Peperomia Verticillata Care Guide – Experts Reveal!

Leaves of Peperomia Verticillata
Leaves of Peperomia Verticillata (Source: Etsy)

Are you looking for a plant that can provide both vibes of succulent and tropical plants? If so, Peperomia verticillata is a perfect choice for you.

Interestingly, this perfect beauty is easy to care for and is an ideal plant for newbies.

Generally, Peperomia verticillata is a light-loving plant that enjoys a plethora of diffused sunlight, a humidity of about 40%, fast-draining soil, and a warm temperature ranging from 65°F to 80°F. Additionally, it requires annual pruning, monthly feeding, and repotting once in 2-3 years. 

Beautiful Red Peperomia Verticillata
Beautiful Red Peperomia Verticillata (Source: Etsy)

If you want to bring them home, you need to learn about their care requirements.

Read along to find detailed information, including care tips, problems, and ways to resolve such issues in Peperomia verticillata.

Overview of Peperomia Verticillata

The incredible fact about Peperomia varieties is that although they belong to the same genus, their types differ broadly.

And, here, Peperomia verticillata is a stunning variety of Peperomia that crafts your space with beauty.

Moreover, its specific name ‘verticillata’ is derived from its fuzzy appearance. The word verticillata connotes hairy and is named after the plant’s thin hair on the stem and leaves.

Besides, its small and manageable size makes it a perfect plant for a terrarium.

Here is additional information about Peperomia verticillata.

Botanical Name Peperomia verticillata
Common NameBelly-button and Red log
Family Piperaceae
Origin Tropical and subtropical regions including Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Bolivia.
Plant TypeEvergreen tropical plant bearing characteristics of succulents; trailing plant
Genus Peperomia
Growth Zone USDA zone 10-11
Growth Size Height= about 20 inches
Spread= about 18 inches
Grown For Mainly foliage
Foliage Oval shaped slightly thick foliage with green surface and red underisdes
Blooming periodLate summer
Blooms Green, White tiny panicle-like spiked flower
Toxicity Non-toxic to both human and pets

Do you know that Peperomia is one of the two large genera in Piperaceae?

Interestingly, the genera consist of more than 1500 species found in various parts of tropical and sub-tropical regions.

Peperomia Verticillata Care Guide – Experts Reveal!

To grow Peperomia verticillata, you need to know the characteristic feature of both tropical plants and succulents.

These plants resemble the mixed characteristics of two different plant varieties. Hence, you need to be cautious regarding its care requirements.

Here is a table showing the basic care requirements for Peperomia verticillata.

Parameters Favorable Conditions
Sunlight 7-10 hours of bright flitered sunlight
Watering Once in 7-10 days in summer and once a month in winter
Temperature 65-80 degree Fahrenheit
Humidity 40-60% of the relative humidity
Soil pH5 to 7.5
Soil TypeQuick-draining, nutrient-rich, chunky, sandy, and light
Fertilization Monthly fertilization with water-soluble fertilizer
Pruning Annual Pruning
Pot Type5-7 inches pot; clay, terracotta or pots made of coconut coir
Repotting Once in 2-3 years
Propagation Offset division, stem cuttings and seed germination
Common Pests Mealy bugs, Scales, and Thrips
Common Horticultural DiseasesRoot rot

1. Adequate Bright Filtered Sunlight and Best Location

Like other varieties of Peperomia, verticillata enjoys a plethora of sunlight. Alert! Direct sunlight is fatal to Peperomia verticillata.

Generally, 7-10 hours of light is sufficient for Peperomia verticillata.

When the sun’s rays hit its surface, the plant shines elegantly, exposing its beautiful reddish under shades.

Illustration showing plant in an optimal sunlight and water Vs in extreme sunlight and watering conditions
Illustration showing the plant in optimal sunlight and water Vs. in extreme sunlight and watering conditions (Source: Stocklib)

Signs of Insufficient Light

  • Leggy, dull, and stunted growth
  • The plant bends towards the light source.
  • The number of chlorophyll decreases which causes a loss of green color.
  • Decrease in photosynthesis rate that affects other physiological functioning.
  • Leaves drop and limp to lose surface as the plant cannot produce more energy.
  • Leaves dropping

Signs of Intense Sunlight

  • Leaves turn dry and crispy
  • Loss of red variegation and yellowing of leaves
  • Brown patches along the leaf edges
  • Curling Leaves
Houseplants thrive best in indirect sunlight
Houseplants thrive best in indirect sunlight (Source: Giphy)

Tips to Provide Ideal Lighting Condition

  • Avoid sunny locations for Peperomia verticillata. Use a light curtain to protect the plant from intense sun rays.
  • Grow Peperomia verticillata in a place that is within 1-3 feet from the window.
  • Introduce the plant to grow lights during winter as the light intensity is low.
  • Generally, 8-10 hours of full-spectrum L.E.D. Light or H.I.D. Lights are sufficient for Peperomia. Ensure that the grow light supports both the red and blue spectrum.
  • Try to place your plant in a bright space and avoid frequent moving of the plant from a brighter to low light area.
  • Peperomia needs 70-80% of the total indoor light intensity. Similarly, it needs 30-40% of the full intensity while growing outdoors.

Pro Tips: Rotate the plant once in 15 days to obtain balanced growth.

Plants under artificial/ grow light
Plants under grow light (Source: Amazon)

Best Location for Peperomia Verticillata

  • The ideal indoor location for Peperomia is an eastern acting window reflecting morning sunlight.
  • However, you can place them near a southern or western-facing window. But protect the plant against the high intensity of afternoon shade.
  • Grow them under shades of trees or on a patio reflecting only morning sunlight if you grow them outdoors.

2. Moderate Watering

Although Peperomia verticillata is a tropical plant, it does not like to stay in consistently moist soil. I

t is because the plant, despite being tropical, shares characteristics similar to succulents.

If you closely inspect the Peperomia verticillata, you will find its resemblance to the leaves of succulents.

Its leaves and stems store water. Hence, it is prone to overwatering.

It is ideal to water Peperomia verticillata once in 7-10  days in summer and about once a month or 20 days during winter. 

Watering plant from yellow watering can
Watering plant from yellow watering can (Source: Stocklib)

However, be wary about overwatering, resulting in rotting stalks, waterlogged soil, and wilting.

On the other hand, underwatering can also affect the plant as it results in dry and crispy leaves, leaf edges browning, and falling leaves.

When the soil dries out, there is a shortage of soil moisture, which inhibits nutrition uptake.

Dry and Cracked Soil
Dry and Cracked Soil due to Underwatering

Tips to Water Peperomia Verticillata Properly

  • Constantly water the plant thoroughly until the water does not run out of the drainage hole.
  • Using self-watering pots is a good idea if you are forgetful about watering.
  • Immediately empty the saucer after water gets collected. You do not want your Peperomia roots to sit in water.
  • Use tepid or room temperature water.
  • I advise you to use rainwater as it also helps maintain acidic soil pH.
  • Bottom watering is an effective method for Peperomia varieties.
  • Measure the soil moisture using a soil moisture sensor and water the plant accordingly. Remember, if the reading is above 8, the plant is overwatered.

Alternatively, you can insert your finger or stick about 2-3 inches deep in the soil. You do not need to water the plant if the soil is moist.

Similarly, if the soil clumps together, it is moist enough, so avoid watering.

Inserting finger to soil moisture
Inserting finger to soil moisture (Source: ucanr.edu)

3. Low to Moderate Humidity

Peperomia verticillata does not prefer high humidity, unlike other tropical plants. As its leaves can store water, it does well with low humidity.

Besides, you need not put extra effort into maintaining the ideal humidity for them. They thrive well in the average indoor humidity.

Try keeping the moisture within 40-60% of the relative humidity for Peperomia verticillata.

Effect of humidity on leaves
Effect of humidity on leaves (Source: Wikimedia)

Tips to Maintain Low to Moderate humidity

  • Avoid using an electric humidifier unless the air gets extremely dry.
  • If the humidity is high, you can also opt for a dehumidifier.
  • Avoid growing them in high humid areas like the kitchen and bathroom.
  • You can regulate the humidity after inspecting the humidity level using a hygrometer.
  • Peperomia verticullata does not require regular misting. Consider misting them only if the humidity drops below 35%.
  • Segregate your plant from other plants.

4. Warm Temperature

As a tropical plant, Peperomia verticillata prefers slightly warmer temperatures. But, it is a resilient plant that bears a wide range of temperatures.

So, it is not primarily affected by slight temperature differences. However, it might be risky if the plant is subject to prolonged exposure to temperature extremities.

The ideal temperature for Peperomia verticillata is 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 26 degrees Celsius).

Generally, the average indoor temperature falls within this range. Hence, you need not put extra effort into the plant.

Extremely low-temperature results in stunted growth, yellowing of the foliage, cease of all cellular activities hampering the overall physiological process.

Similarly, high temperature causes browning of the edges, shrunken leaves, high moisture loss, and even falling off the leaves.

temperature humidity light science direct
Relation between temperature, light, and humidity. (Source: Science direct)

Tips to Maintain Ideal Temperature

  • Mist the leaves when the temperature grows above 85 degrees Fahrenheit to reciprocate moisture loss.
  • Strictly avoid sunny locations as it doubles the negative effect of high temperature.
  • To protect the plant from cold, you can provide insulation to the soil. Add mulch to the top layer of the soil.
  • A Frost blanket is an excellent idea to provide an ideal temperature during winter.
  • You can also use a heating pad for small to medium-sized plants.
  • Similarly, introduce the plant to a greenhouse or terrarium.
Plants placed in the Terrarium
Plants placed in the Terrarium (Source: Amazon)

5. Well-draining and Nutrient-Rich Soil

You are mistaken if you think Peperomia will thrive in regular garden soil. The plant is extremely fussy about the soil quality.

As the plant has a slightly thick leave that stores water, the soil type for Peperomia is similar to succulent and cacti mix.

You can mix half part of perlite and half portion of cacti and succulent mix for better results.

Here are the soil qualities that Peperomia prefers;

  • Quick-draining
  • Slight moisture retention
  • Light, porous, and chunky
  • Rich in organic matter
  • Low soil compaction
  • Good airflow

Waterlogged soil invites bacterial and fungal infections. Besides, it also takes up the tiny air pockets in the ground, thus depriving plants of oxygen.

Likewise, when the soil is highly compacted, it injures the roots mechanically and reduces air circulation.

Consequently, the roots choke, and the plant might die in severe conditions.

Soil Mix
Soil Mix (Source: Pexels)

If you prefer making your soil mix for your Peperomia verticillata, here is the recipe you can follow.

  • Mix, One part of cactus and succulent mix
  • One part of peat moss
  • One part of perlite
  • 1/2 part of organic fertilizer
  • 1/3 part of coarse sand
  • And, 1/4 part of activated charcoal

Did you know pH factor is considered as ‘master soil variable’? The pH of the soil largely affects the nutrition and toxin uptake rate.

Lastly, Peperomia verticillata prefers slightly acidic soil. Hence, maintain the pH within the range of 6.0 to 6.6.

Soil pH and availability of nutrients
Soil pH and availability of nutrients (Source: Agriculture and Food Journal)

6. Moderate Fertilization

Generally, Peperomia verticillata can grow, taking up only the nutrients available in the potting mix. The plant is not a heavy feeder.

However, I encourage you to fertilize moderately to boost their growth. It is ideal for fertilizing them once a month during the growing season.

Frankly, I use organic fertilizer for all of my house plants. This fertilizer is beneficial to both the soil and the plant. However, you can use one that is commercially available.

But, ensure to use a balanced N.P.K. fertilizer ratio of 5-5-5. Likewise, you can use all-purpose liquid fertilizer for your Peperomia.

Miracle Gro Liquid Plant Food
Miracle-Gro Liquid Plant Food (Source: Amazon)

The only thing you need to keep in mind is that the plant receives both macro and micronutrients.

Additional Insights: Macronutrients are essential for the growth and health of the plant. While micronutrients are essential for the conduction of enzymatic reaction and transfer of genetic information.

Peperomia verticillata requires only modest fertilization. Over-fertilizing causes more problems than under-fertilizing in this species.

Overfertilizing the Peperomia Verticillata plant may result in nutritional toxicity in some instances and deficiency in others.

Tips to Fertilize Peperomia Verticillata Properly

  • Moisture helps in nutrition absorption. Hence, I recommend watering the plant beforehand of fertilization.
  • Always dilute the fertilizer to 1/4th of its strength.
  • Avoid contact with the leaf or stem while fertilizing the plant.
  • Fertilize the plant only in the growing season and leave them for rest while they are dormant.
  • Hence, it is ideal to start fertilizing in the face of march and stop during October or November.
  • You can wash off excess salts by drenching the pot in tepid water.
  • Similarly, in severe conditions of overfertilization, use  Osmcote 14-14-14 or Nutricote 13-13-13 as per the instruction in the level.

7. Growth Rate

Peperomia is a small plant that generally grows laterally, giving the plant a bushier appearance.

Its stems bear tiny, slightly oval-shaped leaves that form a rosette pattern along the stem.

The peculiar feature of the plant is glossy leaves that are embellished with two different colors.

Green has tiny white venation on the upper surface and reddish shades on the underside that shines when exposed to sunlight.

Peperomia verticillata reaches a height of about 20 inches and spreads to about 18 inches when grown in an enclosed space.

Its stems are upright during the earlier stage, but it starts trailing down after the stem grows significantly long.

Hence, when planted in a hanging basket, it gives cascading effect elevating the look of the plant.

Peperomia verticillata is growing in a hanging basket
Peperomia verticillata is growing in a hanging basket (Source: Reddit)

Flowering Habits

Although the plant is generally grown for its foliage, its flowers also create a pleasing effect on the eyes.

It bears panicle-like tiny greenish-white spiked flowers. These flowers generally bloom during spring and summer.

If there are no blooms in the plant, provide them with sufficient phosphorous. Likewise, prune the upper axil before spring makes its beginning.

9. Potting and Repotting

You might wonder what the role of pot in growing peperomia is. But, the pot size and material you use broadly impact the plant’s growth.

A smaller pot lacks space for proper root development, thus hindering plant growth. In contrast, a larger pot holds moisture for longer and is prone to rot.

The ideal pot size for Peperomia verticillata is 5-7 inches spot.

Additionally, use pot material that is breathable regulates temperature, and has a good drainage system.

I prefer terracotta/clay or a hanging basket made from coconut husk for peperomia verticillata.

Peperomia Ruby Cascade in a Beautiful White Ceramic Pot
Peperomia in a Beautiful White Ceramic Pot (Source: Etsy)

Repotting Peperomia Verticillata

Peperomia verticillata prefers slight root-bound conditions. Hence, you do not require frequent repotting.

It is ideal for repotting them once in 2-3 years during the spring or summer when the plant actively grows.

In the case of the following conditions, Peperomia verticillata requires repotting.

  • Extreme root bound causes yellowing, limping, drooping of leaves,
  • Stunted growth and roots poking out of the drainage holes.
  • Root rot

Tips to Repot Peperomia verticillata

  • Water your Peperomia verticillata thoroughly the previous day before repotting.
  • Remove the top 25% of the soil for easy out of the plant from the pot.
  • Then, gently pat around the perimeter of the pot, hold a tight grip at the base of the stem and take the plant out.
  • Clean all the soils and inspect for signs of root rot.
  • At this point, you can prune the infected, dead, and damaged parts.
  • Afterward, take a clean pot. Layer it with a few pebbles, and half fill it with the soil.
  • Then, place the plant in the same depth as the earlier pot. And fill up the remaining space with soil.
  • Water the plant thoroughly and leave it in a bright space.

Also watch the video,

10. Regular Pruning

Is your Peperomia verticillata bushy and healthy?

Well, pruning is essential to maintain the plant’s size, health, and spread.

Pruning enhances sideway growth, thus making the plant bushier. Besides, it also encourages new development in the plant.

It is ideal for pruning your Peperomia verticillata once a year during the later month of the fall. 

Do not worry, as the spring will soon bring new growth to your plant.

Timely pruning of a plant
Keep your plant Healthy: Prune Timely (Source: Tenor)

Tips to Prune Peperomia verticillata

  • First, cut off all of the dead and damaged parts.
  • Use sterilized sharp pruning shears and sterilize them with rubbing alcohol in between pruning.
  • Prune the leggy stems as they cannot be fixed.
  • Only prune 20-30% of the plant. Excessive pruning might stress the plant.
  • If the stems are healthy, you can use them for stems propagation.

11. Toxicity of Peperomia verticillata

Peperomia verticillata is non-toxic to both pets and humans. Thus, you need not worry even if your pets or children have nibbled the plant.

Enjoy the beauty of Peperomia without fearing harmful chemicals.

Propagation Methods for Peperomia Verticillata

It is easy and relatively simple to propagate Peperomia verticillata. The best time to propagate Peperomia verticillata is in spring or summer.

Generally, you can propagate Peperomia via three different methods.

  • Offset division
  • Stem cuttings
  • Seeds Germination

Note: Propagating Peperomia verticillata via seeds is a slightly difficult method. Generally, the pro-frowers adopt this method of propagation.

1. Propagation via Offset Division

Step 1: Water the plant a day earlier for propagation. It strengthens the root system, thus making the plant ready for propagation.

Step 2: Take the plant out of the container gripping its base. Now clean the roots and remove all of the soil.

Gradually unentangle the roots and inspect for healthy stems.

Now, peel off the offset like you separate orange. Take a sterilized sharp knife and cut the roots if you find it difficult.

Splitting plant roots
Dividing the roots for propagation (Source: Pexels)

Step 3: The offset thus obtained is ready to be propagated. The plant already possesses the leaves and roots; it is the easiest propagation method.

You can plant it either in the soil or water.

Soil Propagation

  • Take a clean pot. Layer it with a few pebbles and half fill it with the potting mix.
  • Then, place the plant in the pot. Ensure that it is at the same depth as in the earlier pot.
  • Afterward, fill the remaining space with the rest of the soil.
  • Water the plant thoroughly and leave it in a bright space.

Water Propagation

  • Take a clean jar filled with water.
  • Place the offset in the water and watch it grow.
  • Keep changing the water within 3-4 days.

2. Propagation via Stem Cuttings

It is a simple method that does not require you to uproot the whole plant. Here are the steps to follow for stem propagation.

Step 1: Inspect for a healthy stem. Ensure that the branch is free from pests or disease infestation.

Step 2: Look for the nodes in the plant. Make an incision at 45 degrees just below the node.

You can take as many cuttings as you like till it has at least nodes and 2-3 leaves.

Stem node with aerial roots
Stem node with aerial roots (Source: Wikimedia)

Step 3: Leave the cuttings for a couple of hours for callous formation. Afterward, the dust dome of the rooting hormone to the cut surface.

Similarly, you can dust some cinnamon powder to prevent rot. However, you can escape the process.

Step 4: Now, the stems are ready to be propagated. You can propagate them in soil or water.

Follow the exact instructions for propagation in a different medium. And ensure that you place the nodes underneath the soil and water.

Generally, the cuttings will start to root within 2-6 weeks.

Peperomia verticillata potted in a small pot
Peperomia verticillata potted in a small pot (Source: Etsy)

Common Problems in Peperomia verticillita

1. Pests Infestation

If you grow your Peperomia with proper care, there is less chance of pest infestations. However, if the environment is not favorable, it increases the chances of pests infestation.

The common pests in peperomia verticillata are Mealybugs, Fungus gnats, and Spider mites.

Here is a table showing signs of each of the pests.

Common Pests Signs
Fungus Gants1. Small Black flies around the plant
2. The larvae suck on roots thus injure roots
3. Sudden wilting and discoloration of foliages
Mealy bugs 1. Responsible for sooty molds
2. White cotton like substance on underside of leaves
3. Stunted growth
Spider Mites 1. Webbings develop underside of leaves or at leaf axils
2. Feast on plant's fluid resulting in drooping and wilting of leaves

Treatment for Pest Infestation

  • Chop off all of the affected parts as soon as possible.
  • Afterward, apply neem oil or other horticultural oils to the whole plant.
  • Take a blunt knife to scrape off pests like scales.
  • You can dip a cotton ball in diluted isopropyl alcohol and apply it around the infected parts.
  • Spray your plant with soap water.
  • However, if the infestation is beyond control, you can apply synthetic pesticides.

Preventive Measures

  • Avoid overhead and over-watering.
  • You can wash off pests and their eggs with a blast of water.
  • Segregate your plant from other pest-infested plants.

2. Horticultural Diseases

Peperomia verticillata is generally not susceptible to diseases and pests.

However, as the plant bears succulent characteristics, it is prone to root rot caused by overwatering.

The causative agent for root rot in Peperomia is Pythium and Phytophthora species.

Signs of Root rot in Peperomia Verticillata

  • Drooping, limping, and sudden wilting of leaves
  • Stunted and dull Growth
  • Discoloration of foliage
  • Curling and twisting of leaves
  • Foul rotting odor in the soil
  • The root appears mushy and limp
Root rot caused by Pythium species
Root rot caused by Pythium species (Source: blogs.cornell.edu)

How to Treat Root Rot in Peperomia Verticillata?

  • Immediately take the plant out of the container and inspect its root.
  • If the roots feel mushy, cut off all of such roots. Ensure to use sterilize pruning shares and also sterilize it in between cuttings.
  • Now, leave the plant in the pean air for the roots to dry.
  • Afterward, dip the roots in a copper, or any other liquid fungicide dilutes to 1/3 of the strength.
  • Leave the roots to dry and repot the plant in a new potting mix.
  • Avoid watering for a couple of days.

Note: If the plan has undergone severe root rot, it might not be possible to save the plant. In such a case, you can propagate the plant by taking a healthy stem cutting.

Preventive Measures

  • Avoid overwatering as soggy soil is a hub for disease infestation.
  • Water the plant according to its need rather than following a tight schedule.
  • Use quick-draining potting soil for Peperomia verticillata.
  • Take a garden fork and loosen the soil once a week. It helps with the inflow of oxygen.
  • Spray fungicide twice a year to the plant.

Also, watch the video to save your favorite plant from root rot,

FAQs About Peperomia verticillita

Is Peperomia verticillita a Succulent?

Many plant parents confuse Peperomia verticillata with a succulent.

Although it bears similar characteristics to succulents and its leaves are thick glossy storing water in them, it is not succulent.

Peperomia verticillata is a tropical plant exhibiting similarities to succulents.

Beautiful Peperomia Verticillata in a pot
Beautiful Peperomia Verticillata in a pot (Source: Gravel Pit)

Why is my Peperomia Verticillita Shedding Leaves?

When the leaves of Peperomia verticillata grow, it sheds its leaves. It is a natural phenomenon if only a few of its leaves are shedding.

However, if the leaves of the entire or half of the plant are shedding, there is some underlying problem.

If the environmental condition is not favorable, it sheds its leaves.

The prominent reasons are lighting, high temperature, humidity, and nutritional deficiencies. Follow the guidelines stated above to resolve the problem.

Is Peperomia Verticillita Rare?

Peperomia verticillata is a unique variety of Peperomia known for its two shaded foliage.

Besides, the plant also bears tiny attractive flowers, which makes it a stunning plant.

It is one rare beauty that many plant collectors want to add to their collections.

Also watch the full video for more information,

Conclusion

If you want a splash of greenery to adorn your space, bring home Peperomia verticillata. It is a stunning variety of peperomia that serves as a center decore piece.

Besides, it is easy to care for. All you need to be careful about is not to overwater the plant.

Bring home this small, compact, manageable species and elevate your space looks.

Do you want to bring other stunning varieties of Peperomia home? Learn more about Cupid Peperomia and Peperomia Ruby Cascade.

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