Peperomia Graveolens

This splendid little plant is native to southern Ecuador from two different regions, the Loja province, and the Oña river. Its natural habitat is between two thousand and two and a half thousand meters above sea level. Peperomia Graveolens is an unusual variety with succulent, fleshy leaves and is also known as the Ruby Peperomia because of the wine-colored edges.

Peperomia Graveolens is a rare beauty that requires bright indirect light and very little water. It is often mistaken for a succulent with its fleshy dark red leaves and stems, but it belongs to the pepper family. It is a gorgeous addition to a terrarium, office, or home and is easy to care for.

Another name for it is Ruby Glow. It is evergreen, and the leaves have transparent epidermal windows on top. Like all Peperomias, it is easy to keep and doesn’t require much care. Its windows posed a bit of a mystery to scientists until they discovered that they increase light levels inside the cells of the thick leaves by allowing sunlight penetration.

Distinguishing Characteristics

The leaves have claret-colored undersides and are shaped like fat little canoes. The long, thin, red stem of the inflorescence has tiny flowers that give off a scent that has been described as mousey or earthy.

Some people find it unpleasant, but the odor is not very strong. The inflorescence grows up to three inches above the leaves, and the tiny flowers are greenish-white. The flowers are insignificant, and the plant is prized for its superbly colored foliage.

Growth Rate and Size

Peperomia Graveolens is a slow-growing mini shrub that reaches a maximum height of between twenty and twenty-five centimeters or around ten inches. It is non-toxic, so you don’t have to worry about children and pets getting hold of it. The plant can grow twenty-four inches wide.

Close up of a Peperomia Graveolens

How To Care For Peperomia Graveolens

This plant doesn’t require much attention and is best left to its own devices most of the time. It is a pleasure to keep as long as the conditions are right. If you overwater, the leaves close up. As long as you get the soil, temperature, light, and humidity right, Peperomia Graveolens is very easy to care for.

Temperature and Humidity

The ideal temperature is between eighteen and twenty-four degrees Celsius or sixty-five to seventy-five degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature regularly drops below fifty-four degrees Fahrenheit or 12 degrees Celsius, the plant will not thrive.

Peperomia Graveolens likes relatively humid conditions because it occurs in naturally warm, subtropical, and tropical forests. A few times a week, a light misting of the leaves may be welcome but is not strictly necessary as they are usually happy with the humidity levels in most homes.

If you live in an arid climate, you may need to invest in a humidifier.

Peperomia Graveolens will generally do well in humidity levels of between fifty and seventy-five percent. They can grow at slightly lower levels but may then need regular misting. The plant is not cold resistant and will be killed by frost or freezing temperatures, so it is best grown indoors.

If you aren’t sure what the humidity levels are like in your office or home, a digital hygrometer can give you the answer.

Watering Guide

The Graveolens does not like waterlogged soil, so you should wait until the substrate dries out almost completely between waterings. It prefers slightly moist conditions, and you should only water at the base of the plant.

To avoid overwatering altogether, you can put some water in the tray the pot stands in and let it take in what it needs through the drainage holes. When the water is no longer disappearing, remove the tray and pour out the rest.

Water infrequently in winter when the plant is resting. If you overwater, the leaves may close in on themselves and could wilt or get raised protrusions on their surfaces. A waxy coat on the leaves is another sign that you are overwatering. The plant may also shed its leaves due to overwatering.

Signs of underwatering are pale, dry-looking leaves, so increase the watering frequency when you see this. The fleshy leaves store water so they can survive for a while if you forget to water one week. Overwatering causes the roots to rot, and this is not easily remedied.

Watering Plants

Light Guide

Peperomia Graveolens likes long periods of bright, indirect light and will grow well under plant grow lights or fluorescent lighting. However, you don’t need to buy lights for your plant as it will be just as happy near a window or under a skylight, as long as it doesn’t get direct sunlight.

Soil and Potting Requirements

The substrate must be fast-draining, moist, peaty, and full of humus, the dark organic material that forms in soil from dead plant matter. Regular garden soil is too dense and not suitable for this little lovely. You can mix two parts of peat to one part of perlite or sand.

The main thing is that soil must be well aerated and not become soggy. The pot must have sufficient drainage holes so that excess water can flow out. Like many Peperomias, Graveolens likes to be a bit pot-bound, so the edges of the pot should not be too far from the root ball.

Fertilizer Requirements

These plants are not accustomed to growing in rich environments, so they require little, if any, fertilizer. You can use a bit of liquid fertilizer diluted to half the strength indicated on the bottle during the growing season but be careful not to overdo it. Many people who keep Peperomia Graveolens use no fertilizer at all, and the plants do just fine.

If you apply fertilizer, keep it light and only once a month during spring and summer.

Read more: Peperomia Ginny

Quick Care Tips For Peperomia Graveolens

Once your Peperomia is established in the right conditions, you need to do very little to keep it healthy and happy.

Pruning

Regular pruning is not usually necessary, but if the plant is looking a little scraggly, you can neaten it up a bit to maintain its shape with sterilized plant scissors and cut off the lowest leaves first. Remove damaged or unhealthy leaves to retain its natural beauty.

Potting and Repotting

Peperomia Graveolens grows slowly, so repotting shouldn’t be necessary for quite a while. It likes being a bit rootbound, so don’t be tempted to repot it when you see this. Every few years, you can repot it when the roots start to overflow the pot, and the substrate needs refreshing.

You can repot it in a pot one size up but bear in mind that these plants like to grow in tight conditions, and if there is too much extra space, this increases the risk of overwatering.

The roots and stems are pretty delicate and break off easily, so be careful when handling the plant. Ensure that the new substrate is well-aerated and drains quickly and that there are drainage holes in the pot.

Propagation Facts

Propagating Peperomia Graveolens is easy. Just take stem cuttings of around four inches long with a few leaves still on them and place them in a jar of water. In a few weeks, you should see roots forming.  When the roots have grown, transplant the cutting into a small pot.

Another method is to plant the cuttings directly into a small pot containing a mix of fifty percent perlite and fifty percent peat. Before planting the cuttings, leave them for about a week to callous.

Plant them in the pot, moisten the soil and locate the pot in a warm area with bright indirect light. To improve root growth, dip the cut ends in some rooting hormone before planting the cuttings.

Peperomia Graveolens can also be propagated using leaf cuttings. Remove a healthy, fleshy leaf by holding it between finger and thumb and wiggling slightly to detach it. Leave it for a few days and then dip it into root hormone.

Place the leaf on the moist substrate and wait until you see little roots appearing after around three or four weeks. Watering is unnecessary until the tiny roots appear and will just cause the leaf to rot. Allow the soil to dry out and then water it. When you see healthy root growth, you can transplant your new babies into their own little pots.

Peperomia Graveolens

Pests and Diseases

Whiteflies, mealybugs, and spider mites are the usual suspects when it comes to pests. Look for these when the leaves of your plant are full of dark spots. You can kill them by dipping a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol and gently applying it to the leaves once a day for around two weeks.

Cottony webs on the stems and leaves can also indicate mealybugs. Wiping the leaves with neem oil once or twice per season is an excellent way to prevent them from taking up residence. Peperomia Graveolens is relatively pest-resistant, and if your plant is healthy and unstressed, the bugs are less likely to move in.

Overwatering or soggy soil can lead to fungal diseases such as leaf spot. Avoid wetting the leaves when watering and dry them off if you accidentally splash them. Keeping your plant in a well-ventilated space is another way to prevent fungal problems.

Related: Peperomia Frost

Conclusions

Peperomia Graveolens is a relatively rare, gorgeous plant that is sought after by Peperomia collectors. Its needs are simple, and it does not take up much space, but it requires at least fifty percent humidity and bright indirect light to thrive.

References:

https://smartgardenguide.com/peperomia-varieties/

https://academic.oup.com/jxb/article/59/7/1863/647957

https://hortology.co.uk/products/peperomia-graveolens-ruby-glow-radiator-plant-succulent

https://plantophiles.com/plant-care/peperomia-graveolens/

https://plantcaretoday.com/peperomia-graveolens.html

https://succulentcity.com/peperomia-graveolens/