Peperomia Magnoliifolia: Ultimate Grow & Care Guide

Peperomia Magnoliifolia
Peperomia Magnoliifolia (source: Wikimedia)

Peperomia magnoliifolia [Pep-er-ROH-mee-uh, Mag-noh-lee-eye-FOH-lee-uh], it will take some effort to pronounce its name, but this is compensated by how simple it is to care for this plant.

Peperomia magnoliifolia, also known as the baby rubber plant or pepper face, is an indoor plant with beautiful foliage.

Generally, Peperomia magnoliifolia needs bright, filtered sunlight, a temperature ranging from 65-80°F, 40-60% humidity, and loose, well-draining soil. Also, it would be best to feed them liquid fertilizer twice every week during growing months and repot it every 2-3 years.

Peperomia Magnoliifolia
Peperomia Magnoliifolia (source: Wikimedia)

Taking care of this plant is not that hard if you are hellbound on providing your plant with the conditions it flourishes in.

So let’s see what optimal condition your plant needs to thrive.

Overview of Peperomia Magnoliifolia

Also known as baby rubber plants, these cute plants are true to their name. They look like a plant baby stuffed in a pot.

Here is a general overview of this beautiful plant.

Scientific NamePeperomia magnoliifolia
Common NameBaby Rubber plant, Spoonleaf peperomia, Radiator plant
FamilyPiperaceae
OriginTropical parts of West Indies and Venezuela
USDAZone 10a
NaturePerrenial
Growth ZoneTropical
Growth HabitEpiphyte
Grown ForTheir foliage. It is said to purify air.
Blooming PeriodSpring and Summer
FlowerTiny greenish or brown
FoliageVariegated or green, flat leaves
Height: 5-6 inches, Spread: 4-5 inches
AvailabilityNot so rare
ToxicityNon-Toxic to pets and humans

Peperomia Magnoliifolia: Ultimate Grow & Care Guide

Peperomia magnoliifolia doesn’t need extreme care and looking after than other indoor plants.

If you fulfill the following conditions, you’ll get a healthy plant.

RequirementsOptimum Conditions
TemperatureA temperature ranging from 65°F to 80°F.
Temperature below 60°F can kill the plant
SunlightBright, filtered sunlight
SoilLoose but well-draining
Soil pHSlightly Acidic
6.1-6.6
Humidity40-60% humidity
WaterOnce every 7 to 10 days
FertilizingLiquid fertilizer diluted to half strength, twice a week during growing months.
PruningOccasionally prune dead leaves and flowers.
PropagationLeaf cuttings, stem cuttings and root division
RepottingEvery 2-3 years
PestsMealy bugs, Spider mites, Fungus Gnats
DiseasesCercospora leaf spot, Rhizoctonia leaf spot, Sclerotium stem rot

You can find the details below.

1. Adequate Sunlight and Proper Location

Like any other tropical plant, it is natural for Peperomia magnoliifolia to prefer bright sunlight.

Like most other tropical plants, this plant does not enjoy direct sunlight since it might burn the foliage.

Generally, Peperomia magnoliifolia prefers bright filtered sunlight. It would be best to provide this plant with one to two hours of morning and evening direct sunlight.

Light during daytime must range between 1500 to 3500 foot candles.

In extreme light conditions, the foliage of this beautiful plant will take a toll and end up being damaged. Similarly, the plant will develop leggy stems if the light is low and lose its colors.

Some variegated varieties of this plant require more sunlight than the normal varieties. If the sunlight is not adequate, they lose their striations, and the leaves will completely turn green.

You can place this plant in north and east-facing windows to provide it with optimum warm sunlight.

Importance of Sunlight for Plants
Importance of Sunlight for Plants (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Tips for Maintaining Adequate Sunlight

  • If your plant is showing signs of low light, you can place the plant in a south-facing window and let it heal on its own. Relocate the plant as soon as it shows revival signs.
  • Keep your plant a few meters away from the window or place the plant in a location where the sunlight can bounce off the wall to the plant.
  • Rotate the plant occasionally so that every corner of the plant gets enough sunlight.
  • The plant cannot get enough light indoors during overcast or winter conditions. In this case, place the plant outside, but make sure to bring it inside during the night.
  • Use artificial grow lights to fulfill the plant’s lighting needs during low light conditions.

If your Peperomia’s leaves are drooping, sunlight may not be the only cause. Read our article “Why Are The Leaves on My Peperomia Limp and Drooping?

2. Moderate Watering

Peperomia magnoliifolia hates to stand on too much water.

It would be best to always let the top 3 inches of soil dry out before watering the plant again. Peperomia prefers dry soil rather than soggy soil.

You should water Peperomia magnoliifolia every 7-9 days during summer and cut back on your watering schedule during winter.

If you overwater your plant, the plant will exhibit signs like yellow foliage, wilted appearance, and rotting stalks. It can lead the plant to root rot which proves to be dangerous.

Similarly, the leaves will be floppy and soft to touch if you underwater your plant. The leaf tips will start to turn brown.

Note: Peperomia magnoliifolia cannot stand prolonged dryness of soil so keep in mind not to let the soil dry out completely.

The amount of water required by this plant is highly dependent on the light conditions and temperature around the plant.

Proper watering ensures plant's growth
Proper watering ensures plant’s growth (Source: tenor.com)

How to Treat Overwatered Plants?

  • Let the soil dry on its own for a few days. If the damage is not severe, the plant may revive naturally on its own.
  • In some cases, take the plant out of the soil and inspect the roots. If you see root rot, transfer the plant to a new pot.
  • You can still revive a plant with root rot if you cut the rotten roots and treat the plant with a proper fungicide.

How to Treat Underwatered Plants?

  • It would be best if you clipped off the dead roots of the plant to save it from further damage.
  • Fill a basin with water and immerse your plant in it. Remove the plant once you see bubbles forming on the water and let the plant dry up.
  • Place the plant in a shady area to not lose the remaining moisture.
  • Mist the plant’s leaves and keep them near a wet pebble tray.

You’d want to know about the spray bottles. Right? Here it is “8 Best Plant Spray Bottles for Watering Plants

Also, watch the video for more information

3. Warm Temperature

Peperomia magnoliifolia prefers warm temperatures and thrives in USDA zone 10a.

These plants are usually kept indoors, at a terrace or a patio. So, whatever the conditions, keeping this plant outside may cause its downfall.

You should maintain a temperature ranging from 65°F to 80°F (18°C to 26°C) for Peperomia magnoliifolia’s optimal growth.

Anything below 60°F (15°C) can be deemed dangerous for the plant. The plant will go into stress if exposed to cold conditions. You’ll see slow growth, leaf drop, and leggy growth symptoms.

Temperature should be maintained well for Peperomia
The temperature should be maintained well for Peperomia (source: Pxhere)

During winter, the actions of enzymes slow down due to the decrease in the temperature of the environment.

Any temperature below 62°F (17°C) will hinder the flowering of the plant, and you might not see any flowers in the blooming season.

You should keep your plant away from drafty windows, heaters, and air conditioner vents, as extreme fluctuations in temperature can hurt the plant.

You can protect the plant from extreme cold by using heaing pads and frost blankets.

4. High Humidity

Being a tropical plant, Peperomia magnoliifolia prefers high humid environment.

For the Peperomia magnoliifolia plant to thrive, you should provide them with a humidity of 40% to 60%.

This plant can do well at your average room temperature, so you might not have to work hard to maintain the humidity.

However, if the air is dry and low humidity, the plant may suffer grave damage. It starts with the leaves drying up and shriveling, eventually killing the plant.

Low humidity directly affects the plant’s ability to transpire. Transpiration is a process when the water is transported to the plant’s foliage. This process also helps to cool the plant during scorching temperatures.

Effect of humidity
Effect of Humidity on Plants (Source: North Carolina Climate Office)

Tips for Maintaining Ideal Humidity

  • Mist the plant occasionally to keep the moisture content in check. Misting will also keep the plant free from dust.
  • Group them with other plants to create a “humidity-sharing” environment. Make sure all the plants are pest and diseases free.
  • Though it is an expensive option, consider installing an electric humidifier to maintain the humidity around the plant.
  • We have another cheap option for you. Filling a tray with pebbles and keeping it around the plant also helps retain humidity.
  • Keep the plant around the kitchen or bathroom as they are the high-humidity places in the house.

5. Well-Draining Organic Rich Soil

As you have read before, Peperomia magnoliifolia cannot stand sitting on too much water for too long. The soil must be well-draining.

Generally, the Peperomia magnoliifolia plant requires loose, organic-rich, well-aerated, and well-draining soil.

You can add coco coir to the mix to provide good drainage. It provides good aeration to the soil, retains water well, and drains well.

A research proves that coco coir can be used as a better alternative to peat moss as it is environmentally friendly.

The most important thing to remember is to keep the soil moist during the growing time of this plant.

You can use an orchid potting mix, but regular potting soil is fine if not available. Peperomia magnoliifolia prefers slightly acidic soil with a pH of 6.1 to 6.6.

Prepare a potting mix with 1/3 part soil, 1/3 part orchid bark, 1/3 part charcoal. You can add some worm composts on the top of it and coco air for good drainage.

Correct soil mixing (Source: Unsplash)

You can go to Amazon.com and look for some commercial potting mixes. I have mentioned some of them below.

6. Diluted Liquid Fertilizer

Proper application of fertilizers is necessary to make sure that Peperomia magnoliifolia grows well.

Feed your Peperomia magnoliifolia a half-strength diluted liquid fertilizer and apply it twice a week during its growing season.

I used a balanced fertilizer with a ratio of 10-10-10, and it worked best for my plant. If you want to use control release fertilizer, you can add pellets once at the start of the plant’s growing season.

Based on a 3-1-2 ratio fertilizer, You can use 2.3 pounds of actual nitrogen per 1000 square feet per month.

When the plant enters a dormant phase during winter, it is best not to fertilize it.

Fertilized vs Unfertilized plant
Fertilized vs. Unfertilized plant (source: Wikimedia)

You can also use mineral fertilizer at half dose, every three weeks during spring and summer.

Lesser-known homemade fertilizers like banana peels, rice water fertilizers, aquarium water, eggshells, ashes, etc., are also fruitful for the better growth of this plant.

Lack of fertilizers can lead to dried leaf margins, wilted plant growth, and other dangerous symptoms.

Similarly, because of over fertilization, salt particals accumulate on the soil and damage soil microorganisms.

Tips to Fertilize Peperomia Magnoliifolia Properly

  • You can leach the soil during early summer and eliminate any harmful accumulations on the soil.
  • Water your plant thoroughly a few days before fertilizing it.
  • Avoid getting fertilizer on the leaves and apply it to the soil surrounding the roots.

7. Growth Habit and Bloom

The leaves of Peperomia magnoliifolia are thick and juicy, which gives them a succulent look.

The normal indoor version grows around the height of 5 to 6 inches, and its spread is around 4 to 5 inches. However, the mature version can grow up to 12 inches.

If all the condition requirements like sunlight, water, temperature, humidity, etc., are met, you will be blessed with a beautiful mat of green leaves, despite this plant’s compact size.

These plants grow vertically, and new growth emerges from the top of the plant.

Peperomia Magnoliifolia
Peperomia Magnoliifolia Stem (source: Wikimedia)

This plant generally has two varieties.

  • One with tricolor leaves in which the leaves have yellow or red edges.
  • The variegated version has gold and green color on the leaves.

Peperomia magnoliifolia is usually famous for its foliage. It produces boring-looking, non-fragrant flowers that would not help as a decoration at all.

The flowers are pale greenish or brown and packed in a conical spadix at stem tips or around leaf joints.

Blooming in Peperomia magnoliifolia is a rare occurrence. If they do, they bloom during the summer and spring seasons.

8. Potting and Repotting

Peperomia magnoliifolia doesn’t like frequent repotting as it prefers staying in a smaller pot and being root-bound most of the time.

You can think about repotting once the plant starts overgrowing its pot. It usually happens in two to three years.

You can start growing this plant in a pot 3 inches to 6 inches in size. Some growers also use hanging baskets 6 to 10 inches in diameter.

Terracotta or clay pots are best for the plant as they allow air circulation to happen correctly in the plant.

Although, some may prefer plastic or ceramic pot as well. Plastic pot helps to retain the moisture of the soil.

Terracotta pots with Indoor Plants
Terracotta pots with Indoor Plants (Source: Amazon)

Sometimes when the plant is in a pot for too long, the soil becomes compact. Compact soil prevents the water from draining well.

It is best to repot the plant when the soil is compact. So, watch out for that.

Choose a pot one size up to the current pot for the repotting. Peperomia do not like pots that are too big than their root ball.

Tips to Properly Repot your Peperomia Plant

  • Remove the plant gently from the pot. Try removing the potting soil of the previous pot from the plant’s root.
  • Check the roots thoroughly and look for the damaged roots. Remove them using clippers or scissors.
  • Prepare the well-draining potting mix suitable for this plant. Fill half the pot with the mix.
  • Place the plant in the pot gently and cover the root ball completely.
  • Firm the soil around the plant using the thumbs.
  • Water the plant thoroughly and let the soil around the plant settle completely.

9. Pruning Peperomia Magnoliifolia

Peperomia magnoliifolia needs regular pruning to maintain its cute look.

You need to prune the leggy and damaged parts of the plant to retain the plant’s healthy and succulent look.

The plant may have some dead flowers and leaves that will require occasional pruning. Doing so will ensure that the plant’s nutrition does not go to unnecessary places.

One of the other main reasons you must consider pruning is that the plant can be heavier at the top. Remember, Peperomia cannot handle aggressive pruning.

Make sure to sterilize your tools thoroughly before diving into the pruning process. Cut straight above a node. This is the place where new leaves and roots will emerge.

Techniques to Prune the Plant
Techniques to Prune the Plant (Source: www.uky.edu)

Quick Tip: Do not throw away the cutting obtained during pruning. They can be used later for the propagation.

10. Toxicity of Peperomia Magnoliifolia

Well, these plants look cute and are non-toxic as well. This could not get better, right?

The entire family of Peperomia is considered non-toxic to humans and pets.

Although I don’t think your pets will like the taste of this plant, they may nibble the leaves here and there once in a while. But you don’t have to worry as it won’t harm them.

Methods for Propagating Peperomia Magnoliifolia

Remember I told you not to throw away the extra cuttings you obtained via pruning? Well, we need them now.

The propagation of Peperomia magnoliifolia can be done during its growing months of spring and summer.

This plant can be propagated via stem cuttings, leaf cuttings, and root division.

1. Propagate Via Stem Cuttings

Peperomia magnoliifolia can be propagated by rooting the stems in water and soil. You must start by thoroughly sterilizing the tool you are about to use.

Choose a stem from the main healthy plant. Cut 6 inches of that stem. Make sure the stem has at least 3 or 4 leaves on it.

You can also use stems you got from pruning earlier. Make sure the stems fulfill the criteria mentioned above. Remove any leaves from the bottom end of the stem.

Let’s look at the process in detail.

In Soil Medium

  • Take a pot with a good drainage system and fill the pot with the previously prepared potting mix.
  • Plant the stem 3 inches deep into the pot but make sure the leaves are not touching the soil.
  • Dap the soil around the base of the plant with your thumb.
  • Water the plant regularly, but don’t overwater the soil, and don’t let the top layer of the soil dry out completely.
  • Keep the plant in optimum conditions like good humidity, warm temperature, and indirect sunlight.
  • You’ll see the first signs of root in about a month.

In Water Medium

  • Take a clear, transparent jar of water so you could see the daily progress quickly.
  • Place the previous root cutting in the water. Make sure that the water is free from any harmful chemicals.
  • Make sure at least one or two leave nodes are inside the water. Don’t submerge the whole stem, or the cutting won’t get the required oxygen.
  • Keep replacing the water now and then to keep it clear.
  • You can take the plant out of the water and put it into the potting soil as soon as you see roots forming on the base of the stem. It could take 2-6 weeks.
Propagating Plant in water
Propagating stem cuttings in water (Source: Pexels)

2. Propagate Via Leaf Cuttings

You can propagate variegated versions of Peperomia magnoliifolia by leaf cuttings too.

  • Choose a healthy leaf of the plant. Cut it right where the leaf joint connects the’s plant’s stem.
  • Dip the leaves into the soil and make sure they don’t fall off. You can cut the leaves in half if they tend to fall.
  • You need to create a mini-greenhouse by putting a large plastic bag on the top of the plant and poking some holes in the bag. Hold those bags up with stakes.
  • Place the cutting at room temperature with no direct sun to avoid burning the foliage.
  • You can remove the plastic after seeing some roots forming at the base. Do not rush to repot the cutting, and these plants prefer being root-bound.

3. Propagate Via Root Division

Root division is considered one of the easiest vegetative propagation methods.

This is one of the best propagation methods if your plant is overgrowing its pot. You can divide the roots and encourage new growth.

  • Carefully take the Peperomia plant from the pot and brush off any soil around the root.
  • Make sure to trim off the unhealthy roots. Do it properly without damaging the healthy root.
  • You should divide the root ball into different sections. Each section should have at least 2-3 stems.
  • Get a pot with the previously mentioned potting mix ready. Plant the root section in the soil mix and dab the soil around the root.
  • Do regular care and fulfill the plant’s conditions to get yourself a healthy plant.

Also, watch this video for more information,

Common Problems in Peperomia Magnoliifolia

Alas, this ornamental plant is not safe from pests and diseases. Let’s look at some of the problems this plant may face.

1. Common Pests

Peperomia magnoliifolia can be affected by several pests in their lifetime.

Common pests include Mealybugs, Spider mites, Fungus gnats, Scales, etc.

Most of these pests attack because of these plants’ poor management and grooming.

The symptoms and solutions of those pest infestations are mentioned below.

PestsSymptomsSolutions
MealybugsWhite, cottony masses
Presence of honeydew and sooty molds
Drench the soil with insecticide.
Spider MitesWhite webs on your foliage
Foliar necrosis of vegetative shoot apex
Dab some rubbing alcohol on and under the leaves, joints and axils.
Fungus GnatsSmall black flies (1/8 inch) adults have antennae
Wilting, yellowing and foliage loss
Use sticky tapes, flying insect spray, fly bait.
ScalesThey are small, waxy
Yellow spots appear on the plant
Spray horticultural oil on the plants.

If you find out that pests have infested any plant, keep it away from other plants to avoid transferring pests.

Did weird-shaped small balls appear on your leaves? Go for “How to Identify Insect Eggs on Leaves and Treat Pest Infestation?” to diagonise.

2. Common Diseases

Most of the diseases incurred by Peperomia magnoliifolia can be treated if you can properly diagnose them in time. Diseases in plants are mainly caused by fungal infections or bacteria.

Some diseases are Cercospora leaf spot, Rhizoctonia leaf spot, Sclerotium stem rot.

Yellow Leaves
Yellow and Infected Leaves
DiseasesSymptoms
Cercospora leaf spotTan and black raised spots found under the leaves.
Chlorosis develops and leads to premature defoliation.
Rhizoctonia leaf spotMushy, dark-brown spots on leaves.
Roots become brown, mushy and disintegrated.
Clerotium stem rotBrown and black rot of stem near the soil area.
Leaves will wilt and turn gray-green before turning brown, curling and dying.
Cucumber mosaic VirusRing spots appear
Stunted growth and malformed leaves.

Solution and Preventive Measures

  • If the case is already very severe, it is better to dispose of the plant completely.
  • Spray the underside of leaves with fungicide.
  • You can use fungicide containing chlorothalonil and myclobutanil to treat leaf spot disease.
  • Avoid overhead watering the plant.
  • Prune the affected roots and treat them with fungicide before transplanting them into a new pot.
  • You should thoroughly inspect the cuttings for diseases and infections.
  • Try to make the conditions suitable for the plant to prevent diseases.
  • Ensure the plant has good drainage so that the water is not accumulated for long.
  • Use new or disinfected pots and potting media.

Conclusion

Peperomia magnoliifolia has unique, attractive foliage often used as an ornamental plant.

With other familiar names like spoon leaf Peperomia, baby rubber plant, radiator plant, pepper elder, this plant is famous worldwide among plant enthusiasts.

If you are an avid plant lover, this plant is a must-have in your collection.

Wanna read about other varieties? Read our article “Peperomia Varieties with Pictures

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