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Radiator plant, Emerald-ripple Peperomia, Baby rubber plant,
Watermelon Peperomia, Yerba linda
Peperomias are hardy, evergreen foliage plants, some of which
are succulents, that do well in homes and offices as well as in
dish and bottle gardens. With hundreds of species, their forms
vary widely, from trailing to bushy to upright varieties. Leaf
shapes and markings are also diverse, with some varieties
featuring smooth, waxy leaves and others ridged, hairy surfaces.
Well-known varieties like P. caperata (emerald-ripple Peperomia)
and P. griseoargentea (ivy-leaf Peperomia) have heart-shaped
With proper care, these plants can live indoors for years.
IN-STORE AND CONSUMER CARE
LIGHT Average indoor light
is sufficient. Keep the plants out of direct sun. Peperomias do
well in fluorescent light.
WATER In spring through
fall, water regularly with tepid water when the soil is dry.
Water less frequently in winter.
HUMIDITY During the summer,
mist the leaves occasionally.
TEMPERATURE Average warm
indoor temperatures are appropriate; avoid temperatures below 55
FERTILIZER Feed twice
monthly with a half-diluted plant food; reduce feedings in
PROPAGATION Plants can be
propagated through stem cuttings (from upright or trailing
varieties) or leaf cuttings (from bushy varieties).
REPOTTING Peperomias are
slow-growing but should be repotted as needed, every one to two
PESTS AND PROBLEMS Watch for
mealybugs, spider mites and whiteflies. Keep plants adequately
hydrated and treat any problems immediately if they occur, by
removal with a cotton swab or insecticide as indicated.
LEAF PROBLEMS Leaf loss can
result if plants are allowed to wilt between waterings or if
light levels are too low. Temperatures that are too low also can
cause leaves to drop. A rapid drop in temperature can result in
brown-tipped leaves. Excessive watering can cause wilted leaves,
discolored stems and edemas, where the leaves show small bumps
(pimples) on their undersides that can take on a corklike
Peperomias are members of the Piperaceae, or pepper, family.
WHAT'S IN A NAME The genus
name comes from the Greek roots “peperi,” meaning “pepper,” and
“homoios,” meaning “resembling.” Peperomias are similar in
appearance to the genus Piper, which yields peppercorns and
HOME SWEET HOME The plants
are native to the tropical Americas—Latin America and northern
BREATHING EASY Peperomias
are among plants that remove air pollutants such as those
FAN FAVORITE P. caperata
(emerald-ripple Peperomia), which features rippled leaves that
can be dark green, reddish or silver gray depending on variety,
is a bushy plant and is the most commonly sold Peperomia
species, according to The Houseplant Encyclopedia.
UNIQUE FLOWERS Some
Peperomias produce long spikes of green to cream-colored
reference describes the stalks as resembling “mouse tails.”
Some information provided by:
Botanica, by R.G. Turner Jr. and Ernie Wasson
The Chain of Life Network®,
The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual, by Barbara Pleasant
The House Plant Expert, by Dr. D.G. Hessayon
The Houseplant Encyclopedia, by Ingrid Jantra and Ursula Krüger
Photos courtesy of The John Henry Company
You may reach Foliage Plant of the Month writer Amy Bauer by
firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (800)
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