Pepper Face (Peperomia obtusfolia)
Baby Rubber Plant, American Baby Rubber Plant, Pepper Face, Peperomia
Want to find the houseplant that is best for you?
Medium indirect SUNLIGHT.
Pepper face can't handle direct sunlight if it gets an hour or so doesn't worry about it, but they easily scorch in the hot, direct sunlight. If it is in the path of direct sunlight morning sunlight would be preferred as it is much less harsh than evening sunlight.
Pepper Face will do especially well under your regular old fluorescent bulbs making them ideal for offices or bathrooms with less sunlight. This isn't a replacement for sunlight but it will certainly help boost a less brightly lite space!
Low: CHECK WEEKLY.
Pepper Face are considered semi-succulents meaning they hold surplus water in their leaves rather than in their roots. This means they need less frequent watering and prefer to dry out all or most of the way before they get watered agin.
In the Fall and Winter reduce the amount you water. I let mine dry about 3-5 inches and water more deeply in between.
Watering, more specifically overwatering, is the reason most houseplants die. To be truthful it's a bit more complicated than just overwatering. There are a lot of factors at play! You just want to love on your plant by giving it more water to drink and next thing you know it feels like your houseplant has suddenly died. I can help with that.
In Becoming Planty, I explain all the factors that are at play when your plant has been "overwatered" so you can identify what needs to be changed and how to identify the warning signs.
NORMAL TO MEDIUM: KEEP LEAVES DUSTY FREE
Peperomia are tropical plants native to Brazil and therefore require a higher level of humidity than what your home naturally provides, but not too much. Your pepper face will thank you if at least once a month or so (though I suggest doing it every time you water) you use a damp cloth and gently clean the leaves off removing any dust particles that have built up. This will allow your rubber tree to absorb humidity in the air and make for a much happier plant! To increase humidity you can add a small humidifier (I have even used a diffuser) nearby. Some people add a pebble tray filled with water nearby, though I am not so sure this will really do much to increase humidity. You can also keep it in your bathroom.
Soil + Pot
1/2 Cactus mix + 1/2 General POTTING MIX IN A shallow, TERRA-COTTA POT.
Choose terra-cotta. Because peperomia like to dry out fully in between watering, I suggest terra-cotta so those precious roots don't hold too much moisture. If you have another planter you absolutely love and would rather use be certain it has excellent drainage.
No matter the pot you select be sure it's a small or shallow on. Pepper face have very shallow roots systems, like all succulents, and therefore it could be detrimental to your plant if you select a pot too big. I suggest going only one size up. In addition, peperomia grow best when they are in tight spaces, but not root bound.
For the soil, peperomia aren't very picky. My suggestion is to do a combination of succulent/cacti mix and general potting soil. Though, to be truthful, using all general potting soil will be just fine. If you choose this method then keep an extra eye on the moisture level of the soil.
Soil can be a complicated topic! A lot of people have a LOT of opinions about it! When in doubt choose a general, regular old potting soil. In my book, Becoming Planty, I explain my SUPER easy soil methods that take all of the stress out of potting and make is easy to keep things straight!
HOUSEPLANT MIX: MONTHLY DURING SPRING AND SUMMER.
A general houseplant fertilizer is perfectly fine here. I suggest using a liquid, slow release concentrate. I use Shultz brand and really loved it.* I cut the suggested amount in half and use every time I water during the Spring and Summer. During fall I only fertilize once a month and during winter I do not fertilize at all.
My favorite method is using a vase of water. Cut back your pepper face a few leaves back at the nod of the plant, that little bump where the leave is growing from. The nod is where the roots will emerge from. Allow your pepper face to callous over for a few hours by simply laying the cutting on the counter. Then place your cutting in a vase or jar filled with water so the nod stays 100% submerged in water. Keep in their until roots are well established, about three to five weeks. Keep in a mildly light space and away from direct sunlight.
Rooting your pepper face in soil follows a similar process. After your cutting has scabbed over (this step is more important if you are rooting in soil I have found). Then wet the nod (the bottom scabbed over part) and dip in rooting hormone (this step isn't necessary, but it will certainly help establish stronger growth sooner) and stick into your pot filled with moist soil. Keep soil moist at all times and plant in shady, indirect sunlight being very careful to avoid direct sunlight until roots are fully established.
Varieties + Cultivars
Pests + Common Problems
This means not enough water. I suggest watering very thoroughly, so that water drains out of the bottom. Allow all access water to drain. The water again when the top 2-3 inches of the soil is dry.
Usually overwatering. It can also mean you are moving it around too frequently, or that the temperature and humidity levels are changing too often.
Losing COLORING or variegation
Your plant isn't going to die! This simply means it isn't getting enough sunlight to sustain the coloring and is adapting to it's environment by creating more chlorophyll. If you want the variegation back increase sunlight. If it doesn't bother you don't worry about it.
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