Watermelon Peperomia, also known as Peperomia argyreia, is known for its purple stems and watermelon-esque leaves. It was named watermelon due to its striking resemblance to the rink skin of a watermelon. This plant falls into the easy-to-grow indoor plant category and is the perfect houseplant to decorate your home. During summertime and spring, the plant’s thin stalks appear more like spikes than flowers. Peperomia argyreia plant has gained popularity among most houseplant lovers thanks to its beautiful watermelon-patterned foliage. They are also considered a favorite mainly due to their shiny colorful green leaves and compact growth. In this guide, we discuss growing and caring for Watermelon Peperomia.
Origin and History of Watermelon Peperomia
The Watermelon Peperomia plant is native to the tropical forests in northern South America. They often grow on decomposing wood or other materials in the forest area. To date, it is still unknown how the Peperomia plant made its way to other parts of the world, but they are considered one of the perfect houseplants worldwide. While it is sometimes referred to as a Watermelon Begonia due to its waxy, succulent-like nature, the Watermelon Peperomia is considered a radiator plant. With its purple stems and green, silver striped leaves, these gorgeous little houseplants perfectly highlight any dull space in your home.
You can also use this plant to decorate your small shelf or office desk as it maintains a small height of about 30cm even when fully mature. Watermelon Peperomia is a species of flowering plant in the Piperaceae family, native to South American countries such as Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador, and Bolivia. It is a perennial plant with asymmetrical oval green leaves strikingly decorated with curved silver and vibrant red stripes. This decorative household plant grows best in temperate areas with a minimum temperature of 10 degrees Celsius. According to BHG, the Watermelon Peperomia was honored with the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.
How to Plant Watermelon Peperomia
Overall, the Watermelon Peperomia is easy to plant, provided you follow all the recommended planting guidelines. For instance, the Peperomia plant prefers being a bit rootbound, meaning you should not use a bigger pot than your plant. Once you find the perfect container, fill the bottom third with a well-drained potting mix and place the top with a potting mix. The Watermelon Peperomia is a moisture-loving plant, which means that they require frequent watering. Below are some of the favorable growing conditions for your Watermelon Peperomia plant:
Naturally, these plants grow on the forest ground without exposure to direct light. Watermelon Peperomia prefers at least five hours of light daily and should not be exposed to bright, direct light. It is advisable to choose a location for your Peperomia plant that receives bright to medium indirect light. If left exposed to prolonged periods of sunlight, their shiny green leaves are prone to burning. While they can survive even in poor light conditions, their leaves will be smaller due to stunted growth. One of the most advisable places to place your Watermelon Peperomia plant is near a window covered with a shade or curtain that filters direct light.
Temperature and Humidity
Watermelon Peperomia grows best at temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, although they can survive brief periods of temperatures below that range. These plants do well in areas with either cold or hot drafts; thus, keep them away from interior vents and exterior doors. Watermelon Peperomia also grows successfully in warm, slightly humid conditions.
Normal household humidity levels and temperatures are favorable for these plants if grown indoors. It is advisable to keep your Peperomia plant away from drafty windows or vents that could potentially dry out the air around the plant. According to The Spruce, to help increase your plant’s humidity levels in a dry house with water every few days or place a tray of water under the base of your plant’s container.
The Watermelon Peperomia plant grows best in most standard potting mixes, provided they are well-drained. Avoid soil formulated for plant species such as cacti and succulents that prefer dryer soil is often advisable. A 1:1 mixture of perlite and peat moss will work perfectly for growing your Peperomia plant.
Generally, it is often recommended to use room temperature water to water your plants. It would also be best to consider using bottled spring water or rainwater. Compared to tap water which may contain excessive amounts of salt or other harmful chemicals that can be dangerous to plants or lead to stunted growth, spring water contains all the vital minerals needed to be robust to plant growth.
Always water your Watermelon Peperomia plant when the top of the soil becomes slightly dry, and clear any standing water to avoid root rot. Several factors determine how frequently you should water your Peperomia plant. For instance, if the topsoil is still moist, reduce the watering frequency to a couple of weeks. If you live in a dry area, you can regularly place the pot in a pebble tray or mist to improve the plant’s moisture. Allow the top inches of soil to dry out between watering intervals, and then water thoroughly. It should be noted that Watermelon Peperomia is very sensitive to underwatering and overwatering.
The Watermelon Peperomia plant benefits from regular fertilization, especially during growing. When fertilizing your Peperomia plant consider using a balanced liquid fertilizer at least every 2-4 weeks during the summer and spring. It is recommended to use a balanced, water-soluble, or liquid fertilizer and completely avoid using granular fertilizers that are sometimes too strong and can harm the plant.
The Watermelon Peperomia plant is a light feeder, which means that too many nutrients can lead to excessive growth, causing the plant to become too thin. When applying fertilizer to your plant, dilute a standard indoor houseplant fertilizer to about half the recommended strength and apply every few months.
Propagating Watermelon Peperomia
It is delightfully easy to propagate the Watermelon Peperomia plant and is sometimes known as “friendship plants” due to how simple it is to share the plant with your friend. Propagating of the Peperomia plant is usually done during the growing season, either in the summer or spring. Moreover, propagation can be done in three main ways: leaf cutting, division, and stem cutting. A healthy Watermelon Peperomia plant will begin to grow pups or offshoots that can be divided and grown in their own pots. According to Houseplants Expert, a trusted source, below are the steps to propagate by division:
- Step 1: Completely remove the entire plant from the designated potting medium so that you can examine the roots and carefully divide the offshoots.
- Step 2: Once you have identified the offshoots that you want to separate from the plant, which should be at least taller than 1-inch in the original pot, gently tease the roots from the main plant.
- Step 3: Plant the newly separated offshoot in its growing pot and water the soil thoroughly.
- Step 4: Place the pot in a location that receives medium to bright indirect light and ensure the soil is kept continuously moist for the first two weeks after division.
- Step 5: After 8-9 weeks, you can continue your regular watering schedule.
Propagate from a Stem Cutting
According to Sumo Gardener, the following are four simple steps to help propagate your Watermelon Peperomia plant from a stem cutting:
- Step 1: Obtain a cutting of the plant’s stem, which should be at least one inch of the lea’s red petiole.
- Step 2: Place the cutting in your designated container and add water until the base of the petiole is completely covered. Make sure the leaf is not in contact with the water.
- Step 3: Change the water weekly as you wait for the roots to appear.
- Step 4: Once you spot any protruding root, you can move the plant by cutting in a pot filled with well-drained soil.
Propagate from a Leaf Cutting
The Watermelon Peperomia plant does not branch where the stem is cut, meaning that if you cut a leaf off, you are permanently sacrificing that stem. The following are seven simple steps to help propagate your Peperomia plant from Leaf Cuttings;
- Identify the leaves that you want to use and cut the stem so that the cut leaf has about 3-inches of stem remaining.
- Cut the separated leaf in half horizontally, dividing the top and bottom of the leaf. Make sure one-half of the leaf remains attached to the stem.
- Take the top half of the leaf-cutting and place it in the soil with the cut edge dipped and the top half above the soil.
- Take the bottom half of the leaf-cutting with the stem and bury it in the soil.
- Place your freshly potted leaf cuttings in a location exposed to medium or bright indirect light.
- Make sure the soil remains continuously moist but never waterlogged.
You should notice new sprouts protruding from the cut leaves after one or two months. Allow these new plants to become firm for a couple of months before transplanting them to their designated growing mediums.
Common Problems with Watermelon Peperomia Plant
Generally, the common problems affecting the Watermelon Peperomia plant are usually due to pest attacks or poor watering practices. According to Joyus Garden, below are some of the common problems with the Watermelon Peperomia Plant:
Pests & Plant Diseases
The Peperomia argyreia plants are prone to a number of houseplant pests and diseases. The common pests are sap-sucking and fungus gnats, including scale, aphids, and mealybugs. The Watermelon Peperomia plant is also very sensitive to overwatering, leading to quick root rot.
If your Watermelon Peperomia plant has curling leaves, it indicates that your plant is drying out or that the leaves are exposed to too much direct sunlight.
There are several reasons that can cause your Watermelon Peperomia plant to have dropping leaves. If the soil is continuously damp, you should consider decreasing the frequency you water your plant. You are advised to allow the top 1-2 inches of soil to dry out before watering completely. When checking for moisture in your plant, check the side and middle of the pot. Another reason for dropping leaves is cold temperatures. Moreover, watering your Peperomia plant with cold water can also affect your plant, causing it to lose its leaves. It is often recommended that you should water with room temperature water.
One of the common reasons for rotting in your Watermelon Peperomia plant is overwatering, which can cause the stems or leaves of your plant to feel soft and mushy. Your plant may also suffer from rotting tissue due to the use of an improperly draining container or using poorly drained soil. Fortunately, you can revive your soil even after rotting; all you need to do is cut the removing tissue, repot your plant in fresh soil and decrease your watering frequency.
Some of the reasons that can lead to the discoloration of your Watermelon Peperomia leaves include pest attacks, overwatering, lack of humidity, and excessive environmental stress. Before deciding where to plant your Peperomia plant, thoroughly evaluate the selected environment and determine if it is suitable for your plant.
Should I mist my Watermelon Peperomia plant?
Misting is often advisable if you want to increase the humidity levels of your Watermelon Peperomia plant. You can also decide to place a humidifier near your plant.
Why are the leaves on my Watermelon Peperomia small with long stems?
A healthy Watermelon Peperomia is usually characterized by large leaves that have a bushy appearance. Poorly lit conditions can result in leggy growth, which entails long stems characterized by small leaves.
Should I prune my Watermelon Peperomia plant?
According to Patch Plants, there is no need to prune your Watermelon Peperomia plant, but you can trim them if you feel they are growing and becoming unmanageable.