Peperomia (Radiator Plants) Indoor Care Guide

Emerald Ripple Peperomia, Peperomia caperata


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.


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.


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

Peperomia Care Indoors

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

Light Requirements

Peperomia Plants grow best in bright, indirect light away from direct sunshine as it can lead to scorching of the leaves.

Too little light for Peperomia Plants will result in leggy plants and loss of leaf color.

Rotate the pot regularly to ensure that the plant receives light on all sides for uniform growth.

Where natural lighting is not enough, you can use a grow light to supplement it.


Peperomia 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.

Always ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead in root-rot disease.


Peperomia 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. Keep Peperomia Plants away from cold and hot draughts as they can cause brown leaf tips and leaf drop.


Most Peperomia Plants can grow in ordinary room humidity but some need a humid environment to thrive. To raise humidity, set pot on a wet pebble tray. 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)

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

Do not feed during the cold season as growth is reduced at this time and feeding at this time may lead to fertilizer burn and eventual death of the plant.


Peperomia Plants are slow-growing plants which do not 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.


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


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

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


Peperomia 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 Problems

Peperomia growing problems 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.

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).

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.

Brown leaf tips and edges

Brown leaf tips and edges in Peperomia 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 Peperomia 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 to raise humidity for the 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.

Brown, curled leaves

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

To increase humidity for Peperomia 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 where a high humidity can be maintained.

You can also grow the plants in the bathroom, laundry area and other humid areas in the home but ensure they receive adequate lighting.

Dry, crispy leaves

Peperomia 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.

Leggy stems

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


Peperomia Plants are prone to leaf spot disease and root-rot disease.


Peperomia Plant pests are prone to spider mites, whiteflies, scale insects and mealy bugs. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to other houseplants and treat it with Neem oil.

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