Watermelon Peperomia vs. Peperomia Frost (Differences and Similarities)


Watermelon Peperomia and Peperomia Frost are both types of leafy houseplants often seen for sale in the same pot. However, knowing the difference is key to successfully caring for these plants.

The leaves of the Peperomia Frost have a frost covering, while the Watermelon Peperomia has variegated leaves that mimic the designs on watermelon rinds. Also, the Watermelon Peperomia has thinner, more trailing leaves, while the Peperomia Frost has thicker, more upright foliage. 

In this article, we will discuss how they both differ and share similarities as well as what you should consider before purchasing them.

Family

The Peperomia Frost and the Watermelon Peperomia (Peperomia Argyreia) belong to the Piperaceae plant family. These are perennial plants that are native to South America, Central America, and Mexico.

Peperomia plants, in general, are small tropical plants with fleshy leaves and attractive foliage. Over 1,500 species of peperomia exist, making it quite popular all around the world.

These plants are considered to be epiphytes, which means that they are typically found growing on other plants in their natural habitats. However, they can adapt well and thrive when kept in pots with soil.

Other well known Peperomia varieties include:

Peperomia Obtusifolia: also called baby rubber plant, it has thick, dark, and oval-shaped green leaves. It can produce small spikes with white flowers that can grow up to 10 cm.

Peperomia Obtusifolia zoomed in

Peperomia Prostrata: this species is also known as String of Turtles and has some incredible vining leaves that look like they’ve been braided together.

Peperomia Tetraphylla: also known as Peperomia Hope, is an evergreen perennial with green leaves in groups of four or three.

Peperomia Polybotrya: also known as Jayde Peperomia, has tear-shaped shiny leaves and produces fragrant and green-tipped flowers.

Peperomia Rotundifolia (Trailing Jade): it was rounded leaves with lengthy and soft stems that resemble jade plants.

Metallic peperomia (Peperomia Rosso): A beautiful, variegated species with a metallic red underside and deeply grooved glossy green leaves.

Peperomia Hederifolia: it has peperomia-like leaves, but instead of being round or oval, they are flat and resemble holly leaves.

Differences Between Watermelon Peperomia and Peperomia Frost

Foliage

The primary distinction between these two plants is that the Watermelon Peperomia has thinner, more trailing leaves, whereas the Peperomia Frost has thicker, more upright foliage.

Texture and Color

Additionally, Watermelon Peperomias are bushy shrubs that have variegated leaves that resemble watermelon rind designs. They are typically green with white or yellow stripes across them.

On the other hand, Peperomia Frost plants have larger leaves and are easily recognizable by the white powdery pattern that coats their leaves. This gives the plant its common name of ‘frost’ because it looks like a coating of snow on the foliage.

Growth Habit

The growth rate of the Watermelon Peperomia is typically bigger than its counterpart, making it a great option for larger spaces. For example, it can grow up to 1.5 feet in diameter, whereas the Peperomia Frost typically grows around 0.5 inches wide.

Similarities Between Watermelon Peperomia and Peperomia Frost

Leaf shape

The leaf shape of these plants is one of the most identifiable traits. Both have wide leaves with a pointed tip and two to three lobes.

Flowers

Additionally, both Peperomia Frost and Watermelon Peperomia produce small flowers that resemble white or pink spikes. These flowers can grow up to 1 inch tall and bloom during summer to early autumn.

Origin

Finally, these plants are both found in their natural habitats across Central and South America. The fern-like foliage of the Watermelon Peperomia can be traced back to Brazil while its counterpart is commonly found in Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama, Peru, and Nicaragua.

Growing Requirements

Peperomia plants are easy to grow and maintain, making them highly recommended for beginning gardeners. These plants are versatile and will thrive in almost any condition as long as they are given enough water to keep their leaves hydrated.

Both the Watermelon Peperomia and the Peperomia Frost have similar growing requirements:

Light: they will both thrive when exposed to indirect sunlight, so they should be kept in a location with bright-to-moderate lighting without being exposed to direct sunlight. It is worth mentioning that they can adapt to lower light levels too, just keep in mind that they won’t grow as quickly.

Water: they will both need to be watered regularly with non-chlorinated water. Most peperomias are drought-resistant, but keep an eye on their soil and avoid watering so much that it starts to pool up in the topsoils.

Temperature: both plants prefer moist, warm climates and will suffer if their roots are allowed to get cold. If kept indoors, make sure they are in a room with an ambient temperature of between 68°F and 78°F.

Humidity: another important factor is humidity. These plants like humid conditions but not extremely wet ones. Humidity levels are found in bathrooms or kitchens might suit well to these plants.

You can mist them occasionally or place them on pebble trays to increase humidity.

Soil: Peperomia plants grow best in fast-draining, well-draining soil. For most houseplants, it is recommended to use a potting mix of one part peat moss and one part perlite. We suggest using soils with a pH level of 6.0 to 7.5, meaning that most soil varieties should work just fine.

Fertilizing: Peperomia plants are very easy to fertilize with general houseplant fertilizer. Use a water-soluble plant food or any other fertilizer specifically formulated for cacti and succulents.

Propagation: Peperomia plants, whether frost or watermelon, can be propagated by cuttings.

Cuttings are typically made in spring or summer since peperomias grow during warm seasons. First, cut leaves that are made up of 4-inch segments and place them in a glass of water for about two weeks before planting the slits in peat moss.

Both have also been known to propagate from leaf-bud cuttings, which is simply cutting an inch off the top of a viable Peperomia plant and resting it on moist soil until roots develop.

Pest Prevention:  Peperomia plants are susceptible to pests that can cause infection or disease. Aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, and whiteflies are the most common of these.

Pruning: since these plants grow slowly and can become top-heavy, it might be necessary to prune the tip periodically. Pruning should be done during spring or summer when the plant is naturally growing.

Repotting: Peperomia plants don’t require regular repotting, but they do need to be transplanted every two or three years to prevent the roots from becoming too crowded.

In this article, you’ve learned about the key differences between two popular houseplants: Peperomia Frost and Watermelon Peperomia. In addition to being different in shape and size, they have a few other important distinctions that can’t be ignored when planting or taking care of one or both types of plant.

Whether you are new to gardening or a seasoned gardener who wants to add some variety to their collection, these Peperomias are worth considering for your home garden.

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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