How to Grow and Care for Radiator Plant (Peperomia) Indoors

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Emerald Ripple Peperomia, Peperomia caperata

Emerald Ripple Peperomia (Peperomia caperata)

Radiator Plants Description

Radiator Plants (Peperomia) are easy-care plants which come in a variety of beautiful foliage, texture and growth habits which qualify them for any houseplant collection.

Peperomia is one of the two genera in the Piperaceae famliy (the Pepper family) which comprises of about 3600 species.

The genus name Peperomia was coined by Spanish botanists Ruiz López and Pavón Jiménez in 1794 after their travels in Peru and Chile.

The common name, 'Radiator Plants', is thought be have been coined by L.H. Bailey because many of these plants enjoy bright and dry environments similar to a windowsill above a radiator.

There exists numerous varieties of Peperomias; trailing, bushy and upright ones are available. The foliage may be fleshy, quilted, corrugated, smooth or hairy, green or variegated or even striped like a watermelon.

Some of the common Peperomia plants that are grown indoors include Watermelon Peperomia, Emerald Ripple Peperomia, Baby Rubber Plant, Beetle Peperomia, Red Log Peperomia among others. Check out these 15 Popular Peperomia Varieties for Growing Indoors.

Radiator Plants Flower

Peperomia flowers are usually unnoticeable, rat-tail flower-heads made up of greeninsh flowers on an upright spike. Most peperomia flowers may be odorless to humans but some carry a musty or even unpleasant odor.

Radiator Plants Origin

Peperomia are found occurring in all tropical and subtropical regions of the world but being concentrated in northern South America and Central America, but are also found in Africa, southern Asia, and Oceania.

Are Radiator Plants (Peperomia) toxic?

Radiator Plants (Peperomia) are non-toxic to humans and pets. The plants are safe to grow indoors.

Watermelon Peperomia, Peperomia argyreia

Watermelon Peperomia (Peperomia argyreia)

Radiator Plants (Peperomia) Care Indoors

Radiator Plants (Peperomia) require bright, indirect light and moderately moist soil inorder to thrive. These plants prefer warm, humid conditions for lush growth. Continue reading for a detailed account on the best growing conditions for Peperomia Plants.

Radiator Plant Light Requirements

Radiator Plants grow best in bright, indirect light away from direct sunshine. They can also grow under a grow light where the natural light is not adequate.

Too little light for Radiator Plants will result in leggy plants and loss of leaf color while direct sunshine can lead to scorching of the leaves. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

Watering Radiator Plants

Radiator Plants require moderately moist soil during the growing season and barely moist soil in the cold season.

To achieve this, water Peperomia plants liberally during the growing season and allow the soil to slightly dry out between waterings.

Reduce watering during the cold season to keep the soil barely moist as growth is minimal at this time. Read more on how to water houseplants.

Ensure the pot for Radiator Plant has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead in root-rot disease.


Temperature for Radiator Plant

Radiator Plants grows best in average warmth within 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.

Protect your Radiator Plants from cold and hot draughts as they can cause brown leaf tips and leaf drop. Read more on understanding temperature for houseplants.

Humidity for Radiator Plant

Most Radiator Plants can grow in ordinary room humidity but some may need a humid environment to thrive. To raise humidity, set pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier. Read more on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

The moisture loving Radiator Plants can grow in a terrarium as high humidity can be maintained in a terrarium.

Fertilizer (Feeding) for Radiator Plant

Radiator Plants are not heavy feeders therefore, a monthly feeding during the growing season with a balanced, liquid fertilizer is adequate.

Do not feed Radiator Plant during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time and feeding at this time may lead to fertilizer burn and eventual death of the plant. Read more on how to feed houseplants.

How to Repot Radiator Plant

Radiator Plants are slow-growing plants which do require regular repotting. Repot these plants during the growing season only when the plant has become pot-bound.

Use a pot one size larger than the current one to avoid over potting the plant. Ensure the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot disease.

Radiator Plant Soil

The best soil for Radiator Plants should be rich in organic matter and free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy while providing the required nutrients. Most multi-purpose potting mixes are ideal for Radiator Plants.

How to Prune Radiator Plant

Pruning Radiator Plants is easy as it involves regular removal of dead foliage to maintain the plant neat and tidy.

To encourage a bushy, compact growth, regularly pinch off the growing tips. As the plant ages, it becomes straggly therefore, cut back the stems during the growing season to rejuvenate growth. Read more on how to prune houseplants.

Radiator Plant (Peperomia) Propagation

Radiator Plants can be propagated in 4 ways; from seeds, from leaf cuttings, from stem-tip cuttings or by plant division.

Peperomia Jelly, Peperomia clusiifolia

Peperomia Jelly (Peperomia clusiifolia)

Radiator Plant (Peperomia) Problems Indoors

Radiator Plant (Peperomia) problems indoors are caused by cultural faults in watering, humidity, quality of soil, lighting, feeding among others. Below are the common Radiator Plants problems and how to fix them.

Radiator Plants dropping leaves

Dropping leaves (leaf fall) in Radiator Plants is caused by many and varied reasons like overwatering, insufficient lighting, overfeeding among others.

Here is an outline on 12 reasons why Peperomia is dropping leaves (with solutions).

Radiator Plants drooping leaves

Peperomia Plants leaves may wilt and begin to droop due to a number of reasons like underwatering, humidity issues, quality of soil among others.

Check out this post on 14 reasons for Peperomia drooping leaves and how to fix them.

Radiator Plants brown leaf tips and edges

Brown leaf tips and edges in Radiator Plants are due to two possible reasons. Remove the damaged leaves or trim the brown tips and edges to keep the plant neat.

1. Cold draughts (drafts): They cause the temperature to drop drastically below the optimum range which Radiator Plants cannot tolerate. As such the plant begins to die which starts from the tips and edges thus they turn brown.

Keep your Radiator Plants away from cold draughts like cold window sills, air conditioners, windy doors e.t.c and maintain an average room temperature within the range of 15-260C. A room temperature that is comfortable for you is ideal for these plants.

2. Dry air (too low humidity): The moisture-loving Peperomia Plants require humid conditions inorder to thrive. In low humidity, the tips and edges begin to die and turn brown and crispy.

Set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier to raise humidity for Peperomia Plants.

You can also grow Peperomia Plants in a terrarium as high humidity can be maintained in a terrarium or grow the plants in the bathroom, laundry area and other humid areas in the home but ensure they receive adequate lighting.

Radiator Plant brown, curled leaves

Radiator Plant brown, curled leaves are caused by too dry air (low humidity). Radiator Plant prefers a humid environment.

To raise humidity for Radiator Plants, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier.

These moisture-loving Radiator Plants can also grow in a terrarium as high humidity can be maintained. You can also grow Radiator Plants in the bathroom, laundry area and other humid areas in the home but ensure they receive adequate lighting.

Radiator Plant dry, crispy leaves

Radiator Plant dry, crispy leaves are due to excess soluble salts in the soil from the water or excess feeding.

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

Radiator Plant leggy stems

Leggy stems in Radiator Plant are due to low light (insufficient). Cut back the stems to rejuvenate growth and move your Radiator Plant to a brighter spot where it will receive bright, indirect light.

Radiator Plant diseases

Radiator Plant pests; leaf spot disease and root-rot disease.

Radiator Plant pests

Radiator Plant pests; spider mites, whiteflies, scale insects and mealy bugs.

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