How to Grow Peperomia Plants

A variety of different peperomia plants on a table
My Garden Life
August 10, 2022
Table of Contents
Peperomias have been a favorite plant for generations of houseplant lovers. We have tips on how to grow different peperomia varieties and identify which peperomia plant you have.

As the popularity of peperomias continues to grow there are more species available than ever in an incredible variety of colors, leaf forms and textures. Peperomia sizes and forms can range from bushy or trailing, to upright or cascading, providing lots of options for choosing a peperomia to suit your décor and growing space.

Peperomia plant care is easy, making them a good choice for anyone new to growing houseplants, anyone short on time, or for those who tend to be forgetful about tending to their plants’ needs.

Where do Peperomia Plants Grow in Nature?

The majority of peperomia species are found growing throughout South and Central America and Mexico. Different species have adapted to different growing conditions.

Some peperomia are epiphytes, meaning they grow in the nooks of trees or in rock crevices, getting moisture from rain and nutrients from organic matter that accumulates around the plant. The epiphytic peperomias are found in tropical forests with warm temperatures and high humidity.

Some peperomia varieties are adapted to the higher, drier altitudes of mountains. These tend to have characteristics typical of a succulent plant, with leaves and stems that have some ability to store water.

Lastly, there are a few peperomia species that grow from tubers. They have the ability to survive periods of drought by reducing their foliage and relying on water stored in their tubers. Foliage returns later with the rainy season.

Why are Peperomia Called “Radiator Plants”?

Peperomias as a group are often referred to as “radiator plants”. This common name came from the American horticulturist, Liberty Hyde Bailey (1858-1954), and was based on the unique growing environment created around radiators situated near windows. In the early twentieth century, many homes were warmed by steam-heated radiators. As growing plants indoors grew in popularity, people realized that a windowsill near a radiator provided an ideal location for growing peperomias as houseplants.

Identifying Popular Peperomia Varieties

There are over a thousand species of peperomia found in nature, but some types are more popular for growing as houseplants. Here are 22 of the most common peperomia types and varieties you might find at your local garden center or plant shop.

1. Beetle Peperomia

Peperomia angulata (Syn. P. quadrangularis)

beautiful striped foliage of Peperomia angulata (Syn. P. quadrangularis) Beetle Peperomia trailing over a pot

Height: 4-6 inches. Growth habit: Trailing. In nature, beetle peperomia spreads across the ground similar to a groundcover.

Origin: West Indies, Panama, northern South America.

Features: Peperomia angulata is beautiful trailing from a hanging basket or a pot on a shelf. Beetle peperomia is a slow grower so you don’t have to worry about it overwhelming a space. This species thrives in humidity so rooms such as a bathroom or kitchen are good locations.

2. Watermelon Peperomia

Peperomia argyreia 

potted Peperomia argyreia, Watermelon Peperomia, in a pot on a living room table

Height: 6-12 inches. Growth habit: Upright, forming a somewhat rounded tuft of leaves.

Origin: Tropical regions of South America.

Features: Peperomia argyreia has a distinctive striping pattern on the leaves that looks similar to the skin of a striped watermelon. Watermelon peperomia is very decorative and a great accent for an office desk, on a shelf or table, or anywhere indoors that offers bright indirect light. You can grow watermelon peperomia outdoors in the summer on a shady porch, deck, patio or balcony. Bring inside if temperatures fall below 50 degrees F.

3. ‘Emerald Ripple’ Peperomia

Peperomia caperata
close up of the crinkled leaves of Peperomia caperata,  ‘Emerald Ripple’ Peperomia

Height: 6-8 inches. Growth habit: Upright, forming a rounded rosette of foliage.

Origin: Brazil.

Features: Probably one of the most recognizable of all the peperomia species, ‘Emerald Ripple’ is widely available and has been a favorite houseplant for decades. The heart-shaped leaves, with their deeply corrugated texture, are both interesting and decorative. It’s not unusual for ‘Emerald Ripple’ to produce flowers in the summer.

4. ‘Rosso’ Peperomia

Peperomia caperata ‘Rosso’
close up of the gorgeous green and red foliage of Peperomia caperata ‘Rosso’ Peperomia in a decorative ceramic pot

Height: 6-8 inches. Growth habit: Upright, forming a rounded rosette of foliage.

Origin: Brazil.

Features: The ‘Rosso’ variety has become one of the most popular peperomia houseplants. Its beautifully textured, green and burgundy leaves are a colorful accent for an office desk, on a shelf or on a table. Peperomia ‘Rosso’ will grow well in any location that offers bright, indirect light.

5. Silver Ripple Peperomia

Peperomia caperata
close up of the silver heart-shaped leaves of Peperomia caperata,  Silver Ripple Peperomia

Height: 6-8 inches. Growth habit: Upright, forming a rounded rosette of foliage.

Origin: Brazil.

Features: Silver ripple peperomia is a beautiful accent plant. The silvery highlights on the leaves give the plant a luminous glow. The leaves burn easily so be careful not to place your silver ripple peperomia on a windowsill where it gets hot, direct sunlight. Place it on a tabletop or shelf where it will receive bright, indirect light.

6. Red Edged Peperomia

Peperomia clusiifolia
Peperomia clusiifolia  Red Edged Peperomia plant displaying glossy green leaves with red edges in a basket cloche

Height: 10-18 inches. Growth habit: upright and broadly mounding.

Origin: West Indies, Venezuela, Brazil.

Features: Red edged peperomia is prized for its bold, oblong leaves that are edged in red. Deep red stems give the plant even more color and contrast beautifully with the foliage. This is a favorite peperomia for growing as a houseplant because it can tolerate a little neglect. Letting it get on the dry side is better than overwatering. Red edged peperomia makes a good gift plant for someone new to houseplants or for anyone short on time for plant care.

7. Prayer Peperomia

Peperomia dolabriformis
close up of Peperomia dolabriformis, Prayer Peperomia, with its succulent rosettes of foliage

Height: 4-10 inches. Growth habit: upright stems with foliage forming a rosette on each stem.

Origin: Peru.

Features: Thick, fleshy leaves look like a single leaf that has been folded in half; like hands pressed together in prayer. Mature prayer peperomia plants develop woody stems that can grow up to two feet tall, but this kind of growth is unlikely when grown indoors. Allow the top two inches of soil to dry between waterings.

8. Pincushion Peperomia, Happy Bean (‘Green Bean’)

Peperomia ferreyrae
potted Peperomia ferreyrae  Pincushion Peperomia, Happy Bean (‘Green Bean’), in a terra cotta pot

Height: 4-12 inches. Growth habit: Upright.

Origin: South American rainforests.

Features: This is a fun addition to any houseplant collection. The long fleshy leaves resemble a cluster of string beans! Grow pincushion peperomia like a succulent; potting it in well-drained soil and allowing the soil to dry slightly between watering.

9. Ruby Glow Peperomia

Peperomia graveolens
close up of the succulent red and green foliage of Peperomia graveolens,  Ruby Glow Peperomia

Height: 8-10 inches. Growth habit: Upright and spreading.

Origin: Ecuador.

Features: An intriguing and colorful peperomia species. The fleshy red and green foliage is exceptionally decorative. Ruby glow peperomia can handle a little more sun than other species. Bright light can enhance the rich red tone of the leaf undersides and stems. However, as with other peperomia species, care should be taken to avoid placing them in a hot, sunny location.

10. Felted Peperomia, Felted Pepperface

Peperomia incana
close up of the soft, hairy leaves of Peperomia incana, Felted Peperomia, Felted Pepperface

Height: 12-15 inches. Growth habit: Spreading.

Origin: Southeastern Brazil.

Features: One of the few peperomia species that can handle full sun. Dense hairs cover the leaves protecting the plant from sun damage. Exceptionally slow growing so it won’t outgrow its pot or location too quickly. Felted peperomia’s pale foliage creates a striking contrast when grouped with green-leaved houseplants.

11. Red Tree Peperomia

Peperomia metallica Columbiana
close up of the intensely burgundy foliage of Peperomia metallica Columbiana, Red Tree Peperomia

Height: 8-10 inches. Growth habit: Upright with stems that gradually bend with the weight of the foliage forming a neat mound.

Origin: Tropical regions of Ecuador, Colombia and Peru.

Features: Red tree peperomia is one of the most unusual peperomias for its deep burgundy-black foliage. Adds a spot of color when grouped with green-leaved houseplants. Very decorative grown in a pot on a desk, shelf or tabletop.

12. Baby Rubber Plant, Blunt Leaved Radiator Plant, Pepperface

Peperomia obtusifolia
composite image with two types of potted Peperomia obtusifolia Baby Rubber Plant, Blunt Leaved Radiator Plant, Pepperface

Height: 10-12 inches. Growth habit: Upright with stems that gradually bend with the weight of the foliage opening space for new stems to grow from the center.

Origin: Florida, Mexico and Central America.

Features: One of the most popular peperomia species for growing as a houseplant because it’s not fussy about a little neglect. Baby rubber plant will suffer more from overwatering, than from letting your plant get on the dry side. The species has solid green leaves but there are variegated forms available (P. obtusifolia ‘Variegata’) with green and white foliage. “Baby rubber plant” is not related to the Ficus elastica, rubber plant.

13. Red Margin Peperomia

Peperomia obtusifolia
close up of the glossy green and burgundy foliage of Peperomia obtusifolia,  Red Margin Peperomia in a white ceramic pot

Height: 12-18 inches. Growth habit: Upright with stems that gradually bend with the weight of the foliage opening space for new stems to grow from the center.

Origin: Tropical Central and South America.

Features: A trendier version of the baby rubber plant. Enjoy all the easy-care, sturdy, characteristics of the species plant but with a little more color. The broadly oval, thick leaves are edged with a hint of red. Red edge peperomia makes an attractive gift plant for someone new to houseplants or for anyone short on time for plant care.

14. Pixie Lime Peperomia

Peperomia orba
lime green foliage of Peperomia orba, Pixie Lime Peperomia trailing over the sides of a pastel green ceramic pot

Height: 3-4 inches. Growth habit: Spreading to around 8 inches.

Origin: Tropical Central and South America.

Features: A charming little peperomia to add to your houseplant collection. The low foliage spreads and trails over the side of the pot. Perfect for a shelf, desk or tabletop, and pixie lime peperomia grows slowly so it won’t overtake a space.

15. String of Coins

Peperomia ‘Pepperspot’
Peperomia ‘Pepperspot’, String of Coins, with its wiry stems carrying round, succulent leaves trailing down the sides of a clay pot

Height: 2-5 inches. Growth habit: Trailing to 12 inches or more.

Origin: Amazon jungles of South America.

Features: Stunning when grown in a hanging basket or displayed in a pot on a shelf or plant stand, where the long stems can trail freely. Be sure to keep your plant on the dry side, allowing the top two inches of soil to dry between thorough waterings. In nature, pepperspot/ string of coins peperomia spreads across the jungle floor.

16. Raindrop Peperomia, Coin-leaf Peperomia

Peperomia polybotrya
Peperomia polybotrya Raindrop Peperomia, Coin-leaf Peperomia in a terra cotta pot

Height: 10 inches. Growth habit: Upright.

Origin: Columbia and Peru.

Features: Raindrop peperomia is a delightful species with upright stems supporting shiny, raindrop-shaped leaves. Its slow growth and compact habit make raindrop peperomia a good choice when you need a plant that won’t quickly outgrow its space. Often confused with the Chinese Money Plant (Pilea peperomioides).

17. String of Turtles Peperomia

Peperomia prostrata
two white ceramic pots in a windowsill filled with trailing Peperomia prostrata  String of Turtles Peperomia

Height: 3-4 inches. Growth habit: Creeping, trailing; the stems can spread 1-2 feet.

Origin: Tropics North and South America.

Features: This fun peperomia species has leaf markings that make the foliage resemble strands of little round turtle shells. String of turtles is most stunning when displayed in a hanging basket or grown in a pot on a shelf or plant stand. This allows the long stems to trail freely. String of turtles can handle direct morning or evening sunlight, but otherwise grows best in bright, indirect light.

18. Trailing Jade, Jade Necklace Peperomia

Peperomia rotundifolia
Peperomia rotundifolia  Trailing Jade, Jade Necklace Peperomia trailing from a beige ceramic pot in a living room

Height: 1-2 inches. Growth habit: Trailing to 12 inches or more.

Origin: South Africa, Central and South America.

Features: Trailing jade peperomia is perfect for growing in a hanging basket or trailing from a pot on a shelf or plant stand. The petit foliage creates a lush plant but won’t overwhelm a space. If the stems of your trailing jade grow too long for a location, just snip them off to the desired length. Pruning will also encourage new growth from the center of the plant.

19. Cupid Peperomia

Peperomia scandens ‘Variegata’
close up of the variegated, heart-shaped leaves of Peperomia scandens ‘Variegata’, Cupid Peperomia

Height: 8 inches. Growth habit: Trailing up to 2 feet.

Origin: Mexico to South America.

Features: Charming heart-shaped leaves with green and white variegation. Perfect for a hanging basket or cascading from a shelf. Sometimes called “philodendron peperomia” because of its resemblance to a heart-leaf philodendron, cupid peperomia is not related to true philodendrons.

20. Parallel Peperomia

Peperomia tetragona (synonym P. puteolata)
close up of the amazing striped foliage of Peperomia tetragona (synonym P. puteolata), Parallel Peperomia in an aqua blue pot

Height: 18 inches. Growth habit: Upright with stems that gradually bend with the weight of the foliage.

Origin: Peru

Features: Parallel peperomia is an easy-to-grow species. The plant gets its common name from the distinct lines that run the length of the leaves. It’s very decorative and well suited for growing in a hanging basket or pot. Parallel peperomia is a slow grower, but it can be pruned if the plant happens to outgrow its space. Snip the stems to the desired length just in front of the leaf nodes.

21. Acorn Peperomia, Four-leaved Peperomia

Peperomia tetraphylla
close up of the round, succulent foliage of Peperomia tetraphylla Acorn Peperomia, Four-leaved Peperomia

Height: 4-12 inches. Growth habit: Trailing to 12 inches or more.

Origin: Tropical and subtropical regions of South and Central America, Asia and Africa

Features: The trailing stems of acorn peperomia are perfect for hanging baskets, or in a pot on a shelf, where the stems can cascade freely. Its small stature is ideal wherever you need a plant that won’t outgrow its space. Acorn peperomia is an interesting, ornamental plant, with leaves that emerge in whorls of three to four leaves along the stem.

22. Red Log Peperomia

Peperomia verticillata
close up of the red and green rosettes of foliage on Peperomia verticillata,  Red Log Peperomia plant

Height: 20 inches. Growth habit: Upright with stems that gradually bend with the weight of the foliage.

Origin: West Indies.

Features: Red log peperomia is an exceptionally decorative species. The plant produces whorls of fleshy leaves that are green on top and red on the undersides. This is a good choice if you’re looking for a colorful desk or houseplant to grow near a bright window.

Peperomia Flowers

close up of the flower Inflorescence of Peperomia caperata 'Rosso'

If you lined up all the different species of peperomia plants side by side, you might think they aren’t related at all because each plant can have such a unique look. Although peperomia plants come in a wide assortment of leaf shapes and colors there is one thing they all have in common – their flower form. Sometimes called a “rat tail” the flower spike produced by a peperomia plant is called an inflorescence. The inflorescence is covered with tiny, barely visible flowers.

When flower spikes appear (typically in the spring) it’s a sign that your plant is happy and getting all its needs met. Even though the peperomia flowers aren’t showy, they are interesting. You can leave any flower spikes that appear on your plant until they wilt naturally or snip them off at the base of the flower stem to remove at any time.

Houseplant Peperomia Care

What’s the Best Light Level for Peperomia Plants?

Peperomia plants enjoy bright, indirect light. This isn’t a plant you want to put on a sunny, southern or western windowsill as too much direct sun can burn the leaves. A couple of hours of sun in the morning or late afternoon should be safe though. Peperomias are not considered low-light houseplants; they do need bright light to stay healthy. Placing a Peperomia no more than a foot away from (but not in) a sunny window would be ideal.

Woman gardeners taking care and transplanting plant a into a new white pot on the wooden table. Home gardening, love of houseplants, freelance. Spring time. Stylish interior with a lot of plants.

How Much Water Do Peperomia Plants Need?

Try to water your peperomia beneath the foliage, right at the soil surface, to avoid getting the leaves wet. Water your plant thoroughly until water runs from the bottom of the pot, then allow the top 2 inches of soil to dry between waterings. Feel the soil with your finger to judge its dryness. In time you’ll probably start to develop a routine for when to water as you become familiar with the peperomia plant’s specific water needs.

Avoid over-watering your peperomia as this can lead to root rot and the demise of your plant. If you’re concerned about over-watering, be sure to grow your plant in a clay pot. Clay is porous and allows some water to evaporate through the pot.

Best Temperature for Peperomia Plants

Peperomias grow best in temperatures between 60° to 80°F (16° to 27°C). Be sure to keep your peperomia plant away from drafty locations such as near an exterior doorway or near forced air vents that might expose your plant to extremes of heat and cold.

Soil for Peperomia Houseplants

A woman taking cuttings from a Peperomia obtusifolia plant

It’s important to grow your peperomia in a soil mix that provides good drainage. Usually, an all-purpose potting mix for houseplants is sufficient, but if your soil seems dense, add some perlite or orchid bark to help loosen the soil and create space for water to move more freely. A good ratio to start with is one part perlite to three parts soil.

Feeding Peperomia Plants

Fertilize your peperomia once a month when the plant is actively growing; usually in spring and summer when days are longer. Give it a rest in the winter when light is lower and plant growth is slower. You can use a general-purpose liquid feed for houseplants or apply a slow-release, granular feed in early spring to release a little bit of fertilizer when you water.

Propagating Peperomia Plants

Peperomia plants are incredibly easy to propagate from stem or leaf cuttings. Stem cuttings can be started in soil or water. Here are tips for different ways you can propagate peperomia plants:

Starting Peperomia Cuttings in Soil

  • Look for a healthy stem and cut it long enough to insert in a small pot of fresh, sterile potting soil. If possible, take several cuttings from your peperomia plant to increase your chances of success.
  • Dipping the cut end of the peperomia stem in rooting powder can help speed up the process but it will still take a few weeks for roots to start developing.
  • Place the potted peperomia cutting in a location that receives bright, indirect sunlight. Keep the soil moist, but not soggy wet. Your peperomia cutting will be busy growing roots for a while, but be patient and you will eventually see leaves emerge from the base of the cutting. It can take two months or longer for new leaves to appear.
  • You can also propagate peperomia plants from a single leaf. Snip off a leaf with just a small bit of stem. Set the end of the leaf with the stem into the soil until it is just buried. As with a stem cutting, place the potted leaf cutting near a bright window and keep the soil moist. Roots and leaves will emerge directly from the leaf.

Starting Peperomia Plants in Water

  • Perhaps the easiest way to propagate a peperomia plant is in a glass of water. Just like for soil propagation, you need to cut a stem long enough to reach the water. Remove any lower leaves that will be submerged in the water. Submerged leaves might rot and cause problems later. Place the cuttings near a bright window.
  • Pour off the water weekly and replace it with fresh water. The fun of propagating peperomia plants in water is that you can easily see and check the root development. Once the cuttings have grown roots about a half-inch long, they can be potted in soil. Continue to keep the soil moist, but not soggy, until leaves start to emerge.
  • No matter which propagation method you choose, once a small plant has developed you can adjust to a watering schedule that is more suited to a mature potted plant.

Peperomia Plants and Pet Safety

A gray tabby cat lounging in a windowsill near houseplants

Peperomia plants are safe to have around your cat or dog according to the ASPCA list of poisonous plants.

More Options for Expanding Your Houseplant Collection

Another group of tried-and-true houseplants that come in an array of shapes and sizes is philodendrons. Just like peperomia plants, it’s quite possible that a philodendron would have been found growing on your great-grandma’s windowsill. Learn all about philodendrons and decide which species you’ll want to add to your houseplant collection.

A large potted Philodendron selloum in a modern livingroom.


    • My Garden Life

      No ” peperomia part 2″ planned at the moment, but new species and varieties of peperomia continue to get introduced to the market, so maybe something we will consider in the future.


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