Featured genus: Peperomia

Peperomia are members of the Piperaceae Family— there are over 1,000 described species, most of which come from tropical South America (Although there are a few that come from Africa as well). Commonly known as “radiator plant” the peperomia has been a much loved houseplant for a long time. Some of the species have succulent-like leaves, meaning it stores water fairly effectively and can handle a little neglect. It makes an excellent window-sill plant as it enjoys bright light (although couldn’t handle being outside all day).

Peperomia have made a spot for themselves in my personal collection because I really enjoy their cute, succulent leaves, and the many different varieties you can find. I’ve taken a real liking to them lately, because due to their smaller size (not many get to be taller than 12”) they make great smaller additions to a collection that’s running out of real estate.

In total I have eleven Peperomia in my collection, and as hard as it is to pick favorites, we’d be here all day if I talked about them all. So I thought I’d highlight a couple stand-out members of the team, and also talk about a couple that are currently on my wish list.

Peperomia Prostrata:

I looooooove a good trailing plant. This mini trailer does not disappoint. It goes by the common name String of Turtles, because the little heart shaped succulent leaves have a pattern that resembles the shell of a turtle. As the leaves mature, they get super chubby and the top bit is a translucent window that looks down on the turtle shell pattern. Treat this guy like a succulent (not that I would know, peperomia is the closest I’ve ever gotten to owning a succulent) and let it really dry out before giving it water. I like to water it from the bottom— I fill a bowl half way with water and set the plant, pot and all, into the dish. In about fifteen minutes or so, I check on it. More often than not, the plant has sucked up all the water and has had a nice healthy drink without risk of rotting the leaves that sit low to the soil. My Prostrata hangs in a south-west facing widow and has survived a couple tumbles off tables due to my cat being very curious about the vines.

Peperomia Graveolens:

This guy is stinking cute. I had seen this one on instagram and knew that if I found it, it could be coming home with me. It’s leaves feel like jelly beans when you squish them! I haven’t had this guy very long (beginning of the month) so I’m not sure about his likes or dislikes, so for now I’m treating him like the rest of my Peperomia— he lives on a plant stand a couple feet back from a south-west window, and I water him when the top two inches of soil is dry. Apparently, the name Graveolens means “Smells bad”, and that the inflorescence is kinda stinky. Hopefully I can make him happy enough to find out!

Peperomia Ferreyrae:

I bought this one today. He is labeled as “Peperomia— green beans” and I am dying. DYING. It’s so precious I nearly screamed out loud in the nursery. I don’t have much to tell you differently about this one, because again, he is new to me and I haven’t learned the ins-and-outs, but I will wax poetic about how freakishly wonderful this plant looks. The tops of these leaves have a window (in fact all three of these featured species do) that appears a darker green. These little windows are thought to help increase photosynthesis, but there have been some recent studies that bring this into question. Whatever the case, I will make sure this little fella has lots of light until it tells me otherwise.

The wish list:

Peperomia Pepperspot:

This is another trailing variety of peperomia, with precious coin shaped succulent leaves. I just love the look of this one, and know it would look gorgeous in a macrame hanger in my hallway with my Parallel Peperomia.

Peperomia Rubella:

This one is a trailing plant too, but the backs of the leaves are a gorgeous red colour and they seem to have a pattern similar to Prostrata! Obviously, I have a weakness for trailing plants, but this one offers something extra special.

I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about my Peperomia collection! I can’t wait to fill it out a little more— I think I have more plants from the Peperomia genus than any other, although Calathea or Philodendron might be close behind. Let me know if you have any peperomia in your collection! What kind? How do you care for them? Do you have any on your wish list?

3 thoughts on “Featured genus: Peperomia

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  1. Peperomia are some of my faves too! So cute! Do you happen to have links to the studies mentioned handy (about leaf windows and photosynthesis)?


  2. I had a huge hanging pepperomia that I got rid of in a fit of purging when I was in college and I’ve regretted it for the entirety of the last 20 years! I’ve never seen another like it… boo! I’ve been a gardener outside for years and years, but am really only recently coming into houseplants- so I am enjoying your blog immensely!

    Liked by 1 person

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