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Peperomia Quadrangularis Best Care Hacks

Peperomia Quadrangularis Best Care Hacks

If you’re reading this to learn about Peperomia quadrangularis care then the first thing you should want to know is identification.

With so many close looking variants out there how can you tell which one is Peperomia quadrangularis? Here’s how.

Gently hold the stem between your fingers and you’ll feel it’s four-sided shape – that is where it gets it’s rather long and hard to pronounce name but trust me it’s easier to grow Peperomia quadrangularis and luckily it has some simple common names like Beetle Peperomia or Peperomia Angulata.   

Peperomia quadrangularis is a small size perennial evergreen ornamental shrub grown as a trailing plant either in pots or as ground cover plants.

There was a time when this plant was not commonly seen in gardens but in the recent years a lot of gardening enthusiasts have started to grow Peperomia quadrangularis.

This borderline succulent plant has smallish ovate leaves of a deep green colour with light yellow veins running along the length of the leaf.

Stems are wiry, flexible and delicate. It had spikey rat-tail like flowers that grow upright and are fairly nondescript.

As you can imagine it is grown for its foliage because the visible veins on the stiff and flat card-paper like leaves and the delicate stems make for beautiful hanging plants adding texture to your garden or your living room. 

I like to grow Peperomia quadrangularis slightly differently – in a small earthen planter on my study by a window facing the garden.

It needs very little watering; besides, I like to exploit its rather slow-growing nature that makes it a perfect table ornament.

It could look stunning above a fireplace too if you have one in your house.

The thing to note about Peperomia quadrangularis care is that it hails from South America where humidity is high and the temperatures are warm.

That’s also why this plant has another interesting name, the radiator plant, given after its love of warm weather.

That said, it’s a fairly temperature tolerant plant making it easy to grow pretty much anywhere.

You’ll need a basic understanding of Peperomia quadrangularis care which you’ll find as you read ahead.

I’ve heard people say that Peperomias are easy to grow, but I’d like to qualify that by saying it is easy to grow Peperomia quadrangularis once you know what this plant thinks is unforgivable.

And if you manage to kill a few, don’t despair, because the best of us have.

So without further ado, here are some handy tips and tricks on how to grow Peperomia quadrangularis and how not to kill them.

 


 

Peperomia Quadrangularis Plant Care Guide

 

Soil

Peperomia quadrangularis care like other varieties in this species is governed by its epiphytic nature which means that in its natural habitat it grows on the surface of or a tree or in between rock crevices and draws nutrients from the air, rain, water or from debris accumulating around it.

Therefore in order to grow Peperomia quadrangularis the potting mix needs to be organic nutrient dense and airy.

This is to ensures that the roots can breathe and water gets drained very quickly without accumulating at the bottom and finally organic matter retains moisture whilst staying warm and humid.

Ever wondered why the air near mulch feels warm and humid?

A good soil mix to grow Peperomia quadrangularis is a combination of peat, compost, mulch or humus, bits of bark and some drainage material such as pumice or perlite.

The other alternative is to get a standard succulent mix from the store and mix in bark and perlite for extra aeration.

Pro tip: throw in a single layer of pebbles or gravel or kiln-fired brick bits in the bottom of the pot.

This is great for drainage and also allows for easy damage-free transfer during repotting. In its natural habitat these plants grow tightly wedged between cracks in bark or between boughs or cavities on the tree.

That’s how they like it in their pot too, a snug fit with a lot of debris but well aired.

 

Light

Peperomia quadrangularis care includes giving it sufficient light. These are outdoor plants that love well-lit situations but don’t tolerate receiving sun’s rays directly, especially in summer.

You can grow Peperomia quadrangularis in medium light too; just that the leaves lose their color.

Ideally, leaving it by a southern window or on the east or west side of the house that receives some sun during the day would be perfect.

If you want to grow Peperomia quadrangularis outdoors then huddling it along with other plants or growing it behind a thin garden veil for dappled sunlight are good workarounds.

Peperomia quadrangularis care is made easy by the fact that the plant tries to communicate with you.

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.

Since this is a green-leaved peperomia variety it need a lot of light, but also must be protected from direct rays.

 

Watering

I am a great believer of learning and mimicking the moisture conditions of a plant’s natural habitat to the extent possible.

For example, to grow Peperomia quadrangularis to its fullest glory you need to educate yourself about the life of epiphytes in the woods.

Firstly they are watered by the rains.

Secondly, the soil around the roots are never water logged but neither do they ever dry out completely.

That said, Peperomia quadrangularis is a semi succulent variety so it’s best to treat it like one.

The best way to strike the right moisture balance for homegrown Peperomia quadrangularis care is to use a small amount of water to make the soil moist, never to overwater and if possible to use stored rainwater.

But you can grow Peperomia quadrangularis even with regular clean water.

In the previous sections I have talked about using organic plant waste in the soil mix, putting a layer of gravel at the bottom of the pot and using an earthen pot.

All of these are the best practices of Peperomia quadrangularis care which will help you ensure the optimal level of moisture for your plant.

The most common cause of peperomia deaths is root rot caused by overwatering and/or poor drainage.

Finally, if you ask me exactly how often I water my plant, I do it about once a week based on a basic top soil test.

I let beyond the top inch of soil go stone dry before watering. The soil I use allows for excellent drainage.

A word of caution: a lot of internet material will advise you that peperomias like moisture.

This is a misleading statement because peperomia varieties differ widely in their care requirements.

Peperomia quadrangularis care resembles that which is given to succulents. They can hold water very well in their fleshy stems and leaves.

It’s not moisture they care for, it’s humidity, which I’ve addressed in a later section dedicated to that topic.

 

Temperature

Peperomia quadrangularis care is tricky in cold weather countries. Although it is said to be a temperature tolerant tropical plant

I’ve not seen much success with it when temperatures go below 12ºC.

The leaves just fall off leaving a bald stem behind. With its fleshy leaves and stems, the temperature ideally has to be a moderate room temperature.

If you live close to the equator you can grow Peperomia quadrangularis outdoors throughout the year.

Otherwise, it’s best to grow it in a pot and bring it indoors in the colder months away from the cold drafts.

 

Humidity

Regulating humidity is a more important element of Peperomia quadrangularis care than watering as these plants belong to equatorial climes with moderate to high humidity.

If you want to grow Peperomia quadrangularis in a cold country you need to watch out for the air drying effects of room heaters and aircons.

The plants takes well to occasional misting with soft water, especially during dry weather.

Make sure your winter Peperomia quadrangularis care includes measures to ensure humidity, such as a humidifier.

 

Fertilizer

You can confidently include fertilization in your Peperomia quadrangularis care routine because this plant responds well to feeding. I am all for organic as far as epiphytes are concerned.

The best way is to include rich organic manure in the soil mix and to replenish the top soil every month or so.

You can use any balanced organic feed to grow Peperomia quadrangularis.

I am personally not a fan of chemical fertilizers for epiphytes but if you have been using them 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.

My Peperomia quadrangularis care schedule includes a balanced succulent fertilizer (which I pick up from a local store) once a month during growing months and I stop feeding the plant in winter months.

 

Propagation

The most interesting part of Peperomia quadrangularis care is propagation. At this point, allow me to share my “Meet the Pepers” story which resulted in my enduring love for this plant genus.

When I was little, on my way back from school I noticed a few plants in tiny black pots arranged at the doorway of a cottage suggesting there was perhaps a nursery inside.

I pushed open the wooden door and popped my head inside.

It was a nursery indeed but a unique one.

Instead of many plants, there was just a shed with a huge long table in the centre with hundreds of tiny 2-inch pots each with a single beautiful leaf sticking out like a timid princess.

I must have had an utterly fascinated look on my face like I’d landed in some magical fairyland because when the gardener walked in she gave me a BIG smile.

She showed me the mother peperomia plants and told me that this was how new peperomias babies were born. It was love at first sight.

And that indeed is the deal; you can grow Peperomia quadrangularis out of its leaf cuttings. But there are other ways suitable for home-growers which I’ll be discussing in detail in a separate section.

 

Growth

This plant is a natural slow grower. There are situations where these trailers cover the ground moderately fast. I’ve observed this particularly when they are grown outdoors in equatorial climate zones.

Many of us aren’t that lucky. So if you grow Peperomia quadrangularis expecting it to overflow from your hanging baskets within weeks you’re in for frustration.

The plant is meant to be grown and appreciated the way you would, your succulent. Go for a cute little earthen or ceramic planter and use it as part of your room décor.

They grow out up to about 12 inches long.

 

Potting

Peperomia quadrangularis doesn’t mind a cramped potting condition as with epiphytic succulent. But don’t mistake this to mean tightly packed soil – it’s quite the opposite.

What I mean is that the root systems of these plants are relatively small, so in relation to their size they don’t need large pots.

The roots bind themselves well to the soil mix. Winter repotting is recommended for this plant.

The stems are delicate and tend to break while repotting. You can minimize this by layering gravel or small pebbles at the bottom of the pot allowing the plant to fall out smoothly when you tip the pot upside-down.

Don’t untangle the root ball. Add fresh potting mix to the soil.

There’s one thing you need to remember though. If you’re repotting in order to grow Peperomia quadrangularis to a larger size that’s probably not happening.

They are naturally small fellows. So if you want a bushier pot, just propagate and grow more shoots in one pot. Find out how in the next section.


 

Propagation more in-depth: Methods & Step-by-step guide

Leaf cutting is an easy and reliable method for propagation to clone the mother plant.

  • Wait until June, just ahead of the growing season in the tropics.
  • Cut a few strong, healthy leaves from a bug-free mother plant.
  • The leaf must have about an inch of stalk or the petiole.
  • You can let the tip of the stalk dry out for a day, but I’ve grown them successfully even without.
  • Use rooting hormone powder but it normally sprouts even without.
  • Pop the leaves 4 inches apart from each other in a sterile moist soil mix.
  • A potting soil like a mix of succulent soil, peat moss and perlite, is simple and reliable for rooting.
  • The stalk should be firmly under the soil. Press down the soil around the stalk 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 once every two days.
  • Pro-tip: Cover pot with a plastic bag with several holes to trap in humidity. Alternatively, group the pot along with other pots. This gives the cuttings shade and much needed moisture and protection from wind.
  • Don’t disturb the cuttings until established.
  • New plants will start growing from leaf base.

The other method is even simpler. You can grow Peperomia quadrangularis from the stem nodes that develop roots.

  • Loosen the top two inches of the soil with a spade.
  • Twirl a healthy dangling stem back in to 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.
  • Continue your Peperomia quadrangularis 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. Your chances of success is heightened if you forget about it for a few weeks.
 

Common Problems with Peperomia Quadrangularis

Peperomia rarely gets bugs or pests. When they die, it’s often due to overwatering or neglect.

 

Bugs & pests

It may still be a good idea to include an organic insecticide like neem oil or insecticidal soap in your Peperomia quadrangularis care routine as a best practice.

I mist my plant regularly with rainwater if I have it stored. Misting helps blast off bugs and pests but there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Don’t drench the soil with misting
  • Don’t leave the leaves and stems dripping in water for too long because the plant is susceptible to stem rot too
  • The plant should be kept where there’s good air circulation so that the leaf surface dries up

If you do find bugs on the plants then clean the leaves properly and give it an insectidal soap treatment. If the infestation is a mild one your plant will most likely make a full recovery in a short amount of time.

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

 

Fading dull leaves

Fading Dull Leaves: If you grow Peperomia quadrangularis for its deep green 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

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 quadrangularis care is watering and soil.

Root rot is the most common reason for leaves falling off. If the plant is young there’s, unfortunately, little you can do to save it.

If it’s a mature plant with several branches, wash the roots and check the rot. Salvage healthy roots and repot them in a sterile airy mix. Cut back on watering in general.

Leaves dropping off suddenly: 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 quadrangularis care is watering and soil.

This is the most common reason for leaves falling off. If the plant is young there’s unfortunately little you can do to save it.

If it’s a mature plant with several branches, wash the roots and check the rot. Salvage healthy roots and repot them in a sterile airy mix. Cut back on watering in general.

 

Stunted growth for months

It may be time to repot with more nutrients. Add a balanced soil supplement for foliage plants or succulents and improve lighting conditions.

 

Plant goes limp

Plant goes limp: This is most likely because of low water. Just water the plant and watch it recover quite quickly. The other reason is that the roots died completely due to the lack of water in which case it won’t recover on watering.

 

Leaf discoloration & leaves falling off

This is a common problem with Peperomia quadrangularis caused due to cold exposure and you know what to do next. Immediately bring the plant indoors.

 

Old leaves discolour and plant looks dull and slow growing

Yellowing of leaves is a typical sign that the 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 keep Peperomia quadrangularis problem-free

The single most important aspect of Peperomia quadrangularis care is ensuring the right amount of water because root rot is the most common reason for death. Here are a few handy tips to keep Peperomia quadrangularis problem-free:

When you Grow Peperomia quadrangularis, think succulent and chances of success will definitely improve.

  • Less watering and bright lighting is the way to go
  • This plant is great for shallow containers because it’s a low growing trailer with small root systems.
  • Grow Peperomia quadrangularis in terracotta as it allows for drying out the moisture from the bottom. You may find the brick red body of the planter discoloring in to a mouldy white over time, but that’s the beauty of terracotta pots
  • Limit winter Peperomia quadrangularis care to just moisture management and absolutely no fertilizers
  • Mist your Peperomia quadrangularis plant with rainwater once in a week. Foliar feeding of rainwater is always a good idea for epiphytes
  • Misting helps keep pests at bay too
  • Don’t expose it to cold drafts or direct sun and bring the plant indoors in winters
 

Frequently asked questions about Peperomia quadrangularis

 

How often should I water Peperomia quadrangularis?

Once a week is a good frequency if you grow Peperomia quadrangularis indoors and if your soil drains well. Outdoor plants can take a little more frequent watering. Cut back during winters.

Is Peperomia quadrangularis 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 quadrangularis to look bushy?

Peperomia quadrangularis is a low growing trailer and doesn’t get tall. If you want a bushy look propagate it using the node rooting method I’ve detailed in the propogation section. I’ve had great results twirling the stems back in to the soil inducing more shoots to spring out from the sides improving the volume of the foliage.

Can you grow Peperomia quadrangularis under artificial light?

Yes, they can grow under florescent light kept on for about 12 hours a day.

Best planters to grow Peperomia quadrangularis?

My strong recommendation is to go for terracotta or a ceramic pot that allow for moisture to dry out. Try the shallow and wide ones. But if your purchased your plant in a plastic container then it’s ok to continue growing in that provided there are plenty of holes at the bottom.

Should I mist my Peperomia?

Misting Peperomia quadrangularis about once in a week is a good way to regulate moisture. Try using rainwater. Foliar feeding of rainwater is always a good idea for epiphytes. Misting helps keep pests at bay too. But there are precautions to be taken. Please check the section, “What’s wrong with my Peperomia quadrangularis?” for the proper way to mist your Peperomia quadrangularis.

 

Conclusion

The best part about Peperomia quadrangularis care is propogation. It really is a joy to watch them sprout out so eagerly from leaves with so little intervention.

If you have kids at home Peperomia quadrangularis care is the ideal summer project.

Armed with the essentials dos and don’ts of how to grow Peperomia quadrangularis, you can now get on with this rewarding and therapeutic exercise.

If your Peperomia quadrangularis is well established in your home (garden) you should consider growing other popular variants like Variegated Peperomia (Peperomia obtusifolia), Watermelon Peperomia (Peperomia argyreia), Rainbow Peperomia (Peperomia clusiifolia), Red Ripple Peperomia (Peperomia caperata) etc.

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Saturday 22nd of August 2020

[…] Peperomia is well established in your home garden you should consider growing other variants like Peperomia Quadrangularis (also a semi-succulent variety), Peperomia Polybotrya (a humidity loving tabletop piece) or […]

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