Peperomia: Growing Radiator Plants And Baby Rubber Plants

Ed Wike
Written by
Last update:

Peperomia Overview

Peperomia plants are often labeled as houseplants. These plants are usually small, very decorative, and many of them look like something you might find in your garden. Peperomia plants are known as radiator plants in the plant world.

When they are not actively growing, they look like dead plants. During growing season, these plants in the Peperomia genus have pointed leaves that form a rosette, with stems growing from the center of the plant. With flowers that come in a wide variety of colors, Peperomia plants are good for offices and bedrooms and are a good choice for growing in the house if you live in a dry region.

Botanists have identified nearly 400 species of Peperomia plants. This plant genus is part of the Piperaceae plant family.

Some of the most common of these plants are P. porta-venti, which is known as the baby rubber plant, and P. karvinskiana, which is also known as the peacock orchid. In this article, we will take a close look at Peperomia plants and how you can use them to increase the humidity of your house or office.

Types Of Peperomia

There are two main types of peperomia plants: the baby rubber plant, most commonly known as the peperomia plant, and the radiator plant (also called baby rubber plant).

Baby rubber plants (Peperomia obtusifolia) are also called peperomia. This is because of the indentation that the fruit has, which looks like a small rubber ball. The radiator plant is also known as P. adelae. It has white markings on the sides of its leaves and is often grown in pots that are about an inch thick (about 3.8 cm). The plants can take the hot water from the radiators if the soil is dry.

As the plants grow in the houses, they often suffer from over or under watering. Hard water can also cause problems to the plants. The simplest solution is to let the plant grow in pots. One should not use the water from the tap in case the water contains chemicals. The peperomia likes moist soil, but the excess water should be drained to allow the excess water to evaporate.

The color of the leaves can be changed to yellow, red or purple as the plant matures. The best colors are obtained when the pots are kept in a shaded place.

Peperomia Care

Peperomia are a genus of flowering plants that are widely known and propagated as houseplants. There are hundreds of unique species of Peperomia, but the most common include P. piperata, P. lobata, P. orbifiora, and P. simulans poilanei. Most of the Peperomia are native to Tropical America, but some species are also found in northern Africa.

Peperomia are often confused with the most common of all houseplants: the philodendron. Here are some easy growing tips for Peperomia to get you started on growing your own plants.

Know Your Peperomia

The Peperomias come in a wealth of different leaf shapes and colors. Some are variegated, as if by magic, with irregular splashes of white or cream all over their leaves. Others are lined, patterned, or mottled.

These plants are fast growing and can be easily grown by anyone. Also, this makes a great houseplant for the beginner.

Simply begin with a small piece of stem, the size of a pencil at most. Water each of these stems once a week by putting the plant in a bowl and letting the water cover about half or 2/3 of the pot.

Treat the plant as you would any other houseplant.

Light

Peperomia thrives under partial shade.

However, be careful to avoid direct sunlight. Indirect sunlight is the ideal setting for the plants, as it enhances their stems’ color and texture and keeps their leaves from drying out.

The amount of sunlight your plant receives will also determine the number of hours it spends outdoors. It’s better to plant peperomia outside during the warmest months to allow it to soak up as much sun as possible. In cooler months, move your plant indoors so it can continue to produce a healthy amount of growth.

Temperature

Peperomia thrive in temperatures between 72 and 82 degrees. It is important not to let the temperature drop below 65 degrees. To do this you can use a room thermometer. If for some reason the temperature of your home drops below this mark you can always add an electric heater to your room to help raise the temperature.

Water

Ing Peperomia: How Often, and When to Water Baby Rubber Plants

If you have a Peperomia plant, they can be a great little houseplant to grow if you like the idea of indoor plants but don’t have a lot of space. Also, they are quite easy to grow and maintain. So it’s really no wonder that many houseplant beginners choose this plant as their first indoor garden.

A well cared for Peperomia can live for a very long time, and can bloom when it gets older and happy. Sometimes you will see a Peperomia that has some large beautiful flowers on it. Most of these plants are called Peperomia caperata varieties.

A houseplant care routine for Peperomia requires that you take care of some basic plant needs. Most people who grow a Peperomia peperomioides variety, commonly called baby rubber plant, just water them about once a month. The exception to this would be if you plant this houseplant in a very brightly lit area. In that case, it would benefit from more frequent watering.

Soil

Want to grow some little houseplants that you can display in your windows to brighten up your home and darkens spaces? Peperomia is something you should try out. This kind of plant is also known as the radiator plant or even the baby rubber plant.

Peperomia needs moisture constantly, so you need to be sure to use mixtures of soil and perlite to make sure it doesn’t get too damp for long. If you’re making your own soil mixture, you should use equal parts of (1) organic shavings, (2) hydroton, and (3) peat, and mix all these ingredients well.

What is the Difference Between a Peperomia and a Rubber Plant?

A peperomia is a plant that belongs to the Piperaceae family. The name is a class of plant with a single genus such as the family of the Piperaceae which also includes the genus Peperomia. There are approximately over 300 species of the genus Peperomia. All of them are native to the tropical jungles of South America. The most popular of these species are the short houseplants. The plants are characterized by their round leaves, unique shape.

Fertilizer

Peperomia gets plenty of light. Be sure that the light is strong enough to support the plant but not too much that it will burn the leaves.

You need to water the Peperomia regularly, but allow the plant to have some dry spells. Watering regularly and fertilizing with plant food with a high potash number and a dilute watering regime will help to feed the plant.

If you notice that the leaves of the plant are starting to turn yellow or the plant is drooping, the most likely cause is that the plant is getting too much or too little water.

If you see the plastic growing mounts, you know that the plant needs more water. You may want to increase the watering frequency temporarily to encourage the growth of the new leaves.

To help your plant produce a baby rubber plant, stop fertilizing your plant a week before the baby rubber plant is ready to come out. The nutrients or the fertilizer may encourage the baby rubber plant to come out before it is the time.

You can tell a rubber plant is ready to come out by the leaves of the rubber plant. It will start to look like it is too big for the plant. You will see the leaves start to bind together and fall out. A new rubber baby is born.

Propagation

When it comes to propagation in the peperomia family, you should know that it is most common during the warm summer months.

Peperomia: How To Grow Radiator Plants And Baby Rubber Plants

Peperomia: Propagation

The best time to propagate is in the summer or fall. They are nearly impossible to propagate in the winter.

Propagation is very easy.

In fact, this plant is considered one of the easiest plants in the world to propagate because it can be grown from the leaves, which are called the "fronds."

There Are Two Methods of Propagation

1: Cuttage

2: Leaf Cuttage

Cuttage is easiest method. The best peperomia to cut is one that is in the middle of the plant. You DO NOT want to cut a very young leaf or a very old one. You are looking to get a frond that has two leaf stalks. If you have a perfectly healthy leaf cut off the leaf that is above the place that you want to cut. Ensure the leaf is not too young as this may result in the peperomia to rot.

If this happens, don't be alarmed as it is not the norm, as long as you are not overwatering the plant. A rot this is caused by lack of water.

Repotting

If you are really keen to enrich the growth of your Peperomia plants, it is best to repot them using a soil-based compost. In the growing process, the plants should be repotted in different containers, until it reaches the size you would like it to be. Then, it can stay in one pot for the rest of its life.

You can repot a Peperomia plant, when the roots start growing from the sides of the pot. When you repot a Peperomia, dig out the plant gently, avoiding any damage to the roots. Typically, the roots of a Peperomia, start growing from the sides of the pot, and increase in size to reach the bottom of it.

Once the plant is removed from the pot, you should remove any dead or dying leaves from the stem, in order to encourage some new growth from the tip. The new growth of the Peperomia happens from the tips of the stems, which is why it is important to remove the old leaves.

Once finished, place the peperomia in the new container, and fill it with a well-draining potting mix. Seal any gaps in the drain holes in the bottom of the container with pebbles. This is necessary, since Peperomia grow easily even in small spaces.

Pruning

Peperomia is generally an easy and forgiving plant. They can handle neglect and are great beginner plants.

Peperomia like diffused sunlight from a south facing window or grow lights over their frosted plant. They like to be moist, too, but they do not like being sitting in wet soil, especially during the winter months.

Although they will grow in moderately low light, in higher light, the trichomes (the shiny black bumps that cover the leaves) will grow down the sides of the leaves giving them color.

Peperomia are small plants, so start out with a small pot and transplant them once they are about 4-6” tall into a slightly larger pot.

Make sure to allow the soil to dry out between waterings. It is better for the plant to be slightly dry than wet. Peperomia are slow growers, so you do not need to repot them very often. Repotting in the spring is fine for these plants.

There is one drawback to this native of South America. They drop lots of leaves. Usually once a month, you should check the roots to make sure none are rotting. If the root system is decaying, the plant will become sick and will drop new leaves to conserve energy. Cut the plant off at the base and repot in fresh soil with a different potting medium.

Peperomia Problems

Peperomia roots don’t like being disturbed. They have poor aeration, which means they won’t survive if transplanted to a different pot too often.

Peperomia likes to feel snug, so they don’t survive well in ultra-light, ultra-small pots and plant trays, either.

And being a tropical plant, they won’t thrive in our homes if left on a counter or bookshelf.

They need conditions that give them more “bang” for their living space. Radiators are the best heat source if you can give them enough space and keep them away from drafty areas.

Because peperomia grow best in higher humidity, you can set a pan of water under the radiator to further increase the humidity and raise the temperature if needed.

Baby Rubber plants do best under a curtain of water. They love water “ in fact, they practically drown if it’s not cascading over them. Baby Rubber plants grow best if you mist their leaves regularly and display them in the bathroom or near a water source.

Growing Problems

Have you ever thought that you will never be able to grow peperomia and other succulent plants yourself? All you need to do is just follow the steps given below!

As most of you know, peperomia plants are easy to grow, and one among the easy houseplants to grow indoors during winter. But peperomia is also a wonderful plant that will grow pretty well in hot weather.

Regarding the problem of having a peperomia plant, you should just avoid keeping it in a very sunny spot and also try to keep it away form hot or freezing drafts. Watering it when the soil surface feels dry is necessary, with making it to wet all the time. Fertilizing it regularly will help to make it grow well. If you buy a very old plant from a nursery, however, it is better for you to repot it before you need to re-pot it in the spring.

The most common problem faced by peperomia owners or growers is the bad looking yellow edges on the leaves. This problem can be solved by increasing the humidity in your house. To do so, just place a tray of wet pebbles underneath the plant, sprays water on the pebbles regularly, and place a humidifier nearby.

Pests

Some common pests of peperomia are aphids, spider mites, whiteflies, mealy bugs, caterpillars, and scale. They can also be infected with fungal leaf spot (Pythium).

The best way to control and prevent pests that attack your Peperomia plants is to keep them healthy and strong. Healthy plants are less likely to fall prey to pest attacks.

Remove any leaves that are affected by pests and diseases. Control pests by removing the affected leaves and rinsing off your plant under running water.

Remove severely damaged leaves and place in a tobacco can, and then set a light to the tobacco can – and let it burn.

Alternatively, throw the affected plant parts into your compost pile. Pests and diseases thrive in moist environments. This is why you need to help your Peperomia plants grow in a well ventilated place.

Place your Peperomia near the fan. This should dry up the soil around the plant roots in a quick pace. When the plants are dry; the pests will die.

Keep weeds away from your Peperomia plants. Remove them before they spread their seeds around. Peperomia plants are very susceptible to disease and pests when they get around.

Diseases

The most common problem with peperomia is overwatering. They prefer to be on the slightly drier side (not dry) but can have problems when they get too much water too fast.

Beneficial insects will sometimes flock to the underside of leaves looking for honey dew. Many gardeners don't mind insects as long as the insects are not damaging the plant. Generally, peperomias can withstand loss of leaves without being affected too much. You should immediately say something though if the plant is also dropping leaves from the top as a result of damage or bugs.

Gardeners may occasionally find tiny little red bugs on their peperomias. These are tiny red spiders. Some gardeners think they are cute, however others can be freaked out by their presence. Fortunately, they are not harmful. Just try to kill them if you are freaked out by them and cut back on watering as necessary, as over watering can cause root rot problems.

There are also problems that cause the plant to not thrive or to rot. Overwatering problems will cause root rot. You will notice this in the form of brown spots appearing on the soil surface, roots starting to decay, or mold growth. If you see water on the surface of the soil accumulating for more than an hour, water less. Peperomias should be watered until water starts to drain out the bottom.

Frequently Asked Questions

Peperomia, otherwise known as radiator plant, are members of the Piperaceae family. These succulents are one of the easiest houseplants to grow. The large variety of peperomia houseplants available, demonstrate the diversity in plant shape and color. Although peperomia plants are virtually indestructible, they require minimal light and water conditions.

According to the International Organization for Succulent Plant Study, many peperomia plant care questions can be answered by reading the following information.

Questions:

  • How do I care for a peperomia plant?
  • What type of light does a peperomia plant need?
  • Do I need to water a peperomia plant?
  • How often do peperomia plants need to be watered?
  • How do I care for a rubber plant?
  • How do I care for a baby rubber plant?
  • How can I help my rubber plant grow?
  • How do I water my rubber plant?
  • How do I care for a plant fertilizer a rubber plant?
  • Is it difficult to care for my rubber plant?
  • What is the best temperature for a peperomia plant?