How to Grow and Care for a Watermelon Peperomia (Argyreia)


watermelon peperomia leaves

The Watermelon Peperomia is distinguished by its dark-green leaves that are marked with silver stripes, just like a watermelon. It is a low growing plant that will not go beyond 6-8 inches at maturity. It will create an indoor spectacle throughout the year. Also known as Peperomia Argyreia, this species is easy to care for, and it will produce spike-like flowers in spring and summer.

To grow a Watermelon Peperomia keep it under indirect bright light, provide regular watering, approximately once a week, but allow the top 1-2 inches of its soil to dry before watering again. It also requires temperatures between 60ºF(15.5ºC ) and 85ºF(29.4ºC) and high humidity.

The showy watermelon peperomia will survive in a wide range of environmental conditions. However, the watermelon peperomia thrives to become a spectacle once you provide the ideal conditions.

Let us explore the basic requirements for the growth of Watermelon Peperomia to give you the most beautiful houseplant. Shall we?

Watermelon Peperomia (Peperomia Argyreia) Basic Care Guidelines

Watering

Water the plant deeply once a week during summer to keep the soil moist but not soggy. Check the top 1-2 inches of the soil to ensure that they are dry before the next watering session. The amount of watering is complemented by adequate drainage so that the soil does not become soggy.

Reduce the amount of water in spring and winter because evaporation could decrease, and the plant might enter into a dormant phase. It would help if you also reduce the frequency of watering. Consider the temperature indoors all season, especially when using indoor air conditioning.

Monitor the quality of water to avoid damaging the soil by adding chemicals like chlorine and fluoride. Allow the water to settle in a container for a night so that the chemicals can decant. Alternatively, use filtered or distilled water. If its semi-succulent leaves feel a little too thin or begin to droop, it is time to water your plant. However, they will also curl and wither if the soil is soggy.

Humidity

The average humidity indoors should be satisfactory for your watermelon peperomia. However, maintaining the green and silver stripes requires slightly more humid conditions found in its native habitat in the South American forests.

Watermelon peperomia requires regular misting to keep the air around moist. You may add a pebble water tray at the base of the plant to enhance humidity through evaporation. Plant grouping is also an alternative because it mimics the canopies in South American forests.

The ideal humidity for watermelon peperomia is anywhere between 40-50%. However, keep in that if the area is too humid, the leaves and stem are susceptible to fungal infections. If the humidity is too low, the leaves begin to curl and droop, leading to the eventual loss of the entire plant.

Soil

Watermelon peperomia prefers fertile and well-drained soil. Peat-based soil will hold the nutrients for the roots and drain the water while leaving the soil moist. The best soil mix for watermelon peperomia is two parts peat and 1 part perlite.

This species has a tiny root system and requires a small potting container. However, it grows robust foliage that might appear too big for the root system. The soil should, therefore, hold the plant in position while providing sufficient nutrients without being too roomy.

Light

The Peperomia Argyreia grows at the bottom of South American forest canopies. These are shaded areas with little direct sunshine. As you try to imitate such conditions, you should place your watermelon peperomia in a shaded area where it receives indirect light.

Watermelon peperomia thrives in bright but indirect sunlight. If the sun is too bright, the light color of the variegated leaves is likely to fade. If you are growing the plant indoors, place it near the east-facing window where it can enjoy a few hours of the morning sun. Late afternoon sunshine is also suitable as long as it is not too hot.

If the leaves are looking dull and washed out, it might be sunburnt. Move it away from the window or to a place where it cannot get direct sun. If the plant is outdoors, provide shade or place it at a position where it will not receive direct noon sunshine.

Temperature

The Watermelon Peperomia can grow in a great variety of regions around the world. Hence, it will thrive in temperatures between 60ºF(15.5ºC) and 85ºF(29.4ºF). In the temperate regions, the plant grows in temperatures as low as 50ºF(10ºC) as long as the change in temperature is not drastic, and the temperatures do not go any lower.

This plant will also survive in temperatures as high as 100ºF(37.7ºC). However, you have to provide indirect sun and a lot of humidity. Too much heat dries the soil and will cause the leaves to wither. It also increases the chances of mites and scales infestation.

Placing the watermelon peperomia near air conditioning vents causes temperature and humidity challenges because of the drafts created by the circulating air. The small root system also means that the plant depends on the leaves for its survival. High temperatures, therefore, will interfere with the robust growth of your watermelon peperomia.

Advanced Care For Watermelon Peperomia

The ability to grow in a wide range of environments means that paying attention to minor issues will make a huge difference. When you pay close attention to how the plant grows, you notice lush leaves and intense coloration. The flowers will also indicate the quality of care you have provided to your watermelon peperomia.

Here are the advanced care options that will make a huge difference, giving you the most magnificent watermelon peperomia.

Fertilization

Watermelon peperomia thrives in fertile soil because it does not have an expansive root system. It requires regular fertilization, especially during the robust growth months of spring and summer. However, you must maintain fertile soil throughout the year because the plant does not keep reserves.

Compost is the best fertilizer to use during potting. It releases the nutrients slowly into the soil, does not contaminate the soil with chemicals, and will enhance drainage as well as aeration. Because compost does not provide excess nutrients to the roots, the foliage will remain within a reasonable size even as you protect the plant from being leggy.

Apply liquid fertilizer sparingly once after 2-4 weeks, depending on other conditions like temperature, drainage, and season of the year. Apply the fertilizer once after two to three months during winter. Granular fertilizer is considered too strong and will scorch the leaves.

Pruning

Being a slow grower, the watermelon peperomia will not require a lot of pruning. However, you can trim it to keep it in shape, control its speed of growth, and to control pests as well as diseases by keeping it aerated. Pruning also helps to maintain its beauty by removing old and diseased leaves.

Cut the dying leaves or the excess foliage to keep the plant in shape. If you prefer the leafy plant, you can cut off the flowers as soon as they emerge. Use a sharp knife or a scalpel that will not leave scars or damaged tissues that take too long to heal. Prune during spring or early summer when the plant is experiencing robust growth and can recover faster.

Repotting

The Watermelon Peperomia has a small root system, plus the foliage is also a slow grower. It means that both the roots and foliage will not push for repotting any time soon after planting. Therefore, the plant appears to thrive in a container that is smaller than its size. 

Repotting will only be necessary if the soil is damaged through waterlogging, chemical buildup, or pests and diseases. You can also repot it if the roots are showing at the bottom through the drainage holes.

Repotting is done in spring or early summer when it is warm, and the plant can recover faster. Use a peat-based mixture with equal part perlite during repotting. When using yard soil, add some sand to enhance drainage.

Propagation

The easiest and most common way to propagate the watermelon peperomia is through the use of leaf-cutting. Cut a leaf with petioles or stalk using a sharp knife so that the base is not damaged. Add rooting hormone to the compost enhanced soil. It would be best if you had a 1-inch long stalk in moist and warm soil to regrow in 2-3 weeks.

Pest and Disease Prevention

Watermelon peperomia does not experience a lot of disease and pest problems. The most common issues will arise from humidity, soggy soil, and thick foliage. Prepare to control spider mites, mealy fly, and whitefly using insecticides, cleaning, and maintaining the right balance of sunshine, humidity, and air circulation around the leaves.

Frequently Asked Questions About Watermelon Peperomia

Is watermelon peperomia toxic to cats?

Watermelon peperomia is not toxic to cats or dogs. It is a friendly houseplant, even around children.

Are peperomia plants poisonous?

Peperomia plants are some of the safest houseplants you can have indoors. Touching the plant or coming into contact with its sap will not result in any adverse reactions like allergies or sensitivity.

Why is my peperomia dropping leaves?

Overwatering results in root rot that will cause your peperomia to shed leaves. The soil could also be stuffed with chemicals from water or fertilizer, making it hostile to the roots.

How do you make Peperomia bushy?

If you want your Peperomia plant to be bushy, pinch them back once they start getting bigger. If the shoots are without leaves or flowers when it starts growing older, remove any of those as well.

Can you propagate Watermelon peperomia in water?

Yes. A little bit of research reveals that the easiest way to propagate a watermelon peperomia is by placing it at room temperature, clean water with its leaf and petiole intact. Make sure to change the water at least once per week for about two months before any sign of rooting will occur. When roots have grown enough, you can plant your new peperomia into the soil.

Do Peperomia like to be root bound?

Peperomia plants, like most succulents, enjoy being root bound. They can live for years in a relatively small container and if left alone will grow slowly enough so that you may not have to transplant them until it becomes too much of an issue with the drainage holes.

Does the Peperomia plant purify air?

Peperomia plants are great for purifying the air, according to NASA research. A supplemental study by Wolverton’s Clean Air shows that Peperomia reduces formaldehyde levels in indoor environments and it is good to know because an important percentage of our homes have this chemical present.

If you’ve been trying to care for a Watermelon Peperomia, we hope our tips will help you succeed. We shared with you the basic guidelines of caring for this plant and encourage you to share these tips with your friends if they like plants or gardening.

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Sebastian Moncada

I’m also a plant enthusiast and researcher. I’ve been privileged to have lived my whole life around the wilderness of Colombia and I’m happy to share everything I learn along the way. “Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience” – Emerson.

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