Peperomia Ruby Cascade is a stunning houseplant often sold as ruby cascade plant or ruby cascade peperomia. It is a slow-growing plant with specific care requirements.
This guide will show you the proper way to take care of these plants, when and how to repot them, and the best way to prune and propagate the curiously attractive peperomia ruby cascade.
What Is a Peperomia Ruby Cascade?
Peperomia ruby cascade is a vining plant with distinctive ruby-red leaves. It originates from tropical and subtropical rainforests in Central and South America. In the native environment, the peperomia plants often climb the trunks of trees or rocks, setting roots as they go. The ruby cascade variety is a popular addition to many houseplant collections, where it is grown most often in a hanging basket.
The most striking feature of peperomia ruby cascade is the two-color leaves. The top surface is a deep, glossy dark green, while the underside of maturing plants leaves are a rich ruby color. The stems can grow several feet in length. Some plants will produce small, pinkish flowers in the spring. However, these plants are not known for frequent flowering.
It is a rewarding plant that makes a dramatic statement in a hanging basket with long vines of green and red leaves trailing to the floor.
Follow the proper care steps in this guide, and you will successfully grow this unique plant.
Peperomia Ruby Cascade Care Guide
The peperomia ruby cascade has simple but specific care requirements.
This plant comes from warm, humid conditions where it thrives far below the towering canopy of the rainforest. Fortunately, you don’t have to replicate a rainforest in your living room to get the perfect conditions for growing the peperomia ruby cascade.
Here are the soil, light, and watering guidelines for growing this beautiful houseplant with ease.
The first thing you should do is pick a spot where the plant will get bright, indirect light. The best spot is a window that faces south. You may need to move the plant closer or farther from the window as it grows. The dark-colored leaves will bleach when there is too much light. Stems will stretch and grow fewer, greener leaves when the plant is searching for more light.
Even though this is a tropical species, it won’t do well in excessive heat. These plants thrive in temperatures ranging from 65 degrees to 80 degrees. Additionally, a plant that is too close to a window that gets direct sun may overheat. Leaves will look wrinkled and limp regardless of watering conditions.
Peperomia are more susceptible to cold temperatures, so avoid drafty windows in cold weather and don’t put your ruby cascade in front of an air conditioner vent.
Despite a tropical pedigree, these succulent-like plants prefer to dry out slightly between watering. The thick, fleshy leaves hold moisture the plant uses rather than relying on roots absorbing moisture. A common mistake is to overwater peperomia plants. When these plants get too much water, they quickly rot and die.
There are a few clues to look for to know when it is time to water your plant. The best indicator is the leaves. If all other conditions are correct, the leaves closest to the soil will show wrinkling when nearly depleted.
The other reliable way to tell is to insert your finger into the soil about one inch deep. If your finger is completely dry, it is safe to water your plant. Using these two methods, you will get a schedule. Typically, peperomia plants will need water every 7 to 10 days in the growing season and once or twice a month in the dormant seasons.
When watering the peperomia ruby cascade, water should trickle slowly into the pot until it runs cleanly from the drainage holes. Shallow watering can result in abnormal root growth and may result in the plant falling out of the soil.
The best way to grow a healthy peperomia plant in your home is to mix a special potting soil that meets its specific needs. If you were hiking through the jungles of Central America and found a peperomia ruby cascade growing wild, you would notice that it grows in leaf litter and decomposing plant material. We will have to recreate that condition in our potting mix.
The key to a good potting mixture is to create airiness. These plants depend on air reaching the roots to breathe. Dense, wet, clay-based soil and even many potting or garden soil mixes will be too heavy and smother the roots. These mixes also hold too much water. Your plant needs a potting mixture that drains well and doesn’t stay wet.
A mixture that will work well for these plants is a 50-50 mix of peat moss and perlite. Peat moss will hold moisture and provide organic nutrients, while perlite increases the airiness of the mix. Coarse sand can be added to improve drainage. This mixture lets water absorb just long enough to benefit the plant without introducing an opportunity for rot to develop.
These plants like rich-growing medium; however, they aren’t always easy to provide. Adding the correct fertilizer for these plants will improve overall plant health and improve the growth rate. You will want to use a mild liquid fertilizer that is balanced. Dilute the fertilizer to half strength before feeding your plants.
To get the best growth from this spectacular plant, you should give the liquid fertilizer dose every two to three weeks during the growing season. Do not fertilize peperomia in the dormant season because the plant can’t absorb the nutrients, and they will burn the roots. Be careful of overfertilizing. Yellowing of leaves indicates too much fertilizer, and you will need to flush the soil with water.
Proper Humidity Conditions
These plants can tolerate up to 90 percent humidity but can suffer in the average American home that uses a heater or air conditioner. The best range of humidity for the peperomia ruby cascade is 40 to 60 percent. These plants are dependent on humidity, so it is important that you provide the proper conditions.
A gentle mist of water once or twice a week will improve the humidity for the plant. Make sure to use filtered or distilled water to avoid spraying chemicals on the plant that can cause harm. You want a fine enough spray that the droplets quickly evaporate. Don’t spray water on the leaves of the peperomia ruby cascade.
Another way to create improved humidity is the use of an evaporative tray. Simply place pebbles, stones, or pumice rocks in a shallow tray. Add enough filtered or distilled water to almost cover the stones. Set the container on top of the rocks, making sure the bottom is not touching the water. The water evaporating will provide the perfect conditions for healthy peperomia growth.
How and When to Repot
Eventually, the plant will outgrow the pot it came in. You will notice the plant slow in growth, produce smaller leaves, and you may see roots growing out of the soil. These plants are slow-growers and won’t need repotting more than once every two or three years. Select a pot two or three inches larger.
The peperomia ruby cascade likes to be somewhat root-bound. If you try to grow these plants in a large pot, the roots will shock, and the plant won’t grow well. It is better to slowly increase the size of the pot as the plant needs it rather than all at once.
When you repot these plants, you will want to be extra careful of the delicate roots and stems. It is very easy to harm the roots, so don’t disturb them very much when you move them into a new pot. Make sure the new pot has excellent drainage. Use the correct potting mix for these plants when you put the plant in the new pot.
There are two methods that are effective for propagating the peperomia ruby cascade. Both methods are easy to do and can help you control the growth of a mature plant that is out of control. The best time to take cuttings is.
- Stem-Tip Cutting Method: Select five to ten growing stems and cut them just below a leaf node. Strip the bottom one-third of the leaves from the stem and place them in water. Roots will begin to form in three to five weeks. Once roots show, you can transplant them into an appropriate potting mixture. Alternatively, you can make the cuttings, dip them in rooting hormone, and put them directly in the soil. Cover the cuttings with a lid to keep humidity as high as possible. A temperature of 70 to 75 degrees is ideal.
- Division Method: When you are repotting your plant, you can carefully pull the clump apart and pot both sections. Be sure to get as many roots together as possible. Plant in pots with the correct type of soil mixture and water.
Problems You May Encounter
Peperomia ruby cascade plants don’t often have problems with pests, but some disease issues are unfortunately common.
Learning to avoid the conditions that allow disease and pest infestations is the best way to treat them.
Common insects include mealybugs and spider mites. Aphids are usually not an issue with indoor plants, but if your plant spends time outside, it is possible to attract aphids. The best way to handle pests on your peperomia ruby cascade plant is to use a simple, homemade insecticide.
Mix a few drops of dish soap in a spray bottle of filtered water. Spray the top and bottom of all leaves. The soap will dry the insects out, killing them. You may also add a small amount of isopropyl alcohol to the mixture to enhance lethality without harming your plant.
The most frequent disease you are likely to encounter with these plants is root rot. This condition is typically the result of poor draining soil. When the soil stays wet, microorganisms can reproduce. This can cause the roots to rot, killing the rest of the plant.
This is why watering these plants correctly is so important. They are highly susceptible to rot, and once it starts, there is little you can do to stop it.
Common Signs of a Problem
- Wilting leaves: It is either overwatering or underwatering. Stick your finger in the soil, and if it is wet, there is too much water. Try to encourage drainage and evaporation by placing the plant in a slightly warmer area. If the soil doesn’t drain properly, you will need to replant in a new soil mixture.
- Brown edges on the leaves: This usually indicates the plant is either getting too much sun or heat, or it can indicate the soil is overloaded with salts or fertilizer. Severely underwatering a peperomia will eventually cause the edges to curl and brown. If the plant is growing in the proper conditions and has the right amount of water, it may need to be repotted with clean soil.
- Greying of leaves: This usually means the plant is getting too much direct light. You should make sure there is a curtain between the plant and the window to prevent sun-scorch, which can kill immature plants.
- The Peperomia ruby cascade is a popular houseplant with green and red succulent-like leaves on long trailing vines.
- It originates in tropical regions and grows best in bright, indirect lighting.
- These plants prefer to dry slightly before watering.
- Soil should be fast draining to prevent root rot.
- Fertilizer will help growth but needs to be given sparingly.
- Propagation can be done by stem-tip cutting or by division.
- Common pests are mealybugs and spider mites. The most frequent disease is root rot from overwatering and poorly draining soil.
The peperomia ruby cascade is a fabulously attractive houseplant and will dominate a window when given time. These plants are easy to care for, even for inexperienced gardeners.
Unlike many plants, forgetting to water them all the time isn’t going to cause harm and may even do them some good.
When you follow the correct steps for caring for the peperomia ruby cascade, you will have a plant with long trailing vines of delicate rounded leaves. Following the tips in this guide will help you make the best choices for caring for and propagating your peperomia ruby cascade plant.
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