Peperomia Perciliata

Congratulations if you are the owner of one of these rare jewels of the Peperomia family! The gorgeous trailing Peperomia Perciliata is a valuable addition to any plant collection and is not often available for sale. So if you have one, taking good care of your little gem is of utmost importance. In favorable conditions, the tiny white-flowered Perciliata can flourish and reward you with healthy growth that you can proudly show off.

Peperomia Perciliata, also often called, Panama Peperomia is a rare variety of the extensive Peperomia family. It features dark green oval leaves with red stems that will trail or drape over the edges of pots. The Perciliata thrives in humid conditions and is an attractive addition to terrariums.  

Surprisingly, taking care of this little tropical showstopper doesn’t have to be complicated. So long as its four essential requirements, sunlight, temperature, humidity, and correct soil, are met, your Perciliata can thrive. Before long, you may find yourself pruning to keep its long vines in check.  

How To Keep Peperomia Perciliata Healthy

The trick to keeping your Perciliata in mint condition is to imagine the plant growing in its natural habitat. Visualize the forest floor in Panama or Columbia. The air around is warm and humid and diffused light filters through the forest canopy above.  These are not your regular indoor household conditions, but your Perciliata can do well if you know how to care for it.

The four most important factors when keeping a Peperomia Perciliata are:

  1. Sunlight
  2. Humidity
  3. Temperature
  4. Soil

Your Perciliata will always be a small plant and is ideal for terrariums or in well-lit positions of the home.  It can be a delightful and unusual feature in a hanging basket. Its distinctive long red vine-like stems with dark green foliage will be a delight if you provide it with the necessary care that it requires.

Peperomia

Sunlight

Your Perciliata plant needs a lot of sunlight, but it should never fall directly on the leaves. It will do best if positioned in bright filtered light, so it would be ideal to place it behind a screen that allows plenty of light through. You can place your plant on the windowsill on days with heavy cloud cover, but don’t leave it there when the sun peaks through the clouds. Direct sunlight is too harsh for this forest plant.

Another good option to keep a Perciliata out of direct sunlight is to grow it under another larger cover plant. Dappled sunlight is ideal for this plant. If your plant’s leaves start fading, a likely cause is excessive direct sunlight so move it around until you find the perfect spot for it in your home.

The Perciliata also does well under horticultural grow lights. As long as your plant receives sufficient light, it does not seem too fussy about the source. This feature also makes it excellent for vivarium keepers. This low-growing plant will enhance any micro-tropical rainforest setting.

Humidity

Making terrarium at home

The reason that Perciliata is a popular choice for terrariums is that they thrive in humid conditions. Although these plants are considered to be slow growers, they may surprise you with their vigor in the growing season if they are kept in an enclosed humid space. One of the most successful places in your home to keep a Perciliata plant is often in a bright, steamy bathroom.

The rain forests, where Perciliata originate, are muggy environments, so try to keep the humidity at around 40-50%. If you are not keeping your little plant in a terrarium, you can mimic tropical weather by regularly misting it or using a humidifier. Be careful that while providing extra humidity to your plant that you don’t love it to death by overwatering the roots.

Watering and humidity are not the same, and your Perciliata requires surprisingly little water on its roots. The soil should even be allowed to become a little dry before watering. Root rot can quickly set in if the soil is continuously saturated.

Temperature

Perciliata is not tolerant of cold conditions, so it is very rarely kept outdoors. It needs lots of light and warm conditions to thrive.  Anything below 50F is too cold, so keep an eye on the thermostat this winter if you want your precious plant to make it through the cold months.

Like all tropical plants, keeping the environment warm is essential. Ideal temperatures for this unique plant range between 50 and 95F, and the most active growth phases take place on the upper end of this spectrum.

Soil

Keep your Peperomia Perciliata healthy by planting it in a rich, free-draining organic compost mixture. The soil should be slightly acidic at a pH of between 6 and 7.  You can use an organic potting mix but be careful that the plant does not get too soggy around the roots. It is recommended that you add 1-part perlite to every 3-parts of potting mixture to ensure that there will be sufficient drainage.

The soil should be reasonably dry before you water the plant, and many Perciliata growers only water the roots every week to ten days. It is safer to err on the side of under-watering than risk the roots developing rot. During the growing period in spring and summer, you can add liquid fertilizer to the water to feed the plant.

Related: Peperomia Metallica

How To Propagate Peperomia Perciliata

If you are the owner of one of these tiny wonders, you will undoubtedly be the envy of your gardening friends and family. Everyone will be asking you for cuttings in the hopes of growing their own Perciliata. Patience is required to get new plants from the original one, but the wait will be worthwhile.

There are two ways that you can multiply your stock of Perciliata plants. Note the optimal period to grow new plants by either method is when the temperature where the propagation takes place can be consistently maintained at around 70F.

Cuttings Propagated in Water

  • Use a cutting that has a few leaves on it
  • Ensure the cut was made with clean tools and made at an angle
  • Insert your precious cutting into a small jar or glass of clean water in a bright spot
  • After around 5 or 6 weeks, the cutting will begin to develop small white roots.
  • Be patient and let the roots grow in the water before moving it into soil
  • When you move the baby plant into soil, be sure to water it regularly. Keep the soil damp but never water-logged, and drainage holes on the pot’s base must be open.

Cuttings Propagated in Soil

  • This is the most widely used method to propagate Peperomia Perciliata.
  • Use a cutting that has a few leaves on it from a healthy parent plant.
  • Ensure the cut was made with clean tools and made at an angle.
  • Prepare a small pot and use a well-draining type of potting soil.
  • Select a rooting medium that will provide excellent drainage.
  • Remove any lower leaves on the cutting to expose the bottom leaf node.
  • Dip the end of the cutting in a rooting hormone powder.
  • Bury the lower end of the cutting securely in the soil preparation.
  • To speed things up, you can create a mini-greenhouse effect by covering your pot with a plastic sheet or use a plastic bottle – just be sure there is still good airflow. Punch some holes in the bag or bottle, so it doesn’t get too clammy inside.
  • If the propagation is successful, you will notice new shoots emerging within a few weeks

Perciliata Troubleshooting

All houseplants need care. The Peperomia Perciliata is no different, but by knowing what problems might occur, you will hopefully identify or entirely prevent issues before they become too serious.

Pests

Spider mites

If you spot any sign of pests like spider mites, scale other insects, immediately treat your Perciliata with a plant insecticide or neem oil. In this case, the best cure would be prevention, be sure to check any new plants carefully before bringing them home and exposing your rare Peperomia to a preventable pest.

Root Rot

This issue may be caused by you loving your Perciliata too much. Be careful not to overwater and always keep it in well-drained soil. Root Rot in Perciliata is the plant equivalent of human ICU. It is an emergency, and you will need to act swiftly to save the plant.

If you notice the plant’s leaves have started wilting, and the foliage is dark and soft, quickly remove it from its current pot. Cut away all visibly mushy or soft parts of the plant and plant it in fresh soil. Once root rot sets in, there is no guarantee that the plant can be saved, but it’s always worth trying with such a rare species.

Peperomia Ringspot Virus

Peperomia Ringspot Virus is a lethal viral plant disease that is unique to Peperomia species. It presents as brown spots on random leaves. As the infection progresses, leaves begin to drop off. There is no remedy, so if you have an infected plant, immediately remove it and sterilize all your equipment so that you don’t spread it to the rest of your Peperomia collection.

Leaf Loss

If your Perciliata starts dropping leaves, check the ambient temperature. When the air becomes too cool, these tiny plants begin to shed their leaves. The temperature must remain above 50F at all times and ideally should always be much higher.

Anthracnose Disease

Many types of plants are susceptible to Anthracnose disease, which occurs due to sudden changes in humidity or temperature.  It is pretty common in plants that are kept in terrariums as the humidity can fluctuate. You can learn more about this plant disease here.

Conclusion

Having a Perciliata in your Peperomia collection is something to be proud of. This rare plant with distinctive red stems and dark green foliage that trail over the edge of indoor pots may be challenging to acquire but is not high maintenance once you have found the perfect spot for it in your home.

References:

https://www.gardentags.com/plant-encyclopedia/peperomia-perciliata/35151

https://www.thespruce.com/peperomia-plant-4584414

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

https://www.thespruce.com/great-terrarium-plants-847877