Peperomia could be described in three words: lively, abundant, and… widespread!Whether you’re an experienced gardener or just looking for a cool science project, learning how to spread peperomia is a fun and easy thing to do.
If you already have a peperomia plant, you know that they are hardy, flexible, and sometimes crazy. Did you know, though, that some types of peperomia are succulents? Most varieties have great drought resistance because of their famously fleshy and juicy leaves.
Peperomia’s juicy leaves also help the plant spread. The water and nutrients are stored in the plant’s succulent parts, which provide food.
When a cutting is taken from a plant, it can no longer get nutrients from the roots. Instead, it has to depend on what it has stored. This keeps the cutting alive until it grows its own roots.
You can’t spread a sick peperomia because succulents need to store their food. Read our article on how to take care of a peperomia to learn more about how to keep your plant healthy.
Now we’ll talk about everything you need to know about how to grow peperomia.
The easiest way to spread peperomia is through stem and leaf cuttings. During this step, you will cut a piece of the plant out and put it in its own pot. With a little work and luck, the cutting will eventually grow into a full plant. How cool is that?
There are a few things to think about before you jump in. The first thing to think about is the timing. Peperomias are best spread in the spring and summer, when the plant is actively growing. Plants that are dormant want to be left alone, just like sleeping bears.
Last, choose which stems or leaves to take off. For them to grow well, they have to be fully grown and healthy. It’s tempting to grow a lot of plants at once, but you should only take a few cuttings. If you cut off more than a third of the parent plant, you could hurt it.
The next step is to get the tools you need to spread the virus. It’s best to have everything ready ahead of time so you don’t have to search for a tool while your hand is in the dirt. Here is what you’ll need:
- A mature and healthy peperomia plant
- A clean, sharp knife or shears light, airy soil
- A small container for the trimmings, like a clear plastic bag or an empty soda bottle.
- Rooting hormone in powder form (optional)
How to Propagate Peperomia
To get ready for the cuttings, put half of the moist soil in the small pot. Take your cuts and wash your shears or knife.
Stem cuttings: Pick a stem with three or more leaves and cut it just below the bottom leaf. Take off the lower leaves and leave only the top two. The places where the leaves used to be will be where the roots grow back.
Leaf cuttings: Cut off the leaf where the leaf joint, or petiole, meets the stem.
Put your new plants in pots as soon as you can. Don’t wait more than a few hours!
Place the cuttings upright in the soil and lightly pat them down to keep them from falling over. If the cuttings aren’t staying upright because the leaves are too big, cut off half of each leaf.
Here comes the fun part. Make a small greenhouse to keep things from drying out. Just poke a few holes in a large plastic bag and put it over the pot. Use chopsticks or stakes to keep it up and away from the plant.
You can also use an empty soda bottle by cutting off the top and drilling small holes in the bottom. Make a dome out of it, and then put it over your cuttings.
Put your small greenhouse somewhere cool and out of the sun’s direct path. Since peperomia cuttings easily catch fire, stay out of direct sunlight. Every few days, take the dome off the small greenhouse to let it air out and prevent rot. Keep the soil moist but not soggy.
If you see new growth at the base of the cut, you can take the dome off. Wait until the cutting is well-rooted and has a lot of new growth before repotting it. Peperomia likes to stay in its pot, so don’t move it right away.
An Alternative Method
Not interested in getting your hands dirty? A quick and easy alternative to planting in soil is to grow plants in water. Stem cuttings of Peperomia usually do well in water until they grow into full plants.
In 2 to 6 weeks, roots will start to grow from the leaf nodes. Keep the water level high and change it often to keep bacteria from growing while you wait.
Some types, like Peperomia obtusifolia, can live in water. But since the plant needs more nutrients, you’ll need to move it from a glass to a hydroponics system.