According to the National Garden Bureau, Peperomia has been declared the 2022 Houseplant of the Year. You may know Peperomia plants as radiator plants or the shinning bush plants. Peperomia plants gained their first nickname due to the fact that they love heat, and can thrive both in dry and humid environments. As such, they grow best near radiators.
They are popular indoor plants that come in a wide range of sizes and shapes. They are ideal for indoor gardens, looking just as nice in normal containers as they do in hanging baskets.
They are generally appreciated for their lush foliage. While the leaves can differ from one variation to another, all Peperomias have a vibrant, exotic vibe.
Keep on reading to discover the most beautiful types of peperomia. We have also gathered some interesting facts about these plants and some tips on how to care for them.
About Peperomia Plants
- The Peperomia genera belong to the Piperaceae family. This means that our beloved Peperomias are closely related to pepper plants. You can see the similarities in the shape and the distribution of the leaves. Nonetheless, Peperomia leaves are fleshier, almost succulent-like.
- They are mostly perennial epiphytes. This means that many of these plants can be found growing on rotten wood.
- Peperomias have a pantropical distribution. This means that they can be found in both tropical and subtropical regions of both hemispheres. The highest concentration occurs in Southern and Central America.
- Their appearance differs for each variation, but they all have in common thick stems and fleshy leaves. Their flowers are cone-shaped, in shades of yellow or brown.
- Peperomia foliage can be either bushy, small, or elongated. The leaves are typically layered, creating an illusion of volume. They produce small, spike-shaped flowers in the spring.
- Peperomia plants have different symbolism around the globe, and are often associated with luck and hope.
Advantages of Owning Peperomia Plants
- Peperomia plants are easy to blend in any interior – The lush foliage of Peperomia plants has an exotic vibe, yet it can easily blend in any interior décor. In a minimalist design, they can have a calming, zen effect, whereas in an eclectic design they can have an energizing effect. They can be planted in different types of containers to better fit the surrounding design.
- Easy to care for – These are the types of plants that thrive on neglect. As such, they are suitable even for entry-level gardeners and can make for wonderful gifts. Moreover, these plants come in different shades, so you can own several different types of plants that need the same care.
- Peperomias have air-purifying properties – According to recent NASA studies, Peperomia plants have great air-purifying properties. Peperomias are particularly efficient in filtering formaldehyde, a chemical found in building materials. As such, Peperomias are great to have inside the home after renovation projects. They are also great when placed in the bedroom, especially if you have a memory foam mattress that is likely to leak volatile organic compounds.
- They are non-toxic – Most peperomias are considered non-toxic plants. Overeating some types of Peperomia can trigger unpleasant symptoms in animals, but these plants are usually safe.
- Watermelon Peperomia 2" Pot - Easy to Grow Houseplant
- Prefers bright, indirect light
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- SIZE AND CARE GUIDE: A delightful houseplant available in 4 inches in height. Its compact nature makes it an ideal choice for small spaces or as a charming addition to your indoor plant collection. To ensure its well-being, place it in bright, indirect light, allowing the soil to dry partially between watering sessions. This plant's hardy disposition allows occasional lapses in care, making it suitable for plant enthusiasts. With its manageable size and easy care requirements.
- GLOSSY, ROUND LEAVES: These leaves boast a lush, vibrant green hue that catches the eye and instantly elevates the aesthetics of any indoor space. Their glossy sheen imparts an elegant and sophisticated look, making this plant an attractive choice for interior and outdoor decor. The smooth, rounded shape of the leaves adds to its charm, creating a pleasing contrast to other foliage. Beyond their visual allure, these leaves are also a plant's resilience and adaptability.
- IMPROVED AIR QUALITY: A natural air purifier that cleanses the air by removing common indoor pollutants and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Its dense foliage and active transpiration process allow it to absorb and break down these substances, resulting in a more breathable environment. It has the ability to release oxygen during photosynthesis and adds to its air-purifying work ensuring that it is a more refreshing atmosphere for you and your loved ones.
- FERTILIZER, TEMPERATURE, AND HUMIDITY: This plant benefits from a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer during the growing season (spring and summer), but it's crucial to avoid over-fertilization, which can lead to salt buildup. For temperature, maintaining a moderate range between 65 to 75°F (18 to 24°C) ensures optimal growth, with a minimum temperature of 50°F (10°C) during the resting phase. Moreover, it appreciates higher humidity levels, making it well-suited for rooms with average indoor.
- IDEAL GIFT: This charming plant adds a touch of natural beauty to any living space but also serves as a delightful reminder of your care and attention. Its compact size and low-maintenance make it an excellent choice for both plant enthusiasts and those new to plant care, ensuring that the recipient can enjoy its presence. Whether it's for a birthday, housewarming, or any occasion, this a gift that brings visual delight.
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How to Care for Peperomia Plants
- Sun exposure – These plants prefer sunny locations, thriving in both full and partial sun exposure. You can tell if your plants are not getting enough light by their leaves. If you see a decrease in the foliage volume, or there are fallen or discoloured leaves, that means your plants are not getting enough sunlight.
- Soil – These plants like moist, well-drained soil. In the wild, they usually grow on trees or rotten bark. As such, they need a potting mix that mimics these conditions. Plant them in pots with ample drainage holes. As far as the soil acidity goes, neutral to acidic soil is the preferred option. They grow quite well in orchid potting mix.
- Water – As we already mentioned, these plants thrive on neglect, so don’t worry if you forget about watering them. They have fleshy leaves which contain enough water to keep them hydrated for extended periods. Ideally, you should always wait for the soil to dry almost completely before watering them.
- Humidity – These plants prefer a moderate amount of humidity. In the summer months, they need a higher degree of humidity. If you live in an area with humid summers, consider giving your indoor plants a summer vacation outdoors. Otherwise, you can place a tray of water on the radiator near the plants. A humidifier will work just as well.
- Feeding – Since these plants are not prized for their flowers, but their foliage, feeding is rarely necessary. As long as you provide them with good sun exposure, and you don/t overwater them, they will grow rich and lush foliage.
- Pruning – Peperomias need little maintenance, but you might need to prune them from time to time to correct leggy growth. Spring is the best time for light pruning. To encourage a bushier look, pinch back the stems. To do so, simply remove the end of the stems as well as the first set of leaves.
Best Types of Peperomia Plants
The Peperomia genus contains over 1000 species. However, only a few dozens are popular house plants. In the following lines, you will find our selection of the most beautiful types of Peperomia, along with some basic care tips for each type.
1. Peperomia Obtusifolia
While all Peperomia plants have fleshy leaves, some are so fleshy to the point that they resemble succulents. Such is the case of the Obtusifolia type, more commonly known as the Baby Rubber Plant. Despite its nickname, this plant is not related to the plants that actually produce rubber. Peperomia obtusifolia is characterized by glossy, spoon-shaped leaves. It features stick, upright stems. The leaves can have a bright green shade, or they can feature different types of variegations. It can reach a top height of 30 cm and a top width of 30 cm. If left unpruned, it can trail and grow about 30-60 cm per year in length.
This is a fast-growing plant, especially if it has access to plenty of sunshine. Variegated species need more sunshine than the species with plain leaves. Nonetheless, keep the sunlight filtered as the bright, direct sun can scorch the succulent leaves. It does not need feeding, but a light application of warm compost in the spring will help it grow with more vigour.
You can learn more about this fascinating ornamental from our complete guide to growing and caring for Peperomia Obtusifolia.
2. Peperomia Rotundifolia
This plant is better known as Round Leaf Peperomia, Trailing Jade, Creeping Buttons, String of Turtles, or Jade Necklace. It features small, round, fleshy leaves. It has thin stems with leaves that grow in nodes, with clusters of 2-4 leaves for each node and about 3 cm between nodes. The leaves have an average diameter of 1 cm. The delicate stems often intertwine, creating a tangled, bushy look.
Unlike other plants in the Peperomia genera, this plant prefers shadier locations. It also grows quite well in fluorescent light. It is a great choice for shelves that don’t get a lot of sunshine. North or east-facing spaces are ideal for it. Both the stems and the leaves are very fragile, so it is best not to move this plant around too much. You should also make sure that it does not fight with companion plants for growing space. Companion plants with similar needs are necessary, as they create an adequate humidity level. This plant prefers moderate temperatures of 18° – 21° C. It needs moist soil with good drainage.
3. Peperomia Argyreia
Also known as Watermelon Peperomia, this plant is popular around the world due to its unique variegation. As the name suggests, the leaf pattern on this plant resembles the watermelon peel. It can reach a top height of 30 cm. There is also a dwarf cultivar of this species which reaches a top height of 15 cm. It features peltate oval leaves with amazing green and silver patterns.
It has a round, bushy appearance, which makes it suitable for container plant arrangements. It looks great when combined with succulents or plants with similar foliage. Pebbles make a nice touch to these types of arrangements. Argyreia plants need bright indirect sunlight. They grow well in temperatures of 18-24ºC.
Allow the soil to dry at the top before watering them and reduce the water intake in the colder months. As far as the soil goes, a mixture of peat and perlite will make for a good potting mix for this plant. In areas with very dry summers, you can increase the humidity with a humidifier or simply mist this plant’s leaves when the air gets too dry. A diluted liquid fertilizer can also be great in the spring to keep the plant’s foliage rich and glossy.
4. Peperomia Quadrangularis
This plant is also known as Peperomia Angulata or Beetle Peperomia as the shape of the leaves slightly resembles beetle shells. This plant can easily be confused with other species, but you can easily recognize it by its stem. Simply hold a stem between the fingers to feel its shape. Angulata’s stem has a distinct four-sided shape. It features small, oval, bright green leaves with light green or yellow variegations.
This plant needs an organic, nutrient-rich, airy potting mix. An airy mix will allow the roots to breathe well and the water to drain properly. The ideal mix should contain, peat, mulch, compost, bark, and perlite. You can also make do with a standard succulent mix that you can enrich with bark or perlite. It needs bright, indirect sunlight. It grows well in a southern or eastern-facing window. The plant responds very quickly to improper light conditions. Dull leaves signify an insufficient amount of light. Dropping or discoloured leaves indicate too much direct sun exposure.
5. Peperomia clusiifolia
If you want to add a bit of colour to your collection of Peperomia plants, you can’t go wrong with Peperomia Clusiifolia. Also known as Rainbow Peperomia, Peperomia Jelly, Peperomia Tricolor or Ginny Peperomia. It features pointy oval-shaped leaves in shades of green, dark green, and pink edges.
This plant grows just as well in full sun as it does in partial shade. It will thrive in bright, indirect light, which mimics the tree-filtered light that it gets in its natural habitat. If it doesn’t get enough sunlight, the cors of the leaves will be more faded. If you can’t provide it with enough natural light, it can also make do with artificial fluorescent light. It prefers moderate temperatures of 18° – 27° C.
It grows well in soil made of peat, perlite, and bark. The soil should be moist, so you should water it as soon as the top 2-3 cm dry out. Make sure that the soil is not soggy as overwatering can cause root rot. You should also reduce watering as the temperatures drop.
6. Peperomia Metallica
This plant is known as Columbian Peperomia. It is a darker-looking plant, which most likely inspired its name. A mature plant reaches a maximum height of 20 cm and a maximum width of 15 m. It has glossy dark green leaves with light green or yellow variegation and pink undersides.
Peperomia metallic grows well when it gets plenty of bright, indirect sunlight. If your plant doesn’t get enough light, you will notice a fading of the colours. Nonetheless, keep in mind that direct sunlight will harm it. This is true for all plants with multicoloured leaves.
Like most Peperomias, this plant grows best in moist soil with good drainage. This plant can handle a little less water than other Peperomias. Ideally, you should allow the soil to dry halfway through before watering it. During wintertime, you should reduce the watering sessions to once a week. The Metallica variety is slightly more sensitive to drafts or temperature changes. Avoid keeping it next to a radiator, a heater, or an air conditioner. Mist the plant is the indoor humidity levels drop too much.
7. Peperomia Perciliata
This variety also goes under the name Peperomia Fagerlindii. It is harder to find than other Peperomias and it is actually considered endangered in nature. It features reddish stems and small heart-shaped succulent leaves that look like tiny jade stones. This is a trailer plant that can be planted in hanging baskets or it can be used as an underplant in container arrangements. It can also make for a great terrarium plant.
The Perciliata variety grows best in bright, indirect light. It has a semi-succulent nature, so it can do with less water than other Peperomias. You can water it every 7-10 days, and allow the soil to dry almost completely between watering sessions.
It grows a lot in the summer, so during this time, it can benefit from some liquid plant food. This plant is also very adaptable to different temperatures. It can handle temperature variations from 10 °C to 35 °C. On the other hand, it needs a higher humidity level than other Peperomia plants. If your indoor environment doesn’t have an average humidity level of 40-50% make sure to mist your plant frequently.
8. Peperomia Caperata
Commonly known as Red Ripple Peperomia, the Caperata variety features short, reddish stems and rippled heart-shaped leaves. The colour of the leaves can differ from bright green to dark red and even dark purple. It can reach a top height of 20 cm and a top width of 20 cm.
Unlike other Peperomias, Caperata can handle even bright direct sunlight. If you can’t provide it with enough natural sunlight, you can supplement it with artificial grow lights. Its growing season starts in April and ends in August. During this time, you can support its growth with liquid plant food. It is a rather fast grower, so you will have to transplant it every two years.
Peperomia Caperata is highly resistant to pests and diseases. It can however suffer from root rot from excess watering or leaf drops from excess salt. You can notice excess salt as a white crust on the soil. Drench the plant to flush out extra salt.
To learn more about this unique-looking plant, read our complete guide to growing and caring for Peperomia Caperata.
9. Peperomia Scandens
This radiator plant is also known as Cupid Peperomia, because of its heart-shaped leaves. It can also be found under the name of False-Philodendron. It comes in both a plain cultivar and a variegated one. It is a trailing plant and it can reach a top length of 90 cm. It has heart-shaped leaves with irregular colouring. During the summer it grows small green flowers on spike inflorescences. The variegated variety starts with cream leaves and develops green markings as it matures.
Like most of its kind, this Peperomia needs loose soil and indirect sunlight. It can also grow well in dark rooms if you give it access to some artificial grow lights. Excessive light can lead to yellow leaves. It also makes for a great terrarium plant. It looks amazing in hanging baskets, but it can also be combined with other plants in container arrangements. This is a less common Peperomia, so you should consider yourself lucky if you can find it and add it to your collection.
10. Peperomia Polybotrya
Commonly referred to as Raindrop Peperomia, or Coin Plant, this unique-looking plant is a great ornamental that thrives indoors. Its name and appearance can sometimes cause some confusion, as inexperienced gardeners might mistakenly refer to it as the ‘Chinese money plant’. The Chinese Money plant is actually called Pilea Peperomioides, it belongs to the Nettle family and is native to southern China. Raindrop Peperomia, however, belongs to the Piperaceae family and is native to Colombia and Peru.
Just like all its relatives described above, the Raindrop Peperomia is a low-maintenance plant with beautiful foliage that won’t require a lot of attention to grow healthy and happy.
Raindrop Peperomia doesn’t grow very big and its maximum size is around 30 cm. This plant will thrive if you place it near a window where it’ll get plenty of natural light. It’s best to place your Raindrop Peperomia near a west or an east-facing window where it’ll get direct light in the morning or in the evening and, thus, it’ll be protected from the harsh afternoon sun. Too much direct sunlight exposure will damage the fleshy leaves of Peperomia plants.
Peperomia Pests and Diseases
It’s never fun to think of the various pests and diseases that might affect your beloved ornamentals, but being informed will help you keep your green companions safe. It’s important to mention that Peperomia plants that are properly might never suffer from any of the infestations and diseases, so you don’t have to worry too much or avoid growing these plants. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at a few common issues that Peperomia plants encounter.
Aphids – Although destructive, aphids can easily be noticed and removed. They feed on the foliage of plants and can easily spread, especially outdoors. Learn more about this common issue by reading our guide to getting rid of aphids.
Mites – Noticing mites can be a bit of a challenge since they are very small, but what you can do is closely inspect your plants when you notice damaged leaves. Insecticidal soaps and Neem oil are effective treatments against mites and other insect pests and if you want to learn more, read our guide to spider mites.
Fungus Gnats – Attracted by damp places, fungus gnats are a common pest in the United States. Although they are not very dangerous, they can be quite annoying. Read our guide to fungus gnats to learn how to get rid of them.
Thrips – There are many different types of thrips that can infest your plants and the easiest way to remove them is by removing the affected parts of the plant and using Neem oil or insecticidal spray.
Scales – Plant scales can easily be noticed as they have protective oval shells. You can remove them manually by scraping the leaves.
Mealybugs – Cottony and white, mealybugs will generally hide on the underside of leaves. They secrete a sticky substance that can trigger other problems, so make sure you remove them as soon as you notice them. Learn more about them from our complete guide to mealybugs.
Slugs and Snails – Rarely a problem for indoor houseplants, snails and slugs are more common outdoors. The best way to get rid of snails and slugs is by removing them by hand. You can learn more about protecting your plants from these slimy visitors by reading our complete guide to slugs and snails.
Peperomias aren’t more susceptible to viral diseases than other popular ornamental houseplants. But, once in a while, even the hardiest of plants might encounter some issues. When it comes to Peperomias, the most common disease is Peperomia Ringspot Virus and it usually affects Peperomia Caperata. The first signs of infection are brown lesions that appear on the foliage followed by leaf shedding. Viral diseases in plants can rarely be treated and the best course of action is discarding the plant to prevent the disease from spreading to your other healthy plants.
Exotic plants that love moisture are prone to fungal infections when their environment becomes too damp. Some of the most common fungal diseases that affect peperomia plants are leaf spot diseases, Phytophthora and Pythium, Sclerotium stem rot, and Anthracnose. Darkened leaves, soft mushy tissue, and rot are signs of a fungal disease.
The best treatment for these diseases is prevention, which can easily be done by adjusting the watering schedule to the temperatures and environment, improving ventilation, and stabilizing the temperatures when needed. Sadly, as mentioned in the previous section, the best thing to do when dealing with infected plants is to destroy them. In doing so, you protect your other healthy plants from developing a fungal or a viral infection.
Although we described a lot of pests and diseases, you don’t have to worry too much as Peperomia plants aren’t particularly susceptible to any of them.
If you are looking for exotic, low-maintenance, and unique-looking ornamental houseplants, Peperomias are the perfect option. Featuring tropical foliage that comes in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and textures, Peperomias are fun and easy to grow. In addition to that, they come with many compelling benefits including their air-purifying properties and easy-going nature.
Most Peperomias will thrive in regular indoor environments and will only require plenty of bright indirect light, infrequent watering, and occasional misting.
Are you growing Peperomia plants? Let us know what your favourite types are!