Variegated Peperomia Care

Peperomia obtusifolia, the variegated peperomia or baby rubber plant, as it is sometimes called, is a popular houseplant with multicolored foliage. These beautiful plants are easy to care for and are ideal indoor plants because of their tolerance to shady conditions.

Variegated peperomia grows best in bright, indirect sunlight. Grow them in rich, well-draining soil, such as orchid potting mixture, and keep them well-watered, watering only once the soil has almost dried. These plants do not need feeding. They are slow-growing and rarely need repotting.

Peperomia are tropical plants that enjoy heat and humidity and require humus-rich, rainforest soil.  Keep reading to learn how you can simulate these conditions in your home to help your variegated peperomia thrive.

Characteristics Of Variegated Peperomia

Variegated peperomia is a compact plant with semi-succulent, cup-shaped leaves. The foliage is mottled with cream, olive green, and dark green. Potted, it grows to about 10 inches tall and can trail up to 2 feet.

This plant rarely flowers indoors, but under the perfect conditions, it produces long flower spikes with small green blooms in summer. The flowers are quite inconspicuous, and often people mistake them for offshoots.

Peperomia obtusifolia plant with white and green leaves

Where Does Variegated Peperomia Naturally Grow?

The plant is native to Mexico, southern Florida, the Caribbean, and northern South America. This region has a hot, humid climate to which peperomia is well adapted.

Peperomia plants are epiphytic, meaning that they grow on other trees and rocks. Their roots are well adapted to being exposed to air and can take up moisture from the atmosphere.

Read more: Peperomia Marble (Obtusifolia Plant Care)

Growing Variegated Peperomia Indoors

Variegated peperomia is an easy plant to care for and maintain. Whether you are an experienced plantophile or a first-time plant parent, you should have no trouble growing this plant in your home.

Soil

Because these plants are epiphytes, the roots must grow in well-aerated, free-draining soil. This will ensure that excess water is easily able to drain off so that the roots do not stay in saturated soil for long. Orchid potting mix is ideal for variegated peperomia.

Variegated peperomia likes to grow in soil that is slightly acidic and high in organic matter. The soil should mimic their natural conditions, so add some bark chips, coco peat, and vermiculite to the potting mixture you use.

Light

A peperomia must get adequate light to maintain its variegated foliage. They need 12 to 16 hours of soft, filtered light per day.

Grow them near an east or south-facing window that has sheer drapes or blinds to block out afternoon sunshine.

These plants do not cope with harsh, direct sunlight. This will burn its leaves. They prefer bright, indirect sunlight.

Water

Variegated peperomia’s semi-succulent leaves store water and make this plant quite drought hardy. It is critical not to overwater this plant. The soil must dry in between watering.

It is better for a variegated peperomia to stay on the dry side to prevent problems like root rot or fungus gnats from becoming an issue.

These plants do require more water during the growing season than they do during the fall and winter when their growth slows down.

Humidity

Variegated peperomia thrives in humid conditions, especially during the hot summer months. To mimic the steamy rainforests it is native to, place a small humidifier near the plant, mist its leaves with water a few times a day, or place a saucer filled with wet pebbles under the pot.

Temperature

Variegated peperomia is only hardy in USDA zones 10 and 11 because this plant is very sensitive to cold and frost. It is happiest when temperatures range from 64° F to 75° F (18° C to 24° C).

It can tolerate cool temperatures up to 50° F (10° C), but below that, it starts to suffer. Do not put your variegated peperomia in a position where it catches a cold draught. Keep it in a warm room where the temperature stays relatively constant.

Feeding

Variegated peperomia is slow-growing and not a very hungry plant. Feeding peperomia is not really necessary, as they get all the nutrients that they need from the substrate they grow in.

While it can go its entire life without needing fertilizer, it will benefit from the occasional dose of weakly diluted organic liquid fertilizer.

Only feed it once or twice during the growing season. The beginning of spring and midway through summer are good times to give your peperomia a feed.

How To Repot A Variegated Peperomia?

Repotting Peperomia

Peperomia plants thrive in fairly small pots where their roots can fill up the whole pot. Strangely enough, they like being a bit root-bound.

These plants do not grow rapidly and will only need to be repotted once every 4 to 6 years. This is, partly, what makes them such lovely low-maintenance plants.

You will know it is time to repot your variegated peperomia when the roots grow out of the pot’s drainage holes.

When choosing a bigger pot for your peperomia, look for one with lots of drainage holes. Orchid pots that have holes in the side and the bottom work very well because they allow for even better drainage.

Terracotta pots are also a great option for peperomia. They absorb excess soil moisture, safeguarding your plant from overwatering.

The new pot must be only slightly larger than the old one. Find one that is 2 inches wider than the diameter of the rootstock.

When repotting your peperomia, be very gentle with the roots. Refresh the potting soil with well-draining ericaceous potting mix or orchid mix.

Pruning A Variegated Peperomia

A great way to keep your peperomia looking lush and full is to prune off any sparse, scraggly growth. To encourage your plant to bush out, pinch off the tips of each stem along with the first sets of leaves.

There is no time of the year that you must prune your peperomia, but generally, the best time is in spring, when the plants start actively growing again after their winter dormancy.

Always use sharp, sterile scissors to prune your plants. This will prevent them from getting an infection.

Also Check: Peperomia Hope: Detailed Care And Propagation Guide

Propagating Variegated Peperomia

The fantastic thing about variegated peperomia – you can propagate them from the material you prune off! These plants are straightforward to grow from stem cuttings.

Ensure each stem cutting has a set of leaves and at least an inch of stem. Pot up the cutting immediately after taking it to prevent moisture loss.

Plant the cutting in potting soil in a small pot, and place it in a spot with bright, indirect light. Water your cuttings consistently, keeping the soil moist.

After 2 or 3 weeks, your variegated peperomia cuttings will have rooted. Keep letting them grow until they have filled up their small pot. Then, pot them on into bigger containers.

Another method to propagate variegated peperomia is to divide plants when you repot them. Gently tease smaller offshoots from the parent plant, making sure that enough of their roots stay intact.

Plant the baby peperomias in small pots in well-draining soil and keep them consistently watered.

Closeup of Green Variegated Peperomia

Pests and Diseases That Affect Variegated Peperomia

Variegated peperomia is a relatively trouble-free plant to grow. But as with most houseplants, pests like spider mites, mealybugs, and whiteflies can be a problem. As soon as you notice these little insects on your plant, use insecticidal soap to get rid of them.

The most common disease affecting peperomia plants is root rot. These plants are very sensitive to overwatering. If your plant has the following, it probably has root rot:

  • Mushy stem and black or dark brown, rotten roots.
  • Unpleasant smelling soil with possible mold growth on top.
  • Yellowing, curling, or wilting leaves.

In severe cases of root rot, the entire plant must be thrown out, but if you catch it quickly enough, you can save your plant by cutting away rotten parts and repotting it.

Conclusion

Variegated peperomia is a real pleasure to have in your home. The glossy, multicolored leaves in shades of cream, olive, and dark green can keep you company on your desk where you work or cascade down a well-lit shelf.

These plants are simple to care for as long as their water, soil, and light requirements are met. Peperomias are low-light plants that do best in dappled shade or bright, indirect sunlight.

Keep variegated peperomia watered regularly, but be careful not to overdo the watering, as root rot is a common issue with these epiphytes. Plant it in airy, well-draining soil.

It is easy to propagate these lovely, low-maintenance beauties. Simply plant stem cuttings directly into potting soil. Mature plants can also be divided when you repot them.

The variegated peperomia is the perfect gift for a plant-loving friend or family member. You do not need to be a plant fundi to grow one in your home.

Resources:

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

https://hortology.co.uk/products/peperomia-obtusifolia-variegata-baby-rubber-plant

https://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?taxonid=285088

https://www.fnps.org/plant/peperomia-obtusifolia