Peperomia is an evergreen perennial with pliable stems and dense leaves that come in a wide variety of colors and shapes. Due to these features and a wide variety of species, peperomia is a desirable specimen for every grower. In order for the plant to grow lush and beautiful, it is worth learning more about the rules for its cultivation and maintenance.
Description of peperomia
Peperomia is represented by herbaceous species and dwarf shrubs with dense, drooping stems. Belongs to the Pepper family. In natural conditions, it lives in the tropics and subtropics, both in forests and on the territory of rocky areas. Sometimes epiphytes are found among peperomias. The culture is distinguished by a relatively fast growth rate (an increase of about 12 cm per year). The total height of the species is 25-55 centimeters. The leaves are petiolar, growing along the entire length of the shoots in a checkerboard pattern. The shape of the leaf plates in different varieties differs from each other. So, the leaves are simple, and they are fleshy. Color – from light green, turquoise to dark green. Also sometimes there are peperomias with silver, gold and bronze uneven stripes on the surface of the leaves.
Despite the fact that it is the leaves of the culture that carry the main decorative value, peperomia is also capable of blooming. The flowering season of the plant occurs in spring and summer when inflorescences in the form of ears of light green, beige or pinkish hatch from the depths of the axils of the apical leaf plates. But peperomia can bear fruit only in the wild. Certain types of insects pollinate the culture. The fruits of the plant are spherical berries with small seeds inside, which are very easily separated from the stem.
Types and varieties of peperomia
The total number of species diversity of peperomia is 1161 species. Moreover, certain varieties can be completely different in appearance. And at home, you can only grow 10-20 representatives of the genus.
The homeland of this herbaceous culture is distant Ecuador. Its erect stem is colored burgundy-brown and is covered with fine nap over the entire surface. The leaves grow on petioles 1 centimeter long. The leaves are almost round, growing alternately, rich green. There are about 10 veins on the top of the leaves. The surface of the leaf is most often velvety, sometimes simple. During the flowering period, spikelet inflorescences about 7-8 centimeters long appear on the apical leaf plates.
This herbaceous perennial is often found in the tropical jungles of South America. Its foliage is fleshy, growing on medium-length petioles in regular order. The color of the leaf blades is dark green with a red undertone and dark purple edging. The shape of the leaves resembles an expanding wedge with a blunt end. The total dimensions of each sheet are 15 x 8 centimeters (length and width, respectively). Variegata, which is distinguished by very variegated, but not so fleshy leaves, belongs to the peperomia of the clusielist. So, in the zone of veins, the leaves are rich green, yellow in the center, and light red along the perimeter of the edge.
Peperomia reddish (Peperomia rubella)
Peperomia reddish is a branched herbaceous crop with fragile red stems. The leaves of the species are relatively small, in shape they resemble an elongated ellipse. Each shoot grows 4 opposite leaves. Leaves are two-colored: green above and red below. Peperomia reddish is recognized as a highly decorative perennial culture.
Peperomia multi-spotted (Peperomia maculosa)
In the wild, multi-spotted peperomia is most often found in the foothills of the tropics of South and Central America. The culture is herbaceous, perennial. Its stems have an unusual color – there are many brown blotches on a green background. The leaf plates have a shiny surface, oval in shape and do not grow on petioles, but from the base of the stem. The total length of the leaf is about 20 centimeters, the shade is deep green with cream veins. Spike-shaped inflorescences are long, purple in color.
Peperomia marble (Peperomia marmorata)
Peperomia marble is a low herbaceous perennial that grows mainly in Brazil. The plant rather looks like a sprawling shrub of compact size. The shape of the leaves resembles a heart, their color is dark green with beige veins. The veins are thicker at the base of the leaves than at the edges.
Peperomia creeping (Peperomia serpens)
Peperomia creeping is another herbaceous perennial that is found in the humid tropical jungles of Latin America. Depending on the variety, the shoots of the species can be erect, recumbent, or flowing. The leaves are alternate, growing on short petioles, their shape is oval with an arcuate cut at the base. The color of the foliage also varies (there are species with green leaves, and there are varieties with variegated leaves). At home, creeping peperomia, like some types of plectranthus, is most often grown as an ampelous indoor flower.
Pleasant peperomia (Peperomia blanda)
Peperomia is pleasant – another inhabitant of the tropical forests of the South American continent. It is also a perennial plant. Differs in straight stems with a thick soft bristle. The leaves of the culture are comparatively small, ovoid, growing three to four pieces opposite each other. The total size of the sheet plates is 4 x 1.5 centimeters. Their outer part is bright green, and the lower part is reddish.
It is an indigenous Brazilian inhabitant, which is a perennial shrub or herbaceous species up to 50 centimeters high. The surface of its shoots is covered with small villi. Leaves are fleshy, also pubescent, dense, oval in shape. The width of each sheet is about 5 centimeters.
In its natural habitat, silvery peperomia is found in the forested regions of northern South America. Among the species diversity of culture, there are both epiphytes and land cultures. The leaves grow on long red petioles (about 10 centimeters in length), have a smooth surface, fleshy texture and about 10 green veins with cream lines between them.
Peperomia wrinkled (Peperomia caperata)
Shriveled peperomia is a low-growing shrub with a height of only 9-10 cm. It has a basal rosette, from which leaves grow on petioles of a pinkish tint. Each sheet has multiple veins, which seem depressed from the top, and convex from the bottom. The leaf plates themselves are rich green, and the veins are brown. In summer, white spike-shaped inflorescences grow on the tops of the stems, which also have a decorative value.
Another South American tropical inhabitant, which is represented by both terrestrial and epiphytic species. Its stems are covered with pile, and the smooth oval leaves are oval in shape with a blunt end and grow alternately. In length, leaf plates rarely exceed 13 cm, and in width, as a rule, reach 5-6 cm. A large number of varieties belong to the genus of blunt-leaved peperomia.
This large, spreading shrub is distinguished by branched stems that grow vertically at a young age, and over time become heavy and turn into cascading ones. The leaves grow in clusters of 4-5 pieces, are ovoid with a blunt nose and measure 5 x 3 centimeters. Veins are clearly visible on the surface of the leaves. The color of the foliage is deep green with grayish or pink uneven spots.
Peperomia Rosso is a medium-sized shrub with dense leaves and thick stems. Leaves grow in whorls of several pieces. This culture is recognized as highly decorative, due to the unusual color of its foliage. So, the outer part of the leaf plates is rich green, and the seamy part is bright red. Peperomia Rosso can only bloom in the wild.
This highly decorative crop is a beautiful bush with heart-shaped leaves. The leaves of the species are quite unusual: they are convex in the area between the veins and are painted in more saturated color. In addition, the leaf plates grow very densely, have a glossy surface and are dense enough, which makes the shrub look like a solid ball. During the flowering season, long stalks with thick, elongated inflorescences with a denser upper part grow on the tips of the shoots. Their color is white-green or milky, and from a distance, the inflorescences can be confused with lilies.
The vertical shoots of this culture are very branching, devoid of pubescence and have a red tint. Small dense petiole leaves with a shiny surface grow along the entire length of the shoots. In shape, the leaf plates resemble ovals with a thickened end. Their color is predominantly green, but there are varieties with yellowish or silver stains.
Peperomia whorled is an excellent ampelous indoor plant, as it has long flowing shoots with dense, neat leaves. Leaves of uniform green color, growing in clusters, petioles are absent. Spikelet inflorescences appear with the arrival of summer.
Reproduction methods of peperomia
Indoor peperomias can be propagated in two ways: generatively (by seeds) or vegetatively (stem cuttings, leaves or cuttings). Seed propagation is considered the most time consuming method.
Growing from seeds
You can start growing peperomia from seeds with the arrival of spring. First, you need to prepare containers with the correct substrate (a mixture of river sand and leafy soil in the same ratio). It is not necessary to deeply deepen the seeds during sowing. Do not forget to spray the soil immediately after use. Further, the containers are usually covered with polyethylene or transparent glass lid and stored in a dark and warm place. Ventilate the seedlings regularly and feed the soil with moisture. When the sprouts have two real leaves, it will be possible to start picking the plants into large boxes with exactly the same soil mixture. They need to be planted at a distance of 2 cm from each other. Now young peperomias need to be provided with good lighting throughout the day. When the bushes get strong plant them in individual containers 7 cm wide. There should be drainage at the bottom of the pot, and the soil should consist of low-lying peat, river sand, turf and leafy soil in a ratio of 2: 1: 1: 2. Further care for the sprouts is the same as for adult specimens.
Propagation by stem cuttings
For this propagation method, both stem and apical shoots with 1-3 nodes can be used. In order for the twigs to take root faster, you need to prepare a soil mixture for them from river sand, peat and humus in equal proportions. Also, the cuttings can be simply put in a glass of water – and in such conditions they will be able to take root. But the cuttings planted in the ground should be covered with foil and put in a warm place. It will take about a month to root. After that, the twigs are planted in personal containers and provided with proper care.
To do this, you will need the smoothest, healthiest, and healthiest leaf. Carefully cut it off with a disinfected knife, keeping the short petiole. In order for the leaf to take root, it is placed in water (remembering to renew it every two days), in peaty-sandy soil or in sphagnum moss. And the container itself is covered and sent to a warm place. After two to four weeks, roots will grow on the leaf petiole. In this form, the leaf is planted in a container 7-8 cm wide and then grown as a full-fledged plant.
Dividing the bush
Only an adult and healthy shrub can be divided into parts. It is also desirable that it be spreading. It is most advisable to deal with dividing the bush in the spring, during transplantation. Peperomia is usually divided into two or three parts, no more. Work carefully so as not to damage the rhizome. The soil for the plots is the same as for the plants to be transplanted (from peat, sand, leafy and humus soil), but only select a smaller pot and do not forget about drainage.
Caring for peperomia is much like caring for a ficus at home. This is a rather unpretentious culture, however, peperomia loves to be kept and grown in a certain environment favorable to it. Then the flower will be as colorful and healthy as possible.
Peperomia is used to living in the bright tropics, where daylight hours are always long. However, it is necessary for the culture to organize diffused lighting. Direct sunlight can cause burns on the leaves. If your windows face south, be sure to shade the curtain at noon. Also, a pot with peperomia can be placed without fear in the corner of the room. But in the case of a northern orientation of the apartment, one should not forget about the organization of additional artificial lighting. Thus, the window sills of the western and eastern windows are considered the best location for the plant. Keep in mind that varieties with variegated leaves are more photophilous than green ones. In late autumn, winter and early spring, all peperomias, regardless of the variety, need illumination.
The temperature regime should be stable and moderate. In summer and spring, 22-23 ° C are considered optimal temperatures. In winter, during the dormant period, it is possible to organize a coolness for the plant at a level of 16-17 ° C, but the temperature should not drop below, since the flower may simply die. Also, gardeners do not recommend taking the pot with peperomia outside during the sultry period of the year. Some species will react calmly to this, but their predominant minority. And don’t forget to protect the plant from drafts.
During the period of active growth and development, peperomia should be watered abundantly. Filtered (or at least settled) slightly warm water is suitable for this. During the dormant period, the watering regime is reduced: it is rarely necessary to water the flower in winter and in small quantities. The common thing is that no matter what time of the year it is in the yard, it is strictly forbidden to overdo it with watering peperomia. It is better to leave the flower for several days without moisture than to fill it with water, otherwise, there is a risk of developing root rot. But the drying and falling of the leaves is a sure sign of a lack of fluid.
Although peperomia is accustomed to living in humid tropical forests, at home, the flower does not need to organize too abundant moisture. However, if you regularly spray the leaves with a spray bottle (especially in hot weather), your green friend will thank you.
As additives, gardeners often use universal mineral fertilizing for decorative deciduous plants. In the warm period of the year, they are brought in 2 times a month, and in the cold – 1 time per month.
Peperomia requires only sanitary pruning and pinching of the apical stems. Thanks to this, the house flower will grow more lush, beautiful and spreading.
Pots of medium height and width are suitable for peperomia. And for transplants, you need to look for a pot that will be 2-3 cm larger than the old one. Drainage from broken brick or expanded clay must be placed on the bottom of the container, and the soil mixture should consist of river sand, peat, humus and sheet soil in a ratio of 1: 1: 1: 2. While the plant is young (up to three years of age), a transplant is done every year. But adult bushes are transplanted at intervals of once every two to three years.
Diseases and pests
The immunity of peperomia is strong enough, so the culture rarely gets sick. Perhaps, illiterate flower care can lead to various kinds of diseases. This mainly concerns the irrigation regime. With excess moisture in the soil, the rhizome of the plant begins to rot, in addition, such an environment is the most favorable for the development and reproduction of pathogens, which, in turn, carry viruses and infections. Leaves are the main indicator of the health of a bush. If you notice changes in their color, shape, density or size, this will be an alarm. The most prominent signs of the disease are spots, wilting and foliage falling. In this case, you need to start treating the green friend immediately.
As for insect pests, the most common attack on peperomia is mealybugs, roundworms, spider mites, scale insects, false scale insects and thrips. The difficulty in identifying them is due to the microscopic size of the parasites. In addition, they often do not settle in plain sight, but, for example, on the wrong side of leaves. Many flower growers recommend periodically treating the plant with folk remedies, which include tobacco infusion and a mixture of water and liquid soap.
This is excellent prophylaxis, as well as first aid in the initial stages of infection. But, if such methods do not give the desired result, you can resort to pharmacy ones. The most effective “exterminators” of insects are fungicides. In addition, it is necessary to adjust the watering regime for a sick flower (water less often), and also to ventilate the room more often. If infected peperomia is adjacent to other indoor plants, it will need to be removed from them. Such a quarantine is simply necessary so that the disease does not spread further.