Peperomia is a beginner-friendly plant as it tolerates a wide range of growing conditions. In addition, the plant has gorgeous, showy foliage that everyone falls in love with.
That being said, peperomia, like any other plant, can have its own struggles. If you don’t do something to help your plant, it might eventually lose its lovely shine. So, why is your peperomia dying?
In this article, you’ll find a detailed answer to this question, plus some tips on how to revive your dying peperomia.
8 Causes to Why Your Peperomia Is Dying and How to Save It
Peperomia comes in different sizes and types. However, they all usually face the same problems.
If you think that your peperomia is dying, here are eight possible causes along with some ways to fix them:
1 – Overwatering
When there’s a plant suffering, it’s usually because of a water issue. When it comes to peperomia, overwatering is the most common cause of its death.
Although peperomia is native to tropical and subtropical regions, its leaves are thick and fleshy with succulent characteristics.
These thick leaves store excess water, so it doesn’t need heavy watering frequently.
Overwatering peperomia plants leads to root rot, pest infestations, diseases, and nutrient deficiencies.
Signs of Overwatering
- Squishy and soft leaves
- Blackened and slimy stems
- Soaking wet soil
- Heavier pots
- Rotting smell coming out of the soil
- Mold and mildew forming on the soil and the plant
Saving an Overwatered Peperomia
What you can do is simply drain any standing water from the pot and let the plant dry out completely before watering it again.
However, if the damage is severe, such as root rot, you need to do more than let it dry out. First, take out the plant from the pot and gently remove all the soil stuck to the roots.
Then, prune not more than 50% of the rotten roots and dead leaves using disinfected scissors. Now, repot the plant in a container with drainage holes and a well-draining potting mix.
Mixing some sand, perlite, or gravel with the soil is also a good idea to help with drainage.
Finally, water your plant thoroughly until the excess water comes out of the bottom holes. Don’t water it again until the top two inches of the soil are dry.
2 – Underwatering
Avoiding overwatering your plant can sometimes turn into a case of underwatering. Just like overwatering, underwatering is also a serious issue that can eventually lead to peperomia’s death.
Peperomia is drought-tolerant, but that doesn’t mean you should let the soil dry out completely. It’s best to water your peperomia when the top inch or two has dried out.
Signs of Underwatering
Signs of underwatering always show on the plant’s foliage:
- Drooping, thin leaves
- Curling leaves
- Leaves becoming brittle and crispy
- Leaves starting to fall off
- Brown leaf tips
Reviving an Underwatered Peperomia
Luckily, it’s not difficult to revive an underwatered peperomia. What you need to do first is to prune any damaged leaves.
Then, you need to give your plant some water. It’s best to give it little water first and wait for a couple of minutes. After that, water your plant thoroughly until you see water coming out of the pot’s drainage holes.
You can also use the bottom-watering method to revive an underwatered peperomia. In this method, you put your plant in a bowl or container filled with room temperature water.
Leave your plant in the bowl for at least 30 minutes so it can soak up all the water it needs. Once the soil becomes moist, remove the plant from the bowl and allow any excess water to pass through the drainage holes.
If you want to add some moisture to the leaves, you can lightly mist them with water.
Lastly, if the soil loses its ability to soak up any water, the only solution here is to repot your plant.
3 – Low Humidity
Peperomia prefers moderate to high humidity conditions. When humidity levels drop too low, the plant starts suffering.
This case is more common during the colder months when the air tends to lack moisture.
Signs of Low Humidity Problems
- Leaves starting to dry up and become crispy
- Leaf edges turning brown
Solving Low Humidity Problems
One of the best things you can do to provide your peperomia with higher levels of humidity is to locate it nearby other humidity-loving plants. This creates a humid microclimate for your plants.
Similarly, you can set up a humidity pebble tray. Or you can simply buy a humidifier that you can keep near your peperomia.
You may also want to mist your plant frequently to provide it with the moisture it needs. However, avoid over-misting it as it can create the perfect environment for mold and pest infestations.
Relocating your plant away from direct sunlight is another way to help with humidity. Direct sunlight makes the plant dry out quickly, which it doesn’t need in this case.
4 – Too Little or Too Much Sunlight
Speaking of sunlight, insufficient and excessive exposure to sunlight are also causes of poor health in peperomia plants.
Peperomia thrives in bright, indirect sunlight as well as low-light conditions. However, when it’s placed in direct sunlight or extreme shade for too long, it’ll find a way to let you know.
Signs of Lighting Issues
Signs of excessive sunlight exposure:
- Sunburnt spots and reddish areas on the leaves
- Leaves looking dry and crispy
- Curling leaves
- Soil drying up too quickly
Signs of insufficient light exposure:
- Stems elongating toward the light
- Yellowing and discoloration of the plant
Solutions for Peperomia’s Lighting Issues
If your plant is receiving excessive amounts of sunlight, it’s best to place it in front of a window with a curtain or blind. This will help filter out most of the light, and the plant will get just enough sunlight exposure.
In contrast, if your plant is receiving too little sun, try moving it to a brighter spot. If that’s not possible, grow lights will do the job.
5 – Lack of Nutrients
Just like your peperomia needs water and sunlight to survive, it requires sufficient amounts of nutrients in its soil, too.
The lack of nutrients in the soil can be due to several reasons:
- Not fertilizing your plant
- Overwatering (prevents the plant from absorbing nutrients, oxygen, and even water)
- The plant has been in the same pot for a long period that it absorbed all the nutrients in the soil
- The soil is too old
Signs of Nutrient Deficiencies in Peperomia
- Yellowing of leaves and veins (also known as chlorosis)
- Slow growth
- Falling leaves
Usually, these signs will show up first on older leaves and then start taking place on newer ones.
Increasing Nutrients in the Soil
Fertilizing peperomia is part of taking care of it as it provides the plant with the essential nutrients it needs for healthy growth.
You should start fertilizing your peperomia once a month during the growing season. You can use any fertilizer labeled for houseplants.
It’s preferable if it’s a balanced, water-soluble one.
A succulent fertilizer can also do the job. Make sure to water your plant thoroughly before applying the fertilizer to avoid burning your plant.
If the nutrient deficiency problem is due to overwatering, you need to fix the overwatering problem first. However, if the problem is because the plant has been in the same pot for too long or because the potting mix is old, you can just simply repot your plant.
It’s important to be as gentle as you can during the repotting process. You don’t want to cause any damage to the plant while transferring it to its new container.
6 – Pest Infestations
Pest infestations can cause severe damage to peperomia plants and even lead to their deaths.
Peperomia is characterized by being pretty resistant to pest infestations, but that doesn’t mean that it’s immune to them. It can still get infected by pests if it’s left with another infected plant.
In addition, overwatering problems and damp environments make peperomias more susceptible to pest infestations.
Pests such as aphids, spider mites, mealybugs, and whiteflies suck on the sap inside the leaves. They basically drain the leaves from all the moisture and nutrients.
Signs of Pest Infestations in Peperomia
- Seeing little insects running on your plant or container
- Brown and white spots all over the plant
- Holes in your peperomia’s leaves
When you’re checking for pest infestations, always check the underside of the leaves, too. Those pests could be hiding in there!
Getting Rid of Pest Infestations in Peperomias
First things first, isolate your peperomia to avoid infecting any other plants in your house. Then, clean where the plant used to sit to kill any insects running around.
Once you get your plant isolated, it’s shower time. Give your plant a good shower with lukewarm water to knock off as many pests as you can.
After that, you need to prune your lovely peperomia. Cut off any dead parts to leave more room for growth using a disinfected pair of scissors.
Lastly, apply neem oil or insecticidal soap and rub it on the leaves of your plant. Ensure that you’re using the product as recommended in the instructions.
Don’t forget to get to the hidden areas of the leaves. You’ll be surprised that those areas are the ones with the most damage.
7 – Exposure to Cold Temperatures
Peperomia thrives in temperatures that range between 65⁰ F and 80⁰ F. When the temperature gets lower than this, it stresses the plant out.
This plant isn’t equipped to tolerate colder temperatures. If the temperature drops below 50⁰ F, peperomia starts showing serious stress symptoms and might even start dying.
Freezing temperatures and frost are major threats to the plant’s life. When the plant gets frost on its leaves, it damages the leaf tissues, causing them to fall.
Signs of Cold on Peperomia Plants
- Wilting and drooping
- Frost on the leaves
- Brown tips and edges
- Curling leaves
Reviving Peperomia From a Cold Stress
First, you need to prune the damaged parts to leave room for new, healthy ones. After that, relocate your plant to a warmer area.
It’s best to place it in a place away from insulated doors or windows as well as vents. You can also put it near a heater.
However, make sure that there’s an adequate distance between the heater and the peperomia to avoid burning it.
8 – Overfertilization
Yes, we just told you to fertilize your peperomia. However, if you’re overfertilizing your plant, it causes more harm than good.
Overfertilization increases the amount of salt in the soil. This pulls out the water in the soil, decreasing the amount of water the roots should be absorbing.
Signs of Overfertilizing a Peperomia
- White, salty crusts forming on the surface of the soil
- The plant will appear dehydrated
- Yellowish, drooping leaves
- Brown tips
Treating an Overfertilized Peperomia
Like we always do, you need to prune the damaged parts first with disinfected scissors. Then, flush the soil with water to remove all the excess salt in it.
As an alternative, you can repot your peperomia in a container with a new potting mix. Avoid fertilizing your peperomia for a couple of months.
When this period is over, you’ll need to be more careful with fertilizing.
Once a month is more than enough during the growing season. In winter, avoid fertilizing it at all.
It’s essential to use a water-soluble fertilizer and make sure to follow the diluting instructions on the package.
Lastly, always water your plant well before applying the fertilizer.
Here you have it, eight possible answers to your peperomia dying. We recommend you start saving your plant right away before things get out of hand.
Don’t lose hope in your plant. Remember, if the damage is severe, you can prune the plant but not more than 50% of the rootball or the leaves.
Then, you should start the treatment at once. Good luck saving your little buddy!
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.