Pepper and arrowroot families
The pepper family is not a large one, and only two of the genera are in general cultivation, so there is not too much to take in when learnign how to grow pepper plants and arrowroot plants. one of these is the genus Piper and the other is the genus Peperomia; most of the species are found in central and tropical South America. All the house plant peperomias are American in origin. In a wild state they are found growing in very shallow soil or more frequently in the moss at the base of a tree or in the hollows between branches.
They are not epiphytic but they give an appearance of being so, and cannot absorb much nourishment. However, plants will tolerate conditions in the wild that they cannot do in the artificial state of cultivation. The constant feature of the peperomias, although they vary in habit and -shape, is the inflorescene. This is a thin spike resembling the spadix of a small arum. It is generally white or cream in colour, not particularly striking, but contrasts well with the curved that most peperomias possess. They require very infrequent , with tepid water and occasional spraying will lessen the risk of Red Spider. Temperatures should not fall below 10°C.system of peperomias is never very extensive. They are placed in small and not potted-on until absolutely necessary. There is no need to worry about the plants becoming pot-bound. The one
Peperomia caperata variegata is distinguished by the heartshaped leaves of cream and green and the cream flower spikes. The plant never grows very large. Peperomia magnoliaefolia is a sturdy shrubby little plant with compact growth and frequent side shoots. The leaves are about 2 inches long and 1 ½ inches across. New leaves have a thin grey green streak in the centre and wide cream edges, which fade to pale green as theages. Propagation is by leaf . P. obtusifolia is a handsome plant that will eventually reach a foot in height. The leaves are over 4 inches long and 2 inches wide, and are dark green with a purple edge. They are thick and fleshy and the plant tolerates dry conditions for a long time. Propagation is by . P. argyreia, the silver Peperomia, has thick smooth leaves, nearly round, marked in alternate bands of silver and dark green. A mature leaf is 4 inches long and 3 inches across. It dislikes draughts, and will rot if over watered.
P. scandens is a most effective trailer and will extend 4 to 5 feet if allowed. The variegated variety is the one that is obtainable commercially. The leaves are small, about 2 inches in length and 1 ¾ inches across. Young leaves are pale green with a cream border, but as they mature the green spreads and the amount of cream is diminished. The main stem is green, the petioles flushed with pink. It is difficult to grow in its early stages, it is much easier when fairly sizeable.
The arrowroot plants belong to the family Marantaceae. The majority of them come from South America, particularly Brazil. They need a warm, moist atmosphere and in summer it is best to keep them in a double pot, with absorbent material packed between the inner and outer , which can be moistened with warm water. The temperature should not be allowed to drop below 10°C, preferably 15°C. All Marantaceae are shade lovers, and should be kept on the damp side, Propagation is by division when .
mackoyana, also known as mackoyana, is known in the United States as the Peacock Plant and has quite large oblong-oval leaves. These are silver green, with markings of dark green along the principal veins; on the underside the markings are reddish purple. It will eventually grow to a height of 3 feet. zebrina, or , is another striking Calathea with long, lance shaped leaves of deep emerald green, striped with even darker green on the surface, and purple beneath. Ln C. ornate the leaves are broadly ovate, almost purple green in colour, etched with fine, pale pink lines between the lateral veins and deep purple beneath. As a house plant it grows up to 2 feet. All the calatheas like a humid, warm, well lit that is out of direct sunlight. Watering should be done freely in summer and the leaves washed regularly. In winter soil should be just moist. Propagation is by division when .