How to Care for Peperomia

Peperomia is a popular houseplant known for its ease of care and unique foliage. Learn how to care for peperomia to keep it healthy and thriving in your home.

By Tobias Holm
How to Care for Peperomia

Native to various tropical regions around the world, Peperomia is a popular plant with over 1,000 recognized species. With thick, ornamental foliage and variegated designs, this low-maintenance plant is ideal to grow indoors and may be planted at any time of year. Here’s a helpful overview of the Peperomia.

These plants are a perfect pick for beginners—distinguished, beautiful, and, most importantly, hardy. If you’re looking to hone your botanical skills, then the peperomia might be the perfect pick for you. In this article, we’ll discuss the most important care instructions you need to keep in mind to keep your plant happy and healthy.


Peperomia prefer moderate to bright sun for the best coloration on the foliage. Of course, as with many plants, you want to avoid direct sunlight, as this can cause the leaves to burn

Insufficient light can cause fewer leaves to develop, as well as culling already-grown leaves and discoloring the plant. A north or east-facing window is perfect so that the plant can reap the benefit of the indirect sun throughout the morning and, to a lesser extent, the afternoon.


In the wild, peperomia prefer to set their roots in organic decaying matter. These conditions are ideal to their survival, so it’s important to mimic them as closely as possible. You’ll want to opt for orchid potting mix for best results, although it’s perfectly acceptable to use traditional potting soil.

Whatever you choose, the soil should be loose, clumpy, and acidic. Some peat moss can help provide the starter organic materials that peperomia love.


The peperomia stores water in its leaves, which means that you, as a plant parent, don’t need to provide water as often as you might think. In general, it’s always better to keep your peperomia leaning towards the drier side than to risk making the soil soggy.

That principle holds true for almost all plants, since soil that is too moist can overload the root system. The lingering presence of water in the soil can allow bacteria and other organisms to thrive, leading to disease.

Most notably, root rot is a plague that affects nearly all types of plants and is caused by the most common beginner mistake: overwatering.

The amount you will need to water your peperomia will vary based on its size, temperature, humidity, lighting, pot size, soil type, and air circulation, but as a general rule, water every 7-10 days. If the soil isn’t dry, then your peperomia does not need watering.

Temperature and Humidity

Tropical in nature, peperomia prefer environments that are consistently warm and high in moisture. This is especially true during the summer when they bloom.

If applicable, you can place them outside in indirect sunlight during the summer so that they can benefit from the humid air outside. Some people choose to put them near radiators since the plants like the steamy warmth. Of course, you should never put your plant too close lest you risk burning the leaves.

If you live somewhere that has drier air, then it’s well worth taking some extra steps to increase the ambient humidity. A small humidifier in the same room as your peperomia will do the trick, but you can also take the DIY route by following these steps:

  1. Spread small pebbles evenly on a shallow tray.
  2. Fill the tray halfway with water.
  3. Rest the pot in the center of the tray on the pebbles.
  4. Refill the water as needed.

Because the pebbles hold a lot of water, the slow evaporation provides long-lasting humidity, something your peperomia will certainly appreciate, especially during blooming in the summer.


Peperomia are epiphytes, meaning that they naturally prefer to grow on the surface of another plant and derive moisture and nutrients from the accumulated debris.

This relationship is nonparasitic, but it does tell us about the nature of this plants with regard to fertilization, indicating that, for the most part, the planting media is enough to meet a peperomia’s nutritional needs.

With that being said, you can feel free to fertilize biweekly during the growing season from spring to fall using diluted liquid fertilizer or slow-release pellets. Just be certain you avoid fertilizing during the winter since it provides no benefit to your plant.


Peperomia doesn’t need much pruning, but you might want to pay attention in the early months of spring to fix lackluster growths. Take off the end of the ‘bad’ stem' either using your hands or using a pair of hand pruners. Doing so encourages new branching and can offer more lush, vibrant growth during blooming.


Propagating peperomia is pretty easy. Simply follow these steps:

  1. Snip a leaf with an inch of the parent plant stem.
  2. Fill a container with potting soil and place the leaf inside with the snipped end placed down first.
  3. Water regularly, never letting the soil fully dry. Roots will be inbound shortly, and when the plant outgrows its pot, you'll be able to move it safely.

Put your plant in a bright spot with indirect sun and be sure to cover it with plastic wrap to retain moisture.

Growing from a Seed

You will need several things to grow from a seed. Be sure you have the following:

  • Soilless seed starting mix
  • A potting container
  • A warm, sunny spot

Just like the propagule, you simply need to babysit the seed for a few weeks until the plant becomes slightly rootbound. At this point, transfer it to a larger pot and care for it accordingly.

Potting and Repotting

Peperomia prefer being slightly rootbound, meaning that their roots are very slightly cramped in the container. Because they grow slowly and can survive in small containers, you don’t need to expose them to transfer shock if you don’t have to.

When you start to see roots poking from the drainage holes, it’s time to repot into a container just a couple inches bigger. Again, start off strong with a slightly acidic potting mix and organic material like orchid bark.


Peperomia will be dormant during the winter, and they cannot withstand freezing temperatures. As per usual, during the winter, you should make sure your peperomia gets plenty of indirect sun, as well avoiding cold drafts (by the door is not a good place for a plant).

Cut back on your watering routine significantly; remember, the plant is dormant and doesn’t need as much since it’s not growing. Ensure the plant has lots of humidity, either naturally or artificially.

Pests and Diseases

Peperomia can be afflicted by several common bugs that target houseplants, namely mealybugs, aphids, whiteflies, and spider mites.. Check your plant regularly for signs of pests. Common symptoms include the following:

  • Brown or reddish spots on the leaves
  • Dried-out leaves
  • Change in foliage colors
  • Presence of bugs
  • Stunted growth
  • Discoloration
  • Wilting

Overwatering is the most common mistake that causes pests to be attracted to your plants. Pair nutrient-dense soil with a moisture-rich environment, and you’ve got the perfect breeding ground for little pesky insects.

Of course, you can’t always control this attractant since peperomia need a high-moisture environment to thrive. Using a simple, plant-safe insecticide soap is your first line of defense against these pests and can treat most infections readily. Neem oil is another traditional miticide you might consider to rid your peperomia of bugs.

How to Get Your Peperomia to Bloom

As with most plant species, the key to getting your peperomia to bloom is to treat it right year-round. If a plant is malnourished or in a decidedly hostile environment, then the bloom will suffer—or be entirely nonexistent. Treat your peperomia right by providing everything it needs. To recap, that includes:

  • A moisture-rich, high-humidity environment
  • Indirect sunlight
  • Acidic soil (preferably with organic detritus)
  • Adequate water (but not too much!)
  • Infrequent fertilization

Common Beginner Problems

When it comes to plants, the most common problem beginners have is overwatering. Again, it’s important to reiterate that a drier plant is always happier than a soggy plant.

Root rot is particularly nasty and can kill your plant outright if it sets in due to overwatering. As such, always make sure that the soil 1 inch below the surface is dry. At that point, your peperomia is ready to water.

On average, 1-2 cups of water is enough, but you might need less, especially if you’re using a smaller pot. Some plants are very dependent on regular watering—the peperomia? Not so much. If your leaves are yellowing, it’s likely that you’re overwatering your plant and causing it harm.

Final Thoughts

Caring for peperomia isn’t too difficult, and if you treat your plant right year-round, then it will likely bloom in the summer. This gorgeous plant loves indirect sunlight, plenty of humidity, acidic soil, and infrequent watering and fertilizing. Keep the helpful tips above in mind, and you’ll have a gorgeous peperomia blooming in no time.

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