Peperomia Axillaris

The Peperomia is a rare, out-of-the-ordinary houseplant with precious succulent-like foliage that fold inwards, resembling a taco shell (hence its common name- taco plant). This mini shrub has tiny flowers that flower atop its translucent-green leaflets. Although scarce, the taco plant is easy to grow and more than happy to help decorate your windowsill.

Peperomia Axillaris is a hardy plant with folded foliage resembling taco shells. It thrives in bright, indirect light, well-draining soil, and temperatures above 60°F. Be sure to water the taco plant once the first two inches of soil dry out and prove a slow-releasing fertilize in early spring.

With compact clump-forming foliage, Peperomia Axillaris is a perfect plant for indoor spaces. For practical tips on how to take proper care of the taco plant, continue reading.

Characteristics Of Peperomia Axillaris

Peperomia Axillaris, better known as the taco plant, is native to southern Mexico to tropical America.

The Peperomia Axillaris is a mini shrub that grows to about 10 inches tall with bright green, translucent folding foliage that grows in compact clumps.

Peperomia Axillaris is mainly grown for its lovely foliage. However, the taco plant occasionally produces yellowish-white scentless flowers spikes cascading from its stalks with the proper care.

Close up of Peperomia Axillaris

How To Care For Peperomia Axillaris?

Like all Peperomias, try to mimic the taco plant’s natural tropical climate as best possible to encourage optimal vigorous growth.

The Peperomia Axillaris plant’s compact structure makes it perfect for indoor display on windowsills and countertops. Fortunately, the Peperomia Axillaris is a pretty resilient plant, relatively easy to keep happy.

Here’s all you need to know to care for Peperomia Axillaris.

Temperature Requirements For Peperomia Axillaris

Peperomia Axillaris ideally thrives in warm, tropical climates with temperatures above 60°F. Additionally, the taco plant’s adaptability to household conditions makes it simple to maintain.

However, the Peperomia Axillaris is not frost-tolerant. So, be sure to avoid exposing the Peperomia Axillaris to frosty temperatures below 50°F and drafts and breezes. That said, also steer clear from heaters, vents, and air conditioning as they cause extreme temperature fluctuations, stressing the plant and potentially even killing it.

Therefore, if your taco plant is outside, consider bringing the plant in for the winter to protect it from frost and freezing conditions.

Humidity Requirements For Peperomia Axillaris

The Peperomia Axillaris loves moist conditions due to its native tropical climate. Ideally, the taco plant enjoys a humidity ranging between 60% to over 90%.

Additionally, the Peperomia Axillaris stores moisture in its foliage and can therefore tolerate household humidity. However, for best results, provide a setting with moderate to high humidity level by setting the taco plant on a tray filled with pebbles and water and ensuring that the pot’s bottom doesn’t touch the water.

Light Requirements For Peperomia Axillaris

The Peperomia Axillaris naturally grows in the forest areas under a canopy of trees that provide “leaf windows” of dappled sunlight.

Therefore, if you plan to keep the taco plant outside, place it in an area with filtered or dappled light. Peperomia Axillaris will tolerate a few hours of the direct morning sun, but the afternoon sun will damage the succulent foliage.

At the same time, place an indoor taco plant in bright, indirect sunlight. Be sure to avoid spots with direct afternoon sunlight as it can scorch the leaves, leaving them with an unsightly appearance. Again, a north or east-facing window is ideal!

Read more: How To Propagate Peperomia

Soil Requirements For Peperomia Axillaris

The Cupid Peperomia does best in neutral to slightly acidic, well-draining soil filled with rich compost or organic matter.

Potting soil that drains effectively will ensure that the excess moisture drains efficiently, preventing soggy soil conditions that ultimately lead to fungal infections and root rot.

A practical recommendation is to use a relatively loose and well-draining potting soil or a cactus potting mix with peat moss and ample organic matter like perlite, coco coir, or vermiculture to encourage drainage.

Coco coir soil mix

Watering Guide For Peperomia Axillaris

Even though the taco plant has succulent-like fleshy leaves that store water for lengthy periods, it doesn’t like parched soil; it prefers a tad more moisture than most succulent plants.

Therefore, water the Peperomia Axillaris 7 to 14 days on average for best results. Then, use a moisture meter to test the soil, or stick your index finger into the ground to see if the top two inches of soil are dry before rewatering the plant.

Note that the Peperomia Axillaris is more sensitive to overwatering than underwatering. While it tends to be relatively forgiving if you forget to water it, overwatering quickly causes leaf drop and even kills the plant.

Lastly, be sure to cut back on watering during colder winter months as the soil generally takes longer to dry.

Fertilizer Requirements For Peperomia Axillaris

Peperomia Axillaris plants are exceptionally light feeders!

If you change the taco plant’s potting mixture annually, it typically won’t need fertilizer. However, if you do not replace the soil, the nutrients deplete over time, and the plant will require additional supplements to grow and stay healthy.

Therefore, provide a slow-releasing fertilizer in the early spring.

Avoid fertilizing the taco plant during the summer as it tends to move into a dormant phase; additional fertilizer will only harm the plant.

Pruning Guide For Peperomia Axillaris

The Peperomia Axillaris is a relatively small plant that does not require pruning.

However, if you notice yellowing and dead leaves, cut them off using a sharp, sterilized knife or scissors. Additionally, if the taco plant becomes too leggy or sparse, do not hesitate to give it a chop; the plant typically handles pruning well. Annual pruning will encourage new growth.

Lastly, lightly prune the taco plant to maintain the desired size. But not that severe pruning can permanently damage the plant by inhibiting growth.

Potting And Repotting The Peperomia Axillaris

Gardening tools for potting

The Peperomia Axillaris grows relatively slow and has smallish root systems. In addition, the taco plant prefers to be slightly pot-bound.

So, typically only re-pot the taco plant every three years or so. However, if the plant grows double its size in a shorter time, you may need to re-pot it sooner.

More so, consider replacing the potting mixture every year to provide adequate nutrients once the plant outgrows its old pot, re-pot the Peperomia Axillaris in a container slightly larger than the previous one.

How To Propagate Peperomia Axillaris?

Fortunately, propagating Peperomia Axillaris is a straightforward process. The most effective way to propagate Peperomia Axillaris is to divide the plant during re-potting or by stem and leaf cuttings.

Here’s how to propagate the Peperomia Axillaris:

  1. Sterilize your pruning shears or knife with rubbing alcohol to prevent unwanted bacteria and fungus from spreading.
  2. Separate or cut the plant into several parts while ensuring that a few roots are still intact. Alternatively, take several stems or mature and healthy leaflets during the spring and summer.
  3. Next, remove the other lower leaves of the shoots, leaving two to three leaflets at the top of the stem. 
  4. Allow the cuttings or leaves to form callouses for a couple of hours. Alternatively, dip the ends of the leaflets or stems into a high-quality rooting hormone to encourage growth.
  5. You’ll want to place the cuttings into a pot with fresh, well-draining potting mix.
  6. Next, water the taco plant’s cuttings until the soil is moist and partially cover the plant with clear plastic to increase its humidity.
  7. Lastly, consider placing it in a setting with bright, indirect sunlight and a warm temperature of 70 to 75°F.

Lastly, continue to care for the juvenile taco plants with similar care as the mother plant.

Also Check: Cupid Peperomia

Pests And Diseases In Peperomia Axillaris

Generally, the Peperomia Axillaris is a robust plant, hardy to most pests and diseases.

The Peperomia Axillaris is, however, sensitive to overwatering. Overwatering tends to cause the leaves to wilt and can cause scab-like protrusions on its foliage and root rot or unwanted fungal infections.

Do not be too alarmed if the taco plant loses several of its bottom leaves, this is normal. However, if the taco plant undergoes a massive leaf drop, this usually indicates fertilizer problems or drastic temperature changes.

Lastly, the Peperomia Axillaris is somewhat susceptible to mealybugs. You will want to look out for masses of tiny white cotton-like bugs feeding on the stems or undersides of the leaves.

Treat mealybugs using rubbing alcohol or neem oil.

Conclusion

The taco plant is a hardy, forgiving, succulent plant with odd yet charming folded leaflets.

Draw attention by placing the Peperomia Axillaris on a windowsill with bright, indirect light. With the proper care, you’ll have an evergreen ornamental piece effortlessly sprucing up your home!

Resources

https://worldofsucculents.com/genera/peperomia/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peperomia

https://www.thespruce.com/grow-peperomia-species-indoors-1902491