Peperomia Serpens

If you need a special and meaningful gift for someone you love, a Peperomia Serpens plant could be perfect. The tiny pointed heart-shaped leaves trail delightfully and multiply as it grows. It is small, low-maintenance, and grows easily from cuttings.  Spreading love has never been easier than with a gorgeous, deep green Peperomia Serpens.

Peperomia Serpens is also commonly called Vining Peperomia. Its distinctive heart-shaped green leaves are densely strung on vines that can spread up to 2 feet. There is also a variegated variety.  It is a popular, easy to care for indoor plant that is often displayed in hanging baskets.

If you are a novice grower and want to impress your friends and family by sharing plants, then the Serpens is for you. Once you have the basics of caring for this Peperomia variety in place, you will soon be able to expand your collection of this remarkable family of plants.

Peperomia Serpens

Like all Peperomia plants, Serpens originates from the tropical areas of South and Central America. There are more than 1000 Peperomia plants in nature, but only around 100 of them are grown as houseplants.

Peperomia Serpens has fat, almost succulent-like leaves, but this plant is not a succulent. In nature, Serpens dangles from trees and can survive as an epiphyte, living off the nutrients provided by rain and rich decaying plant material rather than being planted in soil. However, this versatile plant thrives as a houseplant with very little care.

Besides looking gorgeous, another feature that makes Serpens a great choice as a houseplant is that it is not toxic. Of course, it’s always safer to keep all houseplants out of reach of our precious kids and pets. Still, you can confidently display your Serpens without worrying about accidental plant poisoning if your puppy does somehow get hold of it.

Like all houseplants, Peperomia Serpens does need some basic care to remain healthy and extend its vine-like stems. However, it is of the most tolerant and easy-going plants in the Peperomia family. With just some basic knowledge, you will soon be a Peperomia Serpens growing expert!

Peperomia flower

Peperomia Serpens Lighting Requirements

The easiest way to keep any houseplant happy in terms of light is to think about where they grow in nature. Serpens would occur naturally under a thick forest canopy where they would receive dappled sunlight through the leaves above.

Serpens will not appreciate a lot of direct sunlight. Like most species of Peperomia, the leaves can burn easily. Rooms with west or east-facing windows are best as the plant will receive sufficient light but not enough to cause damage. 

Peperomia Serpens does best in bright, indirect sunlight. So keep it behind a curtain or shaded screen if you display it in a sunny room. Avoid rooms with low light, like north-facing areas. Low light can cause stunted growth, and the plant may start looking sickly with discolored sparse leaf growth.

Related: Peperomia Golden Gate

Peperomia Serpens Humidity

Humidity is an essential part of keeping your Peperomia Serpens healthy. These tiny gems enjoy moderate to high levels of humidity of between 40-50% or above. This makes them perfect for keeping in bathrooms that receive a lot of light or in terrariums.

If you do not have a humidifier are concerned that the air may be too dry for your Serpens, there are some things that you can do to increase the humidity for the plant.

  • Regularly mist the plant. Be sure to use room temperature water and a fine spray. Ice cold water from the refrigerator can damage the leaves.
  • Use a pebble tray. This is not an option if your plant is hanging in a basket. A pebble tray is easy to make and is an effective and attractive way to increase the relative humidity around pot plants. This small water feature will not make any difference to the humidity of a whole room but will help in the area directly above the water.
  • Group your plants. Plants lose moisture through their leaves. This process is called transpiration. If a group of plants is placed close together, they create a mini-microclimate and the overall humidity level amongst the plants’ increases. Grouping plants can also become an attractive plant feature in a room.

Humidity levels below 30% are detrimental to Peperomia Serpens, and it won’t survive, even if all the other requirements are met. Its transpiration rate in very dry air is too high, and the plant will quickly dry out.

Peperomia Serpens Temperature Requirements

Serpens is a tropical vining plant. It is therefore not cold tolerant and needs to be kept warm. The optimal temperature range for this variety of Peperomia is between 58 – 78F.

It is far better for Serpens to occasionally fluctuate above the recommended maximum temperature than to get cold. Avoid areas where the plant could be exposed to cool draft from doorways or vents.

Humidity is an essential factor when it comes to temperature. Although Serpens can tolerate very warm temperatures, that is only when the relative humidity is also high. This tropical plant will not manage in hot, dry desert conditions.

Peperomia Serpens Soil Requirements

Perlite fertilizer

When it comes to soil, the Peperomia Serpens needs three key components. The soil must be airy, nutritious, and free-draining. These three properties are all critically important but easy to achieve when choosing potting soil.

All you need to meet all these soil requirements is to use a well-balanced potting mix and add an equal amount of perlite. The perlite will help with aeration around the roots and encourage excess moisture not to become trapped.

Peperomia Serpens thrives on rich free draining soil, so to make your plant’s soil more nutritious, add a small amount of worm castings or hummus before you plant.

The container you are planting in must-have open holes on the base for water to run out and away from the plant’s roots. Be sure to empty the collection saucer under your Serpens after each watering so that moisture is not trapped around the base of the plant. Wet roots can lead to root rot.

Fertilizing Peperomia Serpens

If the Serpens’ soil contains some rich organic material, there is little need to provide additional fertilizer. However, it may benefit from an extra feed of nutrients during the growing season, from March until the end of October.

Avoid over-fertilizing the Serpens and feed with a balanced liquid fertilizer no more than once each month. Be sure to carefully follow the dilution instructions on the fertilizer to avoid burning your plant.

Peperomia Serpens Watering Requirements

Although you’re the beautiful fat leaves of the Peperomia Serpens are almost succulent-like in appearance, the plant is not a succulent. However, it does not need much watering, especially if its humidity requirements are met.

The worst thing for a Serpens is overwatering. The soil must dry out completely before the plant is watered. Usually, watering every seven days is ample and always ensure that excess water runs through the pot and drains out the bottom.

Always allow the top 2 inches of the soil to dry out completely before adding water. During cooler weather, the plant should be watered less frequently than when it is hot.

Propagation Of Peperomia Serpens

Woman Gardener potting Peperomia

Peperomia Serpens is an excellent plant for beginners or kids to learn propagation methods because it grows readily from cuttings.

Three methods can be used to multiply a Serpens:

  1. Stem Cuttings
  2. Leaf Propagation
  3. Division of Adult Plant

Whatever method you choose to propagate your Serpens, you can mimic a humid greenhouse effect to speed things up by covering the pot with a transparent plastic bag if you are planting directly into soil. The covering should be removed for a few hours each day as you don’t want the environment to become too damp, but the added humidity will encourage faster growth.

Propagation of Peperomia Serpens Using A Stem Cutting

Peperomia Serpens can be easily propagated using a stem cutting of around 5 inches in length. Select a piece that has a few leaves. You can plant the cutting directly in soil or watch roots develop by placing it in a jar of water.

  • Using a sharp knife or scissors, cut the stem cleanly just below a node.
  • You can place the cutting into clean water in an area with good light. Be sure to change the water at least every second day. You should observe new roots forming in less than a month.
  • Let the roots grow to at least 2 inches in length before planting them in soil.
  • If you are planting your cutting directly into soil, dipping it into a rooting powder will speed things up.

Propagation of Peperomia Serpens Using A Leaf Cutting

You can create new tiny and adorable Peperomia Serpens plants just from a leaf off a healthy plant. It will, however, be beneficial to use a rooting powder to encourage the growth of new roots. You can even grow several leaves in one pot to get them started and re-pot them once they have established roots.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Cut a healthy leaf off the Serpens. Make a clean cut using scissors or a sharp knife.
  • Dip the end into rooting powder.
  • Use a matchstick or something similar to create a small funnel-shaped hole in your potting mix. This is because you do not want to bend or break the leaf by pressing it into a flat wall of soil.
  • Add some water and try to keep the humidity as high as possible. Covering it with a plastic bag for a few hours each day works well.
  • Keep it in an area where it will receive plenty of indirect light.

Propagation of Peperomia Serpens By Dividing An Adult Plant

Peperomia Serpens is a small plant that will never reach an unmanageable size. However, you may need to re-pot the plant to replenish the nutrients and refresh the soil from time to time.

If you notice that your Serpens’ roots are growing out through the drainage holes, it is time to provide fresh soil. Re-potting is best undertaken in spring which is just before the growing season.

When you report your Serpens, you can create more plants by dividing the established adult plant and placing each piece that contains roots, stem, and a few leaves into its own soil medium. Keep the divided plants in an area with ample indirect light and high humidity, and soon, they will all start growing strongly.

Also Check: Peperomia Graveolens

Peperomia Serpens Diseases and Pests

Serpens is an excellent houseplant because it is hardy and doesn’t often get bothered by pests like mealybugs, spider mites, or thrips. If you notice an infestation, treating the problem immediately with neem oil or insecticide will quickly sort out the problem.

By far, the greatest threat to the health of this lovely little tropical forest creeper is overwatering or incorrect light. Be sure to let the soil become quite dry before adding more water. Also, ensure that the drainage holes under the pot are open and all excess water can quickly drain through. Root rot can be a lethal problem once it sets in.

Peperomia Serpens has fat green heart-shaped leaves that can burn quickly if they are exposed to direct sunlight. On the other hand, they do require bright indirect light, and leaf growth may appear stunted or yellow if the plant doesn’t receive enough light.

Conclusion

Peperomia Serpens is a delightful, vine-like creeper. It is small and can easily be grown by novice gardeners. The tiny heart-shaped leaves look lovely, cascading from hanging baskets. The plants are non-toxic and are easy to propagate. Gifting a Serpens that you have grown from your own plant, if like giving a part of your heart and is sure to be received with delight.

References:

https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants/vining-peperomia

https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/peperomia-serpens/common-name/vining-peperomia/

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