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Peperomia Graveolens Care – The Facts!

Peperomia Graveolens Care – The Facts!

Peperomia Graveolens is an ornamental succulent houseplant that is a beautiful addition to any in-home nursery such as the Peperomia Obtusifolia and the Peperomia Prostrata.

They are hardy and attractive and although they look delicate, they are easy enough to care for even for a novice houseplant owner.

They originally hail from the dry regions of Ecuador but now live all over the tropical and subtropical South American regions.

These plants are an excellent choice for filling a small spot on a shelf or desk as they are not large, and they don’t drop leaves or make a mess as some houseplants do.

They are generally low maintenance so even if they are left on a desk at your office, they will most likely do well. They can be put in pots or used in terrariums and dish gardens with other succulents.

The nicknames of the Peperomia Graveolens are Ruby Glow and Radiator Plant. Don’t put them on the radiator though as it will dry them out too quickly. It is a nickname only!

These plants do flower however they are prized for their ornamental foliage, not their flowers. The flowers are tiny and grow on long racemes. They are yellowish-white in color.

 

 

What are the Best Practices for Peperomia Graveolens Care?

 

Soil

Peperomia Graveolens care is pretty simple but they do tend to be fussier than some houseplants. They grow well in a fast-draining soil that is moist, humus-rich peat-based in nature.

For my Peperomia Graveolens care, I use one-part perlite and two parts peat. I have had excellent results with this mixture. In fact, I use it for most of my succulents.

 

Light

These plants do well with indirect bright sunlight. My Peperomia Graveolens care is to keep it in a partial light area with no direct sunlight.

Mine gets around 6 hours of indirect, natural sunlight a day and it thrives. They can do well with slightly less sunlight, but I find mine thrives in a bright, natural, indirect light.

The leaves of this Peperomia are specifically interesting as their unique shape supports them in taking in as much sunlight as possible. 

This is also described in a paper about epidermal windows in succulents in the Journal of Experimental Biology by Oxford Academic.

Epidermal windows are very specific leaf structure that allows light to pass through translucent areas on the leaf structure.

 

Watering

The best Peperomia Graveolens care is to keep them moist but never soggy. They prefer the soil to be almost dry in between watering.

I wait until it is dry to the second knuckle when I insert my finger in the soil before I water. In the winter months, I go even longer between watering, letting the soil dry out even further.

They can get root rot if they are left too soggy for too long. Another good option for Peperomia Graveolens care is to water from the bottom.

This allows the plant to drink only what it needs. To do this, simply put the water in the saucer beneath the pot and the plant will drink what it needs through the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot.

 

Temperature

As I mentioned above, this plant comes originally from Ecuador and it prefers it to be on the warmer side. It will not thrive if the temperature falls beneath 12 degrees Celsius or 54 degrees Fahrenheit. It will do well in much warmer climates as well, but it does need to be properly hydrated.

 

Humidity

Since Peperomia Graveolens plants are tropical and subtropical forest plants, they thrive in mid humid conditions. Part of the Peperomia Graveolens care that I recommend is a light mist on the leaves. I mist them with water and then wipe them gently.

They will do fine without it as well if you don’t have the time. They are relatively unfussy plants, despite their tropical origins.

I have a humidifier in the room my Peperomia Graveolens lives in however they are usually fine with normal household humidity.

If you live in a very dry climate, I suggest having a humidifier on year-round.

An optimal humidity level for any breed of Peperomia Graveolens plant is 50% to a maximum of 75% humidity but they can do well in less humidity as well. Just make sure they are well hydrated.

 

Fertilizer 

I have found that my Peperomia Graveolens needs very little fertilizing. I know a few people who say they will be fine without any extra nutrients and that is likely very true.

I personally have added a fertilizing during the growing months to my Peperomia Graveolens care. I prefer to use a balanced fertilizer at half strength.

 

Propagation

Peperomia Graveolens plants are very easy to propagate by taking stem cuttings that have a node on them and placing them in water. Once there is a root they can be transplanted to a small pot with soil.

 

Growth

If you give your Peperomia Graveolens the proper care, it will grow to ten inches tall and 24 inches wide.

 

Potting and repotting

I always give my Peperomia Graveolens a well-draining pot with enough drainage holes in the bottom. Peperomia Graveolens like to be root bound, so repotting is not necessary very often.

It is beneficial once the roots completely fill the pot to repot it however as this will allow it to continue to pull the nutrients it needs from the soil.

It also allows for proper soil aeration. Don’t repot it into a pot bigger than one inch larger in size though, these plants flourish when they are a bit root bound and don’t need or like a lot of extra space.

 

Common Pests

The most common pests with this plant are whiteflies, mealybugs, and spider mites. They can be sprayed with an insecticidal soap and water mixture to prevent these pests.

Another option for Peperomia Graveolens care is to wipe the leaves with neem oil. I wipe mine once or twice a season with neem oil just to be safe.

These plants do not commonly get pests, but it is a good idea to look for white cotton masses on the stems.

 


 

Peperomia Graveolens  Propagation

Propagation – Let’s dive a bit deeper into the process.

  1. Take a cutting of the stem or the leaves with a sharp, disinfected knife or with pruning shears. Make sure it has a node when you cut it.  I tend to take several cuttings at once because not all of them will take when they are planted.
  2. Either put the cutting in water or dip the cutting in rooting powder and plant in a small starting pot with 50% peat moss and 50% perlite as a starting mixture. Put the cuttings in an indirect bright light source.
  3. If you start the cuttings in water, they can be transplanted to soil once the roots start to grow in three or four days usually. If you start it in soil, you can transplant it when the roots are bound in the starting pot. Only go up one size pot at a time as you transplant though as these plants grow better when they are root-bound.
  4. Several cuttings can be put in one pot because not all of them will take. They can be separated once the pot is root-bound.

 

Tips & Tricks for your Peperomia Graveolens

These plants can get leaf spot diseases from the leaves being too wet. The leaves of your Peperomia Graveolens will get dark spots sometimes if they are overwatered.

Root rot and stem rot that is fungal can also be an issue with Peperomia Graveolens plants. You will need a commercial fungicide to correct these issues and you will also need to water the plant less overall. These plants prefer to stay dry, despite the humid conditions they live in.

Don’t repot them often. I have found that all of my succulents struggle a bit when I do repot them, so I wait until the pot is full of roots with not one inch to spare.

If there is even an inch of extra room in the pot, hold off until it has grown that extra inch.

When you are repotting it, use a pot one size bigger than the last one, as it will not grow well if there is more than an inch of extra room.

It is not uncommon for Peperomia Graveolens to shed their bottom leaves once during the growing season so don’t be alarmed if a few leaves fall off.

If the plant does a major leaf drop however, it is a good idea to check the temperature of the room it is in as well as the fertilizer used.

In extreme cases, you might need to do a soil rinse to remove the excess fertilizer.  Most challenges with this plant are watering related.

The flower racemes are long and look like the tail of a rat. The first time my Peperomia Graveolens flowered, I almost cut the racemes off thinking they were the plant getting scraggly.

When they flower, the flower is a small flower compared to the longer stem they grow on. The flowers are white and extremely pretty and from a distance have no real scent.

The word “Graveolens” means bad-smelling however, so if you stick your nose close enough, you may get a faint whiff of an unpleasant smell from these tiny, ornamental flowers.

 

Commonly asked questions about Peperomia Graveolens

 

Where can I buy a Peperomia Graveolens plant?

These plants are readily available anywhere succulents are sold, I have seen them at gardening stores and places like Walmart or Amazon. They are even available sometimes as presents at fancy gift stores or on Etsy. They will usually cost less than $20, depending on the type of display you get and the size of the plant of course.

 

Does my Peperomia Graveolens care need to include regular pruning?

It is a good idea to prune them a couple of times a year if they get scraggly. I like to use the cuttings to propagate the plant.

I usually prune mine once in the winter and once in the summer and that is about all. If you are cutting the tips to make it less scraggly, keep in mind that it is best to start with the lowest leaves that are in pairs and to cut some of the stems with the leaves so that you can propagate them.

 

Are Peperomia Graveolens plants toxic to animals?

They are not generally considered toxic, but I make sure to keep my animals away from them anyway.

 

Can I plant Peperomia Graveolens in my outdoor garden if I live in a colder climate?

Yes, but once the frost comes, the plant will die. If you want to replant it next year, take a few cuttings from it and bring them indoors for the winter to grow.

They can be replanted outside the next spring, once the frost is done and the ground is not frozen, and temperatures are above freezing.

Always harden off the plant before you permanently transplant it outdoors though. There is a good chance the plant will go into shock and die if you don’t.

If you live in an area that doesn’t have frost and has a similar climate to Ecuador, then they can be planted outdoors all year round.

I personally don’t plant mine outdoors. It seems like a waste to me since I live in a colder climate that has a below-freezing winter. I prefer to enjoy the beauty of this plant indoors.

 

My Peperomia Graveolens has scab like raised protrusions. What is wrong?

This is usually caused by overwatering. To correct this issue, change your Peperomia Graveolens care to less watering. Make sure the soil is almost dry in between watering.

It is a great idea to water from the bottom with these little succulents as well. It ensures that they only drink as much as they want and are not getting too much moisture.



 

Conclusion

With very little Peperomia Graveolens care, these beautiful and ornamental little plants can be a focal point of any room. They look lovely as a shelf or desk plant as well as in a terrarium or in a display with other succulents.

Peperomia Graveolens is easy to care for and doesn’t require much other than occasional watering and biyearly fertilizing.

They can tolerate most humidity levels although they do come from a climate that is quite humid. This is a beautiful ornamental plant that every plant owner will be pleased to have.

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