Peperomia incana is a non-toxic plant that requires little supervision for its growth and “upkeep.”
This plant gives your home a unique feel and gorgeous outlook without taking much of your precious space.
Although it is usually used as a houseplant, Peperomia incana makes a good ground cover when grown outside, especially in subtropical or tropical areas that are warm.
More About Peperomia Incana
Peperomia incana is a perennial plant that belongs to the Piperaceae family, also known as the pepper family. Other common names are felted peperomia, fuzzy pigface, Amazon fuzz, and felted pepperface. Peperomia incana is native to Brazil, and it is naturally a forest-floor dweller.
The leaves of felted peperomia are round-shaped, with sizes that range between 2 and 3 inches. The surfaces of the leaves are covered with gray hairs, thereby producing a fuzzy appearance and texture.
The peperomia plant grows up to an average height of approximately 12 inches. Therefore, it looks so tiny in its full-grown size, making it a remarkable “space saver.”
The foliage of Peperomia incana is fleshy and is usually variegated. The stems appear red in most cases. This stiff, semi-upright, and later spreading plant produces green flowers, whose anthers are purple.
Peperomia Incana Basic Care
The plant survives well under moderate to bright but indirect light. This condition saves you the hustle of trying to find a spot where it can receive direct bright sunlight.
Peperomia incana also does well in the shade or places with patched light. However, too low light conditions make the plant’s stem grow excessively long and straggly, which is not ideal.
On the other hand, too bright light destroys the plant. If you see the leaves of your plant curling inwards, which might be a sign that they are receiving too much bright sunlight, simply move them to a place where they are less exposed to direct light.
The felted peperomia requires moderate moisture. To achieve this, you should water it when the soil is relatively dry. This practice helps to avoid overwatering the plant.
A moisture probe can help you to determine the moisture in the soil surrounding your plant accurately. Simply dip your probe into the soil. A red indicator or readings below three shows that the soil is dry enough for you to water the plant.
Watering your plant too frequently will cause root rot. You can quickly determine that you are overwatering your plant by scouting for squishy leaves. With time, the leaves may turn black and eventually fall off.
Adjusting your watering frequency can revert these effects of root rot if done early enough.
While Peperomia incana requires limited amounts of moisture, it thrives well under medium to high humidity conditions. Despite this, the plant grows well in atmospheric moisture conditions that naturally exist in many households.
However, if you intend to increase humidity conditions to make the environment more conducive for your plant, consider using a humidifier.
Temperatures within the range of 64.4 F and 75.2 F are optimum for the growth of Peperomia incana. Please note that the plants can tolerate higher temperatures as long as they do not cause the atmospheric air to dry excessively.Temperatures below 53.6 F are too low and may cause your plant to die.
Since Peperomia incana does not thrive well under overwatered conditions, its soil should be well-draining. For your potted plant, a mixture of loam and sandy soils does well. The sandy part of the soil will take care of drainage, while the loam holds the plant’s moisture requirements.
Another excellent way to create good soil for your plant is by mixing the regular soil for houseplants with cactus soil. You can then add some perlite to aid good aeration in the soil. A peat-based compost is a great option, too.
Fertilizers can work well on the Amazon fuzz. The fertilizers that you can use include quick-release fertilizers that are water-soluble, slow-release fertilizers that are temperature-controlled, and organic fertilizers, particularly fish emulsions.
Quick-release fertilizers are usually added to the soil once every fortnight, while the slow-release ones are added once every growing season. For all fertilizers, it is essential to read and follow the instructions on the labels for specific directions.
The fertilizing instructions that we have highlighted apply for both houseplants and those that are grown outside. However, we recommend that you don’t fertilize houseplants during the winter.
Peperomia incana is one of the easiest plants to repot. The best time to repot your plant is when it has grown big and its roots begin to protrude through drainage holes. Don’t wait for the plant to become root-bound because it becomes stressed out. Such a scenario makes the plant more susceptible to diseases.
We recommend that you transfer the felted pepperface to a pot that is a little larger in diameter and depth. Be careful not to use a pot that is too big because the plant is easily stressed out when there is too much space around its roots as well.
Peperomia incana is best propagated through cuttings. It is a relatively easy method of reproducing the plant. It usually involves cutting a stem with leaves on it using a sharp pair of scissors. The cut is made just below the lowest node before removing the lowest leaves of the cutting.
Place the cutting on a flat surface such as a table or bench and leave it for about two hours to form a protective callus tissue over the cut. You can then dip the cutting directly into the soil where you intend to grow it.
Alternatively, you can dip it in water first and leave it until it grows roots, to a size of approximately an inch, and put it into the soil after this. Another feasible method entails inserting the cutting into a propagating case, ensuring that the bottom heat is above 70 F but below 75 F.
Avoid closing the propagating case in order to regulate humidity and then leave the cutting until roots form.
All the three methods that we described work relatively well. The only difference is that the second and third methods allow you the chance to witness the progress of your plant by observing root growth. Whichever way, your felted pepperface should end up in a hanging basket or 3-inch pot.
You can use leaf cuttings to propagate your plant instead of stem cuttings. This method requires healthy leaf-cuttings for it to be successful. More importantly, sterilize the pruning shear that you will use to create the cuttings using isopropyl alcohol.
To make leaf cuttings, cut down the leaves from where they join the stem. Cutting more than one leaf will increase the probability of successfully reproducing a healthy new plant. Dip the cut end of the leaf stalks in a rooting hormone to better the chances of developing roots.
Use a straw to create holes anywhere in the new pot except the center and place your leaf stalks into each hole. You can use a straw to support the stalks that cannot stand on their own and gently tie them together.
Avoid direct bright sunlight and take care of the cuttings as you would for an already rooted old plant. Be sure to fertilize your Peperomia incana once some leaves start to bud off the stalk.
Peperomia incana does not attract many pests and diseases. However, it cannot repel them either. For this reason, let’s find out the pests and diseases you should be looking for.
– Sclerotium Stem Rot
If you notice a black spot at the end of the stem, your plant must have been affected by the Sclerotium stem rot. This disease is an indication that the stem is rotting. After some time, small fruits will then start growing around the base of the stem.
Usually, overwatering the plant causes roots to rot, but in stem rot, it’s the stem that is affected.
You can stop the stem rot if you identify it at the early stages. All you need to do is to change the pots. Ensure that the soil in the new pot is drier so that the plant can recover quickly.
If you discover the stem rot when it has gone too far, it is unfortunate that you cannot save your plant.
– Cercospora Leaf Spot
This fungal disease is characterized by raised bumps beneath the leaves of your Peperomia incana. These bumps, which are usually brown or yellow, are surrounded by a yellow ring. In some cases, a slimy and sticky substance oozes out of the bumps.
Poor air circulation and overwatering are the two significant factors that are more likely to cause Cercospora. Once you identify Cercospora on your plant, remove the damaged leaves immediately.
The disease spreads quite quickly and easily within the same plants and between individual plants. To completely address the emergence and spread of the leaf spot among your plants, determine the root cause of the disease.
Cercospora leaf spot should be treated as an emergency because it can completely destroy the plant if not properly treated. You can purchase the ready-to-use formula for copperor the concentrated form that you mix with water before treating the leaf spot. This method is an aggressive way of treating this disease.
– Falling Leaves
If your plant loses its leaves, you need to investigate and verify if leaf loss is the only noticeable symptom. If yes, then it might be due to temperatures that are extremely low for the plant.
Turning the temperatures up can revert the situation. If your Amazon fuzz is by the window, it might experience much colder conditions. You can remove it and find a relatively warmer area where you can place it.
Keeping a thermometer in the room makes it easy for you to monitor the temperatures in the environment surrounding your plant.
If other symptoms are accompanying the loss of leaves, the approach also changes because you might be dealing with something more serious.
One of the pests that attack Peperomia incana is aphids. These creatures multiply rapidly, and the greater their numbers, the more difficult eradicating them becomes. You can identify aphids by searching for some tiny, oval-shaped creatures clinging to parts of your plant. They are usually green in color, but they also come in brown, black, white, gray, and pink shades.
Aphids have tube mouths that can pierce the leaves or stems of the plant and draw sap from the plant. This characteristic explains why they are classified among sucking pests.
Spraying your plants with Neem oil that is diluted with water is your best option for destroying aphids. Neem oil suffocates the pests by blocking the pores that they use for breathing.
Another option is to gently blast the aphids and their eggs off your plants by horse spraying them with water. You can make your homemade spray for mild infestations by mixing a tablespoon of vegetable oil, a tablespoon of mild dishwashing soap, and a cup of tap water.
Mealybugs are another pest to look out for when you are growing felted peperomia. If your plant looks like it’s covered in cotton, then you are dealing with a case of mealybugs. These pests are soft-bodied and are covered with a cotton-like substance to protect themselves from environmental factors.
Mealybugs usually suck the sap of the plant from the underside of the leaves, which is where they are generally congested. This issue can lead to falling leaves and even the death of the plant.
The interventions that we described for destroying aphids can equally work when you are dealing with mealybugs. Alternatively, you can use alcohol that is diluted with water at ratios that depend on the application method.
If you decide to dab on the mealybugs using a cotton swab, mix the alcohol and water at a ratio of 1:1. If the infestation is high and spraying the plant is your best option, the alcohol to water ratio should be 1:6.
With all the tips and facts on how to grow your Peperomia incana at your fingertips, it is high time you put them into practice. Before then, let’s sum up what you learned for easy recall.
- Peperomia incana is a decorative plant that belongs to the Piperaceae family.
- Its common names include felted peperomia, felted pepperface, Amazon fuzz, and fuzzy pigface.
- The plant requires moderate to bright but indirect light.
- The felted pepperface thrives well under conditions of moderate moisture and medium to high humidity.
- Temperature ranges between 64.4 F and 75.2 F are conducive for the growth of the plant.
- Well-draining soils are ideal for the plant’s survival and healthy growth.
- Repotting should be done before the plant becomes root-bound.
- The felted peperomia is propagated through leaf and stem cuttings.
- Sclerotium stem rot and Cercospora leaf spot are the primary diseases to look out for in your plant.
- Aphids and mealybugs are the pests that usually attack Peperomia incana.
There you go! Go ahead and grow your Peperomia incana. Be sure to use your newly acquired knowledge to be the best parent your plants could ever have!