Everyone with houseplants has their favourites. Often it’s the one that you’ve just bought, and still looks amazing while it adjusts to your home.
But I’ve increasingly fallen in love with a family of plants, which ticks all my boxes.
Meet the peperomia
It’s a bit cheeky to call them a family, since it’s a pretty enormous one. It includes around 1000-1500 species (depending on who you ask) of plants mainly from Central and South America. The breadth of peperomia is absolutely enormous, and so their care requirements do vary a bit.
But all the same I think they’re a fantastic family for beginners looking to expand their collection, and this is why:
1. Interesting and varied aesthetics
No two peperomia are alike – you’ve got the strikingly patterned Watermelon and String of Turtles, the rippled leaves of the Caperatas, the furry Incana, the upright Raindrop and the cascading Pepperspot. No matter what kind of style or shape of plant you’re looking for, there’s probably a peperomia that will fit the bill.
2. Ease of care
Most peperomia are straightforward to care for, liking bright indirect light, and moderate watering, usually on the drier side.
There are of course some exceptions – the Pecuniifolia ‘Hope’ is more like a trailing succulent, so lots of bright light, and less water. And the Metallica likes higher humidity, so would work well in a terrarium.
The main threat to a happy peperomia-filled life is overwatering, but that’s no different to most plants. Most of mine are in terracotta pots to help the roots dry out as quickly as possible after watering, and that does the job. Though there have been a few casualties en route. Luckily, its super easy to make more plants…
3. Fun to propagate
The best bit about peperomias is the fascinating way you can propagate most common varieties with a single leaf. For the most part all you need is a healthy leaf with stem, some water and some patience (read more on propagation here).
Often people will be happy to trade leaves in swaps, such as the UK Peperomia Swap group on Facebook or even give them away for free if they’ve fallen off by accident.
And there’s nothing cuter than a teeny tiny baby peperomia plant!
One of my main criteria for buying plants these days is affordability. I don’t want the stress of looking after tricky and expensive plants, knowing that if they die I’ve basically thrown loads of money down the drain. The most expensive peperomia I own cost £12, and most were less than that.
Up your houseplant game
So if you’re looking to develop your plant care skills, and try something new beyond the usual peace lily or golden pothos, why not give a peperomia a chance?
Here’s our peperomia family portrait:
Peperomia species featured, roughly left to right from the top:
- Argyreia ‘Watermelon’
- Obtipan ‘Bohemian Bravour’
- Ferreyrae ‘Happy Bean’
- Pecuniifolia ‘Hope’
- Verticillata ‘Red Log’Angulata ‘Rocca Verde’
- Incana ‘Felted’
- Angulata ‘Rocca Scurro’
- Trifolia / Rotundifolia
- Caperata ‘Cuito’
- Pepperspot ‘Ruby Cascade’
- Albovitatta ‘Rana Verde’
- Polybotyra ‘Raindrop’
- Prostrata ‘String of Turtles’
- Caperata ‘Abricos’
- Caperata Luna Red
- Griseoargentea ‘Moonlight’
- ‘Napoli nights’
- Albovitatta ‘Piccolo Banda’
- Orba ‘Pixie Lime’
I also have, but forgot to include in the photo: Clusiifolia ‘Ginny’, Columbia a vel Metallica and a plain Pepperspot