How To Grow And Care For A Peperomia Polybotrya


The heart-shaped succulent leaves make the Peperomia Polybotrya or the Raindrop Peperomia impossible to miss despite its height that never goes beyond one foot.

To care for a Peperomia Polybotrya, water it thoroughly once a week during spring and summer but do not allow the soil to be waterlogged. Keep it under indirect bright light, in temperatures between 65º-80ºF (18º-26ºC). It requires well-drained soil, which could be a mix of 50% pearlite and 50% peat moss.

The Raindrop Peperomia can survive with a considerable degree of neglect or in most indoor conditions. However, it will lack the plush effect if it does not get very specific conditions, most of which are easy to provide.

Let’s look at some of the care points that will allow you to grow the plushest raindrop peperomia, shall we?

Watering

Raindrop Peperomia is a native of Peru and Colombia, some of the most humid places on earth. It, therefore, requires regular watering to both thrive and produce the lush green leaves. In fact, the raindrop peperomia can grow entirely on water, meaning that it loves being hydrated.

Water your raindrop peperomia at least twice in ten days. Flood the soil occasionally and then allow the top 1″ of the soil to dry before adding more water. However, the amount of water must be complemented with well-draining soil. If the soil is waterlogged, you will begin having problems with root rot.

The amount of watering needed for the raindrop peperomia will also depend on your container’s size plus the amount of soil used for potting. The root system is fragile. However, it can easily overpower a small pot. The peperomia requires a small quantity of soil, meaning that you have to water it frequently.

Reduce the amount of water during spring and winter. Though the plant does not shed the leaves, it goes into a dormant phase where a lot of water or fertilizer is not needed. The succulent leaves and stems also store water that allows the peperomia to go for days without water.

The raindrop peperomia draws a lot of its nutrients from the water. The quality of water is, therefore, crucial during care. Use distilled, filtered, rain, or aged water. The water should be free of chemicals that may suffocate your soil. Fluoride or chlorine in the water will affect the availability of some of the chemicals.

Under-watering or overwatering the raindrop peperomia will result in wilting. Luckily, it takes a while before the plant can wilt from under-watering because the leaves and stalk store a lot of water. On the other hand, overwatering will result in root rot, which could kill your plant fast. Root rot can only be cured through repotting, but the raindrop peperomia with its delicate leaves will not take it easy.

Watering is also affected by humidity, temperature, and air circulation. High temperatures and low humidity will demand more watering. Wind blowing around the plant also results in extensive evaporation, draining most of the soil’s water. Once you have found the right balance between these elements, your raindrop peperomia will thrive.

Humidity

The Raindrop Peperomia is a native of the thick and wet rain forests of South America. Below the canopies, the plant enjoys high humidity from the many streams and protection from direct sun or wind. Its deep-green foliage is also a signal that the plant prefers high humidity.

Growing a beautiful raindrop peperomia requires humidity levels between 40%-50%. Most indoor environments can achieve such humidity naturally at different seasons of the year. However, other intervening factors like the use of heating and AC systems may make the conditions hostile for your peperomia.

The best solution to provide adequate humidity is misting. Spray rain, filtered, distilled, or aged water on the leaves once a day to keep the leaves and surrounding areas moist. Your raindrop peperomia will respond with the dark and plush green leaves.

A pebble tray at the base of the plant will also enhance humidity levels around the leaves. Water evaporating from the tray creates a humidity cloud around the flower, guaranteeing the required moisture levels. A pebble tray is the best option for plant owners with no time for daily and insistent attention.

Keep in mind that too much humidity could cause bacterial and fungal infections on the leaves. The use of fluoridated or chlorinated water will also damage the leaves. Keep the plant away from air conditioning vents because they suck air from the surrounding, depleting the humidity levels.

Soil

The raindrop peperomia requires well-drained soil of acidic to neutral pH levels between 5.0-7.0. Remember that your raindrop peperomia can grow on the water without any soil. However, for it to thrive and find a place to hold, it requires the African violet soil mix.

The soil could be a mix of 50% peat moss and 50% perlite. The mix is so porous that it allows most of the water to drain away. However, it remains moist most of the time to provide water and nutrients to the leaves.

While you may use quality soil during potting, houseplant experts insist on continued care to keep the soil healthy enough to support its robust foliage. Some of the care procedures include the use of liquid foliar fertilizer in place of granule based fertilizer that leaves harmful residue in your soil. Flush the soil once at the end of summer to clear these chemicals. Fluoride or chlorine in the water will also damage the soil and cause your plant to stunt.

Protect your soil from water-logging because it will result in root rot, an infestation that causes permanent damage. The container used for potting must guarantee excellent drainage so that most of the water is not retained in the container. Do not allow the pot to soak in a flooded drainage tray for too long because the soil will begin to take back most of the water.

Light

Inside the thick South American forests canopies, the raindrop peperomia does not receive a lot of light. The dark green leaves are meant to maximize the little light that penetrates the canopies. Your raindrop peperomia requires an environment where such conditions are similar.

Place your raindrop peperomia near the window where it can enjoy constant indirect bright light. Since it is a very light-sensitive plant, it will bend towards the window. You will need to rotate the plant once in a while so that all leaves enjoy sufficient light.

Direct sunlight will kill the shine on your leaves. However, allow it to enjoy a bit of morning and evening sun because it is not as hot. When the peperomia is grown outdoors, it requires shade to protect the leaves from the bright midday light. In case you do not have a window or wish to place the flower at a hidden corner, provide fluorescent light.

The raindrop peperomia loses its shine if it does not receive sufficient light. You will also end up with a small houseplant, a terrible scene considering that the plant never goes beyond one foot in height. Prolonged dim light will also produce the same effect.

Temperature

The tropical rain forests in South America, where the raindrop peperomia habitat is, are slightly warm. Your houseplant will thrive in temperatures between 65ºF(18ºC) and 80ºF(26ºC). However, it will still grow in temperatures as low as 50ºF(10ºC) as long as the fall is not drastic. The temperature may not exceed 95ºF(35ºC) in hot areas.

Temperature affects other conditions around your plant. High temperature translates into reduced humidity, requiring regular misting, and increased watering frequency. Low temperatures expose your plant to bacterial and fungal infections. Evaporation from the soil will also reduce. The solution is to reduce watering and misting while increasing air circulation.

Advanced Care Guidelines

The Raindrop Peperomia does not demand a lot of attention from its owners. However, it hides a beautiful gift for any owner who pays attention to its delicate needs.

Here are some caring ideas that will reveal the extraordinary beauty of your raindrop peperomia.

Flowering

The raindrop peperomia produces very interesting flowers that resemble the tail of a green-tipped mouse. These flowers will grow in clusters and are perched at the top of the stalk. Moreover, the flowers produce a hypnotizing fragrance that will transform the air indoor.

The elegance of the flowers will depend on the amount of care provided. Since the flowers appear between spring and summer, you must provide adequate water and place your plant at an adequately lit position around the house. Warm temperatures will ensure that the flowers bloom fully and produce a strong scent.

The flowers only last for a few weeks. Hence, they should be removed from the stem once they wilt to enhance the overall plant’s beauty.

Fertilization

Raindrop Peperomia is a light feeder but does not respond well to neglect. Thus, it requires regular light feeding using compost-based fertilizer or liquid foliar.

Apply half-measure balanced fertilizer once a month in summer. The fertilizer will support the robust growing foliage and enhance flowering.

Your plant requires light feeding in winter. One fertilizer application in two months will be sufficient to sustain its slow growth through the dormant months.

Too much fertilizer will only kill this compact growing peperomia. Hence, compost is preferred because it releases the nutrients slowly. Furthermore, it does not clog the soil with chemicals.

Pruning

The slow-growing raindrop peperomia will rarely require pruning. The foliage remains green most of the year, dying mostly from old age. This plant does not give bushy foliage that will necessitate pruning. 

However, if any leaf or vine is infested with pests or diseases, pruning will be necessary and can be done at any time to protect the other parts of the plant.

Cut the leaves at the base or the vine at the node during pruning. The best season to prune is early spring or late winter to give the plant ample time to flower. Make clean cuts when pruning to ease healing and hasten recovery.

Repotting

The raindrop peperomia will rarely require repotting. It has a small root system that will rarely overrun your pot. The roots are also too delicate that regular repotting will cause extensive damage. The best repotting interval is every two to three years. Repot before mid-summer to give the flower enough time to recover so that it is not overpowered by the dormant winter.

Propagation

This plant is one of the easiest houseplants to propagate. It would help if you had a leaf or stalk cutting that is placed in water or moist soil. The propagated parts should produce roots in two to three weeks without rooting hormone enhancement. Remember to propagate the plant in summer when the weather is warm enough to support root growth.

Pest Prevention

The most common pests that would attack your raindrop peperomia are mealy bugs and red spider mites. They suck sap from the leaves, leaving yellow spots. Fortunately, they are controllable through regular dusting, balancing humidity and temperature, or the use of pesticides.

Conclusion

To sum up, this plant is a classy low maintenance house plant originating from the South American forests but can still thrive in other regions if proper conditions are provided. A compact grower, the raindrop peperomia, is perfect for potting indoors and comes with fewer burdens of pests or diseases.

Related Questions

What’s the difference between Peperomia Polybotrya and Pilea Peperomioides?

The two plants look very similar but do not even belong to the same family. The Peperomia Polybotrya can be identified by its dark-green colored leaves and their heart shape. As for the leaves of Pilea Peperomioides, they are less succulent, more round-shaped, lighter-green, and not as plush when the two plants are grown in the same environment.

Can you root peperomia in the water?

Yes. Place a vine or leaf in water and allow two to three weeks. Afterward, whites roots will emerge and be ready for transfer to the soil in a week.

Why is my peperomia dropping leaves?

Several issues could cause your peperomia to drop its leaves. The soil could be too dry or wet. Too much direct sunlight will also cause the leaves to wilt. Mealybugs and red spider mites will also damage the leaves and cause them to fall.

Why does my peperomia have brown spots?

Red spider mites and/mealybugs could have found a home on your leaves. Use pesticides on both the leaves and the soil to eliminate these pests.

Related Plant Guides:

How to Grow and Care for a Peperomia Obtusifolia

The Guide to Grow and Care for a Watermelon Peperomia

Martin Duran

Hey y'all! My name is Martin Duran and I am from Cali, Colombia. Since 2018 I have been learning about plants and how to take care of them. Here's is my journey... “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” ― John Muir

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