Peperomia Columella Care Infographic

The Peperomia Columella derives its name from the word columns because its leaves are closely packed together, thereby hiding the stalk.

Its fleshy stems branch profusely and the plant can reach a height of eight inches (20 centimeters) and the stalk a diameter of 0.4 inche (1 centimeter).

The leaves of this Peperomia are thick, fleshy, and bright-colored, assuming a horseshoe shape. If you are an avid plant lover, follow this guide to grow Peperomia Columella successfully.

What Is Peperomia Columella?

The Peperomia Columella is an endangered succulent plant commonly known as the Pearly Peperomia or Columnar Peperomia. It is native to the deserts of Peru in South America. This plant is an endangered variety that grows on steep cliffs in tropical regions.

Peperomia Columella Care

The Peperomia Columella requires a lot of attention, especially during the growing season when most of its development takes place. Providing the right care needs at the right time will help your lovely Peperomia to flourish.

adiator plant the Peperomia columell

– Water Requirements

Just like most other Peperomia varieties, the Pearly Peperomia has moderate watering requirements. An important tip is that you should carry out overhead watering for this tropical plant.

During a low water period, this plant shows its drought tolerance, and old leaves decrease in volume as stored water gets used up by young leaves. The Peperomia Columella’s growing season stretches from spring to autumn so you can deeply water it during this time to support development.

When growing the Peperomia Columella outdoors, ensure that water does not stay in the pot for a long time after a rainy day to curb the rotting of the roots. Allow the potting soil to dry before watering again.

However, do not allow the soil to dry out completely if you want to prolong your plant’s lifespan. During winter, the columella plant requires less water due to reduced water loss and plant growth.

An overwatered plant’s leaves begin to yellow up and the rotting of roots and stems follows. Continuously wet soils support the infestation of organisms that feed on the plant’s root system, thereby risking the loss of the entire Peperomia Columella. We do not recommend the use of tap water because it contains chlorine and other minerals that lead to salt build-up in the potting soil.

– Light Requirements

The Peperomia Columella grows best when exposed to natural or artificial grow lights. This succulent tolerates partial to full sun, although we advise you to place it on a spot with the filtered sun to avoid damaging its gorgeous foliage.

The Peperomia Columella can also survive in low light but you should not prolong its stay in this condition so that it performs to its best. Placing your Peperomia on a northeast-facing window gives it the best sunlight exposure without the risk of scorching the leaves and flowers.

Using inflorescent lights is the best alternative if your indoors do not have adequate natural lighting. As for outdoor growing, consider a place that does not allow direct sunlight to reach your Peperomia Columella’s tender leaves.

When this plant receives enough light, its foliage will be lush green and vibrant. Exposure to insufficient light will cause the Peperomia Columella to become leggy and the spacing between the leaves increases.

Sunlight is an important ingredient for photosynthesis. Without it, the plant starts looking weak and growth will be stunted as food production is lowered. Please note that a sunlight-starved Peperomia plant becomes more susceptible to diseases. In low-light indoor situations where there are no grow lights, you should consider transitioning the plant outdoors.

– Soil Requirements

A good soil mix should be able to provide excellent airflow and drainage. You can make your potting mix by combining pumice, perlite, and cactus mix to aid proper drainage. Also, you can choose to use a soil mix that is made out of peat moss, charcoal, perlite, humus, and mulch. The Peperomia Columella also does well on a standard cactus mix.

This Peperomia variety can be easily grown in USDA hardiness zone 10. Always ensure that the pH of the soil mix should range between 6 and 7. Loosening the soil regularly using a fork or any other suitable tool is vital in improving its drainage qualities and airflow. Adding compost or humus to the soil is a good idea as it improves its fertility.

It is important to consider repotting your beauties every year before the onset of spring to facilitate vigorous growth. Make sure you do not use a pot that is too large because it can easily drown the roots of your plant.

– Temperature Requirements

The Peperomia Columella is not too selective about temperature but it performs best in moderate to warm places. This plant is suitable for any indoor temperature level although its appearance and growth will not be the same. For the best results, the Peperomia Columella loves temperatures between 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 27 degrees Celsius).

Bear in mind that this succulent is cold resistant only to a certain level so, make sure that the temperature does not fall below 42 degrees Fahrenheit (6 degrees Celsius), especially in winter.

Frost will not do good for this plant so we recommend that you move your outdoor-grown Peperomia Columella indoors during the cold season. Avoid maintaining temperatures around your plants by placing them next to a radiator or air conditioner. Sudden changes in temperatures result in shock and you may end up losing the whole plant.

– Humidity Requirements

The Peperomia Columella thrives in high humidity. Ensure that humidity is maintained between a range of 60 to 90 percent during daytime and 70 to 90 percent at night.

Unlike the case with temperature, there are safe methods you can use to boost indoor humidity without the risk of damaging the plant. Placing the columella plant on a pebble tray improves the saturation of moisture in its immediate environment as the water evaporates.

When using the pebble tray system, do not let the base of the pot or protruding roots get in contact with the water as doing so encourages overwatering issues like rotting.

We advise that you periodically clean the pebbles with fresh water to get rid of infection build-up and let them dry before placing them back. Another safe humidity boosting method is misting the plant by spraying it with water.

Grouping humidity-hungry plants together so is also an option you can choose in saturating the growing environment with moisture. However, you should consider only healthy plants for this method to avoid the transmission of infections and pests within them.

Using an electric humidifier is the best option although it is quite expensive. A humidifier regulates humidity to your desired levels, thereby improving the vibrancy and blooming abilities of your plants.

– Fertilizing Requirements

When grown as a houseplant, the Peperomia requires very minimum fertilizer application. This plant can live with little or even no plant food at all which is different from other varieties like the Peperomia japonica.

Nevertheless, your plant grows and flowers more significantly when fed with fertilizers. In this case, we recommend that you apply to use cactus fertilizers that are diluted to half strength once a month during the growing season.

Do not fertilize in winter as the plants reduce productivity due to cooler weather. Applying fertilizers during winter results in an unnecessary increase in the salt content of the soil.

Keep in mind that when you over-fertilize the Peperomia Columella, you risk burning its foliage in no time. Using compost in feeding the plants reduces the risk of fertilizer burns as it acts as a slow-release nutrient supplement.

– Pruning 

Species like the Peperomia hope need a lot of pruning activities during their lifetime due to their cascading epiphytic form. However, due to its perfect shape and attractive foliage, the Peperomia Columella needs minimal maintenance. You should protect your hands with gardening gloves and only use disinfected tools for pruning the plant.

Once you notice some anomalies that are caused by diseases on the foliage, cutting off the part is the best option.

If you need to cut the Peperomia Columella for some other reason other than diseases, consider doing it during the start of the spring to enable the plant to bounce back as the season progresses. Avoid unnecessarily injuring the plant by making deep incisions that take most of the plant’s time healing rather than growing.

 

Propagation

The Peperomia Columella can be best propagated using stem cuttings. The ideal period to propagate your plants is during the growing season as they can easily develop due to the favorable conditions associated with this period.

During winter, this plant does not grow and propagation during this period is prone to failure. The chances of a successful Peperomia Columella propagation are determined by the health of the mother plant.

You should use sterilized cutting tools to avoid passing infections to the plant because an infected plant most likely fails to root.

– Cuttings Method

These are the steps to follow for the cutting method:

  1. Choose a healthy 3 to 4-inch-long stem cutting with a few leaves from a well-established Peperomia Columella plant. 
  2. Gently trim off the leaves that are on the lower part of the stem cutting. 
  3. Prepare a small pot and fill it with a well-draining potting mix. 
  4. Make a small one- to a two-inch deep hole in the center of the potting mix.
  5. Place the cutting in the hole and compact the soil to fill in the gaps with extra potting soil and make sure that the leaves do not get in contact with the soil. 
  6. Position the plant on a spot that has high humidity levels and bright, indirect sunlight access. 
  7. Thoroughly water the soil until you see it draining out through the pot’s holes. 
  8. Only water the plant again when it feels dry after inserting your finger into the soil.

You should be very patient because this young plant takes a few weeks for new growth to start appearing. Temperatures around the plant should be kept between 55 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (13 to 27 degrees Celsius). Once the young plant develops roots and starts growing, you can consider repotting it to a new and slightly bigger pot to support its growth.

Problems

The Peperomia Columella is very pest resistant, although not to the same extent as the Peperomia Albovittata. You may notice mealybugs and spider mites infesting its foliage. Other general problems are caused by inappropriate care requirement adherence.

It is always best to check the Peperomia plant regularly and if you see any signs of disease or pest attack, quickly isolate it to treat it away from the healthy ones.

– Mealybugs

A female mealybug lays more than 300 eggs that hibernate in the holes of the plants. Unlike other species like the Arid-land Peperomia and Peperomia Tetragona, the leaves of the Peperomia Columella are closely packed so they are ideal hiding and breeding hosts for mealybugs.

The male mealybugs appear more like houseflies and if you notice them, an infestation is underway. If you also notice some white masses on or in between the Peperomia Columella leaves, quickly quarantine it to stop further spreading of the infection.

To deal with female mealybugs, you should apply rubbing alcohol to the plant using a cotton ball. You can prune off and discard severely infected leaves, stems, and flowers.

After cutting off the infected parts, spray the entire plant using soapy water or an insecticidal spray to completely eliminate any hiding pests. We also recommend that you use neem oil due to its organic form as it does not cause any damage to the plants and is very effective in wiping out bugs.

After treating the plant, use a water hose with gentle pressure to wash off all eggs and dead insects. We also suggest that you replace the top one-third of the soil to curb any chances of recurrence.

You should replace the soil only when the potting mix is dry to avoid disturbing the root system. Once Peperomia Columella has been attacked by mealybugs, keep it away for at least four weeks.

– Spider Mites

Compared to mealybugs, spider mites are quite hard to eradicate. Spider mites’ life cycle is 55 days long with the females laying around 20 eggs. Spider mites feed on the plant’s foliage and form a trail of webbings on the undersides of flowers and leaves. Webs can also be seen on the leaf joints when the plant is under attack.

When you see spider mites on your plant, you can kill them by crushing them but in severe cases, consider pruning the affected parts. Small populations can be removed by wiping the plant with a damp cloth.

Spraying the entire plant using soapy water is also a good alternative but, remember to rinse the Peperomia plant gently afterward. Let the plant dry for a few hours and spray it with a chemical or organic pesticide.

You should periodically apply pesticides to your plants to make sure they remain pest free. Please note that using neem oil is much safer for houseplants because it is organic. 

Macro photo of the radiator plant Peperomia columell

– Brown Leaves

Droughts or underwatering causes the browning of the Peperomia Columella plant’s leaves. When this happens, you should prune them because they will never turn green again.

Brown leaves distort the appearance of your beautiful Peperomiaso. You should strictly adhere to the watering schedule. If you are forgetful, it is wise to mark watering days on the calendar or set alarms to remind you to water your plants.

If the air around your plants is continuously dry, the Peperomia Columella leaves also turn yellow. If this is the case, increase humidity to avoid the loss of more leaves from your plant. This problem is also common with the Peperomia argyreia variety.

– Water Stress

The watering issue is a cause of concern in Peperomia growth and upkeep. The Peperomia Columella develops yellow leaves when too much water is in the soil. Overwatering causes stunted growth, thereby reducing the chances of blooming.

If your Peperomia Columella is suffering from overwatering, consider reducing the watering frequency to give room for the plant to improve itself. Also, make sure the soil mix and pot support the drainage of excess water.

– Excessive Sunlight

In their natural habitats, tropical plants are used to filtered light. Too much or direct sunlight can harm the leaves by scorching them. The once vibrant leaves will also discolor and turn brown. If your plants are showing these excessive light symptoms, move them to a shaded location where the light is much less.

Placing the plants close to windows that have sheer curtains or blinds is vital in filtering out the sun, especially during high sunlight conditions.

FAQ

– Can I Use Something Other Than Neem Oil on the Pepermonia Columella?

We advise the use of cinnamite as it is also non-toxic. Cinnamite is made from cinnamon oil, which is very safe. Other good alternatives are herbal tea and rosemary oil which are also useful in the treatment of pests like spider mites and mealybugs.

Radiator plant Peperomia columell

Conclusion

If the care requirements for Peperomia Columella are followed carefully, vibrancy and satisfactory vegetation presence are achieved.

Listed hereunder are some of the important issues covered in this article.

  • Use only a soil mix with good drainage and airflow to ensure that excess water is drained and keep the roots of the Peperomia Columella healthy.
  • This tropical plant can do with little or no fertilizer feeding at all but when you decide to fertilize, slow-release feeds are the best.
  • The Peperomia Columella can be best propagated using the cuttings method.
  • Although this plant is pest resistant, mealybugs and spider mites are Peperomia’s potential threats.

The Peperomia Columella is quite a unique plant and mixing it with other species like the Peperomia Rubella can ignite your indoors. Get your Peperomia Columella plant and make your indoor and outdoor spaces more enjoyable!

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