Peperomia Obtusifolia: Pretty Little Pepper Face

Ed Wike
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Overview

Peperomia are super easy to root, which is great if you don’t have a green thumb!

Watering: Peperomia do well when you alternated between watering and allowing the plant to dry in between watering. If you overwater your plant, it will experience root rot, which can kill the plant. The root rot will usually appear at the base of the plant, where the rhizome and the roots connect. This is where the plant takes up water.

Light: Piperomia prefer light shade, but will tolerate low-light conditions. At minimum, Peperomia prefer filtered sunlight. Use a south-facing window. This will fully expose the leaves to the sun and allow the leaves to grow fuller. If you don’t have a south-facing window, then some indirect sunlight will do.

Temperature: Peperomia like a warm temperature in the house. In fact, like many plants, their ideal temperature is around 80 degrees in the house. If you are not able to provide this temperature several times a week, then try to provide it at least weekly.

All About Pepper Face

Pepper Face (Peperomia obtusifolia) … a perfect little plant for any desk or tabletop in your home. It can take bright indirect to medium light and should be watered and fertilized evenly. It likes to be evenly watered. It has variegated green and white leaves that are shaped like little hearts. The variegated effect makes Pepper Face a brilliant addition to any home’s interior whether for a fun pop of color or a low maintenance houseplant.

Summer is the best time to grow this plant. Although, you can still grow Pepper Face in the winter.

PH Requirements: 5.8 to 7.0

Water Requirements: Low

Light Requirements: Bright indirect to medium light

Varieties of Peperomia Obtusifolia

This plant is an indoor perennial that is native to Central and South America. The collective term for the Peperomia obtusifolia is perimos.

All of the various Peperomia obtusifolia have very similar features. They are have a slightly succulent body and small, pointed leaves that are arranged in groups of three. The leaves on this plant turn red when it is dying or under stress. Peperomia plants can be grown as either a vine or a shrub. Your plant will grow staunchly in either direction, based on what your conditions are.

They do need decent draining soil and lots of sunlight. They do not grow very fast, so they can take a while to reach their maximum size.

Large Peperomia obtusifolia plants are usually 18 inches high, however it can grow much taller. This plant will grow up to 36 inches tall.

If your plant is growing tall, gently tuck in the tallest stems. This plant does like to be pruned once every few months to a year. Be sure to add some fertilizer to keep the leaves and veins pink.

Caring For Your Baby Rubber Plant

With so many plants out on the market, some of them can appear more exotic than they are, and many of them can be a bit confusing when it comes to special care requirements. People are sometimes anxious to give them special attention, but nothing you do for your baby rubber plant will help it thrive, if you treat it like one type of plant when in fact it is another.

The pepper face plant (Peperomia obtusifolia) is one of the prettiest plants in the rubber plant family and can be found in abundance in many homes. It presents us with a unique challenge unlike the other rubber plants. Be sure to carefully read the following care tips to keep your baby rubber plant happy and healthy.

Light & Temperature

Peperomia is a small genus of houseplants native to tropical America. There are ca 122 species of this plant, with 22 species originally found in Ecuador alone.

Today, they can be cultivated worldwide in warmer regions.

Peperomia is known for its soft, narrow, small leaves and comes in a variety of forms and sizes.

With root and stem succulents, Peperomia can handle warm or cooler temperatures, ranging from the low 40s to upper 70s. Ideally, for maximum growth, plants should be kept in 60– to 65– F at night, and 70– to 80– F during the day.

Light levels are another determining factor in your Peperomia’s health.

Because they are indoor plants they will not be exposed to the feeble sunlight and weak, indirect light that they require.

Therefore, direct light in your home or office will probably be the only source of light they get. For this reason, you should place the plant at a location where it will still receive adequate light levels.

Some plants in this genus prefer meager light or little light, but the majority of them (especially the varieties with variegated leaves) need to be kept under bright light in order to thrive well.

Water & Humidity

Peperomia are native to the low areas of tropical rain forests. Therefore, these low growing plants do best if kept slightly moist at all times. You must not allow the pots to sit in water, but neither should they be allowed to completely dry out.

The key here is to maintain consistent, light moisture. You want to avoid any cycles of dryness and saturating. If you notice the plant beginning to shrivel, you are keeping it too dry. If it begins to wrinkle and look leathery, you are keeping it too wet.

Humidity should stay consistently around 50% and can be regulated with a vaporizer or humidity tray. These plants that like moist air, but it is crucial to avoid giving them too much water or the roots will rot.

Soil

Water, Light, Temperature, and Feeding.

Peperomia obtusifolia is an easy, low-maintenance plant that grows well with little attention. Keep your plant on the moist side, neither too dry or too wet.

This plant can grow in dimly lit or no-light conditions as well as bright, direct light conditions. Peperomia obtusifolia thrives in temperatures between 68 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit (20 and 28 degrees Celsius).

Plant your Peperomia obtusifolia in an area with a temperature above 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius) during the day and with a nighttime temperature drop down into the mid-50’s Fahrenheit.

This plant is somewhat drought-tolerant, meaning the soil will dry out between watering. However, it will thrive in moist soil. When purchasing, check to make sure the plant’s soil is damp. If not, place it in a tray with warm water to rehydrate the soil before placing it in its permanent home.

When watering, make sure the water drains from the tray, but do not allow water to sit on the surface of the soil.

Fertilizer

Peperomia obtusifolia is a relatively easy plant to maintain, which means it doesn't need fancy fertilizers, just something that is easily accessible to the average person.

A general 10-10-10 fertilizer is sufficient and will do the trick. Weekly fertilizing is sufficient, and usually a diluted application is required. However, once a month, a 10-10-10 soluble fertilizer should be used.

A common concern amongst plant owners is that they over fertilize the plant. However, this is not true. Over-fertilization is not possible when using general fertilizer.

In fact, the only reason to fertilize plants once a month is to provide an extra boost to the nitrogen in the plant.

Over-fertilization will not occur when a general 10-10-10 fertilizer is used daily because they are not highly regulated.

Propagation

Ideally, you will need another pepperomia to plant into the five gallon bucket. If you can't get your hands on another pepperomia, you will be able to purchase one from your nursery. However, you will need to double pot this plant so you can move it outside for the summer as well.

Follow the instructions for your five gallon bucket, the individual instructions, and the double potting instructions. The pepperomia obtusifolia leaf will grow into two smaller leaves, and then out 3-7 side shoots.

You can either leave these on the plant, removing the original leaf, and allowing the plant to grow a 2nd two leaved stage but this can slow the plant's growth. You can remove the top 2 leaves and letting the plant grow the 3-7 side shoots, but the plant will be "open" and will need more frequent watering.

The 2nd method is preferred.

You will then have a 5 gallon bucket with one solid pepperomia plant and multiple side shoots and you can then put the plant directly into the ground. The leaves will grow at a slower pace than if you put it directly in the ground, but the plant will be healthier and less stressed.

Keep in mind that even under optimal conditions, the leaves will be smaller, and break more, when a plant is grown from seed.

Pruning

Peperomia, also known as Piper Lilies, Pepper Face, or Cell phone plants, are native to South and Central America. While some types of Peperomia are carnivorous, the Peperomia Obtusifolia isn’t. Peperomia is grown for its sturdy, glossy leaves and pretty small flowers.

Peperomia Obtusifolia has become a popular houseplant because of its unique appearance and ability to thrive in areas with limited light, small spaces and different temperatures.

Unlike other houseplants, Peperomia Obtusifolia doesn’t need strong, full-spectrum light or large amounts of water to thrive. Instead, it prefers bright indirect light. If the leaves of your Peperomia begin to turn white or yellow, it may be a sign that it is getting too much direct sun and needs more light. It prefers night temperatures between 60 and 70 F and day temperatures between 68 and 75 F.

Problems

Peperomia Obtusifolia care can be difficult.

Although it's a popular patio plant in warmer climates, it can seem wilted and sickly almost all the time if it is not getting the care it needs.

The frequent problem with this plant is overwatering. It thrives when the roots are under moist conditions, but you need to avoid letting the plant soil stay wet for long periods. This is especially true in a pot.

Flowers may not develop if the plant is wet to the point of rotting the leaves.

Another issue is keeping this plant indoors out of direct sunlight. This is supposed to be an unobtrusive little plant, but the leaves will burn and shrivel in too much light. A light exposure where the leaves are the color they are supposed to be is ideal. Another problem is a lack of adequate humidity. Too much air conditioning or dry outdoor air during the winter and spring can prevent the plant from flourishing.

The growing environment is important, but the real key is good old-fashioned TLC. The real problem with Peperomia Obtusifolia care is the plant is not receiving the care or attention it needs.

Growing Problems

If you have never heard of them, Peperomia are small houseplants from the family Piperaceae. They usually grow from 3 to 12 inches tall. Commonly found in areas like Mexico and South America, Peperomia plants are easy to please houseplants. Though, there are a few issues that are likely to arise with Peperomia plants.

Excess water can make the Peperomia go limp. Gently press some of the soil of the pot and if it feels completely wet, then give the plant some dry time. Try to avoid overhead watering, as this can stress the plant, it might also lead to root rot.

If there is not enough water, you will notice the soil is dry and it isn't making you feel moist. The plant can be stimulated by a bit of misting. Be careful not to overdo this, because Peperomia doesn't like water on its leaves. A good idea is to set the plant on an inch of pebbles, this will help to form a "moat" around the plant. It is always best to check and see if the water is draining from the saucer regularly. If it is staying full, then you know you are overwatering the plant.

Pests

Diseases, and Disorders can be Avoided.

Peperomia obtusifolia is nicknamed the pepper face plant, or the vase plant, because of the unique, shallow indentations on the leaves. Many people enjoy the plant, because its small size makes it easy to care for. This guide will help you to care for this plant to ensure the best growth and health.

The peperomia plant can suffer from the same diseases and disorders that other indoor plants may suffer from. It can be attacked by red spiders, so watch out for those. It can get powdery mildew if you forget to water it enough. With these simple guidelines, you can avoid a lot of problems before they start.

Temperature wise, it likes temperatures about 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit. This is generally acceptable for any indoors location. For growing outside it will need a spot where the temperature ranges from 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit, which is a little warmer than the average home temperature.

This plant doesn’t need a lot of light. It is better to place the plant in a spot that gets very indirect sunlight than a spot that’s too bright. It is susceptible to heat damage. When you place the plant in a full sun area full of heat, the leaves can burn. It is fine if the sun only hits the leaves for a bit and then leaves the plant in a welcomed shade.

Diseases

The most common diseases you can suffer from having Peperomia obtusifolia are gray mold, brown spots, distorted leaves, Leaf spots and Black leaves.

Gray mold can be treated by depriving the plant of light. It helps to go weak and infrequently, and the temperature should be kept low.

You Can Propagation by Removing a Young Plant and Replanting It into Soil and Growing It into a New Plant

Peperomia obtusifolia has a small narrow leaf that can be easily recognized. It has green leaves bluish edges and a unique habitat;

If the root is damaged or cut, the plant will eventually wither and die, even if you have fresh water.

Frequently Asked Questions

What it lacks in size, this little plant makes up for in its many qualities. Peperomia are not the easiest to grow as compared to other house plants. But if you take care of it the right way, it will flourish and reward you with lots of new leaves.

Peperomia stems are succulent, woody, and contain latex.

Its leaves are dark green in color, heart-shaped, and run in opposite direction along the stem.

You will most likely find them in shades of green, and occasionally, you will find them in other colors like red or yellow.

They are typically between 3 and 5 inches in length.

The flowers on Peperomia are tiny but they have a pleasant aroma. They feature white petals and purple-red stamens.