Peperomia japonica is one of the most unique and stunning indoor plants. It is popular among homeowners and office workers for its small size and bushy leaves.
You will not have to spend much time looking after this plant. Read this well-put guide to learn what this plant needs.
- What Is Peperomia Japonica?
- Peperomia Japonica Care
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Peperomia Japonica?
Peperomia japonica is one of those few plants that fall in the category of epiphytes and semi-succulents. It has a very bushy growth habit with many small, shiny leaves. It can also grow like a vine if taken care of properly.
Peperomia Japonica Care
When caring for this plant, provide bright indirect light and water regularly whenever half of the soil dries up. Keep temperatures within 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity within 40 to 50 percent.
We suggest fertilizing every month using compost. Make your own well-draining soil with a pH of 6.0 to 6.6. Don’t forget to prune off all old and skewed branches and leaves.
– Water Requirements
The amount of water this peperomia plant deeply using distilled or filtered water. Watering deeply means taking a copious amount of water and slowly pouring it onto the soil. Continue watering until it travels through the soil and out the drainage hole.
Then allow some time to pass for the soil to dry halfway through. During summers, the soil will dry a lot faster than in winters.
Similarly, plants kept outside dry out faster because of winds than indoor plants. We strongly advise against using ordinary tap water. The salts and minerals within it accumulate in the soil and cause damage to the roots. They also interfere with proper water absorption.
You can find out if the soil has dried only by putting something halfway through it. You can use a pencil or a wooden skewer for this purpose. It’s safer to put these things nearer the rim of the pot.
This may keep you from accidentally damaging the roots. Don’t skip checking the soil even if you are in a hurry. Quickly put your finger in the soil to see if the top two inches have dried.
– Light Requirements
Bright light is essential for this plant in order for it to grow to its full potential. However, this light should only be indirect. The beautiful emerald-colored Japonica leaves really suffer under direct sunlight.
Have a close look at the color of the leaves of your plant. If the leaves appear darker, this means light is lacking somewhat. If the leaves are too light and are turning almost yellow, it is getting too much light. Inside the house, you can place this plant in any room that is lit brightly by sunlight. Any corner of the room is sufficient for this plant as long as it receives indirect light.
If you want to, keep your Japonica close to the windows by taking little precautions. It will tolerate even direct light from the eastern and eastern windows pretty well. Light from the south side window can cause sunburn, especially around noon. Either cover this window with a shade or move the pot two to three feet away.
Don’t worry, it is okay to keep this plant outside in a garden or terrace. If you find it growing light and yellow, provide it with some shade to protect it from sunburn. You can simply move it under a larger tree for shade. Light will now reach this one in a dappled manner, just like it does in nature.
– Soil Requirements
Your soil should be a perfect mixture of organic nutrient-rich elements and inorganic drainage-improving elements. Take any reasonably-priced succulent potting mix and add other ingredients to enrich it.
Next, take an equal amount of organic matter to this succulent mix. This can be in the form of compost, humus, peat, or sphagnum moss. They act as both water retentive and nutrition-providing elements of the soil.
Also, add an equal quantity of perlite, bark, mulch, or rock to your soil. Your soil should be so well-draining that all extra water drains out within 10 minutes.
– Temperature Requirements
Peperomias like to grow in warm temperatures around 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. That is why they are also called radiator plants.
During summers, it will grow best in outdoor conditions. Inside the house, the rooms are sometimes cold using air conditioners, which might affect the plant’s growth.
In winter, you better move the plant inside the house and place it in a kitchen. Cold direct drafts of air can cause it to lose its leaves and become dormant.
– Humidity Requirements
Being semi-succulents, peperomia can tolerate slightly dry conditions. However, keep the humidity around 50 to 55 percent when growing it yourself.
This will prevent its leaves from drying and keep them plump and fresh. Here are our top tricks to maintain the right air moisture levels.
- Some rooms in the house are naturally more humid than others. These include the washroom and the kitchen. You can place your Japonica there.
- If you have some other humidity-loving plants, you can huddle all of these plants together. This will create a sort of mini-greenhouse environment around all of them.
- Misting is a great way to improve the humidity by at least 20 percent. In very dry conditions, mist every other day during the early morning.
– Fertilizing Requirements
Fertilizing consistently is quite necessary in order to grow Peperomia house plants healthily. This is especially important when the plant is in the active growth phase. This is mostly during spring and summer time. The plant will keep thriving even if you don’t fertilize it during winter.
Japonica, an epiphyte in nature, can be sensitive to chemical fertilizers. You must use them very carefully by triple fertilizing it. Only use filtered or distilled water when diluting a fertilizer.
From March till September, fertilizer every third or fourth week. After four or five weeks, deep water the soil multiple times in a row. This is to get rid of all the toxins that inevitably collect in the soil due to regular fertilizer use.
If possible, always choose natural fertilizers over artificial ones. You can buy rich, organic compost from any good nursery in your area. Take a handful of compost and mix it within the top soil layers using a rake.
Nonetheless, this should give your plant nutrients for at least one and a half months. In fact, we suggest you try your own hand at composting. This will help fertilize your own plant and enable you to recycle food items and live a more energy-efficient life.
– Pruning Requirements
Pruning really helps with keeping a plant healthy and vigorous. Remove all stems and leaves that are old, diseased, or problematic. Removing leaves also helps improve the plant’s much-needed air circulation.
The most important step is to clean your gardening tools before pruning. Soak them in alcohol for about 15 minutes to kill most germs. Later on, wash your instruments off as well.
Pruning is best done during early spring when the growth of the plant’s cells is at its peak. Properly cut-off stems will grow even better next year.
Peperomia Japonica propagation is easy and fun. Any part of this plant can be cut and put in the soil to grow into a new one. However, there should always be science behind what you do.
– Stem Cutting
This is by far the most successful method of Japonica propagation so far. Keep your cutting tools clean and ready beforehand.
- Your stem cutting should be three to four inches long to work. After making a clean oblique incision, it should be taken from a healthy, bug-free stem.
- Give it a day to dry and form calluses where it was cut. Applying rooting hormone on the cut end helps, but this step is optional and totally up to you.
- Fill a pot with a 50:50 mixture of peat and perlite to put the peperomia stem cutting in.
- Once the cutting is inside the soil, take the pot to a bright warm place.
- Maintain high levels of humidity by using a humidifier. Alternatively, you can wrap a transparent sheet over it as well.
- If the propagation has been successful, you will get your new plant within one and a half months.
– Leaf Cutting
Leaf-cutting propagation is extremely straightforward. The same, however, cannot be said of its end results. How you nay start is simple, and only 4 steps:
- Take at least four to five leaves for propagation. This is because not all of them will successfully take root.
- Place them upright on top of the soil of equal peat and perlite. Their bottom sides should be in proper contact with the soil but not buried deep.
- Keep the soil lightly moist by sprinkling water in it every other day. Don’t use too much water, or the leaves will rot.
- It may take you up to two to four weeks before the leaves grow roots. Don’t move them around during this time.
– Ground Layering Technique
Propagation does not get easier than this. If you want a lazy person’s propagation guide, jump below.
- Select a healthy stem branch that is long enough. Gently bend it down till it touches the soil. Take great care because you don’t want to snap this branch in the process.
- It will be better to bury its end one to two inches into the soil. You will have to use pins and gardening tape to secure the end of the branch in the soil.
- Carry on with your usual plant care habits.
- After two or three weeks, dig carefully to see if roots have started growing from the buried end of the branch.
- When the roots have) established themselves (approximately after two months, cut the stem three inches above the ground.
- After a few weeks, this new plantlet can be transplanted within its very own pot.
When growing Japonica, you must be well equipped to deal with nitrogen deficiency, root rot, low light, and leaf burn. This next section is going to help you with just that.
Carry on reading to learn the best hacks to deal with common Japonica problems.
– Nitrogen Deficiency
How can you tell if your soil lacks enough nitrogen? The newer leaves on top will be pale green in color, whereas the lower, older leaves will be completely yellow. Sometimes, the plant fails to produce leaves and undergoes stunted growth.
Treat your deficient sap with a liquid fertilizer rich in nitrogen asap. Liquid fertilizer is pretty quick when it comes to instant deliverance of nutrients.
As a long-term solution, try going for organic solutions instead. Every second week or so, mix a little bit of composite within the superficial layers of the soil. Make sure you hide the top of the soil with mulch materials.
High pH makes it easier for plants to absorb nitrogen from the soil. Add a little limestone and nitrogen to speed up the process. Don’t add too much lime because you don’t want to disturb the soil’s pH.
– Root Rot
When the soil is overwatered persistently, fungi multiplicate rapidly within and attack the roots. This leads to the destructive root rot disease, which then spreads to the whole plant.
The soil might be overwatered because of poor drainage. Sometimes the drainage holes clog up, leading to prolonged water build-up in the soil. You might be watering the plant a bit too much.
Find out what root rot looks like below.
- Leaves become swollen, start drooping, and eventually start dropping.
- Yellow irregular spots develop on the stem and leaves, which then rot to turn black.
- The plant as a whole shrivels up and starts falling down.
- A classic faint odor of rot can be clearly spelled.
Saving a plant dying from rot is a serious commitment. Ensure you follow all the steps below if your Japonica succumbs to this disease.
- Abundantly water the soil to make it as soft as possible. Use a rake to extract the roots out as gently as possible.
- Wrap the whole plant in a water-absorbent sheet or newspaper. You might have to change several sheets until all the extra moisture from the plant gets absorbed.
- Once the plant dries up,
- It’s time to remove the parts that have turned completely black.
- Next, spray the whole plant with a strong anti-fungal like liquid copper spray.
- Take a new pot, freshly mixed and sterilized soil, and repot the plant.
- It is best to just burn off the old infected pot, soil, and the cut-off rotten plant parts.
– Light And Faded Leaves
Are your leaves not looking as fresh and bright as they used to be? Check whether they are receiving adequate light or not. If the plant is placed in a far-off corner with inadequate light, you have your culprit there.
Move the pot to a brighter spot in the house. Take care that no direct rays fall on the leaves. If indirect bright light is unavailable, use LED artificial grow lights for plants. Plants grow just as well under artificial lights as under natural light.
You will see that most leaves will revert to their color as soon as light conditions are improved. As they start photosynthesizing more food, the overall growth will also improve.
– Leaf Burn
If your leaves turn brown at the edges, they suffer from a burn. They might also be a bit dry and wrinkly alongside.
Sunburn is the primary cause of leaf burn among Peperomias. You leave this plant accidentally under direct sunlight for a few hours; before you know it, most of your leaves have turned brown. Immediately move it to a more shaded place.
Using tap water also causes leaves to burn. Salts in salt water are particularly harmful. They are taken up by the plant along with water and can also be seen precipitated on the surfaces of the leaves. Switch over to distilled or filtered water.
No plant parent can go long without having to deal with pests. Mealybugs, aphids, scales, and spider mites are the most common sap-sucking plant pests. They eat up all your plant’s food and weaken it.
To be honest, a pest infestation is hard to miss. Most of the time, these pests will be seen moving around your Peperomia. They will be accompanied by yellow spots and drooping on green leaves.
Pests are not harsh to get rid of, luckily. All you have to do is to wash these bugs off with water and soap. Then start a weekly regime of insecticidal spray to get rid of the larvae. Alternatively, you can also go for a weekly neem oil foliar spray as a more natural approach.
Frequently Asked Questions
– What Is A Peperomia Plant Good For?
Peperomia plant is good for treating wounds, acne, an upset stomach, and also as a herbal supplement. It has strong anti-inflammatory and painkiller properties. It has long been used as an effective wound dressing.
This plant is used both in dry and liquid form. It can be safely and effectively applied in both forms to injuries, pimples, and boils. This is true for most peperomia varieties like peperomia Metallica and peperomia hope plant.
Another lesser-known medicinal property of peperomia is that it is anti-fungal in nature. Using it as oral rinses for thrush and oral fungal infections works better than chemical formulations.
– Do Peperomia Clean The Air?
Yes, peperomias can filter the air around them as they carry out gaseous exchange through their leaves. This goes for most Peperomia species, whether Japonica or Peperomia caperata.
According to research conducted by NASA, it can filter several toxins from the air, such as formaldehyde. The key is to keep its leaves clean with a paper towel regularly.
– Does A Peperomia Flower?
Yes, peperomia bloom, but this isn’t common when grown as household plants. In fact, their blooms don’t even look like flowers.
They are just simple green or brown-colored elongated, thin stalks. Suppose your peperomia isabella or peperomia hoffmannii plants are flowering indoors. This means you are doing everything well with your plant.
Let us summarize this guide before we conclude it.
- Place this plant someplace bright with good air circulation.
- Insert a wooden skewer to see if the soil has dried halfway through. Then water deeply with distilled water which is the safest water.
- A well-draining soil rich in nutrients should be your target.
- This plant can filter toxins, according to NASA.
Now that you know how to keep japonicas happy, order one immediately. This plant will clean your room’s air and look super cute while it does.
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