Peperomia is a genus consisting of over a thousand species of evergreen plants originating in South America, whether bushy or climbing; few species are native to Africa. The leaves are glossy, fairly thick and rigid, in some cases succulent. Throughout the year, sporadically all species produce very small whitish or pinkish flowers, gathered in compact, erect spikes. Among the most cultivated species we recall Peperomia caperata, with heart-shaped leaves, dark green, crossed by deep wrinkles, the stems are pinkish; Peperomia rotundifolia has oval, pointed, fleshy, light green leaves with whitish variegations. They are much appreciated as ornamental plants, some have a prostrate or climbing habit, therefore they are grown in hanging baskets; others are small clumps of leaves, each of which has a long stalk. There are many hybrids, with leaves of particular colors.
THE PEPEROMY IN BRIEFFamily, genus, species Piperaceae, gen. Peperomia, more than 1000 speciesType of plant Liana, climbing or decombenteOrigin Americas or tropical Africa, rainforestsFoliage persistentHabit Climbing or decombenteUse From apartment, hanging basketsHeight at maturity Up to 1.5 mGrowth rate slowMaintenance EasyWater needs LowMinimum temperature 10-13 ° CIdeal temperature in the vegetative period 16-18 ° CExposure Very brightGround 1/3 of medium peat, 1/3 of forest soil and 1/3 of garden soilFertilizer Once a month, for green plantssoil pH From acid to subacidSoil moisture Fresh, very well drainedEnvironmental humidity highPropagation Stem or leaf cuttingwatering
Throughout the year, regularly water the Peperomia caperata plants, allowing the substratum to dry perfectly between one watering and another. In winter the watering should be done with more moderation.
Generally they can endure short periods of drought without problems but they cannot stand water stagnation that can cause the birth of very dangerous rots.
Every 15-25 days, provide fertilizer for green plants, mixed with the water used for watering.
Irrigations must be frequent, but very light. We absolutely avoid stagnation at the level of the roots, because they could cause the onset of rot. The soil must always remain slightly damp, but never wet. If we see the plant in distress rather we intervene by increasing the humidity present in the environment. During the winter season it is preferable to suspend almost all the administrations, making sure only that the substrate does not dry out completely.
The Peperomia caperata is multiplied by leaf cuttings or vegetative apexes. Between April and August, cuttings are taken by cutting tops with one or two attached leaves. To practice the cuttings it is good to remember to use clean and sharp tools, practicing an oblique cut.
The cuttings are planted at a depth of about 3 cm in a mixture of 50% peat and sand. The soil around the cutting should be compacted to provide the necessary support.
Containers with cuttings should be stored in a warm place, with a temperature around 20 ° C, sheltered and shaded. When the first shoots appear, it is good to move the plant to a brighter place. After about six weeks, after taking root, they are transplanted into individual containers.
Plants of this type prefer medium rich soils, quite soft and very well drained; you can use a balanced soil mixed with sand or pumice stone.
This plant requires an annual repotting to be carried out in spring, until you get to use a vase of about 20 cm in diameter. At this point, every year it is good to take part of the superficial soil and replace it with fertile soil.
The peperomie grow best in light substrates and mostly composed of peat or vegetable fibers, with a subacid to acid pH. We can buy products already mixed for them, choosing those suitable for acidophilic plants. To obtain even better results, we can create the compost ourselves: the ideal is to mix 1/3 of medium peat, 1/3 of forest soil and 1/3 of garden soil.
The climbing varieties prefer a slightly richer substrate: in that case we slightly increase the percentage of garden soil.
The plant is attacked by floury cochineal and red spider mite. To eliminate the cochineal it is possible to intervene manually with the use of a cloth with alcohol to pass on the affected parts; for the red spider it may be sufficient to provide water sprays that increase the degree of humidity. For these pests you can also think about washing the leaves with water and neutral soap, to then rinse carefully.
Excessive watering, or excessive water stagnation, can favor the onset of radical rot.
The genus Peperomia is extremely vast considering that it includes more than 1000 species. Of these, only a dozen have been selected to be used as a houseplant: among these, there are many aesthetic differences in appearance and cultivation needs. Here are the most widespread and interesting:
Besides the variety of Peperomia Caperata, other rather well-known and cultivated plants for their ornamental character are the Peperomia magnoliaefolia, perhaps the most widespread type of these plants. This plant has larger leaves than the caperata, although it is a small variety, generally not exceeding 30 cm. When it exceeds this dimension it acquires a hanging character. Cultivated at home it blooms very hard. It is available in different variants, with larger or variegated leaves.
Another type of rather well-known plant is the Peperomia griseoargentea, which is characterized by its particular gray green leaves with dark veins; in the summer it produces small white flowers. A rather rustic, easily cultivable variety is the Peperomia obtusifolia; it presents itself with specimens of reduced dimensions, usually less than 30 cm, with branched stems with light fleshy leaves on the lower part and darker on the upper one. It has a summer bloom with white flowers gathered in spikes.
Heart-shaped, young cream, then light green with cream edges. Light green stems
Up to 1.50 m. Climbing or decombente.
From Latin America. The variegated cultivar is very widespread. Suitable for hanging baskets.
|argyreia or sandersii||Smooth, thick, oval. Silver gray with dark green stripes|
From 15 to 30 cm
Originally from Brazil. It produces white flower spikes.
|caperata||Wavy and bullous, heart-shaped, dark green with gray and purple spots|
Up to 25 cm high, up to 15 cm wide
From America, it blooms between April and December in an erect ear. The Little Fantasy and Variegata cultivars are very common.
|fraseri or resediflora||Leaves small at heart, with green and red back.|
Up to 60 cm in length
Small fragrant flowers on spikes up to 60 cm long
|hederaefolia or griseoargentea||Wavy and heart-shaped, but slightly elongated, gray-green with dark green veins|
Up to 15 cm in length
From Brasil. Light green flowers
|magnoliaefolia or tithymaloides||Glossy ovals, up to 15 cm long, from medium to dark green.|
About 15 cm long, very branched; climbing and decombing
From Santo Domingo. Green Gold Variety with larger leaves edged in cream, from adults stained with cream and light green, red stems
|obtusifolia||Thick, round or oval, dark green with purple edges. Purple stems|
Up to 30 cm. Very branched
From Latin America. Blooms in late summer in white
THE PEPEROMY CALENDAR
Spring (young), winter (adult)
|Cleaning / Pruning||spring|
|Vegetative rest||From November to March|
|Vegetative growth||From April to September|
|Flowering||From spring to winter, depending on the variety|
The peperomia needs nourishment only during the period of vegetative growth, that is usually from April to May to the end of September. We prefer a liquid product with a high nitrogen content, to be administered at the recommended doses once a month. It is also possible to use foliar fertilizers for green plants, to be distributed continuously, but in minimal doses.
We never exceed because an excess of nourishment can lead to a too long growth of the stems and to a consequent general weakening of the plant.
Pruning, topping and cleaning
This type of intervention is not strictly necessary. We can, however, intervene for the climbing / hanging varieties, shortening or topping the stems at the beginning of spring: we will obtain more full and accented plants, in addition to stimulating general renewal.
Instead, it is important to promptly remove the flower stems once they are exhausted, to prevent the production of seeds from weakening the plant.
Peperomia - Peperomia caperata: Propagation
To obtain new specimens we proceed, depending on the species, using leaf or stem cuttings.
The first is preferable for the peperomia argyreia, peperomia caperata et peperomia hederaefolia. A half of a leaf or a leaf with a stalk is taken. They are inserted in a mix of peat and slightly damp sand, maintaining the ambient humidity around 70%, a temperature of 18 ° C and an intense light, but not direct.
Stem cutting is carried out similarly and is preferable for the peperomia magnoliaefolia, peperomia obtusifolia et peperomia scandens.
Rooting generally occurs within 30-60 days. Later they can be transferred into definitive vases, putting up to 3 together, to give the vase a richer look immediately.
The Peperomia are very special ornamental plants originating from South America. What makes them really special