Hanging Peperomia – Peperomia scandens ‘Variegata’

Like its close relatives, Hanging Peperomia is rather demanding, but once the principles of cultivating it are understood and practised, it will thrive for years.

It originates from tropical rain forests of South America where it hangs or trails from tall trees. It has a shallow root system and its leaves and stems are able to store water. The plant can survive for long periods without moisture.

The leaves can be entirely cream in colour when young, but eventually become pale cream with green markings.

Hanging Peperomia grows fairly quickly. If it is allowed to climb it will reach a height of 1.20— 1.50m (4-5ft), with a spread of 30cm (12in). The leaves are about 5cm (2in) in length.

Varieties

There are over 100 varieties of Peperomias, . which belong to the family Piperaceae, the peppers. Some, such as Peperomia caperata, P. obtusifolia and P magnoliaefolia are already popular house plants, whereas Hanging Peperomia is less well known but equally decorative. Of the variety P. scandens, only the form ‘Variegata’ is popular in cultivation.

Display ideasHanging Peperomia - Peperomia scandens 'Variegata'

Hanging Peperomias are very suitable for growing in a north-facing window or in a position with similar light conditions. Put the pot inside a larger container — brass or copper would be an excellent choice — and surround the pot with moist peat for extra humidity. If you want to grow it as a climbing plant, give it support.

Propagation

1. Take stem cuttings from tip shoots from April to August. Cut off with a sharp knife about 8cm (3in) from the tip. Cuttings should have two pairs of leaves.

2. Remove the lower pair of leaves and dip the cut end into hormone rooting powder. Insert in equal parts peat and sand.

3. Water the compost and cover the pot with a polythene bag in which you have made several ventilation holes. Keep at a temperature of 18°C (65°F) until roots have developed.

Pests And Diseases

Blisters on the leaves are a symptom of oedema, which is caused by over-watering. The leaves and stems may also turn black, become soft and rot.

Treatment: Make certain that there is no excess water in the saucer under the plant. Allow the compost to dry out and water less frequently in the future.

If stems and leaves are black, remove the affected parts and dust the plant with sulphur.

Falling leaves

Leaves falling off indicate the plant is too cold.

Treatment: Move to a warmer position, away from draughts.

Fine webbing under the leaves and at leaf axils is a sign of the red spider mite.

Treatment: Spray with a systemic insecticide. In future, keep the humidity high by standing the pot on a tray of moist pebbles and remember to mist spray frequently.

PLANT CARE

This plant needs some attention, particularly when young. Cold and damp conditions are its worst enemies. Keep in warm, humid conditions at all times.

  • Potting: Use a well-drained, peat-based compost. Repot about every 3-4 years when the plant has become pot-bound.
  • Water moderately in summer and sparingly in winter. Never allow the compost to become water-logged, as this will soon lead to rot. Allow it to dry out considerably between applications, but avoid letting it dry out completely.
  • Feeding: Feed every 14 days from spring until the end of summer with a standard liquid fertilizer.

BEST GROWTH ENVIRONMENT

  • Light: The plant likes a position in partial shade during the summer, but in winter it can be grown in a brighter spot.
  • Temperature: In summer, keep at 20-22°C (68— 72°F). Winter temperatures should be 13-15°C (55-60°F).

Buying Tips

  • Hanging Peperomia can be purchased at any time of the year, but may be more difficult to find than other Peperomia varieties. Try well-stocked garden centres or nurseries.
  • Choose a plant with good variegation to the leaves and firm growth. Avoid plants with blisters or black patches on the leaves or stems.
  • Properly cared for, Hanging Peperomia will live for years.
  • An evergreen with variegated foliage, Hanging Peperomia is less well known than some of the other Peperomia varieties, but it is equally ornamental.

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