Native to the mossy forest floors of South American rainforests, the gorgeous Watermelon Peperomia is all the rage these days.
It's easy to see why... With their watermelon patterned leaves (hence the name), deep purple stems, and shiny appearance, they truly are stunners.
Their compact size and color add to their universal charm as great choices for table plants, shelf décor, and even by themselves in a cozy corner.
As a bonus, they are also extremely easy-going, low-maintenance plants that are easy to care for.
With so much praise, we're gonna guess that you're raring to grow your own little peperomia.
Here's everything you need to know about how to grow watermelon peperomia.
Let's start from the ground up...
What kind of soil does watermelon peperomia need to grow?
Watermelon peperomias roots need a ton of oxygen, so a rich, airy and well-draining peat soil is the best.
The ideal soil mix would consist of one part of peat moss with one part perlite.
Alternative: If you can't get your hands on peat moss, then use coco coir instead.
Pre-mix option: If you're opting for a pre-mixed potting mix, then find one that is guaranteed to be well-draining.
What size (and type) of pot is best for watermelon peperomia?
Peperomias like being root bound, so don't opt for large pot sizes.
A simple rule to follow is to re-pot the peperomia in a pot that is around the same size as the one it came in.
For a mini watermelon peperomia, this is usually a 4" pot. And a regular-sized watermelon peperomia, it could be a container that is between 4" to 6" in size.
Apart from the size, ensure the container you choose is one that has enough well-placed drainage holes. This will help prevent root rot and keep the plant healthy.
How to plant a watermelon peperomia.
If you want to grow a watermelon peperomia from scratch:
Watermelon peperomia can be propagated either by leaf cuttings or by division.
To propagate by leaf-cutting, here’s what to do:
Step 1: Using a sharp, clean knife cut 3-4 healthy leaves from the grown peperomia. Do it so that there is at least 1/2" to 1/4" of stem attached to the leaf.
Step 2: Fill a 4" planter loosely with moist potting mix and plant two cuttings in it.
Step 3: Keep the soil moist and place it in a warm location, to allow the leaf to take roots. This stage will take around 4-6 weeks.
They will slowly grow larger and sprout more leaves in around 4 months' time.
Or simply buy a full-grown plant, and re-pot into an appropriately sized container of your choice.
If you want to re-pot a newly bought peperomia:
To do that, simply follow the steps below.
Step 1: Take a clean container and fill it 1/3rd of the way with a well-draining and nourishing soil mix.
Step 2: Place your watermelon peperomia in the pot, and fill it in the rest of the way with the same potting mix.
Step 3: Then water your plant and find a suitable place for it to grow in its new home.
What is the best spot to grow a watermelon peperomia?
Since this plant is native to the shady forest floors of South America, an outdoor spot with intense and direct sunlight would destroy it.
Watermelon peperomia light requirements: Medium to bright indirect light is ideal.
So they are best suited to east or west-facing rooms, where they can get 4-5 hours of warm sunlight, but avoid direct light for the rest of the day.
If you want to place the plant in any other spot, ensure they are kept away from the windowsill or are protected by sheer curtains and blinds.
If the leaves start looking washed out and dull, it is probably a sign of too much direct sun exposure. Fix it, by moving them to a shady spot immediately.
If you want to grow the peperomia outdoors, then grow them as ground cover under shady trees. Or grow them under a lush creeper-covered pergola along with other indoor plants.
What temperature is ideal for peperomia growth?
Watermelon peperomia prefer warm, slightly humid weather. So avoid harsh and drying hot or cold drafts, like the ones near external doors and indoor vents.
Temperatures between 65-80 degrees during the day and not colder than 60 degrees at night are ideal. This along with around 50% humidity levels, will help the delicate peperomia thrive.
Pro tip: If your house or the surrounding area is generally rather dry, try spraying water on the plant leaves every few days. Or else fill a tray with water and pebbles and place it under the pot.
How often to water the watermelon peperomia?
Watering these plants can be slightly tricky as they are prone to damage from both underwatering and overwatering.
The soil should never be completely dry, but it also needs some breathing space between watering periods.
A good rule of thumb to follow is to water the plant when only the top 1-2" of the topsoil in the middle of the pot has dried out.
Make sure to always use room temperature water. Coldwater can shock the plant and will cause it to lose leaves.
Signs of underwatering to watch out for: lower leaves drooping down. Fix it by putting the pot in a plate/tray filled with water to let it absorb as needed.
Signs of overwatering: the leaf tips start turning brown. If this happens, stop watering the plant for a few days to let the soil dry out. If the problem persists, check the soil and pot to ensure it is draining well.
Fertilizer needs for watermelon peperomia.
Extra nutrition isn't absolutely necessary to grow a watermelon peperomia. But a dose of indoor plant fertilizer once a month in spring and summer will help them grow faster.
To do this, use either a liquid or water-soluble houseplant fertilizer at half strength, on damp soil.
Since plant growth naturally slows down during winters, you can skip the extra nourishment during those months.
Pest control for watermelon peperomia.
The peperomia does not have any serious disease or insect problems in general.
Caring for them with the right amount of water, good ventilation, indirect sunlight, and humidity will keep them healthy and pest-free.
But if they aren't well maintained, they can grow weak and damaged. In that case, they also grow susceptible to spider mites, mealybug, and whitefly infestations.