Peperomia Columella, commonly known as Columnar Peperomia, is a succulent plant whose stems grow vertically, forming column-like structures. Thus, getting its name Columella, which in Latin means “small column.”
Peperomia Columella is classified under the family of Piperaceae, a genus of Peperomia and originates from Western South America in the desert of Peru. Currently, it’s an endangered species that loves to grow on cliffs and areas of tropical climates.
Morphological Characteristics of Peperomia Columella
Columnar Peperomia is a beautiful succulent plant with stems that grow vertically, with leaves arranged compactly. the leaves are small, fleshy, and bright green, whose shape resembles a horseshoe. They are rounded at the base and sharp-pointed at the tip. They grow in fives, spiraled, and closely knit together, hiding the stalk. the plant occasionally produces green-yellow flowers in color in spring and doesn’t produce any fragrance.
Peperomia Columella Care
Generally, Peperomia Columella is an easy plant to grow and care for.
It needs soil with a pH of 6-7, a texture and mix that drains water quickly and provides good airflow. If you are planting it in an outdoor garden, you should plant it in soil that drains water quickly to avoid any rots. Get good quality potting mix and blend it with perlite, sandy soil, or ground coconut shells.
The other big particles will make the soil more porous. Check the soil in the unlikely event you plant Peperomia columella outdoors; check the soil to see if it has naturally occurring sufficient sand content. Introduce sand if the naturally occurring soil is not porous enough. You should have soil that is half sandy and half loamy. It is also advisable to build French drains if too much water comes into your soil.
Watering Peperomia Columella
Like other Peperomia species, its water needs are very minimal. Watering from the top instead of the bottom would work best for it. If planting in a pot, just water it moderately and use a perforated pot to eliminate excess water.
Since root rot is the most difficult challenge for this plant, watering is the most challenging part of this plant’s husbandry because the margin of error where watering is concerned is very small. If you underwater the plant, the leaves and the plant in its entirety appear less than its best. On the other hand, if you overwater, the plant will die from root rot.
Your Peperomia columella will require different quantities of water at different times. The growing and flowering seasons of spring and summer require more water. The plant needs additional water in hotter seasons to compensate for the water the soil loses from evaporation. The nuances of seasons and different weather conditions in different places make it impossible to have a one-size-fits-all watering regime. The best approach is to water your plant according to the season.
Whatever the season, wait for the soil to dry before giving the plant another drink. You ensure the soil is dry by dipping your fingers into the soil. There is still moisture in the soil if the first two inches are damp. However, if the soil is dry at this level, the plant needs a drink of water, and you should give it. You can use a moisture meter if you have invested in sophisticated equipment.
The proposal that you will need to poke your fingers into the soil every time your plant needs watering might sound a bit too much for some people. However, after checking for soil humidity this way for some time, you will grasp the rhythm of your plant and know when it needs the next drink, etc.
Ensure that the pot you use has drainage holes at the bottom to allow the water to pass through and that it is breathable.
This succulent does very well under natural sunlight. It can also grow in low-light areas indoors but with exposure to artificial light. You can plant it under a partial shade to avoid the direct sun but still enjoy the light for the best results outside. If indoors, it would grow best if placed next to a window where it can get as much natural light as possible.
Generally, this plant is not affected by different temperature changes, but it flourishes in warm environments. It is advisable you move the plant indoors during winter seasons to avoid frost damage. Also, avoid placing the plant under temperature controlling devices like an air conditioner or radiator.
Feeding Peperomia Columella
You can add monthly fertilizer for the plant’s health when it is at the growth stage, but make sure it’s diluted to half its potential. Generally, it can survive without being fed and still do well.
This succulent loves humidity. You can maintain its humidity by adding pebbles to its pot and spraying it with water frequently.
Pests and Diseases in Peperomia Columella
Like many plants of its kind, this plant is not affected by pests a lot. Be on the lookout for pests like aphids, spider mites, and mealybugs; these ones suck the sap. If kept in the right conditions, it will become resistant to the pests.
Some insects are attracted to dust, making sure that you clean your plant with water and drying it gently will ensure that these insects are kept at bay. You should keep inspecting your plant so that you notice when it is pests infested in good time. If you notice an infestation, you could apply the following organic pesticides.
1. Neem oil
Unlike the other pesticides listed below, neem oil is a systemic pesticide. It gets into the plant and poisons it against the bugs so that they don’t survive or reproduce when they attack the plant. Pure Neem Oil is made from the neem plant. Therefore, it is entirely natural and not harmful to humans.
2. Hot pepper spray
Hot pepper is quite irritating when it gets on your skin and eyes, and it has the same effects on the bugs infesting your succulents. Spray it directly on the affected parts being careful to protect your skin and eyes.
3. Garlic spray
A concentrated garlic spray can have the same effects on the bugs as pepper spray. You can manufacture the garlic spray by crushing garlic cloves and putting them in hot water. Put just a little hot water so that the end product is concentrated enough to destroy the pests. Remove the garlic residue, put the pesticide in a sprayer, and spray away on the infected parts of the plant.
Always spray a small part of the plant with the pesticide you want to use before spraying on the whole plant. This precaution is applicable when using contact pesticides, i.e. hot pepper spray and garlic spray. You need to see the plant’s reaction before you spray it all. You can reduce concentration if the test shows the plant’s reacting adverse effects on the pesticide.
It is not affected by many diseases. The only thing you should be worried about is root rot which is caused by overwatering. Avoid overwatering your plant and in case of root rot, repot your plant. Also, you could.
- Best Pest Control For Succulents
- What Are Mealy Worms?
- Common Knowledge About Pest Control For Succulents – Protecting Your Succulents By Getting Rid Of Bugs & Pests
Pruning and Grooming
This plant does not require much pruning as the bushier it is the more eye-pleasing it gets. Only dead and dying leaves may be cut off. Pruning may be done to shape the plant and remove any leggy stems.
Propagation of Peperomia Columella
There are two ways to propagate this plant: a seed or a stem cut.
Using the seed method is relatively easy. Just sow the seed in soil that is sandy and loamy. Make sure it is watered, and the temperatures are not so cold, above 14 degrees Celsius.
Stem Cutting Method
Below are steps you can use to propagate this plant using the second stem cutting method.
- Disinfect all the tools you will use to cut the stem with, such as the scissors or pruning shears, by rubbing alcohol on them using cotton wool. This process is vital to avoid transferring disease from one plant to another.
- Take your mature and grown peperomia columella, then using your disinfected tool, make a cutting of three to four inches with healthy leaves.
- Trim the leaves below and leave the plant for a few days for the cut surface to dry and form callus.
- Take a small perforated pot and add soil to it. Make a hole about two inches deep and place the cutting in it. Cover the hole with soil.
- Pack down the soil to ensure the cutting surface does not touch the soil.
- Water the plant till it’s saturated. (You can water the plant next when the soil feels dry to the touch).
- Place the plant under a partial shade if outside, where it can get enough sunlight, or near a window if you use it as an indoor plant.
Tips for propagation
- Make two or more cuttings to increase your probability of success.
- Use soil with a mix of sand, soil, and pumice. Porous soil is vital to allow an excellent flow of water and air.
- The season you plant is critical. Avoid planting during cold or winter seasons. The best or most ideal season would be springtime or in environments of temperatures between 12-26 degrees Celsius or 55-80 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Peperomia Columella takes time to grow; therefore, patience is needed when propagating it.
You can re-pot this plant once a year just to make it healthier. Change the soil but put it in the same size pot or one that is just slightly bigger, as this plant generally doesn’t grow to be huge.
Below are some common challenges that you may encounter and conditions that may affect the growth of the plant:
- Mealybugs are white and look like cotton. This can be eliminated using any pesticide or more natural solutions like Neem oil.
- Spider mites. These are difficult to identify, but their effects can be seen on the plant’s leaves, which turn yellow and start to peel. You can prune the affected leaves and use Neem oil or any pesticide to get rid of them.
- Too much sunlight. This causes the plant to wilt and the leaves to turn dark brown. You can shield the plant from direct sun by placing it under a partial shade if planting outside.
- Overwatering or under-watering. Overwatering causes the plants to form yellow leaves, and under-watering causes brown leaves. Just water moderately, avoiding too much or too little water for the plant to be healthy.
Peperomia Columella is a beautiful, uniquely shaped plant that is easy to plant and take care of. With the right temperature conditions and moderate watering, it remains green throughout the year and can be used to adorn both your indoor and outdoor garden.
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