with dark green veins. Caperata and Frost look lovely side by side.

Let’s dive in deeper.

 


 

Peperomia Frost Care

For ideal Peperomia Frost care, give it a well-draining soil using peat, compost, mulch or humus, bark, and pumice or perlite. Temperatures should lie in the range of 65-75°F (18-24°C). Humidity at 40 – 50% is quite enough although it can take more. The Peperomia Frost needs to be in bright indirect light and makes for ideal window sill plants. 

 

Soil

In their native habitats Peperomia Frost is often found in soil-less substrates in the cracks of trees, rotting bark or rock crevices growing as epiphytes do. For ideal Peperomia Frost care you need to give it a 50/50 of non-organic/organic mix.

The standard fail-safe mix is of course the 50/50 peat/perlite mix. However, you can get creative with making the soil mix using everyday materials. Sand, pumice, coco-chips, etc. make the soil gritty, porous and well-draining. 

Organic matter like mulch, sterile garden compost, organic manure, etc. can come in the place of peat. The organic matter improves moisture retentiveness just like peat, whilst keeping the roots warm and humid.

One of my favorite ingredients for Peperomia Frost is crushed bark. It aids both porosity as well as moisture retention. 

A smart Peperomia Frost care hack is to get a high-quality succulent mix from the store and add perlite for extra aeration and organic manure for nutrition. 

Try to grow Peperomia Frost in slightly acidic soil with a pH ranging from 6.0 to 6.6. The organic content helps in maintaining soil acidity. 

Pro tip: throw in a single layer of pebbles or gravel or kiln-fired brick bits in the bottom of the pot. You’ll need this for easy transfer of the plant at the time of repotting.

 

Light

Peperomia Frost care is best served in shade or filtered light and must be protected from direct sun rays. The leaves need the light to prepare chlorophyll and stay vibrant, but they wilt or burn in direct sun. 

That said, I’ve observed that they take well to slant diffused light of the morning sun, so I’ve given them an east window spot along my window along with my other peperomias.

If you have an outdoor open garden it’s ideal to grow Peperomia Frost under a bigger plant or huddled in the midst of other plants, that sort of arrangement works great to filter the rays. Otherwise, you’ll need a 40% shade cloth. 

Watch your plant closely for signs like dull pale leaves, which means too low light and sudden drooping or burned leaves, which indicates direct sun.

 

Watering

As far as Peperomia Frost care is concerned, the bigger worry is overwatering than underwatering. Don’t mistake this to mean the substrate needs to go bone dry. No. They need the soil to be consistently moist but not water logged. 

Let the soil dry out about 50% and then provide a dose of deep watering. The trick to proper Peperomia Frost care lies in the soil.

When you drench the pot, the water must run through the drainage holes in seconds indicating that the soil is quick draining. The plant shouldn’t have sit in water under any circumstance. Then you’re safe.

Reduce watering during the winter months. Only water when the leaves begin to look a bit droopy. Use lukewarm water in winters.

Important Peperomia Frost care tip: never water in sips keeping the soil constantly soppy wet. Whenever it’s time, water deeply. The intermittent partial dryness is good for the plant’s root systems.

 

Temperature

Being a rainforest resident, Peperomia Frost likes moderately warm environments. The ideal temperature range is 65-75°F (18-24°C). 

Frost tolerance is not its strong suit unfortunately. I’ve not had success with it when temperatures go below 55ºF (13ºC). The fleshy plant dies at the slightest sign of frost.

Likewise, it can’t take extreme high temperatures either. The delicate fleshy stems dry out. This narrow temperature range is where it thrives best and can be propagated easily.

If you live in the cold countries this plant will need a spot in your heated greenhouse in winters.

One Peperomia Frost care point is to keep it away from drafts of air-conditioners and heaters. They stress easily under extreme temperature fluctuations.

 

Humidity

Your Peperomia Frost can adjust well to the average household humidity conditions. In its native conditions the forest air is naturally quite damp and muggy. However, Peperomia Frost seems to be quite tolerant of dryness.

In fact in winters if your room humidity drops to around 50%, that too works for the plant. However, like most tropical plants, it will benefit from added humidity. You can improve humidity by using a humidifier nearby, misting occasionally, or with a pebble tray.

Peperomia Frost makes a great open terrarium plant too from a humidity perspective.

One word of caution with Peperomia Frost care is the good ventilation is as important as humidity. If you’ve been maintaining mugginess with humidity devices, just make sure that there is air circulation too so that the leaves stay dry and disease free. 

 

Fertilizer

I am not an advocate of chemical fertilizers for epiphytes of any kind. The ideal Peperomia Frost care hack it to stick to an organic feeding routine.

This is best taken care of while potting the plant. Just include rich organic manure in the soil mix and replenish the topsoil in the growing months. 

If you have been using chemicals in your garden, you could go for a triple diluted solution than what’s prescribed. So, for example, if the Rx ratio is 5ml per gallon of water, make it 5ml per 3 gallons of water. Use a liquid chemical that’s easy to dilute.

My Peperomia Frost care schedule includes a balanced succulent fertilizer once a month during growing months and I stop feeding the plant in winter months.

 

Propagation

Peperomia Frost can be easily propagated by rooting stem or petiole cuttings or leaf cuttings. These plants take root quite readily. Just cut a healthy leaf with its petiole and pop it in water, as simple as that.

Or you can cut a leaf and put it in a reliable starter mix. Within a couple of weeks, boom! you have Peperomia pups! Water sufficiently until the baby plants are well established.

 

Growth

You can grow Peperomia Frost to form little mounds in pots. The silvery heart shaped leaves stick out on slender erect petioles in a globe formation. Peperomia Frost grows to about 8 inches (20 cm) tall.

This is achieved under the best Peperomia Frost care conditions in a stress-free moderate environment. However, in the colder zones growth will be slower. 

This plant is an evergreen perennial with a mound-forming growth habit. Because of this, Peperomia Frost care doesn’t need pruning, just routine removal of dying leaves will do. Propagate abundantly during growing months. 

The flowers of the Peperomia Frost are spiky white and green of about 5 to 8 cms in length. When the whole plant is covered in spikes in the flowering season it does look interesting. 

Peperomia Frost makes an attractive stand alone houseplant or a perfect addition to a terrarium.

 

Potting

Peperomia Frost has very small root systems common to epiphytic succulents. In the forests, mound forming peperomias are often found growing atop dead and fallen trees. The roots cling on to the bark quite delicately. 

Note that the plant really doesn’t need much substrate. The roots are quite happy being root bound in a small size pot and not swimming around in a large pot. Small terracotta planters are a very good choice.

What’s also evident from the forest lifestyle of Peperomia Frost is the roots like to be almost exposed to air. That means the potting solution needs to ensure porosity around the roots.

The roots bind themselves well to the soil mix. The stems are delicate and tend to break while repotting. That’s why I prefer not to repot this plant. Instead, I propagate abundantly. 

However, if the plant seems to be dull and slow-growing in its current pot then I repot with additional manure in the soil mix. This is when layering the bottom of the pot with gravel is important – so that the plant falls out of the pot easily without damage.

 

In-Depth Peperomia Frost Propagation Guide

 

Propagate Peperomia Frost from leaf cuttings 

  • Wait until June, just ahead of the growing season in the tropics.
  • Cut a few healthy leaves along with the petiole from a bug-free mother plant.
  • Let the cuts callous out for a day. 
  • Pop the leaves 4 inches apart in a germination tray with a 50/50 peat/perlite soil mix.
  • The stalk should be firmly under the soil. Press down the leaf in the soil just a bit.
  • Insert hairpins through the leaf into the soil so that the leaf veins are firmly in contact with the soil. Flat, like coasters on a table.
  • Place the tray in 70°-75°F (21 – 24°C) under a growlight, misting the soil occasionally.
  • The soil moisture should be maintained but shouldn’t be wet because your leaf will definitely rot away.
  • New plants will start growing from the leaf base in four to eight weeks.

 

Propagate Peperomia Frost from stem cuttings 

Some people don’t have much success with leaf cuttings. For them I’d recommend the stem cutting method which is fairly straightforward and fail-proof for most home growers.

  • Use a mother plant that is fairly mature and has been flowering regularly.
  • Check the base of basal branches and choose a branch that is thick and healthy
  • Cut about three to inches of stem tip with several leaves on it and set it aside to callous for a day.
  • You either stick this in water or evenly moist soil (50/50 peat + perlite)
  • Place this in warm partial shade and make sure the water stays at room temperature under ALL circumstances.
  • The stem should take root in around 4 to 8 weeks.

 

Propagate Peperomia Frost from plantlets

The plant throws tiny puppies around its base which you can separate after they are slightly big. I normally let these pups grow fairly big along with the mother plant. I separate them only when I am repotting.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Jorge L (@plantahomie)


 

Common problems with Peperomia Frost

 

Pest control

As the Peperomia Frost is a herbaceous plant with fleshy stalks, sap sucking bugs or pests could be an issue. We’re talking mealybugs, aphids, scales. Here are some precautions you should take.

  • I constantly check the underside of leaves because that’s where the bugs start. If I spot even a single bug I pinch off the leaf immediately.
  • I wash my plant on a watering day and make sure the leaves dry out. The plant should be kept where there’s good air circulation so that the leaf surface dries up.
  • Include an organic insecticide like neem oil or insecticidal soap in your Peperomia Frost care routine as a best practice. 

Some of the other common problems seen when you grow Peperomia Frost are listed below:

 

Fading dull leaves

If you grow Peperomia Frost for its deep green/red foliage this isn’t something you want to see. It’s probably due to low light. So move the pot to a bright spot.

 

Leaves dropping off suddenly 

There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, if your Peperomia Frost is exposed to cold draft the leaves will fall off. You know what to do next. Immediately bring the plant indoors.

Secondly, I would immediately check for a root rot indicated by the base of the plant being soggy and dislodged from the roots. An important part of Peperomia Frost care is watering and soil.

If the plant is young there’s, unfortunately, little you can do to save it. If it’s a mature plant with several branches, salvage healthy stems and repot them in a sterile airy mix. 

 

Brown spots on the leaves 

If the brown spots are spreading then it is a fungal infection arising due to excessive wetness on the leaves.

If you’ve been watering from the top and drenching the leaves you should stop that immediately and forever. Remove affected leaves. Keep the plant in an airy ventilated spot.

 

Leaf edges burn 

Either direct sun exposure or chemical salts in the water can burn up the leaves. Using RO water helps not just peperomia but all delicate houseplants in general.

 

Old leaves discolor and the plant looks dull and slow-growing 

Yellowing of leaves is a typical sign that the plant isn’t getting enough nutrients. Give it a light balanced fertilizer to improve the NPK levels for a few weeks. Rainwater misting regularly is also helpful. If it’s a mature plant, you can repot it with a lot of good slow-release organic manure.

 

Tips to grow Peperomia Frost problem-free

  • Avoid overwatering your Peperomia Frost
  • Never water from the top wetting the leaves.
  • Peperomia Frost is rather shade loving. Bright shade is perfect for it.
  • Fertilize only during the growing season and stick with organic soil additives 
  • Peperomia Frost likes it root bound.
  • Grow Peperomia Frost in terracotta pots to allows roots to dry out
  • Wash your Peperomia Frost plant once in a way to keep pests at bay
  • Use natural insecticides like neem oil treatment as a preventive
  • Propagate Peperomia Frost abundantly to cover for winter losses

 

Frequently asked questions about Peperomia Frost

 

Is Peperomia Frost a succulent?

The plant has leaves that are slightly thick like succulents, but they are essentially epiphytes. Most of their needs are like succulents with the difference that they need more humidity than succulents. Certain other varieties of Peperomia however have even more succulent-like features.

 

Can you grow Peperomia Frost under artificial light?

They can grow very well under fluorescent light kept on for about 12 hours a day.

 

Is Peperomia Frost poisonous?

Peperomia plants are safe for humans and animals. They do not bring any harm if ingested. In fact, there are peperomia cultivars that are added to salads. However, it is best to keep them away from children and pets.

 

Conclusion

Peperomias are not considered easy maintenance and beginners often feel discouraged after one or two losses. This Peperomia Frost care guide is meant to reduce the challenges of growing this plant and making the experience enjoyable. This particular species is so unique and exquisite that the effort is worth it.

Finally, just be confident while you grow Peperomia Frost and the plant will reward you with its stunning looks.

Once you’re successful in growing this variety you could move on to other Peperomias. You should consider growing other popular variants like Variegated Peperomia (Peperomia obtusifolia), Peperomia metallica, Peperomia magnoliifolia.

Happy gardening!

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