Is your Watermelon Peperomia beginning to grow leggy with significantly small and faded foliage? Then, there is something gravely wrong with it.
Watermelon Peperomia is a beautiful houseplant with silvery green leaves that grows about 2-3 inches yearly.
Read on to find out what else may cause a leggy plant growth and how you can treat them on time.
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Why is my Watermelon Peperomia Leggy? (Causes & Easy Fixes)
Did you know the Watermelon Peperomia is exotic tropical species hailing from the warm and humid South American coasts?
Therefore, the plant is best suited for warm locations with ample humidity and dappled sunlight, where it can grow slowly.
On the other hand, leggy growth is the primary indication you are missing out on excellent care, including sunlight, food, and grooming.
Remember, leggy Watermelon Peperomia is highly inappropriate because the plant stems prefer staying short overall.
Even with large Watermelon Peperomia, which grow about a foot, the stems are usually short with significantly large leaves.
Besides, leggy growth will make these plants look deformed and uneven, compromising the ornamental appeal.
Here are a few visible reasons why your Watermelon Peperomia is getting leggy.
1. Lack of Enough Sunlight
Although many websites advertise Watermelon Peperomia as a low-light plant, it falters in low-light conditions.
You could tell your plant is light deprived by its leggy stem growth and relatively small new leaf growth due to dwindling fenestration activities.
The stems will get longer between sections of leaf and base, creating a look of sparseness, resulting in poorly grown leaves.
Moreover, the young leaves will begin to fade and lose the signature silvery-green pattern, which diminishes its ornamental appeal.
However, those exposed to direct sunlight won’t do great either, as bright sunlight will quickly burn the foliage.
- Start trimming the extra leggy growth to redirect the energy toward new development.
- Move them to a sunny location, such as a patio or east and south-facing window with enough bright light.
- When placing at the south-facing window, install light-filtering shades or place the plant 3-4 feet away.
- If natural sunlight is sparse, consider moving the plant under the full-spectrum LED grow light.
- Avoid keeping your plant in a low light condition, such as in dark alleys, kitchens, and stores.
Moving the plant to full sunlight will do less harm if you live in a generally cloudy or colder region.
2. Poor Grooming
Although rare, missing out on pruning Watermelon Peperomia will bear leggy stem growth.
Generally, you should groom your Watermelon Peperomia in the growing season to encourage bushier growth.
It is especially true for a plant with uneven growth, where taller stems will become leggier as they retain more sunlight and nutrients.
Therefore, you can avoid leggy growth by pruning them timely in spring or summertime when it proliferates and recovers from seeming damages pretty quickly.
On the other hand, unkempt Watermelon Peperomia is less likely to do significant damage, but it is advised to groom them to avoid leggy growth regularly.
- Start with pruning stems that have stretched too far or have leggy growth.
- Next, trim thinning stems with small or no leaf growth.
- Remove browned, wilted, or faded leaves and stems.
- Trim the plant twice or thrice a year to control its growth and maintain a bushier shape.
- Moreover, keep pruning activity from mid-spring to late summer.
Excessive pruning or cutting the plant to the bottom will inhibit new growth, which is a No-No.
3. Too Much Nitrogen
Watermelon Peperomia enjoys regular fertilization throughout the growing season, leading to fuller and quick growth.
However, excess fertilizing or feeding too much nitrogen will affect plant growth, often leading to leggy growth.
In fact, leggy weak growths are signs of excess nitrogen intake in Watermelon Peperomia.
Moreover, Watermelon Peperomia suffering from Nitrogen stress is prone to some garden pests.
Remember, it is a slow-growing plant that requires only light feeding to support even growth.
How to Treat Nitrogen Toxicity
- Immediately cut back on fertilizing and flush out excess nitrogen.
- Run the plant under fresh water several times to leech out excess nutrients.
- Alternatively, you can use a flushing agent (a specialized mixture) that removes toxins from the soil.
- Laying dyed mulch over the soil will also help draw out excess nitrogen.
- Similarly, laying woodchips and sawdust over the soil will soak up excess nitrogen.
How to Prevent Nitrogen Toxicity
- Fertilize your plant with an all-purpose 20-20-20 liquid food diluted to half-strength (1 part fertilizer, 1 part water).
- Apply fertilizer once a month throughout the spring and summer.
- When applying bi-weekly, ensure to dilute the solution with ¼ strength (1 part fertilizer, 3 part water)
- Resort to organic fertilizers such as fish bone meal to prevent chemical burn.
4. Inappropriate Watering
Unscheduled watering is often the main culprit behind many plant problems, and leggy growth is no exception.
However, inappropriate watering alone may not cause leggy growth as it only works in relation to other factors.
Depriving Watermelon Peperomia of water in the growing season may encourage tall, spindly growth of stem as they struggle to absorb nutrients.
Besides, overly soggy soil will leech out essential nutrients from the soil, leading to small leaf growth and sometimes leggy stems.
- Check the soil moisture using soil moisture to determine whether it is too dry or soggy.
- Water the dry plant immediately to provide a quick oxygen boost and much-needed humidity.
- For soggy soil, cut back on watering until the plant seems to revive, usually seven or more days.
- Check for root rot signs, including yellowed or browned foliage with wilting stems, and trim the affected root before transplanting in a new potting mix.
- Remember to use pure or fresh water, such as rainwater or dechlorinated tap water, at all times.
Water your Watermelon Peperomia when the soil is 3/4 dry, usually every week in spring and summer and every two weeks in the fall and winter.
From Editorial Team
Drive the Common Pests Away!
Watermelon Peperomia is prone to infestation of sap-sucking pests and fungus gnats, including scale, whiteflies, mealybugs, and aphids.
To remove these pests, use pesticides once every 7 or 14 days, depending on the infestation.
You can also prevent pests by cleaning the dirt of leaves with insecticidal soap every few weeks and monitoring them every couple of days.