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European Trailing Peperomia | Teardrop | Care Difficulty – Easy

There are SO many varieties of peperomias, but today I am focusing on my European Trailing variety. As the name indicates, it trails (vines) instead of focusing on just growing upright. This unique variety of peperomia has oval-shaped leaves that will cascade nicely over time.

One of the many things that I love about this plant is that it looks like a well-groomed bad hair day…which is me on any given day. We quickly bonded. I placed this plant in my Kitchen Studio where it hangs from the ceiling and is within distance of catching a nice breeze from the ceiling fan. I love watching “her” movement. This room is lit mainly with overhead fluorescent lights, and so far so good. If you would like to learn more about how I grow plants under this type of lighting, please click (here).

Watering Requirements

Let the soil dry out between waterings. Peperomias can effectively store water in their fleshy stems and leaves during times of drought, so they can hold their own if you forget to water or go on vacation. But don’t neglect them too often, as this may stress the plant, making it harder to recover. With all varieties of my peperomia plants, I want the leaves to get little wrinkles in them, which is how they communicate that they want a big glass of water.

Fertilizer | Plant Food

I have read that the peperomia doesn’t really need fertilizer, BUT it can be beneficial for plant growth. To me, it’s a no-brainer to go ahead and give this lovely plant some further nutrients. As with every houseplant, always err on the side of too little fertilizer as opposed to too much! If you add too much, it can burn the roots and kill them. I recommend using a liquid concentrate, all-purpose houseplant fertilizer at quarter strength to half strength every time you water in the summer, stopping altogether in the winter if you live in a four-season climate. For some of you, the growing season can be year-round.

Lighting Requirements

It is best to locate the plant in a medium to low light situation away from direct sun, which can burn the leaves. If you don’t have enough natural light to do that, you can also grow this plant under fluorescent lighting.

Humidity and Temperature

Any humidity level will do. I keep mine in an area that is not supplemented with humidity, and it is thriving. As far as temperature goes, it can handle anywhere between 65-85 degrees (F). It’s best not to let it go below 60 degrees (F) which just might give them a case of the shivers (haha).

Plant Characteristics to Watch For

Diagnosing what is going wrong with your plant is going to take a little detective work and even more patience! First of all, don’t panic and don’t throw out a plant prematurely. Take a few deep breaths and work down the list of possible issues. Below, I am going to share some typical symptoms that can arise. When I start to spot troubling signs on a plant, I take the plant into a room with good lighting, pull out my magnifiers, and begin by thoroughly inspecting the plant.

My plant is wilting despite regular watering.

  • If your peperomia plants are wilting, in spite of regular watering, the plant is likely not getting enough oxygen to the roots.
  • Solution: This is a good time to assess the type of soil that the plant is in.

The leaves are turning brown and crispy at the edges.

  • We have three things that we can be the culprit: underwatering, high salts, or potassium deficiency.
  • Solution–Watering: Start by checking your watering schedule and making sure that you are giving the plant enough water.
  • Solution–High Salt: High salts become a problem when you don’t water thoroughly or use too much plant food. You can flush the salts by taking the plant to the sink and watering it until the water drips from the drainage holes. Use approximately twice the pot’s volume in water for each flushing. You can also remove the top 1 to 2 inches of soil if flushing didn’t get rid of the accumulated salts. Add fresh, fast-draining potting soil to replace the soil you removed. Water with distilled water, and discard the runoff.
  • Solution–Potassium Deficiency: Banana peels are very high in potassium. You can place a banana peel in a quart mason jar, fill with water, cover, and let it sit for up to 48 hours on the counter. Then you can water your plant with the water.

The leaves are drooping or curling.

  • If the leaves on your peperomia are either drooping or curling, it can be a sign of underwatering.
  • Solution: Give your plant a thorough soaking. Take the plant to the sink and water it until the water escapes through the drain holes. I find it best to water, stop, wait 30 seconds, water, stop…and so forth. This allows the soil to soak up the water at a steady rate rather than flooding it, which might bypass some of the roots. Once the water stops coming out of the bottom of the pot, return it to the cover pot. From this point on, be more faithful in your watering habits.

Yikes, the stems are yellowing and sometimes blacken.

  • Not a reassuring sign, as this can be a sign of root rot disease typically caused by overwatering.
  • Solution: Not all plants can be saved from this. It depends on how severe the root rot is. If the roots die, the plant is unable to take up water from the soil, even with correct watering. Remove the plant from the pot and assess the roots. You will use several of your senses here to determine whats going on. First, smell–root rot stinks. Secondly, root rot produces dark roots. Thirdly, touch–if roots are rotted, they will be mushy. Healthy roots are typically white or cream (plant variety depending), and they are firm. I will write a separate post on how to handle root rot, since there are a few ways to go about it based on how bad the situation is.

Additional Care

  • Remove any dead, discolored, damaged, or diseased leaves and stems as they occur with clean, sharp scissors. I look over my plants every time I water them.

Common Bugs to Watch For

If you want to have healthy houseplants, you MUST inspect them regularly. Every time I water a plant, I give it a quick look-over.  Bugs/insects feeding on your plants reduces the plant sap and redirects nutrients from leaves. Some chew on the leaves, leaving holes in the leaves.  Also watch for wilting or yellowing, distorted, or speckled leaves. They can quickly get out of hand and spread to your other plants. IF you see ONE bug, trust me, there are more. So, take action right away.

  • Mealybugs look like small balls of cotton. They can travel, slowly, but they have a strong will and determination! Though they move slowly,  if any plant is touching another, there is a chance the mealybug will hitch a ride on a new leaf and spread. They breed like rabbits of the insect world. Females can deposit around 600 eggs in loose cottony masses, often on the underside of leaves or along stems.
  • Scales are dark-colored bumps that are primarily immobile insects that stick themselves to stems and leaves. They are rather inconspicuous and don’t look like a typical insect. They can range in color but are most often brownish in appearance. They’re called “scales” primarily due to their scale-like appearance on a plant, due to waxy or armored coverings. They are often seen in clumps along a stem, sucking away at the plant’s juices with their spiky mouthpart.
  • Aphids are more commonly seen if you place your plants outdoors. Aphids are indeed bugs. They are tiny insects that, along with black, also come in shades of yellow, green, brown, and pink. They are often found on the undersides of leaves.
  • Spider mites are more common on houseplants. They are not insects – they are related to spiders. These appear to be tiny black or red moving dots. Spider mites are nearly invisible to the naked eye. You often need a magnifying lens to spot them, or you may just notice a reddish film across the bottom of the leaves, some webbing, or even some leaf damage, which usually results in reddish-brown spots on the leaf.
  • Fungus Gnats are a common indoor pest that is typically found in or around overwatered potted plants. They are attracted to the moisture of potting soil. They are entirely harmless to humans (unless you want to keep your sanity intact)  since they can’t bite and don’t spread disease. They can be a problem for houseplants, however, when their population explodes, and their larvae start to feed on plants’ roots.  Once you have a fungus gnat infestation, using consistent management and prevention techniques is key to ending it.

Toxicity

Peperomia plants are not toxic to animals or humans, but I will advise you not to nibble on them. If you are looking to increase your diet to a more plant-based one, please check out some of my raw or cooked plant-based recipes.

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