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How to Care for Peperomia Quadrangularis: The Easy Guide

Are you looking for a small, cute plant that doesn’t require extreme care and looking after? Well, mother nature has your answer: Peperomia quadrangularis.

Peperomia quadrangularis is famous among plant enthusiasts for its variegated leaves and cute appearance. On top of that, it doesn’t demand a lot of affection.

As a general rule, Peperomia quadrangularis requires well-draining, moist soil, a temperature ranging from 60°F to 75°F and medium to bright, indirect sunlight. For optimal growth, they prefer 50-60% humidity, fertilization once a month throughout the growing season, and repotting every 2-3 years.

Peperomia quadrangularis
Peperomia quadrangularis (Source: Wikimedia)

Like many other plants in the Piperaceae family, Peperomia quadrangularis can be a great collection to add to your household.

Do not worry; I will tell you how to take care of this plant. You have to implement it. And trust me, it is not that hard to implement.

Read below for the complete care guide.

Overview of Peperomia Quadrangularis

Peperomia quadrangularis might look like a succulent but is just actually very close to looking like one. You may consider it a semi-succulent.

This plant gained immense popularity among enthusiast plant-parents in recent times.

Let’s look at the basic overview of this plant.

Scientific NamePeperomia quadrangularis
Common NameBeetle Peperomia, Radiator plant
Native HabitatTropical America
USDA ZoneZone 11-12
FamilyPiperaceae
Plant TypeTropical Perennial
FoliageOval leaves, yellow streaks on green leaves.
Stem is thin.
FlowerSpiky white flowers
ToxicityNon-toxic
Plant SizeThese plants can grow up to 12 inches
AvailabilityNot enough evidences of being a rare plant.

Where to Buy Peperomia Quadrangularis?

You may find Peperomia quadrangularis in your local nursery. If you aren’t that lucky, don’t worry, you can still order it online from these wonderful sites.

Places to BuyDelivery ServicePrice
EtsyDelivered in upto 7 days$9.99
Steve's LeavesOne to three business days$18.99
CrocusWithin 3 working days£11.99
AmazonDelivered in 14 days$54.95
RHS5-7 working days£11.99

How to Care for Peperomia Quadrangularis: The Easy Guide

Peperomia quadrangularis is a tropical plant that prefers warm temperatures and high humidity. There are other requisites of this plant mentioned in the table below.

ParametersFavorable Conditions
SunlightBright, indirect, filtered sunlight
Temperature60°F to 75°F (15.5°C to 24°C)
WateringWater when the top one inch of the soil is dry or once a week.
SoilAerated, well-draining, moist soil
FertilizerOnce a month during the growing season
Humidity50-60% of relative humidity
RepottingEvery 2-3 years
PruningLight pruning once a year for dead leaves and stems.
PotAt least 30-50% bigger than the root ball.
Terracotta pots are suitable for Peperomia.
PropagationLeaf cutting and Stem Nodes
Common PestsMealybugs, Spider mites
Common DiseasesMyrothesium stem, Leaf Rot

1. Adequate Sunlight and Proper Location

Peperomia quadrangularis is native to South America’s tropical rainforests; therefore, they are accustomed to growing beneath the shade of trees.

You should emulate the conditions and try your best to make your plant feel at home in your home.

Bright, filtered, and indirect sunshine are ideal for Peperomia quadrangularis. Place the plant in an east-facing window to get a few hours of morning light.

Well, these plants are sturdy. They can grow in medium light too. The only downside is that the leaves will lose their colors.

You can grow this plant outside but make sure to put drapes, veils, or shade over it to protect it from direct rays of sunlight.

With enough light, the plant can carry on the process of photosynthesis, which is important for the plant to produce oxygen and food for itself.

You can see the signs of any stress the plant is going through. If the leaves are dull and losing their green color, the stem is green, and the foliage is pale, they are light deficiency symptoms.

Similarly, if the leaves droop and foliage is burned, those symptoms show that the plant is getting too much light than required.

During winter or overcast weather, you can place your plant indoors under the grow lights for 12 hours a day if there is no light incoming in your house.

Grow lights as a form of supplemental lighting for indoor plants
Grow light for indoor plants (source: Amazon)

The variegated version of this plant requires more sunlight as the chlorophyll content is less in those types of leaves.

2. Watering Requirement

As I have mentioned already, the juicy leaves of the Peperomia quadrangularis plant make it look succulent, but it is not succulent.

Other than their appearance, their watering habits are similar to succulents, but they cannot stand on too much water for a long time.

You should water Peperomia quadrangularis whenever the top one inch of the soil is dry. Or, you can water it once a week during summer. Cut back on your watering schedule during winter. 

In its natural habitat, Peperomia quadrangularis gets water from rainwater. The soil beneath it does not hold much water and does not dry up.

If possible, arrange for stored rainwater to water the plant. Quadrangulris will be happy with rainwater.

Remember, quadrangularis likes moist soil and not soggy soil. There’s a huge difference. These plants are susceptible to root rot, so waterlogged soil is a big NO!

Soggy Soil
Soggy Soil

Signs of Improper Watering

Look for these signs to know when your plant is stressed due to improper watering.

  • Underwatered: Leaves wilt, turn yellow and then become brown and crispy
  • Overwatered: Discolored, squishy leaves, root rot

Always do the finger soil test before watering the plant. Also, let the plant dry out between the watering schedule.

Let me tell you a Peperomia quadrangularis watering secret: Water the plant in small amounts, but regularly, to keep the soil moist.

3. Ideal Warm Temperature

Peperomia quadrangularis was named “Radiator plant” by American horticulturist Liberty Hyde Bailey. It is a proper name for the plant because it loves the warm air and bright light.

Also, if you go back to its roots, it belongs to the tropical rainforests of America. They love the warmth.

The perfect temperature range for Peperomia quadrangularis is between 60°F to 75°F. If the temperature drops below 50°F, the plant will be stressed.

This plant is tolerant of varying temperatures, but if the temperature goes below 50°F, it loses its leaves and leaves behind a bare stem.

If you live in cold regions, you are in for a lot of trouble. These plants dislike extreme cold and frost conditions.

Remember: If you keep your plant outside during the daytime, make sure to bring it indoors during the night to protect it from chilling conditions.

It will be easier if you live in a warm or tropical climate. Your plant may not suffer from temperature, and you can keep the plant outside for a whole year.

Temperature in relation to plant's growth
The temperature in relation to plant’s growth (Source: ResearchGate)

USDA hardiness zone 11-12 is perfect for this plant to ensure optimum growth.

During winter, the plant goes to a dormant phase. Tolerating cold is not this plant’s strong suit, so it’s better to provide the plant with frost blankets and heating pads during winter.

You can also maintain the humidity around the plant to ensure that the temperature fluctuations are not affected much.

Keep your plants away from drafty windows, radiators, or air conditioning vents to protect them from temperature fluctuations.

4. Ideal Humidity

As Peperomia quadrangularis hails from South America, these plants love humid conditions.

Humidity is one of the most important aspects of this plant’s proper and healthy growth. More important than water, to be precise.

Peperomia quadrangularis will thrive in relative humidity ranging from 50% to 60%.

If the temperature is too high and the humidity is too low, the plant evaporates the water present in them quickly. This will dry up the plant thoroughly.

Symptoms of low humidity include Shrivelling, browning, curling, and wilting of leaves.

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

You should mist your plant with soft water once a week during drier conditions to regulate the humidity properly.

Grouping the plant with other plants can also help create a humidity-sharing environment. But ensure that the plants are pest and diseases free.

You can also invest in a humidifier and keep it around your plant to provide them with the required humidity.

Or, for a cheaper option, get a pebble tray and place it around the plant to maintain the humidity level.

Note: Keep Peperomia quadrangularis away from air conditioners and heaters at all times, as the dry air might burn the plant’s leaves.

5. Well-Draining Aerated Soil Mix

Peperomia quadrangularis is an epiphyte that grows on the bark of trees or between rocks in its native habitat, getting all of its nutrients from the air, water, or debris around it.

Generally, Peperomia quadrangularis needs well-draining, moist, and well-aerated soil. The pH of the soil should be somewhere between 5.5 to 6.5.

Pro tip: One part houseplant soil and one part cactus/succulent soil can be used to make the soil well-draining.

You can use materials like peat moss, compost, orchid bark, and some mulch to prepare a potting mix for this plant at home.

Orchid bark
Orchid Bark (source: Etsy)

However, the best potting mix you can prepare is:

  • 25% coco coir
  • 10% worm castings
  • 25% perlite
  • 25% orchid bark
  • 5% activated charcoal

Alternatively, if you cannot find all the above ingredients, you can use:

  • 30% peat moss
  • 40% vermiculite
  • 30% potting soil

Take the above ingredients in the mentioned quantity and stir them well in a container. Use gloves while handling the mix. Organic matters work best for plants to improve drainage and keep the roots warm.

By the way, if you are too lazy or busy to prepare a potting mix at home, you can buy it on Amazon.

6. Proper Fertilization

Peperomia quadrangularis is not a heavy feeder. However, you can provide mild nutrients to the plant for its growth.

When it comes to epiphytes, it’s best to provide them with organic fertilizer. The best way to do this is by using organic manure in the soil mix.

You should feed Peperomia quadrangularis with balanced organic feed once every month during the growing season. Do not fertilize the plant during its dormancy.

You’d know that you need to fertilize the plant when it starts to exhibit signs like chlorosis, stunted growth, necrosis, etc.

Also, you’d know you messed up that fertilization if you see signs like yellowing of lower leaves, defoliation, brown or black roots, slow or no growth, etc.

If you want to feed chemical fertilizer, you should triple dilute the fertilizer before feeding the plants.

You can go for a fertilizer with an NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potassium) ratio of 3-1-2, which proves to be the best for Peperomia plants.

How NPK works on plants
How NPK works on plants (source: Amazon)

Nitrogen helps smoothen the photosynthesis process, Potassium helps in stem growth, and Phosphorus helps build the roots.

Liquid, granular and slow-release fertilizer have their advantages and disadvantages. But, liquid fertilizer proves to be the best for Peperomia quadrangularis plants.

Here are some fertilizers for this plant found on Amazon.

7. Growth Habits

In your home, you grow a plant that belongs to a tropical region. Do not expect your plant to grow at an incredible pace.

Peperomia quadrangularis, outside their native conditions, are slow growers.

These plants have attractive foliage and are usually grown as ornamental plants. Some hang them in baskets, whereas some plant them in the ground to grow them into a carpet-like structure.

If all the optimal conditions are met, this plant can grow up to 12 inches long.

This plant belongs to the family Piperaceae and is a perennial plant.

Foliage

Peperomia quadrangularis, also known as the radiator plant, has oval leaves. Those leaves are dark green and have goldish yellow streaks on them.

The leaves are as long as one inch in length. The golden streaks in the leaves bring out the original charm of the plant. Plant enthusiasts love hanging this plant in baskets for this very reason.

Beautiful Foliage of Peperomia quadrangularis
Beautiful Foliage of Peperomia quadrangularis (Source: Flower and Twig Nursery)

Flower

Peperomia plants are famous for the unusual type of flowers they produce. Quadrangularis is no different. The flower it produces has no interesting features.

The flowers have a thin, spiky, white stalks-like structure with no decorative value or fragrance.

Bloom is a rare occurrence in flowers from the Peperomia family. But when they bloom, they do it during spring and summer.

8. Potting and Repotting

Peperomia quadrangularis doesn’t mind being cramped in a pot like most epiphytes.

As the root system of these plants is relatively shallow, they can spend years in the same pot. They love to be root bound.

You can choose an orchid or terracotta pot at least 400mm wide for Peperomia quadrangularis. Repotting can be done once every 2-3 years.

Peperomia quadrangularis in a Terracotta Pot
Peperomia quadrangularis in a Terracotta Pot (Source: monstera.es)

If you choose a pot that is too large for the plant, the plant will spend all its energy on root development, and the foliage may go undernourished.

Similarly, if the pot is too small, the plant will suffocate. Choosing the right-sized pot is very important for the better growth of the plant.

Ensure the pot you use has a good drainage provision and excellent aeration.

Repotting Peperomia Quadrangularis

It would be best if you waited a long time before imploring the idea of repotting Peperomia quadrangularis.

They like to be rootbound, so you don’t need to worry about repotting them frequently. But, you must not mistake its love for cramped potting soil to love for tightly packed soil.

It would be best to repot this plant every 2 to 3 years. The best time to repot this plant is during winter.

Proper soil mix for Repotting
Proper soil mix for Repotting (Source: Pexels)

Consider answering the following questions before repotting your plant.

  • Does your plant wilt before normal watering schedules?
  • Do the roots get out through the drainage holes?
  • Has the growth slowed down or halted?
  • Has white salt accumulated at the soil surface?

Did you answer yes to any of these? If so, you must consider repotting as soon as possible.

Tips to Repot Peperomia Quadrangularis

  • Choose a pot at least one size up than the current pot. Properly examine the size of the rootball and the size of the pot.
  • Clean the pot by soaking it thoroughly for 30 minutes in bleach or vinegar solution. Clear the drainage hole of any obstacles.
  • Put a layer of pebbles at the bottom of the pot and fill half with a well-draining potting mix.
  • Gently take out the plant from the old pot and remove the soil from the side and bottom of the roots.
  • Place the plant in the center of the new pot and fill the sides of the plant with potting mix. Leave some space for future fertilization.
  • Water your plant thoroughly and keep it in a well-lit space.

9. Pruning Peperomia Quadrangularis

Peperomia quadrangularis is a slow grower. So, you may not need to prune it regularly. You should prune your plant to maintain its ornamental and elegant look.

Peperomia quadrangularis needs light pruning once a year. Remove any damaged leaves or stems by pinching or cutting them off.

Pruning equipments
Arrangements for pruning (Source: Unsplash)

It would be better to prune during the end of the fall or right before spring or summer because this plant goes dormant during fall.

Never heavy trim the plant. Go for light pruning, trimming, and pinching the plant. Pruning is essential to ensure that the plant’s nutrition doesn’t go to unwanted places.

Tips to Prune Peperomia Quadrangularis

  • First of all, choose the unwanted growth you want to prune. Sterilize your tools properly before the pruning process.
  • Cut the stem you want to prune at an angle of 45°.
  • If you need them for future propagation, you will keep the stem. Or, if you don’t want it, dispose of it properly.
  • Pinch off the dead leaves by hand.
  • Do not over-prune the plant, or it may go to stress. Prune only 20% of the plant.

10. Toxicity of Peperomia Quadrangularis

Here is the good news, Peperomia quadrangularis is completely non-toxic to pets and humans.

Peperomia, in general, is considered non-toxic. A factsheet by lancaster.unl.edu supports this claim.

However, as the vines of this plant are long, you and your babies still have the risk of tripping over the vines.

Pet with Plant
Pet with a plant (source: Maxpixel)

 

Propagation Method for Peperomia Quadrangularis

You saved some stems nodes you cut during repotting process, didn’t you? Now is the high time to use the nodes.

Generally, Peperomia quadrangularis can be propagated by two methods: Leaf cuttings and Stem Nodes.

It would help if you considered the ideal time before the propagation process. You should do the honors in early summer or June, to be precise.

Propagating during winter is a big no-no!

1. Propagation via Leaf Cuttings

Leaf-cutting is the best and the easiest method to propagate Peperomia quadrangularis.

Just follow these steps and get yourself a healthy quadrangularis.

  • Choose a healthy, strong leaf from the mother plant and cut it, leaving an inch of petiole/stalk behind.
  •  You can leave the leaf out to form callouses or dip that in the rooting hormone.
  • Plant the leaf in the sterile moist potting mix you created.
  • The stalk must be properly covered with soil. Press the soil around the stem firmly with your thumb.
  • Keep it in shades in a well-lit area and keep the soil moist. Remember, moist, not soggy.
  • Keep the humidity in check by spraying the plant once every two days.
  • You’ll see new growth from the leaves in 2-6 weeks.

You can also use cinnamon powder as an alternative to rooting hormone.

Cute baby Peperomia
Cute baby Peperomia (Source: Etsy)

2. Propagation via Stem Nodes

Stem nodes are always an alternative option for propagating Peperomia plants. And they are simpler than leaf cuttings.

  • Choose a healthy stem from the mother plant cut it below the stem’s node.
  • Push it back to the soil, and hold it there with pins. Be careful not to break the stem.
  • Applying a bit of rooting hormone on the nodes can help.
  • Go back to your usual caring schedule.
  • After some time, you’ll see the roots. After that, cut the connection of the node with the main plant.

Common Problems in Peperomia Quadrangularis

Peperomia quadrangularis is not your regular weak household plant. Its hardly affected by bugs and diseases. But that doesn’t mean it is entirely free of these problems.

You need to watch out for problems it showcases.

1. Common Pests

Certain factors like overwatering, improper lighting, under or over-fertilization, etc., can render pests and bugs on Peperomia quadrangularis.

If not taken care of, they can attract pests like Mealybugs and Spider mites.

Sometimes, the pests can transfer when you keep your plant around other infected plants.

Mealybugs in the plant. (Source: Wikimedia)

Mealybugs mostly attack the leaf and the foliage of this plant. They go for the sap from the leaves and leave them discolored and wilted.

To get rid of mealy bugs, you can:

  • Dip a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol and rub on the leaves and foliage of the plant. It’s better if you do this to the whole plant.
  • Repeat the above process for a week, and you’ll see the changes.

Spider mites are tiny insects that cause small silvery dots in the leaves. They contribute to the yellowing and drooping of the leaves.

To get rid of spider mites, you can:

  • Handpick the visible spider mites.
  • Mix three tablespoons of dish soap with a gallon of water and spray it on the plant.

General Solutions

  • Spray the plant with a high forced water hose to get rid of pests.
  • Wash the plant with insecticidal soap or soap water.
  • You can use horticultural neem oil on the infested plant to kill the pests.
  • Apply pyrethrin insecticidal spray to kill and prevent pest infestation.

Read more: How to Use Neem Oil on Indoor Plants?

Preventive Measures

  • Avoid overwatering the plant and provide it with all the necessary conditions.
  • Inspect all the plants thoroughly before clustering the plants.
  • Check the potting mix you brought for signs of any pests or insects.
  • Wash the plant with salt-free, clean water every month.
  • Avoid misting the plant at night as the water evaporates slowly.

2. Common Diseases

Nearly 85% of plant diseases are caused by fungus or fungal infections.

If the plant is not happy with its conditions, it can exhibit diseases like Myrothesium stem rot and Myrothesium leaf rot.

According to a research article, these diseases were seen on up to 5% of plants propagated by stem cuttings. The diseases were prevalent when the soil was excessively wet.

The initial symptom was brown discoloration on the base of the stem. The leaves turn completely brown as the disease spread.

With the progress of the disease, black sporodochia were produced on the older lesions. The infected leaves eventually withered and detached from the plant.

The above facts can be clearer with the following image.

Effect of Myrothecium roridum on Leaves of Peperomia Quadrangularis
Effect of Myrothecium roridum on Leaves of Peperomia Quadrangularis (Source: ResearchGate)

Solutions

  • Spray the plants with sterile water to control the disease.
  • Cover the plants with a polyethylene bag to maintain high humidity.
  • If the case is severe, dispose of the infected plants to avoid transmission.
  • According to research by Michigan State University, fungicides like Medallion (fludioxonil), Daconil (chlorothabnil), Terraguard (triflumizole), and Cleary’s 3336/OHP 6672 (thiophanate-methyl) can be used.

Preventive Measures

  • You should always be extra careful while watering the plant. Do not overwater the plant as it invites fungal diseases.
  • Soil sanitation is an important concept to prevent diseases.
  • Trim away the infected parts of the plant in case of severe infection.
  • Use fungicides rich in copper, Benomyl, and Mancozeb to treat fungal infections.

3. Leaves Dropping Off Suddenly

Peperomia quadrangularis is famous for its beautiful leaves and variegations. It would be such a bore if the leaves start to fall off, won’t it?

Such a phenomenon could be the sign of root rot, so I suggest you check the roots immediately.

Take the plant out of the pot and check the roots to see if any healthy roots remain. If not, it’s too late to save the plant.

If there are few healthy roots, you can remove the unhealthy roots and repot the plant in a healthy, airy potting mix.

To avoid such future appearance, water the plant right according to the needs. Follow this guide for when and how to water your plant.

Peperomia Quadrangularis
Peperomia Quadrangularis (source: Etsy)

Conclusion

Peperomia quadrangularis is a beautiful ornamental plant grown by many plant enthusiasts for decoration purposes.

If you give proper care and treatment to this plant, you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful-looking plant in your household.

Happy planting!

Here for different Peperomia varieties? Read “Peperomia Varieties with Pictures

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