Growing Peperomia Obustifolia

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peperomia obustifolia

Peperomia Obustifolia is known as the American rubber plant, baby rubber plant, and pepper face plant,

It comes from a large genus of over 1000 species and many cultivars of the Peperomia.

Peperomia obustifolia is native to South America and is a perennial flowering epiphyte plant species.

Moreover, in its natural habitat, it tends to grow within a high-humidity forest area making use of nutrients that tree debris and the natural tropical environment provides.

There are a number of cultivars that includes dark green leaves, variegated, and the Peperomia obustifolia ‘Albomarginata’ which shows yellowy gold and green patched leaves.

The main attention of this ornamental plant is its foliage and its growth habit tends to be bushy in appearance.

Glossy palate leaves with petioles tend to grow close to the main stems.

Also, the baby rubber plant can flower which tends to be non-showy.

Keep on reading.

Peperomia Obustifolia

You cannot go wrong with peperomia obustifolia aka baby rubber plant if you are looking for a compact, low-maintenance, and tropical-looking houseplant.

This humidity-loving, pet-friendly plant is often grown indoors.

Despite its common name, this epiphytic species is not related to the rubber plant, aka, Ficus elastics.

However, it is a part of the large Peperomia genus and the epithet obustifolia means ‘blunt-leaved’.

peperomia obustifolia 1

Moreover, it is all about the foliage with the baby rubber plant.

It does bloom sometimes, however, the small-white green flowers are not showy.

The glossy, spoon-shaped, fleshy, succulent-like leaves tend to be dark green, however, you can also find cultivars with white and green marble-like variegation.

Over time, the upright stems of this plant can develop a trailing habit and the epiphytic roots tend to cling well to surfaces.

This makes them ideal for use in hanging baskets or on shelves.

Quick Facts about Peperomia Obustifolia

Some quick facts about peperomia obustifolia, aka, baby rubber plant are:

Common Name Baby rubber plant, pepper face plant
 Botanical Name Peperomia Obtusifolia
 Family Piperaceae
 Plant Type Perennial, Herbaceous
 Mature Size Up to 1 ft. tall
 Sun Exposure Partial
 Soil Type Clay, Sand, Loam
 Soil pH Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline
 Bloom Time Periodic through the year
 Flower Color White
 Hardiness Zones 10-12 (USDA)
 Native Area South America

Peperomia Obustifolia Care

It is important to note that this South American native tends to grow in tropical rain forests areas in its natural habitat.

plant care

This means that this plant prefers a spot in your home where it is humid and the light tends to be bright but indirect.

Other than this, it is a fairly forgiving plant that is not bothered by many pests or diseases and is also a good choice if you are a beginner.

Light and Soil Requirements

You will need to keep your peperomia obustifolia out of prolonged, intense sunlight.

It is important to note that the foliage can burn and if you tend to have a variegated cultivar, the unique coloration will begin to fade.

Moreover, a partial shade spot in the south, east, or west-facing window tends to work well and does not have much direct afternoon sun.

Non-variegated cultivars, on the other hand, can handle low light conditions, however, a bit of bright, early morning sun tends to promote growth and is ideal for maximizing leaf patternation on variegated foliage.

Baby rubber plants may thrive in moist conditions, however, these epiphytic species do not like to have wet feet.

This is because it can lead to root rot which means whenever medium you put them in, it needs to be well-drained.

They are not too fussy about type, however, will do best in loose, fertile, potting mix.

You can mix 2 parts peat and 1 part perlite or sand to do the job.

Water, Temperature, and other requirements

It is best to under rather than overwater this species.

They do not tolerate sitting in standing water while moderate watering during the growing season about every 1 to 2 weeks if often enough.

Make sure to allow the potting mix to dry out on the top few inches before rewatering.

Moreover, during the winter, you can even let the soil dry out more between watering.

However, while the leaves do hold moisture, and the plant does have a level of drought tolerance, do not frequently leaves your peperomia obustifolia dry for long periods.

This is because it will affect the growth and the foliage of the plant will not be so healthy.

The baby rubber plant is a great plant for bright, steamy bathrooms as they thrive in temperatures from 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

In case your hose regularly dips below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, this is not the right plant for you.

Make sure to keep your plant away from blasting heating or AC units and draughty windows too.

If you do not have this humidity-loving plant in the steamy bathroom, you can consider misting the leaves and using a pebble tray with water under the plant, especially during their active growth period in the summer.

With their small, epiphytic roots, peperomia obustifolia is not a heavy feeder.

However, once or twice a month, a dose of diluted all-purpose liquid fertilizer during the growing season can help to encourage healthy foliage growth.

Types of Baby Rubber Plants

There are a number of baby rubber plant cultivars you can choose from, including a wide selection of variegated options.

Some popular options are:

Peperomia obtusifolia ‘Alba’: The young plants have stems tinged with red and an attractive

It tends to have creamy white variegation that gradually fades to green as it matures.

Peperomia obtusifolia ‘Gold Tip’: Marbled variegation that turns a gold shade towards the tip.

Peperomia obtusifolia ‘Minima’: Particularly compact form with small, dense green foliage.

Pruning and Propagation Tips

With its bushy habit, you may want to cut back its foliage occasionally, as this will help maintain a tidy shape.

Pinching the tips of stems will help to encourage new, healthy growth, and will save your plant from starting to look overly leggy.

Moreover, removing dead and dying foliage will also help direct energy to healthy, growing leaves, and keep your plant looking its best.

The good news is that you can easily propagate peperomia obustifolia by stem tip cutting or division.

peperomia obustifolia 2

Follow the steps below to create a new plant from stem cutting:

  • you will need to remove the top of a healthy stem about 4 inches with at least a couple of leaves on it, and one node, a bump where a new stem will emerge below the leaves
  • make sure to use a small pot about 4 to 6-inch deep with a soilless potting mix
  • moreover, make sure that only one or two leaves remain on the cutting and the node should be embedded in the potting mix
  • keep the potting mix moist but not saturated and in warm temperatures, that are at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit
  • then place the cutting in a bright light position
  • once new growth shows, you can move the rooted cutting to a more permanent pot size

Potting and Repotting Tips

You will not have to repot this plant all that often as this compact plant will not have an extensive root system.

Once every few years is often enough for this plant.

If the roots begin to grow out of the drainage holes of the pot or the soil is lifting off the sides of the pot, it is an indication that the plant is outgrowing its current home.

potting and repotting

Moreover, repotting in the spring before the main growing season is ideal.

Do not opt for a pot that is too big or deep.

This is because it can contribute to too much water absorption and waterlogging can also become an issue.

Common Problems with Peperomia Obustifolia

It is important to note that even the most easygoing plant can suffer from problems if you neglect them or do not give them the right conditions.

Keeping an eye out for the following issues can help you remedy them before your plant suffers from irreparable damage:

Leaves turning Yellow: One of the biggest problems for this plant is overwatering.

Leaves turning from their usual glossy green to yellow is one of the first signs that you are going overboard, and this can also lead to deadly root rot.

Drooping Leaves: When you leave your plant in an overly bright position, feed them too much, and let your plant too dry can lead to wilting leaves that eventually drop off together.

Plant Leaves Falling Off: Make sure that your plant is not subject to sudden extreme changes in temperatures to help prevent problems with sudden leaf drops.

Browning Tips: It is important to note that if your house is cold, it is not suitable for the baby rubber plant.

In case the temperature regularly drops to about 50 degrees Fahrenheit, it can kill your plant.

Moreover, the first sign of this being a problem is leaf tips turning brown.

The opposite can also be true for your plant and too much direct sun can cause leaf scorch.

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