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Peperomia Pepperspot – Top Care Tips

Peperomia Pepperspot – Top Care Tips

Peperomia Pepperspot is a species of Peperomia from the pepper family, Piperaceae. I’ve seen them being grown since my childhood.

My first memory of it is in my grandmother’s porch pouring out of a hanging basket in a bushy mass. I was attracted to the tiny coin-sized emerald-colored bulbous looking leaves strung along bronze-tinted stems. 

The whole plant was sprightly and springy. This plant is one of the more popular varieties pf Peperomia and has been around for ages. 

These succulent and herbaceous vining evergreen plants are found in the tropical and subtropical regions commonly seen in South American Amazonian rainforests. 

Every once in a decade or so this plant comes back in fashion. It is safe to say we are seeing a Peperomia Pepperspot “revivalist” trend with quite a few nurseries stocking this plant nowadays. 

If every grandmother in town could grow Peperomia Pepperspot successfully, so can you, once you learn how to care for it. Let’s dive in.

 

 

Peperomia Pepperspot Instructions Plant Care

Peperomia Pepperspot are best suited for a temperature range between 65° – 75ºF  (18° – 24°C). They like moisture and humidity but can tolerate a bit of dryness. They do well in a rich organic soil mix well additives to make it well-draining. Also, they don’t like frequent repotting because of their delicate stems. Once they’re placed in a spot they adapt well to, they like to be left alone to grow and flourish into a bushy overhang.

 

Soil

You should grow Peperomia Pepperspot grows in a potting mixture that can retain moisture well. I grow my Peperomia Pepperspot in a loamy potting mixture that is rich in organic matter. The main ingredient is sterile garden compost. 

If you haven’t been composting, you can either buy compost or combine coco peat and organic manure and you’ll get a moist nutrient-rich organic mix.

Now, Peperomia Pepperspot is an epiphyte which means the roots need to compulsorily breathe or the plant will die. The soil needs to be porous. Peat and compost will have to be modified to increase porosity. You can use river sand, coco-shell chips, crushed bark bits, brick bits, or perlite to make the soil porous. 

Notice I’ve said nothing about garden soil. Peperomia Pepperspot care incidentally doesn’t necessarily need soil in the substrate. As long as the substrate has plenty of air pockets and organic nutrients, you’re good to go.

 

Light

Peperomia Pepperspot care doesn’t prefer a strong sun exposure. However, you still have to give it plenty of bright shade and preferably some sun in the mornings or evenings. This plant does well by a sunny east window or a west window spot both in summers and certainly in winters. 

There are some Peperomia Pepperspot care hacks to mimic their natural growth environment. You can hang it to the lower boughs of a big tree in your garden which can give them the sort of dappled light they receive in forests.

Don’t grow Peperomia Pepperspot in dark shaded places or it loses color in the leaves. 

 

Watering

Many believe peperomias like the Peperomia Pepperspot are succulents and so they need less watering. In my own experience, they do have some drought tolerance but they do better with consistent moisture. 

That’s why my Peperomia Pepperspot care routine involves regular watering. As long as the soil drains really well and the hanging basket has sufficient drain holes you needn’t worry too much.

These plants love rainwater misting. So if you can harvest rainwater they’re going to appreciate that. It’s a good idea to let the soil dry out between waterings i.e. it doesn’t have to be soaking wet every day. That might kill the plant with root rot. The top 2 inches of the soil can go dry before you water again.  

 

Temperature

Peperomia Pepperspot care requires tropical to subtropical warmth. They will thrive in average temperatures throughout the year but won’t tolerate extremes. Give them a range between 65° – 75ºF (18° – 24°C) to really thrive and get that big bushy honeycomb appearance.

Peperomia Pepperspot can’t handle frost in the least. In my experience, it perishes swiftly at the first frost reducing to slush. Bring them indoors as soon as the temperature touches 59°F (15°C) if you want to plant to survive.

Likewise, desert heat is also not favorable for this plant for long periods. The leaves fall off and the plant will look leggy. In winters, just give them your ambient room temperatures and they’ll be fine.

 

Humidity

I would imagine Peperomia Pepperspot care needs humidity. After all, it is an Amazonian rainforest dweller where the air is damp and muggy all year round.

However, surprisingly enough they can tolerate a wide range of humidity levels. Anywhere between 40 to 90% humidity is fine for Peperomia Pepperspot. The leaves and stems store the moisture they need making them fairly fuss-free.

This plant takes well to regular misting as long as there is good air circulation and the leaves get to dry out after misting. Rainwater misting is a good method of foliar feeding for the plant.

 

Fertilizer

In my experience, you don’t need heavy fertilization to grow Peperomia Pepperspot. I am all for organic as far as epiphytic succulents are concerned. It’s much safer to stick to a slow-release feed than rapid-effect chemicals.

I make sure to include rich slow-release organic fertilizer into the soil at the time of potting. I top that up with a balanced organic succulent feed once a month during growing months and I stop feeding the plant in the winter months.

However, if you’ve been using chemicals in your garden, you can include fertilization in your Peperomia Pepperspot care routine with a few precautions.

I’d recommend a balanced liquid fertilizer, triple diluted 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. Water the plant deeply and thoroughly to avoid any salt buildup in the soil.

Stop fertilizing the plant in autumn once you start cutting back on watering and resume in spring.

 

Propagation

Peperomia Pepperspot plant is terribly easy to propagate. You can grow Peperomia Pepperspot from its leaf cuttings or stem cuttings quite easily.

My preferred methods are stem cuttings and ground layering both of which I’ve detailed below.

 

Growth

Peperomia Pepperspot is a low growing and vining evergreen. If you give it the ideal Peperomia Pepperspot care conditions we have discussed above you will most certainly get a bushy growth that flows out of the edge of the pot.

My preferred method of growing Peperomia Pepperspot is in a hanging basket. Nothing better than that to really exploit the flowy stems. A lot of home gardeners grow them as tabletop plants, on their bookshelves, etc. However, it’s not a suitable long term arrangement for Peperomia Pepperspot which likes to dangle.

 

Potting

Peperomia Pepperspot does not prefer frequent repotting because it likes growing slightly root-bound. Repotting simply breaks the stems and stresses the plant. I would strongly recommend regular and routine propagation rather than repotting.  

If you think your Peperomia Pepperspot looks overgrown or leggy, pruning is a great way of keeping it in shape. Don’t hesitate to go aggressive with the pruning at the start of the growing season. Use all the cutting for propagation.

If the base looks matted and stuffy you can thin down the branches a bit by pruning. 

If you find organic hanging baskets made out of moss or coir that’s a great potting idea for Peperomia Pepperspot care. The dangling vines wrap themselves around the pot and grow even bushier. 

 

How to make a Peperomia Pepperspot Kokedema at home

A wonderful Peperomia Pepperspot care hack I came across is to grow them in kokedemas. A kokedema is easier to make than you think. 

  • Take a ball of soil and roll it into a firm ball between your palms. A 4-inch (10 cm) ball is a stable size for beginners
  • Cover the ball thoroughly with an inch of sphagnum moss. If you don’t have moss then use coconut fiber 
  • With fishnet string secure the moss/coir around the mudball. You will need to wrap the string around the ball several times in all directions until you are satisfied that the moss is secure around the mud.
  • Make a hanger with the fishnet string so that you can hang the 
  • Now cover this sphagnum ball entire with the pruned stems of the Peperomia Pepperspot plant. Secure with more string.
  • Your Kokedema is ready. Hang it and spray with water. Soon all the stems will latch on to the ball and grow roots into the sphagnum. 

 

Peperomia Pepperspot Propagation – Step by Step Guide

 

Propagate Peperomia Pepperspot from stem cuttings

  • Wait until June, just ahead of the growing season in the tropics.
  • Cut a few stem tips leaves along with the petiole from a bug-free mother plant.
  • 3 to 4 inches in length should be fine
  • Let the cuts dry out for a few hours. 
  • Pop the stem tips 2 inches apart from each other in a 50/50 peat/perlite soil mix.
  • The stalk should be firmly under the soil. Press down the stems in the soil just a bit.
  • Keep it in a well-lit but shaded spot where there is limited breeze.
  • The soil moisture should be maintained but shouldn’t be wet because your leaf will definitely rot away.
  • Water with a handheld spraying can to moisten the soil when required.
  • New plants will start growing from the leaf base in two to four weeks.

 

Propagate Peperomia Pepperspot in water

Place the stem cutting in a small glass of water. Within weeks you’ll see roots. You can plant them in your pot. It’s a good idea to grow 8 to 10 tip cuttings in a pot to get a bushy pot in a short time.

 

Propagate Peperomia Pepperspot through ground layering

  • Loosen up the top two inches of the soil with a spade.
  • Twirl a healthy dangling stem back into the pot and hold it in the soil firmly with hairpins. Careful not to snap the stem.
  • You could apply a bit of rooting hormone at the nodes along the stem, but this isn’t necessary.
  • Continue your Peperomia Pepperspot care as usual.
  • In some time you’ll observe roots sprouting out of the nodes.
  • Once established you can simply cut its umbilical connection with the mother plant and let it grow into a separate plant.
  • Pro tip: DON’T constantly check for roots. The success rate improves if you forget about it for a few weeks.

 

Common Problems with Peperomia Pepperspot

The following are some of the possible issues with Peperomia Pepperspot.

 

Pest control

Peperomia Pepperspot is a succulent like plant and therefore host to sap sucking bugs or pests. By and large, they are fairly hardy and pest resistant. But you may spot the occasional  mealybugs, aphids and spider mites.

  • 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 regularly on a watering day. 
  • The plant should be kept where there’s good air circulation so that the leaf surface dries up.
  • An important Peperomia Pepperspot care tip is to use an organic insecticide like neem oil or insecticidal soap in your weekly routine. Spray underleaf.

 

Faded leaves

When you grow Peperomia Pepperspot for its bright green foliage this can be a letdown. The typical reason for this is low light. Give the leaves a wash to remove dust and then move the pot to a bright spot where the leaves can prepare chlorophyll and get bright again.

 

Dull leaves even after optimal light and water

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 Pepperspot 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. 

 

Leaves dropping off suddenly

Firstly, if your Peperomia Pepperspot is exposed to cold draft the leaves will fall off. You know what to do next. Immediately bring the plant indoors.

 

Stunted growth for months

If the plant is in a well-lit spot and being watered regularly, this just means the plant isn’t finding the soil to be rich enough. This is the one occasion when I’d recommend repotting for Peperomia Pepperspot. This time replenish the soil with organic manure and give it a liquid fertilizer for a few months. You’ll see a difference very quickly.

 

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. 

 

Yellowing leaves

Yellowing of leaves is a typical sign of chemical buildup or overwatering.

If it happens right after a fertilizer application just wait it out. Water the soil deeply to wash out the salts. Next time, thin down the concentration even further.

Sometimes overwatering can lead to chlorotic leaves. You can usually tell from the appearance of the leaves which will look water-laden. Cut back on the watering cycle.

 

Low Oxygen Level

When the potting soil remains waterlogged for an extended time, the oxygen or air circulation stops. This drops the oxygen levels for the roots. Peperomia plants suffering from low oxygen stress have a slow growth with a wilted appearance.

Excessive moisture in the soil makes the plant vulnerable to other root rot fungi also. The first step to control this situation is to use a potting medium with good aeration properties. Remove any barriers or blockages that restrict the water drainage.

 

Tips To Grow Peperomia Pepperspot Problem-free

  • Water Peperomia Pepperspot using the topsoil dryness test. Less is more as far as watering is concerned.
  • Grow Peperomia Pepperspot in ambient room temperature all year through. It likes what you like in terms of warmth.
  • The best way to grow Peperomia Pepperspot is as a hanging vine
  • Use shallow and preferable organic planters allowing the dangling vines to wrap around the planter
  • Limit winter Peperomia Pepperspot care to just moisture management and absolutely no fertilizers
  • Wash your Peperomia Pepperspot plant once in a way to keep pests at bay
  • Let the leaves dry out after watering or washing to avoid fungal infections
  • Use natural insecticides like neem oil treatment as a preventive
  • Don’t expose it to cold drafts or direct sun 
  • Bring the plant indoors in winters

 

Frequently Asked Questions about Peperomia Pepperspot

 

Is this plant also an air purifier?

According to NASA, all Peperomia species are air purifiers. They absorb toxic pollutants like formaldehyde from the air.

 

How many hours of direct sunlight are tolerable for this species?

Peperomia Pepperspot can tolerate 1 to 3 hours of direct sunlight in the morning or evening. 

 

Can this plant be grown under artificial lights?

If you don’t have adequate bright sunlight in your area, you can definitely grow the Peperomia Pepperspot under fluorescent or grow lights. But make sure you provide 12 to 16 hours of artificial light. 

 

Can Peperomia Pepperspot recover from overwatering?

To save an overwatered Peperomia, the only thing you can do is stop watering and let it dry out. Recovering of the plant depends on the amount of damage caused by overwatering. One way is to salvage tip cuttings immediately and start propagating.

 

Conclusion

According to the University of Florida, there are more than 1000 species in the Peperomia genus that are widely different in appearance and care requirements. Some are vines while others are erect. Some are more succulent than others. Some are low light plants whereas others prefer a bit of sun.

Pepperspot plant is a vine with thin trailing stems and is best grown in hanging baskets. If you prefer this type, then I’d recommend that you also consider Peperomia Japonica, Peperomia Trinervula and Peperomia Hoffmannii. All of these are great hanging basket varieties from the world of peperomias.

Happy growing!

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