Watermelon Peperomia Care | Grow & Care Tips

Identifiable by their fun striped variegated leaves, the watermelon peperomia is one of the most popular houseplants in the peperomia family. What makes this plant so popular is how easy and low-maintenance caring for it is.

This plant is very hardy and great for beginners. They do love water so if you’re someone who frequently forgets to water their plants, this may not be the plant for you!

Let’s take a further look at this beloved plant and how to care for it.

Watermelon Peperomia in terracotta pot

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Watermelon Peperomia Background

Their scientific name is the Pilea argyreia, but we know these quirky houseplants better as the watermelon peperomia! Native to the rainforests of South America, these unique plants get their name from the striped variegation on their leaves, which bares a strong resemblance to watermelons.

They are a slow-growing plant that will not take up too much space in your home. At full maturity, these plants can reach a height and spread of 8 to 12 inches.

Even pet owners can own one! These plants are non-toxic and harmless to both cats and dogs. You can rest assured and feel safe keeping these plants in the same house as your furry friends.

Watermelon Peperomia Care | How to Grow Watermelon Peperomia

watermelon peperomia care

Paisley Plants is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. This post may include affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission if you shop using the links below at no additional cost to you. 

Sun & Light

The watermelon peperomia prefers to sit in a location that receives bright to medium indirect light. You can get indirect light through a sheer curtain or placing it just out of reach of the direct sun.

Be sure to avoid exposing your plant to long periods of direct sunlight. If your plant is exposed to direct sun rays it can cause the leaves to burn.

It is possible to keep your plant in low light conditions, though be warned: lack of adequate light can cause leaves to grow smaller as well as leggy.

Peperomia Care & Soil Type

Watermelon peperomia will live just fine in any standard potting soil mix. Make sure that the potting soil is both well-draining, but can still retain moisture as well.

If you prefer to make your own potting soil, a mixture of 50% perlite and 50% sphagnum peat moss will provide an adequate home for your peperomias. As far as pH goes, try to keep the soil on the acidic side for your peperomia.

Watermelon Peperomia leaves

Watering

While watermelon peperomia enjoys a consistently moist soil, be sure to avoid over or under-watering your plant. Wait until the top couple inches of soil dry before watering your plant.

I like to stick my finger into the soil to know when you need to water it. If it’s dry, go ahead and water it. If it’s still moist, wait!

Your peperomia watermelon might benefit from being watered from the bottom up. Watering your plants this way can help ensure your plant has a nice, even moisture level throughout the entirety of the soil.

To water your plant from the bottom, follow these easy steps:

  1. Place the plant in a large tray and fill the tray halfway with water.
  2. Allow it to sit in the tray for about 10 minutes and check back to see if the soil feels more moist than it previously did.
  3. Remove it from the tray and allow the excess water to pour out from the drainage holes.
  4. Place it back in its normal location and repeat as necessary.

Fertilizer

During the growing season (spring & summer), this plant benefits greatly from a regular fertilizer routine. Select a liquid fertilizer that is balanced and apply it every 2 to 4 weeks.

Temperature & Humidity

The watermelon peperomia enjoys slightly warm and humid conditions, which is easily attainable in a normal household setting. Try to keep the air temperature within 65° to 75° F.

Please do not allow the air temperature to dip below 50° F; avoid leaving your plant near cold location such as near a drafty window or air conditioning vent.

Choosing a Container & Repotting

As we’ve previously discussed, this plant enjoys living in a soil that is slightly moist. In order to maintain a comfortable level of moisture, your peperomia’s pot must have ample drainage holes.

Drainage holes allow for excess moisture to be expelled from the pot, which prevents waterborne fungal diseases such as root rot. 

You don’t have to worry about continuously repotting your watermelon peperomia, as these plants enjoy being pot bound. I recommend repotting your plant every 3 years; only repot in a slightly larger container than the previous.

Pruning & Maintenance

Watermelon peperomia are slow-growing plants, so it is crucial to prune your plant sparingly. I would recommend beginning by pruning any dead or damaged foliage first.

Removing these damaged leaves will help encourage new, fuller growth by redirecting your plant’s energy. You can also clip some healthy foliage to control its shape.

How to Propagate Watermelon Peperomia

Watermelon Peperomia leaves

Watermelon peperomia are very easy to propagate. There’s a few different ways to propagate them, but today we’ll take about via stem cuttings.

They’re affectionately called “friendship plants” due to how easy it is to multiply and share with your loved ones. Follow these easy watermelon peperomia propagation steps to create new plants from leaf cuttings.

  1. The leaf cutting you select should be healthy and contain at least 2-3 inches of stem.
  2. Cut the leaf in half. You should be left with two halves; one of which has the stem still attached.
  3. Fill a plant pot with regular potting soil and moisten the soil beforehand.
  4. Take the top half from the leaf you cut and bury it halfway into the soil. The cut end should be buried underground while the top is above the soil.
  5. Take the bottom half of the leaf and bury the cut end of the stem into the soil.
  6. Place the pot in a location with bright, indirect light and keep the soil lightly moist.
  7. It could take anywhere between 1 to 2 months for roots to grow on your propagated plants. A telltale sign that rooting has occurred is when you notice new growth forming from the leaves.
  8. Allow your plants to grow an additional 2 months before transplanting the cuttings to their own separate pots.

*Love water propagation? Head here for my favorite propagation stations!

Pests

Unfortunately, peperomias are susceptible to a number of pests that can effect your plant. Examples of such pests include fungus gnats, mealybugs, aphid, and scale. While these pests pose a great threat to your plant, they are able to be exterminated with simple, yet effective methods.

Fungus gnats can be caught by strategically placing yellow sticky tape around your plant. Place a few strips by the base by the soil, as well as the surrounding area.

Mealybugs, aphids, and scale can all be exterminated by applying either an insecticidal soap or neem oil to the foliage of your plants. In addition, if you suspect your plant is affected by any type of pest, you should immediately quarantine it and keep it separated from any other plant nearby.

Diseases

As we’ve mentioned a few times in our discussion, peperomias are strongly affected by overwatering. Too much water trapped in the soil can lead to a nasty fungal infection known as root rot. Signs of root rot include falling, yellow leaves and your plant will appear as if it is rapidly dying.

If you suspect root rot to be the culprit, you can attempt to prune the rotted leaves by gently removing the plant from its container.

Prune any roots that are brown and rotted. Repot your plant in a sterilized plant pot; make sure to use new, fresh soil when doing so.

With early detection, root rot can be treated; however, it’s best to use preventative measures in order to avoid this situation altogether. Always remember to wait until the first two inches of soil have dried out before rehydrating your plant.

Bottom-up watering is also an effective method of ensuring your plant gets the perfect amount of water to keep it comfortable.

FAQ

Why is my watermelon peperomia dropping leaves?

If your watermelon peperomia’s leaves are falling off, this is probably a sign of overwatering. Always make sure to wait until the first two inches of water have dried up before giving your plant more water.

In addition, make sure your plant’s container has plenty of drainage holes to expel excess water.

Why is my watermelon peperomia plant drooping?

Droopy leaves are often a sign that it’s is in need of water. Give your plant a good, thorough watering, and this issue should resolve itself overnight.

You should see the leaves perking back up within 24 hours.

Why are peperomia called radiator plants?

The term “radiator plants” originated from American horticulturist Liberty Hyde Bailey. Hyde Bailey’s reasoning for called watermelon peperomia “radiator plants” was due to the fact that they enjoy warm air and sunlight, and are tolerable of both dry and wet conditions.

Where to Buy Watermelon Peperomia Plants

The watermelon peperomia might be small, but it packs quite the punch. From its beautiful leaves, to its low maintenance- it’s hard not to love this fun tropical plant!

I hope this helps you know exactly how to grow watermelon peperomia plants with success!

Love these plants and their fun leaves? Here’s general care tips for peperomias!

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