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Peperomia Tetraphylla – Top Care Tips

Peperomia Tetraphylla – Top Care Tips

(image credit: IG plants.and.kel)

The Peperomia tetraphylla, also known as the Acorn Peperomia is a small plant in the Peperomia family. Despite what the name suggests i.e. four-leaves per node, this plant is often seen with even three leaves per node.

For Peperomia tetraphylla care keep a temperature range between  65° and 75ºF  (18° – 24°C). Water every 7 to 10 days and use a soil mix containing peat, compost, mulch or humus, plenty of chunky bark, and drainage material such as pumice or perlite. bright shade. These plants need a high humidity level above 50% and good quality succulent fertilizer, triple dilute the amount that is recommended.

Whatever the case, this plant is indeed a very cute perennial succulent with tiny round leaves and an interesting growth habit.

It’s a runner that trails along surfaces with it’s fuzzy “stolons” or trailing stems. The nodes on these stolons have roots and throw out erect and eager looking shoots and spiky flowers. 

You can grow Peperomia tetraphylla terrestrially as ground cover or in pots and hangers indoors.

Under the right Peperomia tetraphylla care conditions it gives a dense mat of growth. I’ve found some interesting ways to grow Peperomia tetraphylla which I am going to share with you shortly.

I wouldn’t describe Peperomia tetraphylla care as easy. It’s not time consuming but it demands a thorough knowledge of growing epiphytic succulents which I’ll guide you on.

 

 

PEPEROMIA TETRAPHYLLA CARE GUIDE

 

SOIL

Peperomia tetraphylla care is governed by its epiphytic nature drawing nutrients from the air, rain, water, or from debris accumulating around the roots. In the natural habitat, they grow on trees in misty wet forests, on rotting logs, in the grass by river banks, rocky knolls, semi-evergreen bushlands.

You need to grow Peperomia tetraphylla in a  well-draining soil mix dense in organic nutrients and very porous.

The substrate needs to be moisture-retentive but excess water must drain swiftly and thoroughly. Organic matter helps retain moisture whilst keeping the roots warm and humid.

A combination of peat, compost, mulch or humus, plenty of chunky bark, and some drainage material such as pumice or perlite makes for a great mix. 

An effective Peperomia tetraphylla care hack is to get a high-quality succulent mix from the store and add perlite for extra aeration. Throw in some slow-release organic pellets into the substrate. 

Try to grow Peperomia tetraphylla in slightly acidic soil with a pH ranging from 6.0 to 6.6. 

 

LIGHT

Being a green-leaved variety, Peperomia tetraphylla care needs plenty of light exposure, but also must be protected from direct rays. In the natural environment, they’re always found thriving in bright shade.

There are some Peperomia tetraphylla care hacks to mimic their natural growth enviroment. You can grow Peperomia tetraphylla as groundcover under a bigger plant.

If you grow Peperomia tetraphylla in a pot then keep it huddled in the midst of other plants. Both these arrangements work great to filter light.

Give them your sunny east window in winters perhaps in your kitchen where there’s warmth and humidity.

 

WATERING

Succulence is the key word when it comes to Peperomia tetraphylla care. Even though they like moisture they can tolerate drought. But they will not tolerate waterlogging.

For proper Peperomia tetraphylla care, first, nail the soil mix – well-draining, chunky and porous texture. Now make sure there’s less of the soil mix altogether. Only then can you water the plant. 

The right moisture balance is the trickiest part of Peperomia tetraphylla care. They can hold water very well in their fleshy stems and leaves. 

The topsoil test is a reasonable way to manage moisture. Pinch the top 1-inch of the soil to check if it’s completely dry before watering again. A watering cycle of a week to 10 days is usually sufficient. 

 

TEMPERATURE

The plant grows in elevations of 180 – 2,800 meters in Australia, Asia, Africa, New Zealand, and other islands in the Pacific Ocean.

They’re seen in a range of temperatures. But they prefer it moderate to cool. For best results, I recommend that you grow Peperomia tetraphylla in temperatures ranging from  65° and 75ºF  (18° – 24°C). 

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

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

Peperomia tetraphylla care can take cold temperatures but it cannot tolerate frost. Bring them indoors as soon as the temperature touches 50°F (10°C). The fleshy plant dies down swiftly. 

One Peperomia tetraphylla care tip is to keep it away from drafts of air-conditioners and heaters. They stress easily under extreme temperature fluctuations.

 

HUMIDITY

Peperomia tetraphylla care needs plenty of humidity. Due to succulency, the plant can store water and tolerate low humidity levels.

But in the wild, they grow very well in high humidity zones. Humidity is perhaps more important than watering when you grow Peperomia tetraphylla.

A humidity level above 50% may be needed to grow Peperomia tetraphylla properly.

In summer months an occasional wash down of the leaves is advisable. Just make sure you do it on a watering day and only in the mornings so that the leaves dry out during the day. 

For indoors, use a humidifier if it’s desert dry in your growing room. The plants take well to occasional misting with soft water, especially during dry weather. 

 

FERTILIZER

The ideal Peperomia tetraphylla care hack is to stick to an organic feeding routine. Include rich organic manure in the soil mix and to replenish the topsoil in the growing months. 

I wouldn’t recommend chemical fertilizers for succulent epiphytes but if you have been using them in your garden, you could go for a good quality succulent 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.

Don’t fertilize too frequently. Once in 4 to 6 weeks is sufficient. If you use chemicals then make sure you drench the soil deeply to avoid any chemical buildup.

My Peperomia tetraphylla care schedule includes an organic 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 tetraphylla care is propagation. Almost every part of the plant propagates readily. 

I’ve seen that accidentally broken leaves or stems if left undisturbed in the soil readily take root. It is easily propagated from leaf cuttings, stem tip cuttings, and plant division. 

I’ve explained different propagation methods in detail in a separate section.

 

GROWTH

The erect green stalks grow 8 – 12 inches high. They don’t compete with neighboring plants and grow in their own little niche.

You can grow Peperomia tetraphylla perfectly well in small containers for your tabletop or in hanging baskets for your patio or window-side.

Peperomia tetraphylla care hack: I’ve discovered a unique way to grow Peperomia tetraphylla which I’d like you to try as well.

You’ll need a log of wood, preferably rotting and covered in thick chappy bark. It should be at least 10 inches thick and about a foot long.

A fallen log of a tree would be perfect. Cover the log in a moistened layer of sphagnum moss held in place with a wide fishnet or wire.

You can train your Peperomia tetraphylla on the moss. Drizzle crushed organic pellets for feeding once in a while over the moss.

Within a season you can grow Peperomia tetraphylla enough to cover the log piece well. It makes a beautiful garden centerpiece.

 

POTTING

Peperomia tetraphylla doesn’t mind a cramped potting condition as with most epiphytic succulents.

The root systems of these plants are relatively small, so in relation to their size they don’t need large pots. Terracotta pots are a great choice for Peperomia tetraphylla care.

The roots bind themselves well to the soil mix. The stems are delicate and tend to break while repotting. Therefore, I prefer not to repot this plant at all. Instead, I propagate abundantly. 

If a plant looks overgrown in its pot I simply carry out a plant division and separate it into two or three different pots.

 


 

PEPEROMIA TETRAPHYLLA PROPAGATION STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE

 

Propagate Peperomia tetraphylla from leaf cuttings 

  • Wait for spring, just ahead of the growing season in the tropics. 
  • Make sure your plant isn’t covered in blooms at the time. The plant doesn’t take root in the blooming season.
  • Cut a few healthy leaves along with the petiole from a bug-free mother plant.
  • Let the cuts dry out for a day. 
  • Pop the leaves 4 inches apart from each other in a 50/50 peat/perlite soil mix.
  • The stalk should be firmly under the soil. Press down the leaf 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 tetraphylla from stem cuttings 

This is similar to the above leaf cutting method. Many online gardening stores just sell plant tips for home propagation. Just take a healthy stem tip with 3 to 4 leaves and follow all the remaining steps as above.

 

Propagate Peperomia tetraphylla 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 tetraphylla 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. Success rate improves if you forget about it for a few weeks.

 

COMMON PROBLEMS WITH PEPEROMIA TETRAPHYLLA

 

Pest control

As the Peperomia tetraphylla is a succulent type plant, sap sucking bugs or pests could be an issue. Mealybugs are the main culprits followed by spider mites and aphids. 

  • 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.
  • Include an organic insecticide like neem oil or insecticidal soap in your Peperomia tetraphylla care routine as a best practice. 

 

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

 

Fading Dull Leaves: If you grow Peperomia tetraphylla 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: There are a couple of reasons for this.

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

Secondly, 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 tetraphylla 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. 

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.

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.

Leaf spots: These appear in concentric rings of elliptical or irregular shapes. They may start at the leaf margin and spread all over the leaf. The spots have a slightly raised appearance.

This is a fungal infection caused due to excessive moisture on the leaves. First of all prune and destroy affected leaves at the first sight before the disease spreads. move the plant to a well-ventilated spot.

Keep the plant area clean by removing dead leaves etc. Fungicides don’t normally work for Peperomia tetraphylla care. Your best bet is prevention. 

 

TIPS TO GROW PEPEROMIA TETRAPHYLLA PROBLEM-FREE

When you grow Peperomia tetraphylla, think succulent, and chances of success will definitely improve.

  • Grow Peperomia tetraphylla where you want trailing cover
  • Use small shallow containers because it has a small root system
  • Grow Peperomia tetraphylla in terracotta as it allows for drying out the moisture from the bottom
  • Limit winter Peperomia tetraphylla care to just moisture management and absolutely no fertilizers
  • Wash your Peperomia tetraphylla 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 TETRAPHYLLA

 

Is Peperomia tetraphylla 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. 

 

How to grow Peperomia tetraphylla to look bushy?

Peperomia tetraphylla 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 propagation section. I’ve had great results twirling the stems back into the soil inducing more shoots to spring out from the sides improving the volume of the foliage.

 

Can you grow Peperomia tetraphylla under artificial light?

You can grow under fluorescent light kept on for about 12 hours a day.

 

Are Peperomia plants poisonous?

Peperomia plants are safe for humans and animals. They do not bring any harm if ingested. However, it is best to keep them away from children and pets.

 

Does peperomia plant purify air?

One unique aspect of Peperomia is that all that their foliage purifies the air, according to NASA research. The supplementary Wolverton’s Clean Air study shows that Peperomia reduces the level of formaldehyde indoors by 47%.

 

CONCLUSION

If you’re a collector of exotic garden plants you’ll definitely want to grow Peperomia tetraphylla. Peperomia tetraphylla has some interesting attributes.

They are from the same family as black pepper and produce poppy-like seeds that have slight to sharp peppery taste. In some regions they are apparently harvested for medicinal purposes. 

We have put together detailed care guides for a variety of exotics/succulents that you may like to go through. If you love your Tetraphylla I’d strongly recommend that you go through Peperomia obtusifolia, Peperomia Columella, Begonia Conchifolia, and Hoya Serpens

Happy gardening!

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