How To Care For Teardrop Peperomia (Peperomia Orba)

Peperomia orba is a dwarf semi-succulent plant of the family Piperaceae. It’s smaller than many of its cousins in the Peperomia genus. It has a rather curious common name, ‘Teardrop Peperomia’. The name is due to its leaves’ shapes; they are shaped like teardrops.

However, there is nothing tear-jerking about the plant, it is easy to grow and it looks stunning in small pots. Peperomia orba is a native of Central and South American rainforests. It is a short plant that grows to about 6 inches in height. It has a small compact shape and may grow from 6 to 12 inches wide. Any plant collector can tell you that the plant is healthy when its breadth is vast.

Physical Description of Teardrop Peperomia

Leaves

The Peperomia orba is a semi-succulent plant. Its leaves have a bright green color with white stripes. They are also fleshy and store water for the plant. As the plant grows, it gets bushier and looks fluffy due to its small size. This allows its beautiful, teardrop-shaped green foliage to shine the most as they layer over each other.

Flowers

Peperomia orba flowers in the late summer and early spring. Its unusual blooms appear in the form of a flowering stem, a long thin stalk that resembles a rat tail.  Flowers are a sign that the plant is happy and healthy. This particular flower has no aroma and is not very pretty—people who have the plant choose to remove them and maintain the aesthetically pleasing bright green foliage.

Stem

This plant is a dwarf semi-succulent growing to about 6 inches in height. This plant is relatively smaller than many of its family members, such as the Peperomia caperata that grow up to 8inches. The stem is succulent, and its small size makes them ideal for keeping as a desktop plant.

Roots

Like the roots of many peperomia, this plant’s roots require good aeration and drainage in whichever medium is being used in planting. They are not very deep, and they spread slowly at the same pace the rest of the plant grows.

Toxicity

Peperomia orba is not poisonous to humans and pets. ASPCA considers it safe for cats, dogs, and horses. It is, therefore, safe to conclude that the plant is non-toxic.

Uses of Teardrop Peperomia

It is excellent for interior décor. The Teardrop Peperomia is a plant for those who want to brighten up their office space and living rooms or offices. Many people place the tiny plant on their desks, but sometimes, you can hang it on a porch when it is in its pot. Peperomia orba is not poisonous to humans and pets.

Peperomia Orba Care

Lighting and placement

Teardrop Peperomia requires medium lighting. Leaves are this plant’s main attraction for bright indirect light. Without enough light, the leaves become dull and lose their bright color. The leaves may also drop if deprivation of light goes on for long periods of time. The destruction of the leaves is tragic for this plant.

For Peperomia orba, excessively bright light is detrimental. For indoor plants, we recommend positioning the plant on the east-facing windows. These windows should be covered with drapes to minimize the plants’ intensity of light.

This plant prefers a warm climate and cannot withstand the cold. Thus it grows actively in the summer and spring months and becomes dormant during the winter. Leaving the plant to take in sunlight for more than two hours causes it to suffer burns and change color.

Temperature

The plant likes warm temperatures of about 18-24 degrees Celsius. People who live near the equator can grow this plant outside all year long. But for colder areas, indoor growth is recommended as the plant dies when it encounters frost.

Watering

Teardrop Peperomia is semi-succulent. It is drought tolerant, which means that it doesn’t need a lot of watering. Like all succulent and semi-succulent plants, over-watering may cause the roots to rot.

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 orba 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.

Humidity

Keep the humidity at 40-50%. This is moderate humidity, and maintaining it at that level is vital for your plant’s survival. It doesn’t do well in low humidity. Therefore, you will need to humidify your house if you live in a low humidity area and intend to keep this plant. Buying a humidifier is the easiest way to increase your household humidity, but you can use local methods like placing open water bowls in strategic places.

Soil

Choosing the right potting mix to plant the Peperomia orba is vital to the care of this plant. For the Teardrop Peperomia: loose soil with good drainage is a suitable medium for the task. An orchid planting medium is an excellent potting mix providing plenty of aeration and works well for peperomia plants. If you already have a regular potting mix for houseplants, lighten it up before planting by mixing in perlite. This plant is not very particular about soil Ph.

Fertilizers

This plant does not require regular feeding and should be fed actively during the growing months. That is during the late summer and early spring. It does not require to be fed during the winter season as it is dormant during this time. Feeding the plant can lead to a buildup of salts which causes burns to the roots. To avoid this, flush the soil once every six months. Dip the plant in a container filled with water the excess salts will be diluted.

The best fertilizer is a liquid-based fertilizer recommended for cacti and succulents. Ensure it is diluted to half strength.

Pests and diseases

Peperomia orba, a fleshy succulent, is prone to attacks from sap-sucking bugs such as mealybugs and spider mites. They are usually found underneath the leaves. Spray the plant with neem oil or an organic pesticide to protect your plant from infestation. If not controlled it could lead to fungal infections, black leaf spots may appear and the plant may die of root rot.

Common Problems and Solutions

The plant may experience the following problems besides the abovementioned pests and diseases.

  1. Slow or No Growth: This plant’s growth is slow, but it should be steady. If you find that it is not growing, it is an indication that it needs more sunlight. Move it to more indirect sunlight.
  2. Dropping Leaves: This could indicate under-watering or overwatering. It is overwatering if the leaves on the lower part of the plant turn yellow before dropping, and the soil is wet even after you watered it a few days before. The leaves are drooping and crispy before falling off, and the soil is dry. The leaves are dropping due to under-watering.
  3. Drooping Leaves: This often means that the plant needs watering.
  4. Curling, faded, crispy leaves: This shows under-watering or low humidity. Check to see the soil’s humidity; if the soil is humid, provide more humidity to the plant. If the soil is dry, give it a drink.
  5. Yellow leaves: if the leaves start yellowing from below and the soil is soggy, your plant is overwatered. Yellow leaves all over the plant that later dry up and drop off indicate the plant is under-watered.
  6. Brown leaf tips: These show your plant is under-watered or has too low humidity.
  7. Mushy stems: A mush stem shows that your plant has root rot. You can remedy this by repotting the plant.

Pruning and grooming

This plant does not require much pruning, as the bushier it is, the more eye-pleasing it gets. Pruning may be done to shape the plant as well as to remove any leggy stems. Only dead and dying leaves may be cut off.

Propagation

Teardrop Peperomia can be propagated through:

  1. Seeds
  2. Leaf cuttings
  3. Stem cuttings

It would help if you had the following things, so put them together before starting.

  • A sharp cutting tool such as a knife or hand pruner
  • Alcohol wipes, methylated or surgical spirit, and cotton wool
  • Three-inch pots depending on the number of plants you want to propagate
  • Well-drained soil

Propagation through seeds

This propagation method is not highly recommended as peperomia orba grows slowly, taking up to ten years to mature completely.

Propagation through stem cuttings

Stem cuttings take a stem and grow a new plant from it. With stem cuttings, you can propagate in water or soil.

  • Begin by taking a 2 to 4 inches stem cutting. You want to choose a healthy stem with at least 2 or 3 leaves.
  • Remove the bottom leaves and only keep the top ones.
  • Dip the cut end of the stem cutting into the rooting hormone
  • Prepare a small container and fill it with fresh, well-draining potting soil
  • Then plant the stem, cutting into the soil
  • Water the soil and keep the soil moist.
  • Place the pot in a warm, bright, indirectly lit location.
  • It will take around three or so weeks for the cutting to root.
  • Move the cutting as it grows.
  • If you started with many cuttings, you can split them up and move each new growth to their pot.

Propagation through leaf cuttings

This method is used where the plant does not have many stems.

  • Take a few leaves. Make the cuts at the end of the petioles right where they junctions with the stem.
  • Dip the leaves in rooting hormone.
  • Place the leaves in a container with a well-draining potting mix.
  • You can cut the larger leaves into halves as well.
  • Water the soil and keep it moist through the process.
  • This method takes longer than stem cuttings. So, it would help if you were more patient. It will take between 4 to 6 weeks to start seeing growth

Repotting

Teardrop Peperomia does not need frequent repotting. A plant parent should do it 4 to 5 yrs after the plant has matured. Some of the reasons why you will need to report your plant are;

  1. If you notice that the leaves are changing color, it could result from overwatering; therefore, you need to repot the plant to dry soil to prevent it from dying. Your initial pottage may have drained water effectively, but it loses the silt after years of watering, making the soil less porous. The plant might then suffer from root rot. 
  2. Whenever you notice the roots coming out of the drainage holes, you should report it.
  3. When the plant starts outgrowing the pot, you should report it to a bigger one.

When repotting the plant, these are the steps you must follow

  1. Mix the soil you need in a container, succulent mix, and sand.
  2. It would help if you always used a bigger pot.
  3. Fill the bigger pot with the already mixed soil up to 50%
  4. Carefully move the plant to the new pot, ensuring that the roots are intact. Do not shake the plant.
  5. Check if any of the roots are damaged and prune them.
  6. Fill the new pot with the remaining 50% of the soil without overpacking so that air passes through.
  7. Water the plant.

Our Take on Teardrop Peperomia

Like other plants in the Peperomia family, The Teardrop succulent has no unreasonable demands for care.

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Posted in Succulents