The Peperomia dolabriformis is a shrubby succulent plant with woody stems and supple green pod-shaped foliage that gives the most visual appeal in an indoor environment.
The half-inch thick leaves also have folds in the middle and these assist the Peperomia dolabriformis to regulate the amount of sunshine it receives.
The Peperomia dolabriformis produces green-white inflorescent flowers that are fragrance-free, reaching around 16 inches long when grown in the wild. Read this care guide to know more about how to parent this wonderful plant.
- What Is Peperomia Dolabriformis?
- Peperomia Dolabriformis Care
What Is Peperomia Dolabriformis?
The Peperomia dolabriformis is an epiphytic plant that belongs to the Piperaceae or pepper family. Its origins are in the warm valleys of the Peruvian Andes. The plant is also known as the prayer pepper and can grow up to a height of 12 to 24 inches with three-inch-long leaves.
Peperomia Dolabriformis Care
Like any other houseplant, the Peperomia dolabriformis should also be properly taken care of so that you can get the best out of this pleasurable plant. The plant requires little attention but do not totally neglect it.
– Water Requirements
The Peperomia dolabriformis is vulnerable to overwatering because of its succulent leaves. So, allowing 50 percent of the potting soil to dry prior to the next watering is best. You should try to mimic the Peperomia dolabriformis’ natural growing conditions by keeping it slightly moist during summer. The plant receives sparse rainfall in its natural environment.
When watering your Prayer pepper, do it thoroughly and deeply until you see water coming out through the drainage holes. The plant doesn’t like sitting in soaked soil for long so be sure to empty the drip trays when the excess water drains out completely.
You should water your Peperomia dolabriformis once every two weeks in the summer. In winter, your Peperomia dolabriformis can stay for a prolonged period without being watered as the temperatures are cooler.
Do not use cold or ice water to irrigate your Peperomia dolabriformis as it can stunt the plant’s growth. Also, avoid watering your plant using tap water unless you let the chlorine evaporates first.
You can achieve this by leaving an open bowl filled with water outside for at least 24 hours. Reverse-osmosis, rain, or filtered water is highly recommended as it is free from harmful salts that are dangerous to your Prayer peperomia.
– Light Requirements
The Peperomia dolabriformis is a shade-loving plant so a spot that receives bright, diffused sunlight is ideal. Your plant cannot tolerate direct light for a prolonged period as it may suffer sunburn.
The dolabriformis plant appreciates at most two hours of exposure to direct, morning sunlight. You should place your Peperomia dolabriformis on an east-facing window so that it maximizes good amounts of light.
The south- or west-facing windows are also ideal but remember to filter the sun using sheer curtains or blinds. You can also place your plant at least two feet away from the window to protect it from the intense mid-day sunlight. So, you should provide enough indirect light to your Peperomia dolabriformis for it to maintain its lime-green color.
Your Peperomia dolabriformis can grow leggy due to a lack of sunlight. The plant will be growing in the direction of the light.
You can remedy the problem by getting a fluorescent light with a blue spectrum and then cutting back the stems of your Peperomia dolabriformis to renew it. Remember to follow the specifications on how to use the fluorescent light so that your plant will get enough light.
– Soil Requirements
The potting mix for your Peperomia dolabriformis should be rich in organic matter, airy, and well-draining to avoid waterlogging. The organic matter helps in retaining moisture and keeping the soil warm.
The Peperomia dolabriformis likes to breathe as it grows between cracks in cavities, rocks, and barks in its natural habitat. Use a light substrate that allows for aeration and minimal risks of waterlogging.
Heavy potting mixes are dense so they compact easily, thereby retaining excess moisture that may lead to overwatering. Use a succulent or commercial cactus potting mix for growing your Peperomia dolabriformis kunth.
You can then add equal parts of perlite and coarse sand to improve drainage. Please note that you can also add a single layer of gravel or pebbles at the bottom of the pot to reduce the risk of damaging your plant’s roots when uprooting it for repotting.
You can also increase the effectiveness of your potting mix by adding charcoal or pine bark. The Peperomia dolabriformis loves to be kept dry.
If you decide to add sphagnum peat moss to the mix, put it in smaller amounts because this component traps moisture. You can increase the quantity of the sphagnum peat moss when your plant is still young because baby dolabriformis needs more moisture.
– Temperature Requirements
The prayer pepper plant care involves keeping it in warm environments. The Peperomia dolabriformis prefers optimal temperatures between 64 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 27 degrees Celsius).
A room temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit (16 degrees Celsius) is also ideal. The Peperomia dolabriformis is not cold hardy so it cannot tolerate low temperatures that are below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius).
Make sure you protect your Peperomia dolabriformis from cold drafts and frost. Do not place your plant outdoors during winter if you are staying in an environment that is experiencing very low or freezing temperatures.
The Peperomia dolabriformis may suffer halted growth and eventually die as the frost can break your plant’s nutrient intake path. When you are growing your plant indoors, it can suffer leaf-scorching if placed too close to fireplaces or heaters.
Your Peperomia dolabriformis plant can also survive in high-temperature ranges between 90 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit (32 to 35 degrees Celsius). If your Peperomia dolabriformis is experiencing very high temperatures, water it regularly to cater for the fast rate at which moisture is lost. You can water the plant once every week to keep it hydrated.
– Humidity Requirements
The Peperomia dolabriformis has a high tolerance to a wide range of humidity levels. Plant care is made easier in winter as there may be dry air indoors yet you don’t need to take special measures to rectify the problem. The air conditioners can also contribute to low humidity around the room but your Peperomia dolabriformis can still look happy!
Although the plant can do well in different humidity levels, it thrives well in moderate to high ones. The 40 to 70 percent humidity levels are ideal. Get a hygrometer to test the humidity levels so that you know how to assist your plant to get the best conditions for growth.
You can increase the humidity levels by misting occasionally with soft water using a spray bottle. Note that the leaves should dry quickly to avoid infections so make sure there is enough ventilation. You can also use a fan to circulate air so that any excess water can evaporate quickly. A humidifier is also easy and effective when it comes to improving humidity levels.
– Fertilizing Requirements
Your Peperomia dolabriformis can grow well without adding plant food. The plant is a light feeder just like the pincushion peperomia variety so refrain from applying fertilizer regularly.
Do not also add the fertilizer in large amounts and make sure you are using lower concentrations. Overfertilizing your Peperomia dolabriformis can cause more harm than good considering that the salts that build up can damage the plant’s roots.
Use a well-balanced liquid fertilizer that is diluted to half-strength. Apply it once a month in summer, which is the growing season of your Prayer Peperomia.
In winter, do not apply the fertilizer as the plant will be in its dormant stage. The potting mix should be moist when adding fertilizers to reduce the risk of root burn while increasing the ease at which nutrients are absorbed.
You can also use a slow-release fertilizer, which should be mixed with the substrate when potting your Peperomia dolabriformis. Slow-release fertilizers have the advantage of not injecting large amounts of harmful chemicals at once because the salts and nutrients are released over a span of several weeks or months.
Your Peperomia dolabriformis can grow optimally and have green, leafy foliage if you apply the fertilizer in moderation. Immediately stop feeding your plant once you notice the build-up of minerals on the surface of the potting mix and flush water through to remove excess salts.
The Peperomia dolabriformis does not necessarily need pruning as it is small and compact. Usually, the plant stops growing when it reaches a height of around one foot. You can prune your dolabriformis if you want the plant to have a bushier shape. Trimming can also encourage the development of many leaves.
You should also prune your Peperomia dolabriformis if it is suffering from fungal or bacterial infections. Trim the affected leaves and stems to keep your plant healthy. You can also prune the Peperomia dolabriformis to remove the leggy stems so that you can revive your plant’s growth. Use a well-sharpened clean tool that is disinfected for pruning your Peperomia dolabriformis.
Do not destroy the pruned stems. You can use them for propagation if they are free from pests and diseases.
You can propagate your Peperomia dolabriformis using seeds, leaf, or stem cuttings. Propagation using cuttings can be done in water or using the potting mix.
– Using Seeds
You can propagate the Peperomia dolabriformis using seeds but the chances of getting clones are lower. Get seeds that are free from pests and diseases to increase the chances of germination. Plant your seed in sterilized peat soil with a pH level of 6.0. The substrate should remain moist until the seeds germinate.
You can also germinate the seeds under high humidity by trapping moisture around the container with plastic. We recommend that you maintain day and night temperatures of around 77 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit (25 to 20 degrees Celsius) respectively.
Propagation using seeds requires patience as it may take four to eight weeks for them to germinate although it proves to produce plausible results. You should sow the seeds in spring, summer, or autumn as the climatic conditions are favorable for germination and growth during these seasons.
– Using Leaf Cuttings
Select a healthy Peperomia dolabriformis and cut the leaf under the node with its petiole. Allow the leaf to callous for at most one day to minimize the risk of rotting. After 24 hours, place your leaf in the potting mix. Do not press the soil around the petiole but be sure the base of your leaf cutting touches the moist soil.
Keep the soil moist by misting it in the morning once every two days until the cutting is established. Avoid overwatering otherwise, the cutting will rot. Check for new growth at the base of the leaf between six to eight weeks. Your new plant will be ready for transplanting when it develops at least two new leaves.
You can use water instead of the potting mix when propagating your Peperomia dolabriformis. Fill the jar with clean water and place your leaf inside but make sure you dip the calloused stalk only.
You can also stick the petiole to the fully soaked thick wad of sterile cotton wool and make sure it’s always moist. You may notice the roots developing after a couple of weeks and then transfer your new plant into a 2.5-inch pot when the roots are long and strong enough.
– Using Stem Cuttings
The dolabriformis is like the Peperomia axillaris variety that is easy to propagate using stem cuttings. Choose a healthy plant as well and cut a stem that is at least six inches long. The cutting should have two to three leaves on it. Allow the stem cutting to callous and dip it in the rooting hormone.
Prepare a pot with a fresh, well-draining potting mix. Plant your cutting and place it in a room with bright, dappled light. Water your cutting often to keep the potting medium moist. Expect to see the roots developing within the next four weeks.
Once the new Peperomia dolabriformis is established, start to parent it the same way you do the mother plant. The Peperomia dolabriformis does not grow too big and likes to be kept root bound so repotting should be done every two to three years in spring to early summer.
The stem cutting can also be propagated in water. Propagating your Peperomia dolabriformis using stems has the advantage of producing plants with the same characteristics as the mother plant.
The Peperomia dolabriformis is not easily attacked by pests and diseases if properly taken care of. You should regularly check for common pests and diseases so that your plant remains healthy.
– Root Rot
Root rot is a fatal disease that develops mainly due to overwatering. Your plant is susceptible to overwatering so, you should regularly check for any signs of root rot. The disease can kill your Peperomia dolabriformis if not treated early. Make sure you are following the watering patterns for your Peperomia dolabriformis to reduce the chances of having to deal with this disease.
You should also use a well-draining potting mix and the container should have drainage holes so that excess water can escape. This way, your Peperomia dolabriformis will be free from waterlogging, thereby reducing the risk of fungal infection.
The infected plant can show some signs of wilting and it produces an unpleasant odor. The blackening of roots and stems is another sign of root rot.
Once you notice that your Peperomia dolabriformis is infected, isolate it and trim the affected roots and stems. Then, treat your plant using fungicides.
You can also repot your Peperomia dolabriformis in a new pot with fresh potting mix and remember to regulate watering. If your Peperomia dolabriformis is heavily infected, check if you can find a healthy stem to use for propagation, and then discard the rest.
– Pale Leaves (Chlorotic)
Shortage of nutrients in the soil may cause pale leaves to develop on your plant. You can remedy this problem by applying a balanced liquid fertilizer once every two weeks.
– Mold Growth
High humidity can cause mold development. The Peperomia dolabriformis has succulent leaves so make sure the humidity levels are moderate. The symptoms of mold growth are white, fuzzy patches on the stems and leaves of your plant. Once you notice these signs, stop watering your Peperomia dolabriformis and prune the infected leaves.
Let the potting mix dry completely for a couple of weeks. Also, be sure to place your plant far away from sources of humidity. The room where you place your plant should be well-ventilated, in addition to allowing your plant to receive adequate sunlight. You can then continue with the normally recommended parenting tips once you observe that no new mold is appearing again.
Discard the Peperomia dolabriformis if the mold is continuing to form. Try to look for a healthy stem so that you can use it to propagate a new plant.
These are tiny pests that you may need a magnifying glass to magnify sufficiently so that you can easily identify them. Scales can cover the whole leaf and look like brown patches or raised bumps on your plant.
Scales also draw juice from your plant’s leaves. Scale infestation can be difficult to notice at the beginning but with time you may see the plant’s leaves turning yellow.
Scales are found in clusters but they are immobile. These pests also like to feed on new growths and stems. Prune the infected parts and use rubbing alcohol also to get rid of the scales.
The mealybugs suck the plant’s sap using their mouthparts. They are usually found on the undersides of the leaves. Mealybugs look like white cotton masses on the foliage and they can multiply quickly. The affected plant’s leaves can lose their color and shape before they finally drop.
Your Peperomia dolabriformis can die if the pests are not controlled in time. Get rid of mealybugs as soon as you notice them by using rubbing alcohol. Dip the cotton swabs in 70 percent isopropyl rubbing alcohol.
Gently wipe the leaves with cotton to remove and kill the pest and then use a garden hose to clean the remaining dead pests on the plant’s foliage by spraying water on it.
You can also use Neem oil and insecticidal soap to destroy mealybugs. These Neem oil and insecticidal soap are safe to use as they do not contain harmful chemicals.
Aphids are pear-shaped minute pests that feed by sucking the plant’s juice as well. These pests are usually found on the leaves of your Peperomia dolabriformis. If you see ants around your plant, know that it is infected with aphids – ants feast on the honeydew that is excreted by aphids.
Neem oil can be used to control these pests as it destroys the aphids at all stages of their life.
These pests also suck the plant’s sap. Whiteflies also secrete honeydew when they are feeding and this causes the development of the fungus called the sooty mold. Once you notice these symptoms, know that your Peperomia dolabriformis is in danger. The adult whiteflies and the nymphs are the ones that feast on the plant’s sap.
Isolate the affected dolabriformis and commence treatment immediately. You can control the whiteflies by introducing parasitic wasps so that they can feed on the nymphs. Neem oil can also work perfectly fine as it may disrupt the whiteflies’ life cycle so that they do not reproduce. You can also use yellow, sticky traps to catch the whiteflies.
– Spider Mites
These sap-sucking pests are found in different colors, including green, yellow, or reddish. They are also spider-like in appearance. The infected Peperomia dolabriformis’ leaves will have yellow speckles. The spider mites can spin a fine web and they use it to move from one plant to another.
The Peperomia dolabriformis likes to be kept dry, which is why it is easily affected by spider mites. These pests also prefer dry climatic conditions. You can chase the spider mites by increasing and maintaining the humidity levels of 50 percent and above.
Isolate and trim the infected leaves off your plant. Neem oil can be an effective intervention for controlling whiteflies. You can also drench the potting mix with the Neem oil solution to kill any pest in the substrate. You can also use a slightly sharp object or your fingers to gently scrap the eggs off the leaves.
The Peperomia dolabriformis is not poisonous to human beings and animals. Although the plant is non-toxic, you should also keep it away from children and pets because it is not edible.
You have just acquired the essential tips on how to care for your Peperomia dolabriformis in a skillful way.
Let’s have a quick glance at the summary below.
- The Peperomia dolabriformis thrives well if exposed to bright, filtered sunlight.
- The temperature range of 64 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 27 degrees Celsius) is ideal for the healthy survival of the plant.
- The plant is a light feeder but you should apply a well-balanced liquid fertilizer that is diluted to half-strength once every month to boost its growth.
- You should maintain an average to the high humidity level of 40 to 70 percent.
- Be sure to use a well-draining potting mix to avoid waterlogging.
It’s now time to get your new Peperomia dolabriformis and start parenting it without delay. Don’t hesitate to add this excellent beauty to your collection. Happy gardening!
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