Botanical Name: Peperomia caperata
A member of the Piperaceae family, this compact plant has short stems covered by heart-shaped, deeply ridged leaves. The leaves are green, sometimes with a blush of red, and dark green veins.
In summer or fall, you may see slender flower spikes that look like rat's tails.
Peperomia is easy to grow and usually trouble-free.
Don't overwater. The only thing that really bothers this plant is soggy soil. Allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. Water sparingly in winter. Wilting leaves is likely because drainage is poor and its roots are not getting enough oxygen.
Repot in spring, only when the plant has outgrown its pot. Move it into a container that's only slightly larger, because a container that's too big will hold too much water and may cause root rot. Also, be sure to use a container with a drainage hole.
Leaf drop may be caused by a build-up of salts in the soil from soft water or too much fertilizer. You can see accumulated salts as a white crusty deposits on the surface of the soil. Fortunately, it's easy to flush out excess salts.
How to flush out salts: Pour plenty of room-temperature water over the soil, drenching the soil and allowing the excess water to drain out of the drainage holes for several minutes. Then pour more water. Empty the drainage tray.
Its textured leaves and low-growing mound of foliage make it an ideal addition to a dish garden or a terrarium.
Height: 8 in (20 cm)
Light: Low to bright light. No direct sun. Peperomia thrives under fluorescent grow lights, making it a good choice for an office plant.
Water: Keep soil barely moist. Allow the top inch of soil to dry between waterings. Water less in winter, allowing the top half of the soil to dry out between waterings.
Humidity: Moderate -- around 40-50% relative humidity
Temperature: Average room temperatures 65-75°F/18-24°C
Soil: Light potting mix that contains perlite or sand to help drainage. Peperomia likes some air around its roots.
Fertilizer: Feed monthly spring through fall with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted by half.
Propagation: Take leaf cuttings in spring.
Protect this plant from direct sunlight. Light from an east- or north-facing window works best.
It also thrives under fluorescent light, making it a good office plant.
The most common variety is 'Emerald Ripple' with a compact growing habit... 'Variegata' has white leaves with a splash of green. Some have reddish-green leaves, such as 'Red Luna'.
Choose a plant with the leaf colors and patterns that you like. They're all easy to grow.
Running out of space for your house plants? Indoor plant stands may be just the solution. Take a look at these new ways to display your indoor plants.