There are many Peperomias out there. About 1600 species to be more exact.
Peperomia obtusifolia with its fleshy, dark green leaves is one of the more popular Peperomia species commonly grown as a houseplant.
Peperomia obtusifolia is native to Florida, Mexico and the Caribbean.
The plant also goes by the name of Baby Rubber Plant and Pepper Face.
Peperomia obtusifolia care is not all that difficult, but to ensure the continued well-being of your plant, it certainly can’t hurt to have a look at the most important care aspects of this evergreen perennial.
So, without further ado, let’s just dive right into the key aspects of Peperomia obtusifolia care!
Peperomia Obtusifolia CARE BASICS
Peperomia obtusifolia is dependent on good drainage. This is why well-drained soil is a must for this plant.
Peperomias benefit from having some air around the roots.
Other than that, Peperomia obtusifolia is not very picky about soil.
One thing you should do about once a year is to leach the soil. This serves to remove the excess salts in the soil. You can do that once or twice every summer.
Peperomia obtusifolia does fine in low to moderate light, that is indirect sunlight.
The plant does not tolerate direct sunlight, as this will burn the leaves.
If you are unsure about what low & moderate light means, please read our article on light levels.
Water your Peperomia whenever the top layers of the soil dried out. The general rule of thumb here is that the surface (top layers) of the soil should be allowed to dry out while the rest of the substrate should never dry out completely. Waterlogging, however, needs to be omitted.
Also, in winter, water less.
Use tepid water when watering your Peperomia. Distilled water or rainwater are also great choices.
When watering your plant, make sure to water the substrate directly without the water touching the fleshy leaves or stems of your Peperomia obtusifolia. This is why watering from below is your best bet when watering your obtusifolia.
As far as the right temperatures go, Peperomia obtusifolia is very easy to please. Average room temperatures (18 to 24 degrees Celcius / 65 to 75 Fahrenheit) yield perfect results.
The Baby Ruber Plant is native to the South American rain forests. There, these peperomias grow in shady places and only receive moderate light.
As an American rain forest native, it only makes sense that Peperomia obtusifolia likes some humidity. However, that said, the plant does tolerate average room humidity pretty well.
But it certainly can’t hurt to provide your Peperomia with some additional humidity. Regular misting of the plant (use a hand mister) and/or placing your plant on a humidity tray are certainly two great choices to elevate the overall humidity.
Also, keeping your Peperomia obtusifolia in close proximity with other humidity-loving houseplants can provide your plant with yet another humidity-boost.
During growing seasons, fertilize your plant twice a month with a balanced houseplant fertilizer.
In Winter, it is enough to feed your plant monthly.
As a general rule of thumb, try not to overfeed your plant.
Underfeeding, on the other hand, is usually not a big issue.
Also, in the year first year of cultivation or after repotting, fertilizing your Baby Rubber plant won’t be necessary.
Use a regular balanced houseplant fertilizer or a cactus fertilizer diluted at half- or quarter-strength.
Peperomia obtusifolia is best propagated through stem tip cuttings. Propagation by leaf cuttings is yet another good way to propagate your Baby Rubber plant.
The best time to propagate your leafy friend is in (early) spring.
Obtusifolia is a fast-growing plant. But it’s overall growth is very limited and the plant itself rarely grows higher than 35 cm (14″).
As with almost all houseplants, repotting in spring is recommended.
Repotting your Peperomia obtusifolia might be necessary for several reasons:
- Your Peperomia has outgrown its pot
- You are propagating your Peperomia and, therefore, repotting becomes necessary
- You would like to bless your Peperomia with some fresh soil (should be done once in a while!
Keep your Peperomia obtusifolia in small pots. These Peperomias won’t get very tall and will remain in tabletop-size.
Peperomia Obtusifolia Pruning
Pruning is not a necessity when it comes to Peperomia obtusifolia. This is mainly due to the fact that this plant does not grow very tall.
However, breaking off (or cut off) the shoot tips can promote a more bushy growth of your plant. This is best done in spring.
Also, wilted and dead plant parts may be removed with the help of sharp scissors.
Peperomia Obtusifolia PROPAGATION TECHNIQUES
As mentioned earlier, Peperomia obtusifolia is best propagated through stem tip cuttings or leaf cuttings.
To propagate your Baby Rubber plant by stem tip cuttings, do this:
- Take a 6-8 cm long cutting from any of mature, healthy stems (your cutting should have at least 2-3 leaves!)
- Make sure to do the cut directly below a leaf node
- Remove the lower leaves of your cutting before proceeding
- Root your cuttings directly in FRESH soil (also, you can dip your cuttings in rooting hormone to speed up the process)
- So prepare a fresh pot with fresh soil and the stick the cutting into the soil
- Use a plastic bag and put that over the pot to create some kind of humidity chamber
- Keep the soil slightly moist until the cuttings are rooted (remove the plastic bag from time to time to water and also to discourage moulding)
Note: As far as the location goes, make sure you are propagating your Peperomia obtusifolia in a warm, bright spot (however, no direct sunlight, please!). And please be patient. It will take anywhere from 3-5 weeks for your cuttings to root.
Once roots formed, you may remove the plastic pot and then proceed with repotting the plant babies. Depending on the size of your pot, you may put several cuttings in the same pot.
Instead of rooting your cuttings directly in soil, you can also root the cuttings in water first and then repot into soil later on.
Grow Peperomia obtusifolia hydroponically
The Baby Rubber plant is one of a handful of houseplants that can survive without potting soil. Other houseplants that can survive hydroponically are:
- Chinese Evergreen
- English Ivy
- Spider Plant
- Fiddle Leaf Fig
- Peace Lily
Growing houseplants such as your Peperomia obtusifolia hydroponically presents many advantages.
For instance, over- and underwatering is not at all an issue anymore.
And this advantage alone is huge for new plant parents, as many of them are indeed struggling to provide their plants with an adequate amount of water.
While many low-maintenance plants are actually easy to take care of and are indeed forgiving when over- or underwatering takes place, many houseplants actually won’t tolerate (repeated) over- or underwatering and might actually die at one point because of it.
Another great advantage that hydroponics has over traditional indoor gardening is that it literally eliminates problems with soil-borne insects and diseases.
VISIBLE SIGNS OF A STRUGGLING PEPEROMIA OBTUSIFOLIA
TELLTALE SIGN #1: Dying leaves
If many leaves of your Baby Rubber plant die away, this could be due to a lack of light.
Also, dying leaves could be a sign of too dry air.
To solve this problem, make sure to regularly mist your plant.
TELLTALE SIGN #2: Plant wilting
If your plant is wilting, the reason for this could be root rot. The main cause for root rot is overwatering.
If unsure if you are really dealing with root rot, have a look at our article: Root Rot Symptoms.
After that, you might want to take a gander at our article about Root Rot Treatment to make sure that you can get rid of this annoying problem.
TELLTALE SIGN #3: Shrivelling leaves
Shrivelling leaves and also older leaves that are dying away are not necessarily a sign of bad maintenance. In many cases, this happens naturally is nothing to worry about too much.
However, it could also be a sign of too much accumulated salt. This is why it is recommended to leach the soil of your Peperomia obtusifolia about once or twice a year, so that excess salt can be removed.
TELLTALE SIGN #4: Droopy & Curling leaves
If your Baby Rubber plant is exhibiting droopy or curly leaves, chances are that it does not get enough water. However, the opposite could be true as well. Overwatering may also cause curling leaves.
To make matters worse, curling leaves can also be a sign of a bug infestation. Closely inspect the leaves (also the undersides!) and see what you can find there! You might need to use a magnifying glass to actually see the pests (some of them are very tiny!).
FIVE STEPS TO A HEALTHY, ACTIVE Baby Rubber plant
1. Don’t overwater your Peperomia
2. In summer, leach the soil of your Peperomia obtusifolia to remove excess salts in the soil
3. The light requirements for your Peperomia depend on the nature of your plant: If you have a plant with green leaves only, a location with moderate to bright sunlight will be best. If you do have a Peperomia obtusifolia with multi-colored (variegated) leaves, a brighter spot will be favorable ( a few hours of morning and evening sun are fine, but hot midday sun should be omitted, as this will the leaves of your plant).
4. Temperatures below 15 degrees (over an extended period of time) will harm your plant. The ideal temperature range for your Baby Rubber plant is between 18 and 23 degrees (64 to 73 Fahrenheit).
5. Always use pots with drainage holes. Proper drainage is absolutely essential to ensure the well-being of the Peperomia obtusifolia.
Peperomia Obtusifolia Pest Control
Houseplants are prone to many different plant pests.
Some houseplants such as the X and Y often
Peperomia obtusifolia is prone to spider mites infestations.
Unfortunately, spider mites are very common guests on houseplants. These pests especially thrive in warm & dry climates. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to recognize a spider mites infestation. You will usually find a silvery shimmer on the leaves, which eventually turns yellow and then dries out at some point.
There are many countermeasures you can take to get rid of spider mites. The first step in spider mites pest control consists in isolating the plant from other houseplants so that the pest will not spread over to your other green companions.
Then, try to gently shake off the spider mites. While that can certainly help, it will most probably not solve the problem in its entirety.
So, to get rid of all these pesky pests, you will probably want to apply neem oil to your plant (especially the leaves) and if that also doesn’t solve the issue you might even want to use predatory mites to help you solve the problem.
Is Peperomia obtusifolia care difficult?
Peperomia obtusifolia care is relatively easy and very similar to Peperomia metallica and Peperomia rotundifolia care.
Peperomia obtusifolia thrives well in average room temperature, has no out-of-the-ordinary-demands on potting soil, is not particularly prone to plant pests and does well in moderate to low light.
If you would indeed like to get your hands on one of these beautiful Peperomia obtusifolia plants, please have a look at our article: The 13 Best Places to Buy Plants Online in the US.
If you are looking for a somewhat more challenging houseplant to take care for, you could always go for a fern such as the Boston Fern or the Maidenhaid Fern.
Peperomia obtusifolia FAQ
What are some interesting Peperomia obtusifolia cultivars?
There are many variegated forms of Peperomia obtusifolia readily available on the market. There is, for instance, Peperomia obtusifolia Variegata ‘Golden Gate’ (dark green, olive green and creamy white) and Peperomia obtusifolia ‘Marble’ (green and cream marbled).
Where can you buy a Peperomia obtusifolia online ?
You can easily find Baby Rubber plants online on Amazon and Etsy.
Is Peperomia obtusifolia toxic to cats?
No. Peperomia obtusifolia is non-toxic to cats.
Is Peperomia obtusifolia toxic to dogs?
No. Peperomia obtusifolia is non-toxic to dogs.
What are some other names for the Peperomia obtusifolia?
Peperomia obtusifolia is also known as the “Baby Rubber plant” or “Pepper Face.”
Any display tips for Peperomia obtusifolia?
Peperomia obtusifolia, just as most other popular Peperomia, make great tabletop plants, mainly due to their compact size and bushy look. The plant is also used in dish gardens and in terrariums.
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