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Peperomia - 2022 Houseplant of the Year

Searching for the most trending, easy to grow or versatile indoor plant around? Peperomia is the winner on all counts. Selected “Houseplant of the year 2022” by the National Garden Bureau (NGB), peperomia plant is beautiful, demands little upkeep and is virtually pest free.  

Peperomia Plants: A Quick Introduction 

Peperomia belongs to the Piperaceae family and has over a thousand known species. It’s native to parts of South and Central America and the Caribbean. Peperomia is also known by the names Radiator plant, Baby Rubber plant, Shining Bush plant and Emerald Ripper Pepper.

Peperomias are prized for their ornamental foliage. The leaves are lanceolate, heart-shaped or oval, and typically 1-4 inches long. They’re green or striped and may feature pale green, gray or red borders. Some varieties have red petioles. 

The plants’ form, color and texture can vary significantly with variety. Many peperomia varieties exhibit vivid colors and elaborate ornamental patterns. The popular Watermelon peperomia, for instance, has shimmery watermelon-patterned leaves.  

Most peperomia varieties are compact, with thick, sturdy stems. Mature plants are typically 12-18 inches tall.  

What Makes Peperomia the World’s #1 House and Office Plant? 

A Range of Varied, Attractive Looks

Different types of peperomia can look starkly different from one another. Peperomia perciliata is a trailing variety with red stems and oval leaves. Peperomia Verticillata behaves like a succulent and is loved for the striking red shading on the underside of its leaves. The similarity is—they’re all great lookers. 

There’s a peperomia for every design need—from hanging baskets and terrariums to large, multi-colored containers.  

Ideally Suited to Indoor Environments

Peperomia plants don’t do well in sites that receive direct sunlight. The leaves are prone to getting scalded in such growing locations. The low-light conditions typical of the home and office interiors are perfect for them.  

Most varieties of peperomia have small root systems. This makes them an excellent choice for dish gardens and small pots meant to adorn the shelves. 

During the growing season, a peperomia office plant does best when the surroundings’ temperature is between 68 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s identical to the ideal office temperature recommendations of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).  

According to OSHA, temperatures between 68-76 degrees Fahrenheit are best for the employees’ comfort, productivity and for the most efficient management of energy expenses. 

East or west facing windows and areas guarded by thin curtains are ideal spots for peperomia pots. They’ll flourish even under fluorescent lights, which means you can place them virtually any place you choose.  

A majority of peperomias can tolerate low to moderately humid conditions. This makes them an excellent plant for bathrooms. Their compact size makes them ideal for small bathrooms as well as other indoor areas with limited space.  

Easy Management 

Most peperomia varieties have a moderate growth rate. As such, they don’t require much pruning. A little occasional trimming is all a peperomia houseplant needs. 

Peperomia plants won’t grow over 18 inches tall. That means you can keep them in the same pot their entire life.  

Peperomias are rarely troubled by pests or diseases. Spider mites, mealybugs and whiteflies are pretty much the only insect pests that target them. If the plants are healthy, they can easily withstand these infestations.  In addition, all these pests are easy to deal with. Simply spraying the plants with a garden hose is often enough to get rid of them. 

There aren’t many peperomia diseases for you to worry about. Phytophthora rot, cutting rot, oedema and ring spot are just about it. Most of these occur from use of infected cuttings and poor drainage. 

Safe disposal of infected plants and avoiding overwatering will help control their spread. 

Peperomia: Growth Requirements

Peperomias can be planted round the year. Spring, however, is the best time for the job. The pot that houses your peperomia plant should have at least 3-4 drainage holes at its bottom.  

Peperomias do best in loamy soils with a pH of 6 to 6.66. Orchid potting medium is a wonderful option, even standard potting soil will do. Just make sure the soil has good drainage. 

Mixing a small quantity of vermiculite or peat moss is a simple way of improving the soil’s drainage. Just a handful of it will do. 

Young plants require regular watering. Note that not all peperomias have succulent-like leaves. The best way to ascertain if your plant needs watering is to touch the soil surface. If it feels dry, water the plant.  

The mature plants of most varieties are drought tolerant. Watering once every 1-2 weeks will keep them in good health. 

Tips for Growing the Healthiest, Best-Looking Peperomia Plants

Clay pots are the best type for growing peperomias. In the event of overwatering, the excess water will escape via the pot’s porous sides.  

Always water the plants at the soil level. Avoid wetting the foliage. The presence of excessive moisture in the soil can attract insect pests. In addition, it can cause the stems near the base to grow mushy. The leaves can subsequently lose their color and fall off. 

Young plants growing in a potting medium that drains quickly can suffer from lack of moisture.  You can avoid this by adding orchid bark, perlite, or a mix of both into the potting medium. For best results, get a couple of handfuls and mix in well with the potting medium.

Fertilization can significantly enhance the vigor and beauty of your peperomia plants. It’s best to use a balanced houseplant fertilizer that’s been diluted to half strength. You can also go with slow-release plant food pellets. 

We’d recommend you fertilize peperomia plants once every month during spring and summer. If the growth rate is poor, you can fertilize once every two weeks. The plants don’t require feeding in late fall and the winters. 

If you want to prune the plants to achieve a certain look, make sure you use a clean, sharp blade. Heavy pruning can be detrimental to the plants’ health. Can even kill them. Best to avoid it.  

Gorgeous, low maintenance office plants, problem-free houseplants—Peperomias can do it all. So, what’s the wait? Pick a variety and catch up with the trend right away.