Quick note to intro you to a new contributor of ours, Alec Perez, who will be penning our ongoing Plant-o-Pedia column! Alec, our new resident Jungalista will be gently schooling us on plant care, and can also answer any questions you all may have about your planties at home. Welcome Alec! ~Justina
Photo by Alec Perez
We must direct your attention to a patterned fav, the Watermelon Peperomia. Native to Brazil, this semi-succulent houseplant gets its nickname from its watermelon rind like pattern on its leaves. They are great for those new to houseplants as they are easy to care for and forgiving if you miss a watering. The Watermelon Peperomia welcomes attention and is best showcased in social settings. Its watermelon design is a great conversation piece and its small footprint won’t take up too much space on your coffee or side table.
This variety isn’t a common plant found in shops all year round so if you see one grab it — I found mine at Mickey Hargitay’s Plants in West Hollywood!
Photo by Alec Perez
GET THE GREEN: Watermelon Peperomia (Peperomia Argyreia)
WATER: Peperomias have succulent like qualities and can tolerate some neglect between waterings. Allow the top 2 inches of soil to dry out before watering. When it’s time to water give it a good soak and allow water to drain out. This species has a small root system so too much water will lead to root rot, yellowing leaves, or wilting. If you notice these signs let the soil dry out and adjust your watering schedule. During the warm summer months, they will require more frequent watering and then less frequently in the winter months.
SOIL: Regular potting soil with perlite to allow the roots more air circulation. Orchid potting medium if you want to go the extra mile and mimic its natural habitat.
FERTILIZER: Once a month with a well-balanced fertilizer during the summer months.
HUMIDITY: Keep this plant in warmer settings with normal indoor humidity. If you feel it needs a boost to group it with other plants around a humidifier or use a pebble tray.
SUNLIGHT: Peperomias as a species are usually found closer to the ground or growing on trees so they thrive in shade and indirect light. Place your plant in indirect to medium lighting in west, east, or south-facing windows. Direct sunlight will damage and burn the leaves so set the plant back a few feet if you have it in a south-facing window.
PLACEMENT: This plant is tropical so keep it away from cold drafts. Watermelon Peperomias are great conversation pieces so place them in social settings where they will get attention — think living rooms or entryways!
Photo by Alec Perez
PROPAGATION: Watermelon Peperomias are easy to propagate through a leaf or stem cutting. Note: This will require patience but it’s so worth it to have more plants for your collection or to give to friends!
For leaf cuttings: Cut the leaf at the stem then cut the leaf in half. Place the cut edge in soil. Make sure to water. New roots will grow in a month or two and an easy way to check is to tug on the cutting. If it comes up easily then little to no root growth, or if there is some resistance then the roots are forming and taking to the soil. Give it a few more weeks and you’ll see a new shoot in no time.
For stem cuttings: Cut a leaf with 1-2 inches of stalk and then place in water. The stem will grow roots in a month or two and once they are an inch or so long you can place the cutting in soil.
Rooting hormone is optional for both methods. Place propagations in the same conditions as the parent plant. We encourage you to experiment with both methods. Share your tips and experiences in the comments below!
EXTRA CREDIT: These plants are known to flower and if yours does that means it’s happy!
CAUTION: ASCPA lists Watermelon Peperomias as non-toxic to dogs and cats.
GET THE LOOK: Give your Watermelon Peperomias all the feels with our Emotions Planters, available in the Jungalow Shop.
...and visit our friends at Mickey Hargitay’s Plants!