Scientific name: Peperomia tetragona (formerly x puteolata)
Synonyms: Parallel Peperomia
The Parallel Peperomia is a particularly easy variety of Peperomia to care for, which handles neglect well! It is an adaptable plant well suited to modern homes in a number or environments, provided it gets adequate indirect light and doesn’t get overwatered.
Note: Please be aware that whilst the plant is non-toxic and pet friendly, it’s best to keep out of reach of children and pets (hanging it would be a great way of doing this!)
- Scorched yellowing foliage: Your Peperomia Tetragona is getting too much direct light, move to a more shady spot - indirect light is best.
- Limp, brown or wilting leaves: This is a sign of a watering issue and could be a result of either root rot or prolonged under watering. If the roots of have been very wet and started to rot, you should take stem cuttings to propagate and create a new Peperomia plant. If it’s excessively dry, increase watering gradually.
- New growth is small: If the leaves are continuously small, your houseplant might not be getting enough light/humidity. Move to a brighter spot.
- Very long ‘stretched’ stems/internodes: This is called etiolation and means that your Peperomia isn’t getting the correct amount of light; stems will be especially ‘stretched’; move to a brighter location.
- Pests: Peperomia are quite resilient to pests and don’t usually have any major issues. However, something to look out for in bright, dry conditions with particularly low humidity is red spider mite, which tend to be drawn to the ridges on the leaves. If pests are present, this houseplant can be treated with insecticidal soap or neem oil. Repeat weekly and keep the Peperomia in isolation until completely pest-free. You can trim the plant back to the base and start over if bugs are persistent.
- Plant collapse: This is often caused by root rot as a result of prolonged overwatering, especially in winter.
- Origin: Native to South America, the Peperomia tetragona grows in shady tropical and subtropical conditions.
- Height: up to 0.5 metre height / 0.5 metre spread indoors. Outdoors in its natural habitat it has a tendency to spread as cover at ground level.
- Light: Ideally, moderate indirect filtered light, protect from harsh sun which can scorch the leaves and cause the plant to wilt.
- Water: Water when the top layer of potting mix has dried out; this peperomia is semi-succulent so stores water in its leaves, meaning it doesn’t need watering too often, especially in a more shady spot. Be sure not to overwater in winter as the delicate roots if this houseplant will rot.
- Humidity: Average to moderate humidity is ideal and this plant copes well in a regular household environment. It can also tolerate some higher humidity so would be great for a bathroom or in a terrarium.
- Temperature: This houseplant will grow happily in temperatures of 12-24°C, but try to avoid sudden drops in temperature and be wary of draughts and open windows, it will struggle in temperatures below 10°C.
- Soil: A free-draining organic potting mix with added perlite will be ideal, allowing breathability for the fine, delicate roots.
- Fertilizer: Peperomia tetragona enjoy regular fertilising; around twice a month during the growing season (Spring and Summer). Use a balanced fertiliser at half the recommended dilution level for this plant. If the potting medium is particularly dry, water lightly before feeding to avoid fertiliser burning the roots.
- Repotting: These plants don’t need to be repotted regularly, which makes for effortless ownership! They have fine, shallow roots and grow best when slightly root-bound. Roots ‘circling’ around the bottom of the nursery pot is an indication that repotting is needed. Increase pot size by just a few centimetres at this stage, no drastic jumps.
- Pruning: In mature plants, regular pruning can help create a fuller looking plant. You’ll want to use a sterile blade and trim a few centimetres above the base of the plant. If you are taking cuttings to propagate, see below!
- Propagation: Peperomia can be easily propagated from cuttings - chop the stems below a node and put in water until roots form. When time to pot on, make sure the plant is getting more regular watering to give the roots a change to adapt to the potting mix. You can also propagate the plant by division or leaf cutting too.
If in stock, shop for Parallel Peperomia here.