What Kind Of Light Do Peperomia Need – Pepperomia obtusifolia is one of my favorite (and easiest!) houseplants to grow. Some common names include Baby Rubber Plant, Radiator Plant, Pepper Face Plant and American Garbage Plant. In this post, I’ll share with you some great care tips including light, watering, fertilizing, soil and pot size, temperature and humidity, flowering, propagation and more!
Before I get into the care tips for this plant, it is important to note that although it is called the Baby Rubber Plant, it is not to be confused with the Elastic Fig, commonly known as the Rubber Plant.
What Kind Of Light Do Peperomia Need
The natural habitat for Peperomia jugis obtusifolia ranges from Florida to much of tropical America (Central America and South America). Its fleshy, thick stems and succulent leaves make it ideal for forgetful indoor gardeners, as it will happily tolerate some neglect.
Peperomia Care: Expert Tips For Thriving Plants
Some of the most common cultivars include Peperomia Jade (which has dark green leaves) and Peperomia obtusifolia Variegata which has bright, variegated leaves.
Although Peperomia species of light plant are often touted as lowly, we must be careful about this term. Unless you just want your Peperomia obtusifolia to just sit there and have thin growth, your plant needs plenty of light.
My plant, which happens to be a variegated cultivar, is growing in front of a large, east-facing window. At this point, it receives direct morning sunlight and has enough bright light available for healthy growth.
Although you don’t want these plants to sit in direct sunlight all day, try and place your plant somewhere it can receive 2-3 hours of direct sunlight either in the morning or late afternoon. This will get a good growth rate.
Complete Peperomia Hope Care
If you have a variegated cultivar like I do, this is especially important so that the plant can retain its beautiful yellow variegation.
As far as window locations go, unless you have overhead fluorescents for several hours all day, you’ll want to avoid these locations. For best growth, you’ll also want to try and avoid locations that are far from a window, or even surrounded by a window.
A friend of mine has a very green version of this plant up the wall to the side of the window. The plant is barely growing at all, and any new leaves are substantially smaller.
It is always important to water your plant and drain any excess water down the drainage hole. Allow at least the top 1/4 of the potting mix to dry out before watering again.
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Because Baby Rubber Plants have thick, succulent leaves, they can easily withstand some drought. You can mix your potion so that you can safely dry it completely, but water your plant well if it reaches that point.
It is best to keep these plants more on the dry side (but when you do water, always water thoroughly)
And please avoid using moisture meters! notoriously inaccurate. I feel so strongly about not using moisture meters that I wrote a post about the dangers of using moisture meters.
My favorite fertilizer that I use with my largest plant collection, including my Peperomia plants, is Dyna-Gro Grow.
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Easily available from Amazon (see below). It’s a urea-free fertilizer that won’t burn your plants, and all the micro and macro nutrients that plants need to thrive.
It is very important to have a suitable pot size and potting mix to have a flowering plant. Since they have fairly small root systems, never mix these plants in a pot too much otherwise the potting will dry out and cause problems for your plants.
My rule of thumb is to only go up one pot size when repotting. For example, if your plant is a 4 inch diameter pot, only go up to a 6 inch diameter pot and no larger.
A great time to repot would be late spring or early summer when your plant is in active growth.
Learn All About Peperomia Care And See All Of My Different Plants!
These plants can stay in the same pot for quite a long time. As long as your plant is still growing well and looks healthy, there is no need to repot it. Eventually as the plant becomes more and more root bound, you may want to consider a larger pot.
Your goal for potting mix is to provide good drainage and allow the potting mix to dry out in a reasonable amount of time.
A potting mix that I like using for any plant in the Peperomia genus is 2 parts all purpose potting mix (Miracle Gro or Espoma mixes very well) mixed with 1 part 1/4″ pumice.
My favorite pumice stone I use is from Bonsai Jack (you can buy it from Amazon below). Mixing your potting mix with this pumice provides the wonderful drainage that these plants enjoy and need.
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If you’re looking for a wonderful potting mix that you can use straight from your Peperomia obtusifolia bag, just check out the tropical succulent mix from Oh Happy Plants. This combo is amazing and you will automatically get 10% off at checkout if you use my link.
To see the step by step storage, check out my Peperomia obtusifolia storage blog site where I show everything with pictures so you can easily follow along.
These plants love warm temperatures, so avoid any areas with cold drafts or cold air. I always say that if you are comfortable in the room, most of your plants will be too.
Try and keep any minimum temperature above 55F (13C). If you move your plant outside, make sure that the temperatures are consistently above this night time.
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Although these plants appreciate higher levels of humidity, they only do well with moderate humidity. If your humidity levels are too low (especially in the winter, if you run forced air conditioning), it is helpful to place your plant on the counter filled with water, or simply use a humidifier.
Whatever you do, don’t obsessively mist these plants. Not only is misting ineffective at increasing humidity (it only wets your leaves), but if you do it, you could also be encouraging fungal diseases.
These plants are grown for their leaves and although they do flower, they are the typical, small white flowers that are very characteristic of Peperomia plants.
The inflorescence is typically long and white, and the flowers themselves are very small and green in color.
How To Grow Peperomia Plants
When my spikes start to bloom, I usually cut them off. I don’t enjoy them, and I can spare them for some of my energy plant scraps.
Propagating this plant is really simple. All you need to do is cut the snip below the node (where it meets the main leaf). Make sure that the cutting has at least two leaves. You would like to remove the notch from the bottom of the leaf.
You can then simply place the cutting in water until it roots, making sure that at least one node is under water. When it has roots that are 1/2 inch long, go ahead and plant them up.
You can also skip the rooting in water and place the cuttings in a small pot. To facilitate rooting, you can uproot each section of the hormone before inserting it into the potting mix.
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Keep the potting mix moist enough to encourage rooting. It is also useful to cover the root cuttings with a clear plastic bag to maintain a moist environment.
These plants are fairly pest free, but can sometimes be prone to spider mites. Check out my blog post on how to treat acne. Sometimes you may also see scale or mealybugs. Treat mealybugs with an insecticidal soap, and check out my blog post on treating scale which can be a tricky pest to get rid of.
In most cases, this will keep your potting mix dry longer. Feel your potting mix and if it is very dry, go ahead and give it a good water. When more attention is paid to proper moisture in the soil, new growth will come in healthy. Whatever leaves have already turned brown in any way does not turn green again.
Yellow leaves can be caused by a variety of reasons. However, they are most often caused by extremes in soil moisture (either too dry or too wet). Wait until the top 1/4 of the soil is dry before watering again. If it is dry, do not water it for too long, otherwise your whole plant will suffer. On the other hand, make sure your plant never sits in water and dry your plant before watering again.
Can Anyone Tell Me What’s Wrong?!
Hairy leaves are usually caused by keeping the potting mix too dry. Try and aim to water your plant after the top quarter of the potting mix is dry, but before it is completely dry.
Over time, as your plant grows taller, your plant may lean and sprawl and require some support. Even under good conditions, support is often necessary. Yes very much
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