Peperomia 13°C/55°F; Tropical America

The keen indoor plantsman may in time collect quite a number of peperomias, but not all of them are suitable as houseplants, or very attractive as potted plants for that matter. So a certain amount of selectivity is needed, and it will usually be found that those plants favoured by the commercial growers are, in fact, the better plants for room decoration. Possibly the most popular are varieties of P. magnoliaejolia, of compact habit and producing thick, fleshy leaves that are an attractive cream and green in colour in the variegated forms. Similar in colour is P. glabella ‘Variegata’ which has small light green and white leaves and is of trailing habit, so useful for many locations indoors where more erect plants would be out of place. These two will require a reasonably light position in the room and a watering programme that errs on the dry side. However, provide a humid atmosphere from April to September, syringing the leaves twice a day when hot. As peperomias go, a larger plant that may well suit the more selective purchaser is P. obtusijblia, of which there are a number of varieties. Leaves are a purplish green in colour and are about 10cm/4in in length -mature plants attain a height of some 30cm/ 1 ft . All the foregoing may be propagated between April and August, either from top cuttings with two or three leaves attached, or they may be done with a single leaf with a piece of stem attached.

Peperomia caperata and P. hederaejolia are both propagated by using individual leaves with petiole attached and inserting far enough for the leaves to remain erect in a peat and sand mixture. The first mentioned has small dark green purple-tinted leaves that are crinkled and heart-shaped, while the latter has leaves of similar shape, a quilted texture and an overall metallic-grey colouring. All the peperomias do well in soilless, or very peaty mixture.

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