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The Peperomia caperata is one of the most attractive houseplants out there. Its emerald-like foliage will make it an unsurpassable addition to your home decor.
But, let’s look into some general specifics before examining this plant more closely:
|Scientific name:||Peperomia caperata|
|Growth rate:||slow grower|
|Size:||average indoor height and width is 8 inches (20 cm)|
This article brings you all you need to know about growing a peperomia caperata. It is a low-maintenance plant, perfect for beginners, but experts enjoy it as well, due to its amazing color.
We’ll bring you the caperata’s care guide, its most prominent features, and some fun facts about this plant.
You’ll learn about its benefits and get to know some of the most famous cultivars of this peperomia species.
We don’t want to spoil all the fun for you, so let’s start!
Peperomia Caperata Care Guide
This peperomia plant is native to the rainforests of Brazil, meaning that it needs filtered sunlight and moist and well-draining soil for optimal growth.
However, these are not the only things that you’ll need to pay attention to when growing a caperata, so stick with us and see which temperature it prefers, how to fertilize it, and many other things.
P.S. There are many things to write about the peperomia caperata’s care, but you’ll see it’s not complicated once you familiarize yourself with the plant.
You can pair it with peperomia frost or with an anthurium to draw attention to its magnificent leaves.
Peperomias are tropical plants that are protected by tall trees in their native habitat. If you want to have a healthy indoor plant, you’ll need to mimic the rainforest conditions.
Therefore, you’ll need to protect this plant from the danger of direct sunlight, as it will most surely scorch its delicate leaves.
Placing it near an east-facing window or on a north-facing windowsill is ideal, as your plant will get all the sunlight it needs without the sunburn.
You can also place the caperata in west- or south-facing rooms, but remember to move the plant away from sunny windows, as the afternoon sun is lethal if the plant is exposed to it for too long.
Remember, medium to bright indirect light is the key to healthy peperomias, and without it, the plant would surely wilt and die.
If you don’t think that the north-facing windowsills are providing your plant with enough sunlight, you can always purchase some fluorescent lights to give your plant the treatment it deserves.
These grow lights will not only fit in with your modern decor perfectly but will also keep your plants happy and healthy.
This aroid doesn’t require frequent watering, but it can’t endure a prolonged period without water like a cactus.
You should water this plant once the topsoil is dry, although this doesn’t mean you can just touch the soil and decide it’s dry.
You have to poke your finger two or three inches (5-7.5 cm) deep into the soil, and if the potting medium is dry at that depth, then you can water the peperomia.
However, this Peperomia plant is somewhat drought tolerant, so you won’t have to water it every day. Still, it might need to be watered approximately once a week in the summer when the temperatures are high and the humidity low.
Of course, you should reduce the watering to once every two weeks in the winter months (or even less if the topsoil doesn’t dry out during that time), as the fleshy leaves will actually retain moisture and cannot dry out as quickly.
Climate And Temperature
The peperomia caperata comes from tropical Brazil, and the ideal environment for this plant is one that has a tropical climate.
We know that most of us don’t live in such conditions, but there are things you can do to help your plant thrive.
The tropical climate is characterized by high humidity and warm temperatures, so the place you have chosen for your plant should imitate these conditions.
The average humidity of our homes is usually low, or at most around 30%, so you should significantly increase it if you want to have a healthy peperomia.
The Peperomia caperata thrives in high humidity, but can tolerate moderate humidity levels of between 40 and 50%. However, anything lower than that will lead to under-hydration of the plant, which can have severe consequences.
Fortunately, we have 5 great tips for raising the humidity that work like a charm.
1. Use a humidifier. Using humidifiers is definitely an easy option; you simply have to turn it on, and your plant will get all the moisture it needs.
Here’s a humidifier that has never failed us; it is compact, so it won’t ruin your decor but will get the job done.
2. Grow the plant in a terrarium. Thankfully, the peperomia caperata is not a tall plant, so you can grow it in a terrarium where the water from the soil will evaporate into the air around the plant, and the glass walls will keep that moisture locked in.
We love playing with shapes for our terrariums, and our newest favorite resembles the greenhouses from the Harry Potter movies.
3. Move the plant to a humid room. Kitchens and bathrooms are known as households’ most humid rooms, so you might want to consider moving the caperata to one of those rooms.
We have never regretted looking at some greenery whilst cooking; it’s quite relaxing, actually!
4. Consider misting the plant. Misting the plants with some water is a great option for increasing the humidity.
It’s quite easy, and you only have to do it 2 or 3 times a week to see the difference.
5. Use humidity trays. Finally, humidity or pebble trays! We love these so much, as they are a safe way of raising your home’s humidity levels, and they emphasize the beauty and glory of your plant.
You simply have to find a deep tray, fill it with gravel and water, and that’s that. The pebbles won’t let water seep into the saucer and drown the plant’s roots; instead, it will evaporate, moisturizing the plant.
The peperomia caperata plant loves room temperatures between 60 and 80 °F (15-27 °C), and extreme cold or heat is often fatal to this tropical beauty.
Anything lower than 50 °F (10 °C) will significantly stress your plant, and it is unlikely to recover.
However, this isn’t an issue if you grow your peperomia indoors, as it prefers the same temperature as you do.
This plant only asks that you keep it away from the AC, doors, and drafty windows.
Soil And Fertilizer
The soil is one of the main things that directly prevents overwatering, assuming you have chosen suitable pots for your plants and that you don’t irrigate your plants every day.
Ideally, you should choose a substrate with a pH level between 6.0 and 6.6. The substrate also needs to be fertile and well-draining, and you can amend your regular potting soil by adding compost and perlite to the mixture.
The optimal choice is to use an aroid potting mix to ensure that your plant has the best growing conditions.
The soil needs to be light and provide enough aeration so that the water can easily drain. And yet, the potting medium should also retain some moisture and release it when the plant needs it, which is why we always add peat moss to the mixture.
The Peperomia caperata is one of those plants that doesn’t require frequent fertilization. However, if you want to emphasize the beauty of its foliage, you can feed it a few times during its growing season.
But, bear in mind that strong fertilizers can do the opposite, so you should dilute them to half- or even quarter-strength, depending on how strong they are.
We usually fertilize established plants once a month, but if you’re afraid that the fertilizer is too strong, you can always use it once a year, at the beginning of the growing season.
The important thing is not to fertilize when the plant enters dormancy in fall and winter. The fertilizer will only build up in the soil, leading to fertilizer burn and over-fertilization.
The caperata is a low-maintenance plant, and it doesn’t need to be repotted more than once every 2 or 3 years.
However, you can repot it once a year in the same pot if you don’t want to fertilize it. Changing the potting soil will renew the nutrients this plant needs, and you won’t have to worry about whether you’re feeding your plant properly.
Two of the most important factors when repotting are timing and choosing the right pot. You should repot the peperomia in spring to let it get over the transplant shock before it enters dormancy in winter.
The other thing we mentioned is choosing the right pot or container. The pot needs to have drainage holes at the bottom so that the excess water is not accumulated in the soil.
The right pot is the first step in preventing overwatering and root rot, so you want to get this right before it’s too late.
Here’s a video that shows you the way of repotting your caperata without stressing the plant.
Propagation Methods And Techniques
Propagation is an essential skill you’ll want to master, as it never hurts to have more plants.
Propagating from cuttings is the easiest method, and we’ve decided to examine this method in detail so that you and your close ones are never left without peperomias.
Propagation From Stem Cuttings
Propagation by stem cuttings is probably the easiest and the safest method of propagation. You can propagate the stem cuttings in water or soil, whichever you prefer.
However, we’ll discuss both of these techniques as they are almost equally successful, and who knows which technique you’ll find easier.
Water propagation is usually considered a safer and faster way of multiplying your plants.
First, you have to water the plant thoroughly the night before propagation. This will reduce the shock the plant and the stem will experience and increase the chance of success.
The following day, choose a stem you want to propagate, cut as closely to the base as possible, and remove all the bottom foliage.
Put the stem in a glass container filled with water, move it to a sunny spot where it can get all the filtered sunlight it needs, and mist it from time to time.
After the transparent roots start showing, it’s time to plant the new peperomia into its new home. Fill the nursery pot with a fresh mix, plant the caperata, and follow the care guide.
Propagation in soil starts the same way as water propagation. Water the plant before taking the stem, and then choose a healthy one and cut it close to the base.
Then, instead of placing it directly in water, dip it in rooting hormone, and plant it in a nursery tray or a pot. We prefer using propagators for aroids and tropical plants, as they come with humidity domes, so it’s one less thing for us to worry about.
Below, you can find our propagator of choice which comes with many cells, so you can propagate more plants at once.
Finally, once you notice new growth, you should move the new plants to a bigger container with potholes and attend to their needs.
Propagation From Leaf Cuttings
Propagation from leaf cuttings is another popular way of creating more plants. It usually takes more time than propagating from stem cuttings and is not effective on variegated plants, but you can always try this method, as you can plant more leaves in the same pot and have a dense new plant.
Also, if you’re using the propagation from stem cuttings method, remember that you have to remove the bottom leaves. You can use these and have more plants to spread around the house or give to your fellow gardeners.
Once you have a leaf, you should cut it in half and dip the cuttings in rooting hormone to speed up the process.
Now, all that’s left is to plant the cuttings into a well-draining and aerated soil and water them deeply.
If you have any questions about these propagation methods, you can always watch the following video; it always helps!
Cleaning And Pruning
Cleaning peperomias is quite important as their large leaves attract dust like magnets. Dusty leaves cannot photosynthesize properly, and the plant can be left without food and energy.
Therefore, you should clean the foliage with a damp cloth 2 or 3 times a week, patting them dry afterwards.
However, if you don’t want to take on extra work, you can simply join cleaning and humidifying into one method; wipe the leaves with a wet cloth and leave them to dry.
Of course, this should then be the only method of raising the humidity, as you don’t want your plant to catch a fungal infection.
Pruning is another essential part of the plant care routine. Whenever you notice old leaves, you should remove them; they mar the beauty of your plant and waste its energy.
Also, yellow and brown leaves caused by sunburn, overwatering, or any disease should be cut off as well, as those conditions will only spread to the rest of the plant.
Finally, pruning is not always done as a reaction to issues your plant is having. You can prune the healthy foliage of your peperomia, but make sure you never cut off more than one-third of the plant.
You can prune this peperomia during its growing season as it will make it fuller and prettier.
Common Pests And Diseases
Unfortunately, the peperomia caperata is not entirely pest-resistant, and it falls victim to ruthless attacks from mealybugs, aphids, and spider mites.
But, one thing we always bear in mind is that pests rarely attack healthy and happy plants. Therefore, if your plant has enough sunlight and is not waterlogged, there’s a smaller chance that it will be stormed by pests.
However, if an infestation happens, you can always spray your plants with neem oil, or an insecticide for indoor plants, and release your plants from their suffering.
You can also try and remove pests one by one by using a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol, but you should be very careful as you don’t want to touch your plant with something that might burn it.
The Peperomia caperata is one of those plants that is susceptible to root rot, not because of its delicateness, but because of our unawareness and inexperience.
Once we hear tropical, we always assume that it needs to be watered daily, but that is not the case. Peperomias don’t need to be watered more than once a week when the temperatures are scorching, and anything more than that will lead to overwatering.
If you notice stunted growth and wilting leaves with yellow discoloration, you should inspect the roots at once. Any roots that are dark and soft are infected with root rot and need to be removed before the rest of the roots can get infected.
Following this, you should repot the plant into a new container with drainage holes and reduce the watering to once a week during summer months and twice a month during winter.
After cutting the roots, remember to sterilize the shears, so you don’t transfer the infection to your other plants.
Features Of The Peperomia Caperata
This peperomia is an extraordinary plant, and your calatheas would love its company. You can also combine it with abricos peperomia as they have similar care guide and leaf texture, but their color varies so they bring out the best in each other.
In this section, we thought we’d talk about some of the features of the caperata, as we cannot but praise this unique plant.
Peperomias aren’t notable for their stems, but we simply can’t miss an opportunity of writing at least a sentence about them.
They might not seem much, but once you see their reddish-purple color, you won’t be able to forget about them.
When grown indoors, the caperata plant grows like a shrub, but in its native habitat, it is actually a vine that uses trees to climb.
Different cultivars of caperata have different colored leaves, and we’ll talk about them in a minute.
But, what we can say is that they are corrugated and textured, heart-shaped, large and fleshy from storing water, and adorned with veins.
Finally, what is a plant without flowers? Although the peperomia’s blooms aren’t much, they became rather popular as the peperomia is one of those aroids that flowers indoors.
Their long flower spikes resemble rat tails, but they look quite attractive once you see a flowering peperomia in person.
They are usually white or pale white-green and can be up to 2-3 inches (5-7.5 cm) long.
Fun Facts About The Peperomia Caperata
There are more things about the caperata plant left to uncover, and we cannot wait to tell you all about it.
In this section, you may learn a thing or two about this plant’s background and benefits. We’ve also decided to mention some of the most famous cultivars that everyone should have in their homes.
Background And Symbolism
The Peperomia caperata is a plant member of the family Piperaceae. The common name for all peperomias is the radiator plant.
They got this nickname for their love of warm places, even though they can grow away from radiators as long as the temperatures are perfect.
Also, their name comes from Greek peperi, meaning “peppers,” and homoios, “resembling.” Come to think of it, their foliage does look like small peppers, don’t you think.
Finally, in their native home of Brazil, peperomias are considered agents of luck, so it wouldn’t hurt having one around.
One of the main benefits of this peperomia is that it can actually reduce the levels of toluene, benzene, formaldehyde, and other toxic substances in the household air.
It lowers the level of formaldehyde by 47%, making your home a healthier environment.
Plants are also known for reducing stress and anxiety, so the caperata helps you to be healthy on all fronts.
Peperomia Caperata Cultivars
Don’t think we’ve forgotten about peperomia caperata cultivars! This section is entirely dedicated to the 3 magnificent cultivars of this peperomia.
You’ll see that it’s rather difficult to buy only one!
Peperomia Caperata ‘Rosso’
The Peperomia caperata ‘Rosso’ is known for its corrugated leaves that form rosettes as they grow. The top of the foliage is dark green, but the red undersides are what made the name for this plant.
Peperomia Caperata ‘Emerald Ripple’
The Emerald Ripple peperomia comes in different colors, but our favorite is definitely the variety with dark red leaves.
However, green leaves give this plant a noble look, and it can truly look like your home has been decorated with a royal gem.
Peperomia Caperata ‘Variegata’
The varieties of this plant vary, and some varieties have only a deeper color in the textured parts of their leaves.
Others are more prominent, and they are actually white with splashes of green.
Frequently Asked Questions
We have come to the last section of our article, where we’ve decided to answer some of the most common questions.
Is the peperomia caperata a succulent?
No, a peperomia caperata is not a succulent. However, it is often referred to as semi-succulent because of its fleshy leaves that can retain water.
Since the foliage has this ability, you don’t have to water the plant so often. In fact, you shouldn’t, or it may lead to overwatering and root rot.
What do I do if my peperomia caperata starts to droop?
The most common reasons for drooping caperata are underwatering and overwatering, low humidity levels, sudden temperature changes, and over-fertilization, so the first thing you need to do is discover the reason your plant is drooping.
First, touch the soil; if it’s wet or bone dry, you either have to stop or start watering the peperomia.
The appearance of the soil can also tell whether your plant is suffering from over-fertilization. If there is a white crust on the topsoil, you should either flush the soil or repot the plant with a fresh potting mix.
Next, if you’re keeping your plant near the AC or a drafty window, the likely culprit that’s making your plant droop is a temperature swing. Move your plant to a place with a more stable temperature, and the plant will spring back up in no time.
Finally, if you don’t spray your plant or increase the humidity levels any other way, you know what you need to do.
The average household humidity is not enough for this plant, so you need to increase it if you want to have a healthy and good-looking plant.
To Sum Up
The Peperomia caperata is a truly remarkable plant that is so easy to maintain you’ll want to give it as a birthday present to all your friends who don’t know the first thing about gardening.
You simply have to place it in a well-lit spot, protect it from direct sunlight, not water it too often, and ensure that it is planted in a pot with drainage holes, filled with a well-draining medium.
This article brought you the features of the most fantastic caperata cultivars that you can’t miss out on. Also, the air purifying ability of this plant is just another pro that makes it irresistible to everyone.
Enjoy the clean and stress-free surroundings, and until next time!
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