Who doesn’t love a happy, growing, gloriously evergreen indoor plant? Peperomias have long been known to make ideal house plants, and some varieties, like the watermelon peperomia, add that extra textural touch to your home with their brilliantly patterned leaves.
Peperomia argyreia, commonly known as watermelon peperomia, is easy to propagate and really doesn’t require too much care, which is why it’s a favourite even for those without a green thumb. Follow our grow and care guide to ensure you have perfectly growing watermelon peperomia in your home.
How to Identify Watermelon Peperomia
Now, the watermelon peperomia is not the only patterned peperomia you can buy, which can make it difficult to know which kind of peperomia you’re actually growing. Other striped-leaf varieties include the Peperomia angulata.
All of these cultivars belong to the Piperaceae family and share a few common traits. They are small shrub-like perennials that indigenously grow beneath the jungle canopy across South America. Watermelon peperomia is found naturally around most parts of Brazil and is a common household favourite.
Watermelon peperomia is best recognized for its leathery, peltate leaves with shiny white or cream stripes. Sometimes, this cultivar will produce long-leafless stems that produce small flowers, resembling something much like a cat’s tail.
How to Grow Watermelon Peperomia
Watermelon peperomia are quite adaptable, but there are some conditions required for ideal growth. These include:
- Temperature. While they are not overly sensitive, it’s best to keep them somewhere where the temperature never reaches anywhere below 10°C. As it is a tropical native, it does prefer warmer, more humid air, making it a great choice for bathrooms.
- Light. Peperomia plants need a good amount of light. However, they cannot tolerate direct sunlight. So, when choosing a spot, look for a semi-shaded area that still gets enough light from the window.It’s also always a good idea to turn your peperomia regularly to ensure that all the leaves get enough light throughout the growing cycle.
- Soil. You’ll want to look at using well-mixed soil, with equal parts peat moss and sand or loam soil. This will ensure that you have decent drainage whilst still maintaining enough moisture for your watermelon peperomia to grow.Before planting your peperomia, it is recommended to supplement your soil with a 10-10-10 granular fertiliser. When it comes to planting, be sure to choose a pot about 17.5 cm in diameter with a wide mouth.
- Humidity. Peperomias are used to the tropics, so they do well with a little extra humidity in dry climates. Misting is a great way to give a bit of a moisture boost. Alternatively, consider keeping your pot on a pebble tray or simply alongside many other indoor plants.
How to Propagate Watermelon Peperomia
The easiest method of propagation is through clump separation, and this can be done at any time of year. Simply remove your watermelon peperomia from the pot, gently shake the roots loose and then take care to separate into smaller bundles.
Keep your bundles in smaller pots at first, and once they begin to flourish, you can move them into a bigger pot. Another method of propagation is through leaf cutting. This will take slightly longer, though.
- Remove a leaf with the stalk, about 17.5 cm long. Use a sterilised blade to ensure that you don’t spread any unwanted fungus or diseases.
- Dip the cut end of the stem into a rooting hormone and leave it for about 10 seconds.
- Plant the leaf-cutting into a rich seeding or potting mix.
- Keep your cutting in a warm, bright spot, ensuring you keep the soil moist with regular misting.
Watermelon Peperomia Care Tips
Beyond regular watering, there really isn’t much you’ll need to do to keep your peperomia happy. You can also add some occasional 10-10-10 fertiliser every few months to keep it thriving. However, avoid doing so during the colder months as this can lead to root rot.
Peperomias also seem to respond well to other soil additives such as eggshell flour or coffee grounds (provided they are cold and without any sugar). Unless extremely overgrown, don’t re-pot your peperomia too regularly, as this can impair the roots and affect growth.
Peperomias don’t require much pruning either, unless severely overgrown. Use a sterilised blade to cut back any leggy growth or damaged leaves but take care not to cut back too much.
How Much Should You Water Your Peperomia?
While they do enjoy a lot of moisture, it is important to let the first few inches of soil dry out between watering. If your leaves begin to droop, you may have let too much of the soil dry out. Occasional watering once or twice a week should suffice, depending on where It is planted.
If outdoors, it may need more water. In wintertime, you can cut back watering to as little as once every two weeks.
Common Watermelon Peperomia Pests and Diseases
As they are primarily indoor plants, peperomias aren’t overly susceptible to pests or common garden diseases. You may experience an issue with spider mites or aphids, should another one of your indoor plants have an infestation. You can treat these smaller pests with a good gust of water or a natural pesticide.
Most issues you’ll have will be as a direct result of over or under watering or too much exposure to direct sunlight. You may experience:
- Wrinkled Leaves. Should you notice an uncommon wrinkling of the leaves, it’s a clear sign that your peperomia is not getting enough moisture. Increase how often you water your plant.
- Twisted Leaf Tips. An unnatural leaf twisting is usually a sign that you’re giving your peperomia too much fertiliser. Cut back on feeding completely for at least 2 months to allow your peperomia to recover.
- Scorched Leaf Tips. If your leaf tips begin to brown, it’s a sign that your peperomia is getting too much sun exposure. Move it to a more shaded area and cut off any badly scorched leaves.
The Best Way to Present Your Peperomia
Peperomias are a firm favourite by interior designers and landscapers alike because they’re cute, compact and such a hassle-free way to add natural greenery to a home or patio space. Keep your peperomia in a hanging basket, standing pot, on shelves or on shaded window sills.
As they’re not overly invasive, they’re also great for desks or dining tables. If you’re growing your peperomia outside, it’s always a good idea to keep it in a pot, so you are able to move it around if it’s too hot, too cold or getting too much sun exposure.
Wrapping Up Our Watermelon Peperomia Growing Guide
Wherever you decide to put your peperomia, it should be perfectly happy provided it’s getting enough moisture. Regularly check your soil with a finger or a soil moisture metre to make sure you are watering it enough. Take extreme care when propagating not to damage the very delicate roots and only use the division method every few months to allow it enough time to establish these.
Yes, the watermelon peperomia really is a beautiful addition to indoor spaces, especially when paired with some of the other incredible peperomia species.