Pearly Peperomia (Peperomia columella) Indoor Care, Propagation and Common Problems


Pearly Peperomia (Peperomia columella) also called Columnar Peperomia is a succulent plant which bears fleshy upright stems from which arise tightly packed, alternately arranged succulent leaves.

The stems are the height of about 20 cm and branch profusely at the base to give rise to a multitude of upright stems.

These stems look like columns and hence the common name, 'Columnar Peperomia'. Columella is the Latin word for little columns.

Columnar Peperomia leaves are fleshy, bright green and bear the shape of a horseshoe. At the leaf apex is a transparent window through which light gets to the photosynthetic tissue.

The transparent windows in Peperomia columella are water storage structures which come in handy in the drought conditions.

In the beginning, the stems grow upright and later become a pendant, making them perfect for cascading in a hanging basket.

Related: 15 Hanging Baskets Indoor Plants Ideal for Beginners.

Pearly Peperomia, Peperomia columella

Botanical name: Peperomia columella
Family: Piperaceae
Common names: Pearly Peperomia, Columnar Peperomia

Origin

Peperomia columella species is endemic to the deserts of western South America.

Flower

Under bright light, Pearly Peperomia may produces rat-tail like inflorescence.

Is Pearly Peperomia toxic?

Pearly Peperomia (Peperomia columella) like other Peperomia Plants is non-toxic to humans and pets. The plants are safe to grow indoors.

Peperomia columella Care Indoors

Pearly Peperomia (Peperomia columella) prefers bright, indirect light away from direct sunlight, warm and humid conditions and moderately moist, fertile, well-drained soils coupled with monthly feeding during the growing season.

Peperomia columella requires regular pruning to keep the plant neat, to encourage a bushy compact growth as well as minimize pest and disease infestations.

Repotting is only needed when the plant becomes extremely pot-bound as it grows best when the roots are confined. Keep reading for more on these growing conditions and how to achieve them.

Pearly Peperomia, Peperomia columella

Watering

Water Pearly Peperomia liberally during the growing season and allow the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings to keep the soil moderately moist.

Significantly cut down on watering during the cold season to keep the soil barely moist as growth is minimal at this time.

Make sure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead in root-rot and eventual death of the plant. Read more on how to water houseplants the right way.

Light Requirements

Pearly Peperomia grows best in bright light. It can also grow under grow lights where the natural light is not adequate.

Too little light will result in a leggy plant which is an attempt by the plant to reach the light source. Take a look at these full spectrum grow lights on Amazon.

Keep the Columnar Peperomia away from direct sunshine as it can lead to scorching of the leaves.

Temperature and Humidity

Pearly Peperomia requires an average warmth in the range of 15-260C. A room temperature that is comfortable for you is ideal for these plants.

If the temperatures are outside this range, they impact the growth of the plant negatively. Keep it away from cold drafts as they can cause leaf drop and reduced growth.

Pearly Peperomia thrives in average room humidity. It has no need for high humidity.

Fertilizer

Feed Pearly Peperomia with a balanced, liquid fertilizer every 4 weeks during the growing period.

Withhold feeding during the cold season as growth is minimal and feeding at this time may lead to fertilizer burn.

Potting Soil

The best potting soil for Pearly Peperomia should be rich in organic matter and free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy while providing the required nutrients.

Cactus and Succulents Soil is ideal for Columnar Peperomia. Buy quality Cactus and Succulents Mix from Amazon.

Repotting

Repot Pearly Peperomia during the growing season only when the plant has become extremely pot-bound as it grows best when the roots are confined.

Use a pot one size larger than a current one and ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot.

A terracotta is preferable for this plant as it is porous and allows water to drain faster. This prevents the soil from holding too much water. Take a look at these Terracotta Pots with Saucer on Amazon.

Pruning

Pruning Pearly Peperomia involves regular removal of dead foliage to maintain the plant neat and tidy as well as minimize pest and disease infestations.

As the plant ages, it becomes straggly, therefore, cutback the stems during the growing season to rejuvenate growth.

Propagation

Pearly Peperomia (Peperomia columella) propagation can be done in 3 ways; from leaf-cuttings, from stem-cuttings or by plant division.

1. How to propagate Pearly Peperomia from leaf cuttings in water

The leaf cuttings root easily, therefore there is no need for a rooting hormone.

Take leaf cuttings from a healthy Pearly Peperomia Plant and ensure each leaf cutting has a petiole.

Allow sometime for the formation of a protective callus tissue over the cuts of the leaf cuttings to prevent rotting.

Place the leaf cuttings in a jar of clean plain water and change the water every 5-7 days.

Position the set up in a warm, well-lit place until growth begins at the base of the cuttings leaf petiole.

Allow enough time for substantial growth of the roots and new leaves before transplanting.

Transfer the rooted leaf cuttings to individual pots and place in a warm, well-lit place away from direct sunlight.

Maintain the soil moist until the new Columnar Peperomia plants are well established after which routine care can begin.

For a fuller plant, transfer several plants in one pot.

2. How to propagate Pearly Peperomia from stem cuttings

The stem-tip cuttings root easily, therefore, there is no need for a rooting hormone.

Take stem cuttings of about 4-5 in. length from a healthy Pearly Peperomia and ensure each cutting has at least 2 sets of leaves.

Allow some time for the formation of a protective callus tissue over the cuts of stem cuttings to prevent rotting.

Insert the cuttings in moist rooting soil and place in warm, well-lit place away from direct sunlight.

Maintain the soil moist until new growth emerges and substantial growth has been observed.

Transfer the rooted stem cuttings to individual pots and begin routine care. For a fuller Columnar Peperomia Plant, transfer several cuttings in one pot.

3. How to propagate Pearly Peperomia Plants by division

Water the Pearly Jelly thoroughly at least 1 day before to make it easier to divide and also hasten establishment; a well hydrated plant suffers less shock and takes a shorter time to take root.

Take the plant out of its pot and divide it into several sections and ensure each section has enough roots.

Pot these sections in individual pots and place in a warm, well-lit place away from direct sunlight.

Maintain the soil moist until new growth emerges on the sections.

Allow the new Pearly Peperomia Plants to be well established before transplanting after which you can begin routine care.

Columnar Peperomia, Peperomia columella

Peperomia columella Problems

Pearly Peperomia (Peperomia columella) problems include drooping leaves, leaf drop, brown leaf tips and edges, shrivelled leaves, pests and diseases among others. Keep on reading for more on these problems and how to fix them.

Dropping leaves

There are many and varied causes of dropping leaves in Pearly Peperomia. One possible cause of dropping leaves is that the temperature is too low.

Move the plant to a warmer spot away from cold draughts and maintain an average room temperature.

The second possible cause of dropping leaves in Columnar Peperomia is that the plant has been underwatered causing the foliage to wilt and drop.

Water the plant liberally during the growing season and allow the soil to dry out between waterings but decrease watering during the cold season.

Related: 12 reasons why Peperomia is dropping leaves (with solutions).

Pests

Common pests in Pearly Peperomia are spider mites, whiteflies, scale insects and mealy bugs. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to other plants. Treat it with Neem oil or Insecticidal soap as per the manufacturer's instructions.

Diseases

Leaf spot disease is common in Pearly Peperomia. The disease is characterized by brown, moist spots on the foliage. In a serious attack the spots can enlarge and merge, killing the whole leaf.

Isolate the affected plant and treat it appropriately for the disease. Learn how to treat leaf spot disease in houseplants.

Wilted and discolored leaves and corky swellings under the leaves

Soggy soil for Pearly Peperomia is the cause of wilted and discolored leaves and corky swellings under the leaves.

This is an indication of root-rot disease. Isolate the affected plant and treat it for the disease. Read on how to treat root-rot disease in houseplants.

Leggy stems

Leggy stems in Pearly Peperomia are due to low light. Columnar Peperomia grows best in bright light. It will also thrive under flourescent light.

Cut back the stems to rejuvenate growth and move the plant to a brighter spot where it will receive bright light or grow it under grow lights if the natural light is not adequate.

Dry and shrivelled leaves

Dry and shrivelled leaves in Pearly Peperomia are due to excess soluble salts in the soil from the water or excess feeding.

To get rid of accumulated salts from the soil flush them out by running a stream of water through the soil until it comes out through the drainage holes and repeat the process several times.

Brown leaf tips and edges

Brown leaf tips and edges in Pearly Peperomia are due to sudden drop in temperature from cold draughts. Remove all the damaged leaves and keep the plant away from cold draughts to maintain an average room warmth.

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