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In this post, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about Peperomia obtusifolia care as well as how to propagate a Peperomia obtusifolia. Plus, information about Peperomia obtusifolia variegata.
Peperomia obtusifolia is an absolutely gorgeous plant known for its obovate, thick, glossy leaves and thick branch-like stems.
You might also hear this plant referred to as “baby rubber plant” or “pepper face.” Baby rubber plant because it looks somewhat like a smaller version of a rubber plant, and pepper face because it looks similar to a pepper plant.
They are native to South American rainforests and are actually epiphytes. Epiphytes grow on the surface of another plant (like a tree) and draw nutrients from the air, water, and debris around them.
Epiphytes’ roots help them cling onto a surface. For this reason, they tend to do well in hanging baskets and on wall mounts as an alternative to a pot.
What is Peperomia obtusifolia variegata?
Peperomia obtusifolia variegata is the variegated version of the plant. The leaves will look speckled with light green/yellowish marks, rather than being one solid color. Variegated peperomias will lose variegation if there is not enough light. We’ll cover more on light further down.
Where Can I Find Peperomia Obtusifolia?
Peperomia obtusifolia is not exactly rare, but depending on where you live they can be tough to find, especially the Peperomia obtusifolia variegata. I believe your best bet for finding one would be on Etsy.
Is Peperomia obtusifolia a succulent?
This plant is not categorized as a succulent but does have some succulent-like qualities. Its fleshy leaves store water and it prefers dry soil. However, they’re not suited for intense or direct light.
Peperomia Obtusifolia Care
What often confuses people about these plants are their succulent-like qualities, making them somewhat tricky to understand because they should not be cared for exactly like a succulent. However, after a small learning curve, Peperomia obtusifolia are relatively easy plants.
Their basic care requirements are:
- Medium to bright, indirect light
- Water when almost dry
- Provide with humidity
- Use a loose and well-draining potting mix
Read on for a full care and propagation guide!
How much light does Peperomia obtusifolia need?
Peperomia obtusifolia prefers medium to bright light, but not direct light.
This plant should not be sitting in intense, direct light or the leaves might burn. This plant is also tolerant of low light, however, insufficient light may cause some leaf drop.
How much light does Peperomia obtusifolia variegata need?
Darker peperomia varieties will need less light while Peperomia obtusifolia variegata will need more light in order to maintain their variegation.
If you have a Peperomia obtusifolia variegata, or lack enough natural light, grow lights can be very beneficial. For more help, check out my post on grow lights for indoor plants, and if you’re in a hurry, my two current favorite grow lights are below. My plants LOVE these!
How often should you water Peperomia obtusifolia?
Peperomia obtusifolia likes to dry out almost completely in between waterings, so make sure you use your finger to feel down into the soil first. Instead of watering on a set schedule, you should simply check with your finger whether or not it needs water.
Also, the leaves tend to droop and will become a lot more flexible and less rigid if the plant is too dry.
You’ll want to be extra careful not to overwater this plant. Because of its succulent-like qualities, Peperomia obtusifolia stores water in its thick stems and leaves and can go longer between waterings.
Overwatering can cause root rot, which is difficult to fix.
Should I mist my Peperomia obtusifolia?
This plant can tolerate dry conditions but prefers humidity since it’s native to rainforests. One way to provide humidity is by misting your plant every other to every few days.
However, I feel that using a humidifier is a lot more effective than misting for humidity. It’s also easy and lasts longer. Below is my current favorite humidifier because it can last up to 96 hours!
What kind of soil does Peperomia obtusifolia need?
Because Peperomia obtusifolia likes to be on the dry side, and because it’s epiphytic, a well-draining, loose potting mix works best. Epiphytes grow on the surface of another plant, like a tree, and don’t need to be tightly packed in soil.
I used a mixture of potting mix, orchid bark, and perlite for my Peperomia obtusifolia variegata. I eyeballed this, but I’d say it was about a 2:1:1 ratio, and I made sure not to pack it down as I planted.
When should you repot Peperomia obtusifolia?
Peperomias are OK with being somewhat rootbound and therefore don’t need to be repotted often. They can go a few years in the same pot, so as long as it’s happy and growing well, you can leave it alone.
Instead of going by a number of years, repot your plant when you see roots coming out of the drainage holes, if it looks generally unhappy with stunted growth, or if it looks way too large for its pot.
Choose a pot one size up that has good drainage, and repot in the spring or summer (the growing season), if possible.
Pruning Peperomia obtusifolia isn’t always necessary, but as they get larger they have a tendency to grow wonky branches and might be a bit floppy. In this case, you may want to do a bit of pruning.
You can also pinch them just above a node to encourage new growth and branching.
These plants don’t need fertilizer to thrive. They are slow growers and don’t have large root systems, so they sometimes fall victim to over-fertilization.
Currently, I do not fertilize mine, but if you’d like to fertilize yours, you can use a balanced, indoor plant fertilizer diluted to half its strength every four weeks during the spring and summer (the growing season). Be sure to read the instructions on the label.
Peperomia Obtusifolia Propagation
Propagating Peperomia obtusifolia is relatively easy! You can do this in soil or in water. Always take a few cutting if you can because propagation success is never guaranteed.
How to propagate a Peperomia obtusifolia in soil
Pick out a healthy stem that is a few inches long with a few leaves at the end and, using a clean pair of scissors, cut about a quarter-inch below a node. The node is where leaves and roots grow out of the main stem, and where new roots will sprout from.
Place your cutting into a small pot with moistened soil. Make sure at least one node is buried, but don’t bury any leaves.
Place the pot in bright, indirect light and keep the soil moist, but not wet, as the roots develop. Propagation takes some time. It’ll take at least a few weeks before you start to see new growth.
As an additional measure, you can place a clear plastic bag over the entire pot to lock in beneficial humidity. Open this daily to let in fresh air.
After a few weeks, you can test your cutting by giving it a very gentle tug. If there is some resistance, a root system has developed and you can treat the cutting like a normal plant.
Can you root peperomia in water? Peperomia obtusifolia propagation in water
Yes, you can easily root peperomia in water. Pick out a healthy stem that is a few inches long with a few leaves at the end and, using a clean pair of scissors, cut about a quarter-inch below a node. The node is where leaves and roots grow out of the main stem, and where new roots will sprout from.
Place a cutting into a jar of water and make sure at least one node is submerged, but remove any leaves that end up being submerged.
Put the jar in bright, indirect light. Monitor the water level and top it off when needed. You’ll also want to replace any filmy/grimy water, probably every week or so.
You should start to see tiny roots developing within a week or two. Wait a few weeks until the roots are three-or-so inches long, and then transfer the cutting to its permanent pot and give it a good watering.
I personally have had more success propagating peperomia in water and, in general, prefer water propagation because it allows you to see progress and understand whether or not something is working. However, both methods are totally doable!
How do you propagate variegated peperomia?
Propagating variegated peperomia, or Peperomia obtusifolia variegata, follows the exact same instructions as propagating a non-variegated peperomia!
Pick out a healthy stem that is a few inches long with a few leaves at the end and, using a clean pair of scissors, cut about a quarter-inch below a node, and. Then, root your cutting. See the full propagation instructions in the previous sections.
How fast does Peperomia obtusifolia grow?
Peperomia obtusifolia is generally a slower grower but in optimal conditions it has a moderate growth rate.
While they are relatively resilient plants, Peperomias sometimes get mealybugs. Check the stems and leaves from all angles as part of your regular care routine.
Is Peperomia obtusifolia poisonous to cats and dogs?
Peperomia obtusifolia is non-toxic to cats and dogs, but it’s always best to keep plants out of a curious pet’s reach regardless.
I’ve noticed that my peperomia is my one plant that needs to have its leaves cleaned more frequently. Perhaps the thick, sturdy leaves are able to collect more grime. Cleaning grimy leaves will allow a plant to photosynthesize better. Check out my post on how to clean your plants’ leaves.
Maintaining Even Growth
Be sure to rotate your peperomia for even growth all around. I find these plants tend to grow dramatically towards the light source, but they also even out quickly when rotated.
Peperomia Obtusifolia Care Summary
- Provide with medium to bright, indirect light
- Water when almost dry
- Provide with humidity
- Use a loose and well-draining potting mix
- Repot every few years when it gets very root bound
- Use a balanced fertilizer diluted to half-strength once a month during the growing season
More Peperomia Posts
Here are some of my favorite houseplant supplies:
Full-Spectrum Clip-On LED Grow Light. Why I love it – The clip makes it so easy to put almost anywhere, and the two lights with their adjustable necks make it super versatile. The timer and dimming functions are also so handy.
Stackable Moss Pole. Why I love it – Plants that climb in the wild will benefit from being able to climb in your home, too. But the thing about plants is, they grow! It’s not helpful to have one small moss pole. This pole comes with two stable pieces and once your plant surpasses those, just order another and keep stacking!
Full-Spectrum Stick-On Grow Light Strips. Why I love it – These stick-on light strips work perfectly for my greenhouse cabinet shelves. They would also come in handy if you’re keeping plants in something with a top, like a bookshelf. These lights also have a timer and a dimming function.
Whisper-Quiet 1.7-Gallon Ultrasonic Humidifier. Why I love it – Using a humidifier is one of my favorite ways to provide humidity to my plants. This humidifier lasts up to 96 hours, which means less work for me!
Top-Fill 2.8-Liter Ultrasonic Humidifier. Why I love it – This humidifier is a little more budget-friendly. It’s extremely easy to refill and it can last up to 24 hours!