Found in the undergrowth of tropical regions in the Caribbean, South America, and Mexico, peperomias have grown in household popularity.
They’re commonly targeted as houseplants. Peperomias are usually bought for their minimalistic, green, and glossy foliage. Their looks aren’t the only characteristic that makes them so marketable.
Peperomias are relatively easy to care for. All you need is the right peperomia watering guide as well as some maintenance tips to sustain the plant.
If you’re looking for that natural pop in your home and aren’t sure how to care for peperomias, then you’ve come to the right place.
Read on to check out our peperomia watering guide and more ways you can care for the houseplant.
How Often to Water Peperomia
Peperomias are low-maintenance houseplants that don’t get thirsty too often. You can water them every one to two weeks.
The houseplant mostly needs watering whenever you notice the soil getting dry. This is why the peperomia’s watering routine mostly depends on how much sunlight it’s getting.
If there’s a lot of direct sunlight, then the soil will likely dry out faster than if it’s getting indirect sunlight.
When to Water Peperomia
Peperomias or radiator plants thrive in dry areas due to their succulent-like characteristics. You don’t need to follow a strict watering schedule to keep these plants well-sustained.
Now, plant parents can sometimes forget when they last watered their houseplants. This could leave them in a guessing game deciding when they should water the plants next.
The good news is, if you’re a peperomia parent, you can inspect the houseplant and figure out if it needs to be watered or not.
First, give your peperomia a good feel. If the plant’s leaves feel a little too brittle or maybe crisp, then it could use some water.
Another method you should consider is checking the peperomia’s soil. Jab your finger about two inches in the soil. The peperomia will need water if the soil is dry.
Otherwise, you can leave it a few more days until the moisture dries out.
Signs of an Underwatered Peperomia
Finding the sweet spot of watering peperomias may be initially difficult. Nevertheless, once you observe the signs of an underwatered peperomia, you’ll be able to nail down a solid watering schedule in no time.
An underwatered peperomia usually exhibits signs such as wilted leaves and dry soil. To be more specific, the leaves will appear grey or light brown.
Plus, underwatered peperomia leaves can curl up and become crisp to the touch. Eventually, the leaves will just dangle down until they detach from their stem.
What can cause a peperomia to reach this condition? Well, if you’ve left it in a low-humid area with too much sun exposure, it can dehydrate at a faster rate.
How to Revive an Underwatered Peperomia
In some situations, you may be able to revive an underwatered peperomia just before it’s too late. The revival process involves bottom-soaking the houseplant.
You can fill up a tub, basin, or bucket large enough to fit the peperomia plant. Leave the plant to drink up the water from the drainage holes underneath the pot for about 45 minutes.
Next, take out the pot and let any excess water drip out. Once you place it on its plate, you’ll notice it filling up every few hours.
You’ll have to make sure to empty it so the plant doesn’t become overwatered. In more severe cases, the soil might be too dry to even hold in the moisture from the soak.
In this instance, you can repot the peperomia with light potting mix. You don’t want the soil to become too compact, so try to add some sand or gravel into the pot as well.
Signs of an Overwatered Peperomia
It’s a lot easier to identify overwatered peperomias than underwatered ones. If the tropical plant is over-hydrated, you’ll be able to see some yellowing on the leaves.
The leaves are also going to be too weak to hold their want and forced to droop. On top of that, you can also smell an overwatered peperomia.
The scent is mostly swampy. It’ll almost smell like it’s rotting, which it probably is. The overly moisturized soil is likely swarming with diseases, root rot bacteria, and fungus.
Now, you might not see what’s happening inside the soil, but if you look at the top soil region, you’ll possibly see mold blooming.
How to Revive an Overwatered Peperomia
The first thing you want to do is remove any excess water you find on the plate under the peperomia’s pot. Afterward, check if you’ll need to drill some more holes to provide better drainage for the houseplant.
Before you try to repot the peperomia, you’ll want to know that it may not survive if the condition is too severe. Nevertheless, you can try to save the plant if you’re able to detect the overwatering issue early.
After repotting the plant, all you have to do is just leave it be until all the moisture in the soil dries out.
In the instance that you’re too late, then root rot might already have gotten to your peperomia. You can attempt to treat it by following the step below.
- Take out the peperomia and expose its roots
- Remove the soil residue in the roots to identify the extent of the root rot
- Grab your scissors and cut off the noticeably infected areas of the root
- Leave out the healthy roots that look white and feel springy
- Place the roots on a paper towel or newspaper to air dry any excess moisture out
- Apply fungicide to the roots before putting them in a new-soiled pot
- Put in hydrogen peroxide to provide soil aeration and prevent future root rot
- Add perlite, sand, or gravel to facilitate drainage and avoid compactness
Can Peperomia Be Misted?
Peperomias are native to tropical regions with high humidity. Providing them with the right conditions can make your radiator plant flourish.
To imitate the steamy environment of the South American forests, you can regularly mist your peperomia.
A daily mist can go a long way to making the houseplant greener and more appealing. Having said that, you don’t necessarily have to mist them every day.
Misting them every week can be enough to provide peperomias with the needed moisturizing benefits.
Alternatively, you can keep them in a pebbled water tray. The water underneath will evaporate and then hydrate the peperomia’s leaves.
Another way to increase humidity levels is to place the radiator plant in your bathroom or a terrarium. The latter will give you an aesthetic advantage as well.
Can Peperomia Leaves Get Wet?
While peperomias don’t like being overly moist, their leaves can handle getting wet. This is especially true if you’re underwatering the houseplant.
You may see the leaves curling up and starting to wilt. In which case, it’s possibly time to start watering them a bit more frequently or soaking them.
On the other hand, you should ensure that the leaves aren’t wilting due to overwatering. The best sign of an overwatered peperomia is a heavy pot.
It’s hefty from the overly drenched soil. Additionally, the leave will likely be droopy and turn yellow.
That being said, peperomia leaves can get wet as long as they’re not overwatered.
Does Peperomia Need Drainage?
It’s easier to overwater peperomias than to underwater them. The houseplant’s water sensitivity calls for a well-draining pot.
If your pot feels too heavy, then drilling a few holes might ease the high moisture levels compacted within.
Without a well-drained soil environment, peperomias can easily die from the symptoms of overwatering. These can include root and stem rot, both of which can be difficult to fully cure.
Peperomia Care Guide
Apart from the peperomia watering guide, you should also know the other needs of the plant such as sunlight amount and temperature maintenance.
That way, you’ll give your peperomia a longer and healthier life.
The ideal light condition for peperomia is leaving them in indirect lighting. Keeping the tropical plant in direct sunlight could cause leaf scorching.
Remember, the peperomias originated from the undergrowth of forests, where they were almost fully shaded by large trees.
On the other hand, you also wouldn’t want to leave the peperomia in a dull-lighted area. The stems could become too leggy as they try to reach out for any source of sunlight.
In addition to becoming leggy, lack of proper sunlight could also result in washed-out and falling leaves.
You can fix the leggy issue by pruning or cutting the plant and placing it in a place with the right sunlight conditions.
Peperomias can survive in hardiness zones 10 and higher. This means you can plant them in temperatures ranging from 35 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
With these temperatures, peperomias prefer summery months. To keep their growth stable, try to keep them away from cool and drafty areas near the window.
Interestingly, peperomias in nature grow as epiphytes. Epiphytes are a classification of plants that can grow on another plant or any object that gives the needed support.
This means that soil isn’t really a necessity since the South American plant can spread its roots on tree bark.
Even though peperomias have entered the houseplant scene, they still require similar conditions as epiphytes.
You can mimic the environment by adding soil with a similar texture to tree bark, which is loose and bulky. In addition, you may be able to create your own soil mix using coconut coir, activated charcoal, and orchid bark.
Since peperomias are a no-fuss houseplant, you don’t have to feed them with lots of fertilizer. In most cases, you can leave the peperomias with only soil as their growth supplement.
If you want to add fertilizer, we recommend only putting it once a month. The feeding is preferably done in the summer when they’re in their highest growth stage.
A 10-10-10 liquid fertilizer could satiate peperomias. Alternatively, feeding them with worm castings or compost also works.
Having said that, too much fertilizing can lead to high toxicity levels. It could also cause certain nutrient deficiencies which may result in an early grave for your precious peperomias.
Peperomia Diseases to Consider
Despite peperomias being an easy houseplant to care for, you still need to watch out for some of these complications below.
Pythium is triggered by stem and root rot. This fungal infection thrives in stuffy overwatered soil with minimum oxygen circulation.
The main visible symptom of Pythium may include dark spotting around the stem. That’s when it’s usually too late to save.
You may be able to revive your peperomia from these fungal illnesses if you identify the infection early from signs of overwatering.
Brown Ring Spots
One of the most common symptoms of any disease of peperomia is leaf spotting. These brown ring spots can appear due to several reasons.
Some of them include disease, insect infestation, overwatering, underwatering, and nutritional deficiencies. It first starts with a translucent tiny spot on the leaf.
Eventually, more lines appear around that spot. They can also be as translucent as the first mark or largely opaque.
Brown spotting diseases are incurable for the most part. The only thing you can do is revolver the healthy parts through pruning and discarding the affected leaves.
Edema primarily occurs when the roots of the peperomia suck in more water than the leaves can handle.
This results in some off-looking symptoms such as pimply spots on the underside of the leaves or general uneven texture. The small spots end up browning and deflating.
A peperomia watering guide is all you need to provide a healthy long life for your houseplant. The exotic plant doesn’t require too much care, making it ideal for beginner plant parents.
The main issue you should keep an eye on is overwatering or underwatering them to prevent root rot or dehydration, respectively.
With this care guide, we’re sure your peperomia will become a natural aesthetic addition to whichever room you place it in.
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.