An overwatered Peperomia develops yellow leaves that have brown spots, droopy leaves, and root rot, and becomes susceptible to fungal attacks.
Peperomia’s rubbery and thick succulent leaves usually show the first signs of overwatering before the symptoms extend to other parts of the plant.
Due to its decorative vining nature, an overwatered Peperomia can easily distort the beauty of your places with its discolored, ill-looking appearance.
If your Peperomia plant is in an overwatered state, you should follow this recovery guide to bring it back to life.
- Why Is Overwatering of the Peperomia Happening?
- How Do I Save an Overwatered Peperomia?
- Frequently Asked Questions
Why Is Overwatering of the Peperomia Happening?
The overwatering of a Peperomia plant is happening because of different factors that include soils with poor drainage systems, excessive plant irrigation, slow-draining containers, poor monitoring of environmental changes, using water for pest elimination, and misuse of pebble tray systems.
Any of these factors can lead to unnecessary saturation of water in the potting mix. Bear in mind that overwatering is more common on indoor plants because moisture loss is very minimal due to low light and temperatures. You should therefore be more attentive to these plants to avoid stressing them and choking their development.
– Soils With Poor Drainage
Poorly drained or heavy soils like clay are prone to moisture saturation. Clay soils hold water for a long time, causing the roots of your Peperomia to sit in excessively wet conditions. Rot-causing pathogens like the Phytophthora spp. start manifesting and causing damage to the Peperomia’s roots.
The moment you notice the plant growing on moldy soil, you should know that it is being overwatered. Mold on the surface of the soil is a sign of too much moisture and corrective action should be taken promptly.
Heavy soils are too compacted to the extent that water cannot easily pass through. This causes water to close up the few airways available, which ultimately reduces oxygen circulation around the roots.
Given that water-holding soils remain soggy for a lengthy period, oxygen supply is also restricted, thereby suffocating the roots. In this case, the leaves respond by turning yellow and wilting despite having sufficient moisture available.
The Peperomia also develops water-soaked spots as well as blisters known as Oedema. You should know that poorly drained potting soils disrupt the whole drainage system despite having a well-draining pot with adequate moisture-losing qualities.
– Excessive Irrigation
Peperomia should be watered once every one to two weeks during the growing season. If you irrigate it more frequently, not allowing the soil to dry up first, unnecessary saturation of water takes place.
Your plant will be affected in the same way it does when it is grown in a poorly drained medium. All air spaces will be constantly filled up with water, making it impossible for oxygen to reach the roots.
Peperomia is a succulent, meaning that it stores water in its leaves for future use. If it continuously receives water, it fills up the leaves until it cannot take more.
In this scenario, the roots cannot absorb more water and just sit in the soggy soil, exposing it to rot. Once the roots are damaged, they can no longer take up the required nutrients and water, leading to droopy and discolored leaves.
Excessive watering washes away the much-needed nutrients from the soil. This causes malnutrition to attack the Peperomia plant, which eventually starts looking sickly.
A malnourished plant becomes susceptible to diseases and pests due to its weakened defense system. This ultimately calls for too frequent fertilizer application, which in turn exposes your Peperomia to root burn.
– Slow-draining Pots
Pots that are slow-draining are bad for Peperomia cultivation. This plant can grow well in slightly moist soils but does not tolerate prolonged exposure to soggy conditions.
If a pot has limited drainage facilities, the water takes longer to escape the soil, which keeps it damp for a long time after watering. The roots will ultimately remain in a continuously wet situation, causing them to rot.
We advise you to regularly check the drainage holes of your pot because in some instances, the container’s drainage holes are closed by dirt and you should pluck it off using any available suitable tool. Terracotta pots make good potting containers due to their porous walls, which help them to lose water quickly.
– Poor Monitoring of Environmental Conditions
The watering needs of a Peperomia plant differ from season to season due to changes in water consumption and loss rate. During spring and summer, the Peperomia plant will be in its active growing period which calls for once or twice a week watering .
As the cold season approaches, this tropical succulent becomes dormant and its development is stunted. During this period, you should cut back on irrigation because of less moisture demand from the plant.
If you keep irrigating your Peperomia the same way as during the growing season, overwatering results. Higher temperatures in spring and summer cause water to be lost much faster which ultimately calls for frequent replenishment.
In winter, it takes longer for the soil to become dry enough to warrant watering. It usually takes three to five weeks for the soil to get dry enough for irrigation during the cold season.
Sunlight is minimal during winter which means that evapotranspiration is at its lowest. The soil and the plant will keep their water for a long time, so if you frequently irrigate, the water remains stagnant.
Also, in high-humidity situations, moisture saturation in the environment is high. Evaporation and transpiration are very low, meaning that the soil and plant will keep their moisture within themselves and any addition will lead to overwatering.
– Using Water to Wipe Away Pests
During its lifetime, Peperomia is mainly attacked by pests that include fungus gnats, root mealybugs, mites, thrips, caterpillars, and scales. Hosing off these pests using pressurized water is one of the cost-effective ways of eliminating them.
However, if you let the water reach the soil, it unnecessarily prolongs the potting medium’s wetness. It is important to let the soil dry up first before you water it, so hosing the pests off without covering the soil causes overwatering.
The best time to use the hosing method is when the soil is dried up and ready for watering. However, you should be careful because if pests fall onto the soil, the chances of recurrences become high.
We are not saying that using pressurized water to deal with pests is a bad idea, but it should be used wisely. You can cover the soil with plastic paper to keep the water from accessing the potting soil.
Alternatively, you can consider using Neem oil, which is an organic form of pest elimination. Using pesticides using the recommended dosages prescribed on the package is also effective.
– Misuse of Pebble Trays
Being a tropical native, Peperomia flourishes in high-humidity conditions. In cases of low humidity, placing your plants on a pebble tray system is one of the most-used and effective ways of supplementing moisture.
However, letting the roots of your Peperomia touch the water causes overwatering symptoms. If you are using pebble trays and you see Peperomia leaves curling and the stems mushy, you should quickly check if the roots are not in contact with the water.
Make sure that no roots protrude from the pot because if they reach the water, they start to rot. The Peperomia’s roots cannot survive when they are submerged in water due to lack of oxygen.
If you are constantly away from your home, we advise you not to use the pebble tray system but rather use alternative moisture-increasing methods like humidifiers.
How Do I Save an Overwatered Peperomia?
To save an overwatered peperomia plant, you will have to remove the plant from its pot, trim all the damaged roots, prune all discolored and diseased leaves, create a well-draining potting mix, and repot the plant in ideal growing conditions in a good spot.
Reviving ailing Peperomia plants takes a bit of commitment and effort to achieve the best results. Some plants can start responding positively just by reducing the amount of water that you apply to them, whereas it takes as far as repotting for others.
However, it is important to carry out this revival process during the active growing season when development is enhanced. It is much easier to save Peperomia plants whose overwatering symptoms are mild compared to the severely attacked ones.
– Assess or Evaluate the Situation
Before taking any action, you need to know the total extent of the damage caused by overwatering so that you can administer the correct steps in saving it.
The first thing is to inspect the leaves and check for any brown spots, curls, wilting, discoloration, and dropping. If the symptoms are mild, you can start by reducing the amount of water applied to the soil and monitoring its response.
Reducing the irrigation frequency and allowing the potting soil to dry up first before Irrigating again should provide the best conditions for the roots to recover.
You can also loosen up the soil with any available disinfected tool to create airways that supply the roots with enough oxygen. If the Peperomia plant fails to show any signs of recovery, the effects of overwatering are probably severe and it will be time to go further with the revival process.
– Remove the Peperomia Plant From the Pot
You should remove the Peperomia plant from its pot to check the extent of the root damage. You should hold the pot upside down and gently tap the sides and bottom of the container to avoid injuring it further.
Once the plant is out of the container, you should inspect it for any fungal infections. Clean the roots using clean water, making sure all the potting soil particles are removed.
Discard the previously used soil because it is already infected with rot-causing pathogens. You should instead repot the plant into a new potting mix that is free from fungi.
– Trim all Damaged Roots
According to the evaluation results, if the roots are bad, you should trim them off, leaving only the healthy ones. Bad Peperomia roots are slimy, black, or brown.
Affected roots cannot recover, so you should use a sterilized pair of scissors or shears to cut them off. Avoid disturbing the healthy roots as the plant needs as much support as possible from the remaining ones to bounce back.
Before repotting the plants, you should treat the remaining roots with some fungicidal solutions that are available online or at any gardening store. This helps them to stay healthy and effective for a long time, which ultimately strengthens the entire plant’s support for recovery.
Unfortunately, you cannot save overwatered Peperomia plants whose entire root system is rotten. You should just prepare the remaining healthy parts for propagation.
– Prune all Discolored and Diseased Leaves
The ailing foliage becomes an unnecessary burden to the recovering Peperomia plant. It is therefore vital to remove all yellowing leaves using a sterile knife, scissors, or shears.
You should dip the cutting tool in rubbing alcohol before, during, and after pruning the plant. If the plant is pest and disease infected, this is the right time to remove all the affected or damaged leaves and stems.
You should safely or properly dispose of the removed Peperomia leaves and stems to avoid transmitting the disease to nearby plants. Try to avoid over-pruning your Peperomia because if 50 percent of the foliage is removed, the plant may fail to retain its vibrancy.
It is important to maintain a proper balance between the quantity of the remaining healthy roots and the plant’s foliage to avoid straining them. It is hard for a few healthy roots to support the development and upkeep of huge foliage.
– Create a Well-draining Potting Mix
Based on the evaluation results, you should make amendments or change the entire potting soil to improve drainage. However, we encourage you to change the soil in its entirety to curb recurrences.
You can add perlite to the potting soil using the ratio of one part perlite to every two parts of soil. You can make a good potting mix at home by combining one part perlite, one part compost, and one part coco coir or peat moss.
You can also consider purchasing pre-made succulent soil mixes as they come with good draining abilities as well as aeration. Additionally, you should find a pot that has many draining holes to give the recovering plant just the right amount of moisture at all times.
The pot should be big enough to give the roots enough space to spread. Before loading the pot with soil, make sure that you disinfect it by cleaning it with rubbing alcohol.
– Repot the Peperomia Plant
Fill the pot with succulent potting soil up to the halfway point and create a hole that is big enough to fit the root ball. Now, add more of the mix to the pot to cover the root system entirely.
Ensure that the plant sits in the middle of the container and also make sure that you leave a space that is large enough to enable watering. Thoroughly irrigate the plant until you see water dripping out through the pot’s drainage holes.
Remember, this plant was once overwatered, so you need to create a viable watering schedule that fits a recovering plant. Before irrigating the plant, you should stick your finger into the soil and if you find the top two or more inches dry, it is ready for another dose of water.
During summer, it takes one or two weeks for the soil to dry up enough for the next watering. As much as you would not want your Peperomia plant to be overwatered again, try to avoid underwatering it as well.
It is not wise to fertilize your recovering plant soon after repotting because the weakened plant’s foliage may burn up. You should wait until you see the plant producing new leaves and stems.
Once new growth appears, this means that the Peperomia’s root system is now established and ready for fertilizing. We advise you to consider using a balanced houseplant fertilizer that has a little nitrogen content only during the growing season.
– Place the Plant in an Ideal Spot
Placing your beautiful Peperomia in a habitat that supports its recovery is an important step. An ideal environment for Peperomia should allow the soil to dry up, so it should have excellent air circulation.
Make sure that the spot has access to bright indirect sunlight. Direct sunlight is not good for the tender plant as it promotes the development or manifestation of fungi, algae, or bacteria.
Other species like the Peperomia caperata can do well in low light. Exposure to direct sun rays can scorch the remaining as well as new leaves, which disrupts the journey to revival.
Peperomia’s native environment is associated with high humidity, which means that mimicking such conditions in your places can help it flourish.
Although this tropical plant can survive in drier air, you should try to increase the relative humidity using a humidifier or pebble tray to create the best conditions that aid the recovery of your Peperomia.
Frequently Asked Questions
– How Do I Determine if My Peperomia Needs Water?
You can determine if your Peperomia needs water when the plant’s leaves become soft or floppy. This is a tell-tale cue that you should water the plant immediately. In severe cases, you may even notice the leaves become shriveled, wilted, and discolored.
You can also use the rule of thumb in which you should stick your forefinger into the potting soil and if you find the top two inches of the soil dry, it is ready for irrigation.
Seeing your Peperomia vine growing with its foliage spreading vigorously brings beauty and happiness in your place, but seeing it dying is disheartening.
Let us pick up a few major points we have covered in this overwatered Peperomia plant care guide.
- An overwatered Peperomia’s leaves will become yellow, wilt, develop brown spots, and eventually die if it is not treated earlier.
- The first step in saving your ailing plant is to evaluate or assess the extent of the damage and figure out the particular cause of the problem.
- If the plant does not respond to reduced irrigation, you should consider removing it from its container for root inspection.
- You should dip the pruning tools in rubbing alcohol before cutting off bad roots and all unwanted leaves.
- Remember to disinfect the pot before repotting the plant to avoid recurrences of rot problems.
Following this overwatered Peperomia plant care guide should help you to have your once eye-catching plant back. Take up the recovery steps and bring the tropical presence back to your places!
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