There are over 1,000 Peperomia species worldwide, and the list keeps growing yearly. As one of the diminutive plant species, Peperomia is easily overlooked in its natural habitat.
Although only a few dozen Peperomia species are fit as houseplants, they’re highly reliable in that position. Even the Royal Horticultural Society has given the Award of Garden Merit to several Peperomia species.
So, how long do Peperomias live? The quest for finding sturdy house plants never ends. We know the struggle and we’ve been there. With this in mind, we detail our Peperomia care tips to keep them living as long as their wild counterparts.
Peperomias are hardy houseplants that live for several years. However, they require special care to make them feel like they’re living in their original habitat.
In the right conditions, some species, like Peperomia obtusifolia, are expected to live for over six years. Similarly, Peperomia argyreia can live for five or more years, which is a lot in plant years.
Most Peperomias are perennial herbs, surviving multiple growing seasons without losing their leaves. On the other hand, some wild species, like Peperomia macrorhiza, lose their leaves when the weather is dry and grow them back during the rainy season.
Nevertheless, the real value of Peperomias lies in their thick, succulent-like leaves. Several houseplant varieties have stunning leaves, like the bi-colored Peperomia rosso and the lush, reddish Peperomia caperata.
Below, we go into more detail on how best to care for these special plants, thus allowing them to live a long, healthy life.
Depending on the growing conditions, Peperomias need to be watered either twice a week or once every 2–3 weeks. The best way to determine when to water Peperomia is by feeling the soil moisture. If the top of the soil around the plant is dry, it’s safe to add some water.
Perhaps one of the most challenging things about this plant is knowing how much water to add. Too little and the plants starve; too much and the plants get a fungal infection.
Peperomias have adapted to living as epiphytes on other plants, or lithophytes on rock surfaces because they have shallow, fragile root systems. So, if you miss a watering, the roots won’t be able to get the nourishment it needs, which will instantly reflect on the droopy leaves.
On the other hand, overwatered soil is a breeding ground for fungal infections. The most common example is Pythium, which destroys the roots, resulting in the quick deterioration and withering of the Peperomia houseplant.
Alternatively, if they’re too dry, you must water them more often during the week.
The ideal Peperomia environment should be humid, mimicking its tropical habitat. If placed in a dry area with low humidity, the leaves might start to droop as a sign of excessive transpiration.
A simple fix is to move your peperomia to a more humid space, like the kitchen or bathroom. Alternatively, you can mist the leaves, place the pot in a wet pebble tray, or use a humidifier.
In general, Peperomias thrive in bright, indirect light. So, if your plant isn’t growing at a healthy speed, you might need to move its pot to a sunnier spot. That’s because slow photosynthesis can lead to nutrient deficiency.
Slow photosynthesis can also lead to droopy leaves because they’re not getting enough water.
On the other hand, too much light can lead to leaf curling or discoloration due to water loss through leaf transpiration. High temperatures can also cause fast transpiration. Therefore, keep your Peperomias in temperatures ranging between 65°F–76°F.
Everything around your Peperomia’s roots should help drain excess water. When you first get your Peperomia, check that its nursery pot has enough holes at the base. If there are not enough, repot your Peperomia to a more breathable pot.
We recommend clay pots because they’re porous all over. Thus, this allows for better breathability of the root system.
In most cases, you’ll have to adjust or replace the soil of your Peperomia when it arrives from the nursery. The best type is a commercial potting medium. Then, add some orchid bark or perlite for a fast draining mix to avoid root rot.
Peperomias are weak feeders, requiring minimal nutrients for their slow growth. Therefore, in many cases, you may never need to fertilize your Peperomia.
Still, if your Peperomia shows leaf discoloration, it might be lacking nitrogen. In this case, you’ll need to fertilize the plant with a diluted liquid fertilizer once in the summer and again in the spring.
Similarly, if your Peperomia hasn’t shown notable growth for a long period, you can try adding diluted, periodic fertilization.
However, remember that overfertilizing Peperomia can burn its roots, causing its leaves to drop. So, if you accidentally over-fertilize your Peperomia, repot the plant immediately to a fresh soil mix.
Peperomia aren’t grown for their flowers but rather for their attractive foliage. Still, a flowering Peperomia indicates a healthy plant. If you follow the perfect maintenance routine, you’ll not only yield long-living Peperomias, but you can also be lucky enough to enjoy their beautiful blooms as well.
Even if your Peperomia doesn’t flower, you can still enjoy this plant’s lush foliage. In fact, Peperomia can be easily propagated by leaf or stem cuttings. Just place them in water or wet soil until they develop roots.
Peperomia grow slowly, so they don’t need frequent pruning. Yet, sometimes a branch will stem out farther than the others trying to get as much light as possible. In this case, you cut it back to maintain the plant’s lush vegetation.
Finally, how long do Peperomias live? Many Peperomias can live for five to ten years, as long as you give them the care they need.
Getting to know your Peperomia’s likes and dislikes is worth the hard work and patience. Since they aren’t the best option for beginners, you can start with a few Peperomia varieties and gradually grow your collection as you learn.
Eventually, you’ll become a Peperomia expert and enjoy these beauties all year long!
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.