Peperomia makes for a great house plant for a variety of reasons, such as its safety to humans and pets, as well as its wide variety of beautiful species.
You can find hundreds of different Peperomia shapes, one of which will definitely be your favorite. Their leaves come in varying colors such as red, purple, gray, and, of course, green. They also come in a variety of textures like fuzzy, ridgy, or smooth.
What’s great about Peperomia is that it’s a low-maintenance plant, which means you won’t have to constantly monitor it since it’s a very resilient plant with a great succulent nature. However, you may need to pay special attention when choosing the best soil for Peperomia.
As a general rule, the best soil for most Peperomia plants is a well-draining, organic-rich, aerated soil mix. Since no Peperomia likes to have its roots too wet, having such soil will undoubtedly result in a happy plant.
To run you along with what we’ll discuss in this article, we’ll be looking at the best soil for Peperomia and how you can make a soil mixture yourself. Let’s get started!
The best soil for Peperomia plants, in general, would be well-draining and loose. The best way to provide such soil is by creating a soil mix. A combination of soil, perlite, and peat moss is exactly what you should look for in Peperomia soil.
For a happy Peperomia, topsoil is much better than a regular potting mix. Topsoil is heavier and fluffier, so it acts as a great medium to help retain water and deliver nutrients to the Peperomia.
The soil can vary in texture and size of its particles. Particles are what form the soil and there are three common types of particles.
Sand is the largest type of particles in the soil, and it allows for large pores in the soil, resulting in better aeration. Sand offers great water drainage because it doesn’t retain nutrients or water.
Clay is the exact opposite of sand. It has the smallest particles and allows for tiny pores in the soil. Although clay doesn’t allow for good soil aeration, it holds nutrients and water very well.
Silt has particles that are larger than clay yet smaller than soil. It’s made from mineral and rock particles that fall somewhere between sand and clay particles. Silt offers a balance between water retention, drainage, and soil aeration.
Most soil mixtures are made of sand, clay, and silt all mixed together. The ratio, however, is what allows you to increase soil aeration, drainage, or water retention depending on what you’re going to grow in it.
Sand, clay, and silt are the base for any soil mix. This means there are other soil additives that offer different features to the soil.
Perlite is a planting additive made of small, white volcanic stone specks and is one of the most essential additives to your soil mixture. The additive is used to aerate the soil mixture, which gives the soil a more airy and puffy texture.
If you look closely at perlite, you’ll notice that the white specks have tiny pores. These pores absorb water and nutrients, making them stay for longer periods in the soil.
The airy texture of perlite makes it the best candidate for preventing soil compactness and allowing more air into the soil.
Peat moss is another great soil amendment that your Peperomia will thank you for. So, what is peat moss? It’s made from layers of partially decomposed plant remains. It comes from moss, grass, reeds, and sedges.
Peat moss is used for holding nutrients in the soil more effectively and preserving soil moisture without the soil being waterlogged.
Peperomia’s favorite soil can vary depending on the variety you have. For example, some Peperomia varieties prefer soil with more clay and bark, while other varieties prefer soil that’s more sandy.
This is why it’s best to have a soil mix that replicates the Peperomia’s natural growing conditions. Since some Peperomia varieties epiphytically settle and grow on fallen tree logs, wood would be their best growing medium.
Peperomia will tap their roots into the tree bark and be absolutely fine with it. So, if you’re willing to keep such varieties at home, you should replicate their favorite growing medium so that they can thrive. This leads us to a common question.
You can use cactus soil to grow Peperomia since both plants benefit from high water drainage soils.
Compared to other succulent plants, cacti have moisture-preserving mechanisms that can help them withstand drought and scorching hot sun for unimaginable periods without losing water.
That’s why they prefer very little watering and can instantly perish from overwatering. It’s also why cactus soil is made from a combination of grit, gravel, perlite, and of course, the soil itself.
This substrate combination allows for extremely high and rapid water drainage, which is exactly what cacti require to avoid creating an environment that’s dissimilar to that of the desert.
However, keep in mind that Peperomia doesn’t require this much water drainage, so it’s best to add peat moss to reduce water draining and improve moisture retention.
There are some requirements you need to follow when making a soil mix for Peperomia.
Your growing medium must be airy to allow the roots to consume CO2 and release oxygen properly. Compact soil can cause improper plant development and waterlog, which increases the risk of fungal infestation.
Your plant’s growing medium must be able to retain enough water to keep the plant nourished between watering sessions. Simultaneously, the growing medium must be able to drain excess water quickly to maintain the dryish roots of your Peperomia.
Higher levels of nutrients like potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen are beneficial to your plant. To maintain a proper fertilizing schedule for your Peperomia, apply a 10-10-10 ratio of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus fertilizer once a month.
The soil must be strong enough to support the plant’s roots and weight. If the soil is too sandy, it’ll be difficult for the plant to maintain its structure and absorb nutrients. A mixture of sand, soil, and clay will create a solid ground for the plant to hold on to.
For most Peperomias, a pH level of 6.0 to 7.0 is ideal. Having either too acidic or alkaline soil can negatively affect your Peperomia. Both extremes can cause slower plant growth, bacterial infestation, and a reduction in the soil’s ability to retain nutrients.
Your Peperomia needs a well-draining medium, which helps in completely drying the soil between watering cycles. This will also help your Peperomia secure water and oxygen into its roots. A drain hole pot is another great way to drain the excess water.
Building up the Peperomia growing medium can be complicated unless you have the right materials and the proper ratios for each material. A general rule to achieve the best soil for Peperomia is a 60% soil material to 40% aeration and nutrients material.
For the soil material, you can choose your favorite topsoil mixture, as long as it’s an airy, fluffy, and light soil mixture. Try to avoid any compact soil, since it’ll have fewer air pores and less water drainage, which isn’t what Peperomia prefers.
If you choose to go with a soilless foundation, peat moss would be a great alternative.
For the remaining 40%, a perlite of your choice will do the trick of increasing the soil’s drainage. Having an airy, well-draining soil will assist your Peperomia to grow healthy roots and maintain strong plant development.
After adjusting the soil to additives ratio, you’ll feel more like a chemist instead of a Peperomia enthusiast. Nevertheless, the process allows for error.
This leads us to a crucial question. How would you know that you haven’t made a mistake? In other words, how do you know if you’re using the proper soil?
To find out whether you’ve made a mistake or not, there are some signs you should look for when caring for Peperomia:
Healthy, productive soil should smell like freshly watered grass. It usually has a pleasantly earthly scent.
So, if your Peperomia’s soil has some sort of sulfur scent to it, you’re most likely dealing with bacteria leaching into the soil.
Dense soil has less room for air and water, which means if you water your plant, the water will build up in the pot. Water buildup can easily suffocate your Peperomia’s roots, causing the roots to rot, and in some cases, your plant may wither away.
To make sure your soil isn’t compact, poke the soil with a chopstick until you reach the pot’s bottom. What you’re looking for is an easy poke that goes straight through the soil. If you find it hard to reach the pot’s bottom, this is a big indicator that your soil is compact.
If you still haven’t placed a plant in the pot yet, you can fix a compact soil by simply taking the soil out, breaking it down with your hands, and gently placing it back into the pot to leave more room for air.
If your Peperomia is already living in the pot rent-free, a few pokes with a chopstick will do the job. Just make sure to do a poke and pull motion to allow more air to get inside the soil.
During the plant watering cycle, if you notice that the soil is still wet, this is an indicator that your soil isn’t draining water properly.
Waterlogged soil is where rot thrives. If you decide to neglect such a sign, your Peperomia’s roots will keep rotting until, eventually, the plant may perish.
To identify such a sign, press your finger into the soil to feel its moistness. If the soil remains stuck to your finger, you’re dealing with wet, non-draining soil.
Plant infestation is another indicator of waterlogged soil. Fungus or pests are always associated with moist or overly humid conditions, which, in this case, is your wet soil.
Plant infestation will feed on your Peperomias roots, killing the plant in no time.
To identify the fungal infestation, inspect the soil, stem, and leaves for anything out of the ordinary. Some fungi look like white fluff on top of the plant and soil.
Discoloration or Curling Leaves
This sign is by far the easiest to identify. Your plant will give you some signals that you shouldn’t ignore. A curling or drooping leaf is an indication of dehydrated Peperomia. You may face such issues due to poor soil water retention.
Discolored leaves are also an indicator that you’re dealing with waterlogged soil. What if the leaves are turning yellow? If you start to notice wilting yellow leaves on your plant, this means the roots are dying.
This doesn’t necessarily mean the whole plant is going to die, but it’s a signal from your plant that there’s something wrong going on and you need to do something about it. A root may die due to infection, pests, or excess water.
Peperomia is a special plant species that’s very resilient to extreme conditions. It develops numerous strategies in order to retain water inside its leaves and stem.
A thick, fleshy leaf can retain water better than a thinner leaf Peperomia. While a fuzzy textured Peperomia can withstand direct sunlight better than a shiny or smooth textured plant.
Although Peperomia doesn’t require much watering, the growing medium a Peperomia prefers can be a bit tricky.
The best soil for Peperomia is a well-draining, aerated soil mixture that’s rich in nutrients and fertilizers. For a healthy Peperomia, you can adjust the soil’s pH levels to around 6.0 to 7.0, which is the exact range of acidity your plant needs.
Now you know the best soil for Peperomia, you can now start planting these wonderful peps in no time.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.