A peppy little houseplant, peperomia is the rabbit of the plant world, producing plenty of plantlets with no problem — except where to put them all.
Baby rubber plant, Peperomia obstusifolia, has small but thick deep-green leaves on sturdy stems that grow to create a central mound and then hang down the sides of a planter. The drooping branches are the ones to pinch off and place in a glass of water until they grow roots and can be planted in potting soil. One large plant can produce dozens of new plants in a year. Potted in a small container — even a coffee mug — young peperomia sprouts can be found at plant sales and holiday fairs, good places to find new homes for all the mother plant’s offspring.
This bouncy little plant started out as a ground cover in the rainforest of Brazil, so for optimum growth, it prefers a bright but filtered exposure, but anywhere there is light, even artificial, is OK. Peperomia will produce its long, thin, mouse-tail spike of a flower stalk even in a north window.
Peperomia is much admired for its shiny, sometimes fuzzy feeling leaves, but they can accumulate dust more quickly than smooth leafed plants. The softness of the leaves is unusual, so children like to touch this plant. They can assist in caring for peperomia by brushing its leaves clean of dust with a soft artist’s brush. The leaves and stems of peperomia are not considered harmful to children or pets.
P. caperata, another type of peperomia, has deeply crinkled, very dark green leaves. Dust can accumulate in the crevices of the leaves, and they should be brushed clean occasionally.
Let the soil of a peperomia go dry between watering and don’t bury the trunk of the plant if it rises above the soil line. Feed the plant monthly with liquid fertilizer or once a quarter with a plant food spike. Peperomia rarely needs replanting, but when it does, a time release fertilizer can be used for the first three to six months.
Peperomia is virtually pest-free. Its only enemy is overwatering. If that happens and the central plant begins to rot, cut off the still healthy side stems for rooting and throw away the rotting plant. Use light potting soil that drains well when potting the new shoots.
To keep peperomia full and bushy, pinch back any leggy stems. New growth will appear above the cut end of the stalk. The cuttings can be used to start another colony of Peperomia.
With the endless passion for organic living, I - Ann Sanders has come up with the idea of creating A Green Hand. Being the founder and editor of A Green Hand, my goal is to provide everyone with a wide range of tips about healthy lifestyle with multiform categories including gardening, health & beauty, food recipe,...