Peperomia Rubella is a rare vining plant native to Jamaica. Because of its tiny leaves and small size, this plant is also called Itsy Bitsy Peperomia. This plant has decorative, scarlet red leaf undersides and stems.
According to the University of Florida, more than 1,000 species are in the Peperomia genus.
These small, succulent, and herbaceous plants are distributed in tropical and subtropical regions.
Peperomia Rubella is a plant that requires special attention for optimum growth.
With the care guide below, though, you’ll find that nurturing a healthy Peperomia Rubella is simpler than you think!
Table of Contents
Peperomia Rubella Care
Use well-draining, loamy soil with a pH range of 5 to 7.5. Water the plant moderately and wait for the top third of the soil to dry before the next watering. Place the plant in indirect light and protect it from direct sunlight. Maintain a temperature between 60 and 80°F. Aim for 60-90% humidity.
This plant needs moist soil, so prepare a potting mixture that can retain moisture well. I grow my Peperomia Rubella in a loamy potting mixture that is rich in organic matter.
You can also prepare your own mix with ½ part peat moss and ½ part perlite. But ensure the mixture drains well because the potting soil should not remain wet.
Peperomia Rubella grows well outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 10 to 11. The soil pH should be ranging from 5 to 7.5.
This Peperomia species has average watering requirements. Even though this plant needs slightly moist soil, it is highly sensitive to overwatering. Overwatered Rubella plants start wilting and have scab-like protrusions on the leaves.
I always water my indoor plants in the morning between 8 and 10 a.m.; this is great because it allows the plant to dry throughout the day.
Water this plant moderately in summer using room temperature water. In winter, you can reduce watering frequency and quantity for this Peperomia.
Let your plant dry out between waterings; at least 1/3 of the potting mix should be dry before the next watering session. Like other Peperomias, this one also has succulent leaves, which means you can skip watering once or twice without risking killing your plant.
Water it from above to distribute moisture throughout the soil evenly.
Peperomia Rubella should be kept in indirect light for the best results. You can choose any location with moderate to high light levels for this plant.
The ideal lighting condition for indoor planting is bright, indirect light, but it can also withstand low light levels. Protect the plant from direct sunlight by diffusing the sun rays. Especially afternoon sun, as it can damage the foliage, causing sunburns. A few hours of morning or evening sun are great for plant growth.
Remember that outdoors, Peperomia Rubella likes to grow in partial shade. Generally, medium or bright light encourages faster growth and produces more leaves on Peperomias.
This plant is not picky about temperature; it will thrive in average household temperatures throughout the year, 60 to 80 o F (15.5 to 26 degrees Celsius). The minimum temperature should not be lower than 59 oF (15 degrees Celsius).
In sub-tropical, warm areas, this plant may be grown outside as ground cover. You can keep this plant at any outdoor location, like a balcony or patio, as long as the temperature remains around 70 o F.
The Rubella plant can tolerate high humidity levels very well. But it grows happily in average humidity levels. 60-90% humidity is the favorite of Peperomia Rubella.
This plant will favor daily misting; however, misting it after 2,3 days is also fine. Misting will create a humid environment around your houseplant as the water evaporates.
Plant food or fertilizers supply your plant with all the necessary nutrients needed for maximum growth. They can provide whatever the potting soil lacks. There are three options for fertilizing the Peperomia Rubella:
Water-soluble or liquid fertilizers – Dilute this fertilizer in water and apply it while watering your plant. This should be used every two weeks, depending on the label instructions.
Slow-release fertilizer – These controlled fertilizers should be applied once during the growing season. You have to work the fertilizer into the soil carefully.
Organic fertilizers – For fertilizers like fish emulsion, you should strictly follow the instructions on the label. I have been feeding all my Peperomia plants with an organic nitrogen-rich fertilizer once a month.
Stop fertilizing the plant in late October to allow the plant to rest in the winter months. You can resume feeding in late February.
Peperomia Rubella does not need frequent repotting because it likes growing slightly root-bound. Never overpot your Peperomia plants. Only go one size up.
Refresh the existing soil in the spring season every year and repot once every three years.
Pruning is a great way of keeping your plant’s appearance according to your liking. This plant might become untidy as it matures; you can prune the Peperomia Rubella to keep it under control and manage its appearance.
Make sure the pruners are sharp and clean. This will lessen the chances of disease or fungus spread.
Learning and understanding the propagation of Peperomia Rubella is easy and straightforward.
Peperomia plants are the easiest to propagate; you can take stem, leaf, or tip cuttings. Propagation by cutting involves removing a part of the plant and putting it in a rooting medium like soil or water.
After a few weeks or months, with little luck and attention, the small cutting will grow into a young plant. Propagating in the right season is the first step for successful propagation.
For all Peperomia species, spring and summer is the right time for propagation since the plant is actively growing.
For propagation, you’ll need a clean pair of scissors or shears, a clear plastic bag, a small pot, and rooting hormone.
Disinfect the gardening tools before you start the propagation; you can use rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol. This reduces the risk of transferring any infection or disease to the mother plant.
- Take the cuttings from a healthy and mature plant. You might be tempted to take more than one cutting at the same time, but make sure you don’t remove more than 1/3 of the parent plant. Otherwise, the original plant will be damaged.
- Make a cut just above the leaf joint on a healthy stem. Use a sharp instrument to avoid unnecessarily injuring the mother plant. If you want, you can remove the extra lower leaves.
- Taking more cuttings will increase your chances of success because if one fails, you can depend on the other one.
- An important thing to point out is that the cutting should have at least two pairs of leaves with a growing tip or node. A 6-inch-long cutting is perfect for propagation.
- Place your cutting under medium to bright indirect light, and replace the water once a fortnight or when it goes murky if you are propagating in water.
- You can add a small quantity of rooting hormone or seasol to speed up the process, but this is optional.
- Once the roots sprout, let the Rubella cutting grow in water for a few weeks before transferring to the soil. The longest the cutting can survive in water without rotting is about five months.
- For soil propagation, follow the same steps and use a light, airy potting medium. Avoid propagating in dense soil because the roots may not develop properly.
- Once the roots are few inches long, take a small pot and load it with good quality potting soil, as discussed in the soil section. Bury the roots in the center of the soil by gently pressing with your fingers. The new baby leaves and the mother leaves should be above the soil.
- There are chances that the original leaves might die. Do not panic if this happens, because this simply means all the nutrients of the original leaf were consumed in the propagation process. Snip off the leaf if it’s dying.
- You can use small wooden sticks to keep the cutting straight. Continue the usual plant care discussed previously for the young Rubella plant.
- Be patient, and do not overwater your cutting if you don’t see any sign of growth. It can take three weeks or one month for root development and longer for the leaves. In warmer months, the roots may appear faster because of a favorable environment.
For propagation by leaf cuttings, follow the same steps using a leaf from a healthy Peperomia Rubella.
The majority of Peperomia plants are grown and admired for their foliage including the Peperomia Rubella. However, in summer, Peperomia Rubella produces greenish-white, panicle-like flower spikes.
The spikes have a texture similar to catkins, but they rise like tentacles over the leaves of the plant.
Peperomia Rubella can have two completely different types of leaves; old leaves are green with pointy tips, whereas young leaves are rounded with heavy white veining.
Each plant is unique, with a mixture of both types of leaves. The leaves and stems are fairly frizzy. The leaves are uniquely patterned and arranged in clusters of 4.
The adult plant is 40 inches(100 cm) in height and about 15 inches(40cm) in the spread.
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Common Problems for Peperomia Rubella
The following are some of the possible issues with Peperomia Rubella.
Most plants lose few bottom leaves as they age, but if the plant experiences a massive leaf drop, there could be temperature or fertilization issues.
Extremely cold, hot temperatures or frequent temperature changes can shock your plant, leading to leaf drops. It is best to maintain a constant indoor temperature for your Peperomia Rubella.
These annoying pests attack almost every houseplant. If you find white cottony masses on leaf undersides or stems, your plant may be infested with mealybugs. These pests should be treated using cotton swabs dipped in rubbing alcohol.
If you want to go for an organic solution, wipe the plant with neem oil.
Low Oxygen Level
The oxygen or air circulation stops when the potting soil remains waterlogged for an extended time. This drops the oxygen levels for the roots. Peperomia plants suffering from low oxygen stress have slow growth and wilted appearance.
Excessive moisture in the soil makes the plant vulnerable to other root rot fungi. 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.
Most Peperomia species suffer from potassium and nitrogen deficiencies. The main symptom of lack of nutrients is that the lower leaves of Rubella become chlorotic. Simply feeding the plant with fertilizers that are rich in nitrogen and potassium solves this problem.
Cercospora Leaf Spot
If the leaves on your plant have black or tan raised areas on the undersides, it is infected with fungal Cercospora leaf spot. The leaves are irregular and swollen. Spray the infected areas with insecticide or horticulture soap. In case of massive damage, prune the infected leaves and dispose of.
Ring Spot Virus
Infected plants have light and dark rings of pigmentation. Leaf distortion and stunting are other symptoms of this virus.
It starts with brown lesions and heavy leaf dropping. No chemical controls are available for this virus, so you must destroy the infected plant to minimize the spread.
Don’t forget to disinfect all your tools and equipment after destroying the infected plant.
Dying Peperomia Rubella
As mentioned earlier, Peperomia needs bright, indirect light to thrive. Insufficient light combined with under or overwatering can cause the death of your plant. As a simple rule, remember that these plants should be watered only when the top 3-4 inches are dry to the touch.
Check the moisture by feeling the soil with your fingers or install a moisture meter to monitor the moisture. If you are confused, skip watering; being underwatered is less deadly than being overwatered.
Another consideration is to provide adequate drainage because the Rubella plant does not tolerate being waterlogged at all. This is also important to protect it from root rot. Check the drainage hole; it should not be blocked, and the excess water should easily escape.
Cold or freezing temperatures can also kill your Rubella plant. Therefore, protect your plant from cold environments both indoors and outdoors. Keep it in a mild climate with a slightly warm and dry environment.
Do not place it very close to air conditioners or fans inside, whereas outside, do not place it in chilly or windy locations.
Tips for an Unhappy Peperomia Rubella
- Don’t let the plant dry out completely; this might kill the Peperomia Rubella.
- Drain the plant in summer by flushing it thoroughly with water to remove salt or mineral buildup of fertilization.
- While propagating in soil, a potting mixture of sand, peat, and perlite is a great combination for Peperomia Rubella. You can also use a light succulent or cactus mix.
Frequently Asked Questions about Peperomia Rubella
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 Rubella can tolerate 1 to 3 hours of direct sunlight in the morning or evening.
When should I fertilize the Peperomia Rubella?
The growing seasons are the best time to fertilize this plant. Feed it during spring from February to March and in summer from April to June.
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 Rubella under fluorescent or grow lights. But make sure you provide 12 to 16 hours of artificial light.
My Peperomia Rubella has suddenly started shedding leaves; what now?
Peperomia Rubella may start dropping its leaves for any reason, including inadequate light, cold temperature, under watering, or, worst case, overwatering. Start examining all these for your plants to resolve this issue.
Can Peperomia Rubella 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 is not guaranteed because it depends on the amount of damage caused by overwatering. But if your plant gets back to normal within a week, it has another chance.
Peperomia Rubella has tiny, lush leaves in shades of green and scarlet red. This is an attractive small plant with a non-climbing vine that makes it perfect for desktops or dish gardens.
Rubella has very small leaves compared to other Peperomias. But this plant is a must-have for all exotic plant collectors.