Peperomia polybotrya (Raindrop Peperomia) is a highly sought-after houseplant thanks to its small size and beautiful dark green heart-shaped leaves. Like many Peperomia plants, Peperomia polybotrya isn’t overly difficult to care for. However, learning what the plant likes and offering a bit of tailored care will ensure that your Peperomia polybotrya stays happy and healthy.
- Scientific name and common names: Peperomia polybotrya, also known as raindrop Peperomia and coin-leaf Peperomia
- Origin: Rainforests of Columbia and Peru
- Indoor or Outdoor plant: Indoor
- Height and Structure: 1 to 1.5 feet tall with broad, full leaves
- Temperature: 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit
- Flower Color: Green
As an indoor plant, Peperomia polybotrya can be planted or repotted at nearly any time of the year. However, in general, it’s best to replant houseplants in the spring whenever possible.
Peperomia polybotrya prefers bright but indirect sunlight for the majority of the day. This light helps to mimic the filtered light the plant would receive in its native rainforest habitat. You can offer filtered light by placing a sheer curtain over the window, placing a taller plant in front of the Peperomia polybotrya to shield it, or moving the Peperomia polybotrya a bit farther away from the window.
Some direct morning sunlight can be beneficial for Peperomia polybotrya, as long as the plant isn’t exposed for too long.
Peperomia polybotrya is extremely susceptible to root rot, so soil that drains well and quickly is crucial, particularly if you live in a more humid climate. A potting soil or even cactus potting soil often works well for these plants. You can also add pumice to increase drainage. Remember that these plants are technically succulents, so they retain water well and prefer to stay dry most of the time.
In drier climates, you may want to use perlite instead of pumice. Perlite helps to retain just enough moisture while also ensuring that the soil doesn’t become soggy.
Peperomia polybotrya plants stay relatively small, only growing to between 1 and 1.5 feet tall. They also tend to be quite dense, with lush foliage. These plants grow at a moderate to slow rate. It generally takes more than a month for each new leaf to appear.
As a succulent, Peperomia polybotrya retains a large amount of water and therefore requires only light watering. It’s best to only water when the soil around the plant is dry. You can test the soil by inserting a finger into the soil. If at least half of the soil is dry, or the soil is dry up to your first knuckle, it’s time to water again.
When watering these plants, water well enough to completely dampen the soil in the pot. The soil should not become muddy, however.
Peperomia polybotrya plants do appreciate some fertilizer during the spring and summer, which is when they do most of their growing. The plants can be fertilized as little as twice per year or as frequently as during every watering. How much to fertilize generally depends on how your plant is doing and whether it seems like it will need additional nutrients.
An all-around or balanced fertilizer is the best choice for these plants. Apply the fertilizer directly to the soil in order to target the roots. Avoid fertilizing the leaves of the plant, as they can be delicate. Slow-release or diluted fertilizers ore often a better choice for these small, delicate plants.
Although it comes from the rainforests of South America, Peperomia polybotrya can tolerate a wide range of humidity levels, and it sometimes actually prefers a dry climate. It retains water well, so extra humidity isn’t necessary, and additional moisture can lead to pests or diseases.
In particularly dry areas or during the winter months, however, you may want to occasionally mist your Peperomia polybotrya in order to raise the humidity level and help the plant retain moisture.
Although pruning the raindrop Peperomia isn’t strictly necessary, this plant will often benefit from trimming. Cutting away yellow, dying, or leggy leaves can encourage the plant to grow thicker, healthier foliage. Pruning usually doesn’t overly stress the raindrop Peperomia, so heavy trimming is acceptable. Most leaves or leggy stems can be saved and used for propagation.
The large leaves of this plant are also prone to collecting dust, so it’s a good idea to periodically wipe them off with a damp cloth.
Because they grow so slowly and stay so small, Peperomia polybotrya generally don’t need to be repotted very often once they’re placed in a pot that suits their adult size. However, if they have become root bound, you may need to offer a larger pot. The roots of the plant will continue to grow, slowly, even after the plant has reached its mature size.
On average, you’ll need to repot every two to three years. Try to repot in the spring, before the plant begins growing again so that it has room to expand.
You can plant raindrop Peperomia in any number of pot types, but clay pots often work best. These pots allow water to evaporate quickly, which prevents the buildup of excess moisture and cuts down on the risk of root rot. Ensure that whatever pot you choose has plenty of drainage at the bottom.
A pot that fits the plant tightly, while leaving just enough room for growth, is ideal, as this helps to prevent any damp spots where the roots can’t reach.
Peperomia polybotrya can be propagated through cuttings. Choose a healthy stem with at least two to three leaves attached. Cut as far down as possible. Remove any leaves at the very bottom of the stem, leaving just one leaf. Where the leaves meet the stem is called a node, and this is from where the new roots will grow.
Cuttings can be placed either in water or soil. It can take some time for new roots to form, as the plant grows slowly.
If you’re propagating in water, change the water at least once a week. Once the plant has developed roots, you can repot it into soil. Try to leave the plant in that pot for as long as possible before repotting to allow it to become established.
Cuttings propagated in soil should be dipped in root hormone before planting to encourage growth. New plants will require a much higher humidity level as they grow and become established, so you may want to cover cuttings rooted in soil with a plastic bag until they begin to grow.
The leaves of the raindrop Peperomia can also be propagated. Split the leaf in half and dip the cut edge in root hormone. Then, bury that edge of the leaf in soil. This method can take longer, but it’s a good way to salvage any leaves that were lost during pruning.
Because these plants have a very delicate root system, and because they can be easily propagated through cuttings, dividing the plant in half is not generally recommended.
As mentioned above, Peperomia polybotrya is prone to root rot, so ensuring that the plant stays watered but not overly moist is very important. Raindrop Peperomia can also develop leaf spots. These spots are caused by water drops sitting on the leaves. When watering, be careful to water at the base of the plant, and wipe away any water that splashes on the leaves.
These plants are also susceptible to mites and mealybugs, both of which can drain the nutrients from the plant. To keep these pests at bay, lightly spray the plant with a diluted alcohol solution or use an insecticide spray, such as neem oil, at the first sign of any issues.
Peperomia polybotrya is one of the most popular Peperomia species, but there are several other Peperomia varieties that are also excellent houseplant options. Peperomia obtusifolia, for example, is one of the more common Peperomia varieties. This plant has robust, deep green leaves, but it can also be found in several variegated forms. It grows to about the same size as the raindrop Peperomia.
Peperomia prostrata is more commonly known as the string of turtles. This plant develops small leaves that trail down away from the plant, making it a beautiful choice for a hanging planter.
The Peperomia jelly is a colorful variety that grows long leaves striped with green, white, and deep red. Peperomia ruby cascade plants also sport red and green leaves, but the leaves are small and tend to trail like those of the string of turtles.
Because it’s an indoor plant, Peperomia polybotrya can be grown by itself or with any combination of other potted plants. These little plants work well when placed on a windowsill or desk, and they look excellent paired with other leafy plants. Other Peperomia varieties or large-leafed plants such as aPilea, calathea, or caladiums can help to create a full rainforest appearance. Flowering plants such as orchids also work well with a backdrop of Peperomia polybotrya.
Is the plant toxic?
Peperomia polybotrya is considered to be non-edible but non-toxic.
Is it toxic for cats or dogs?
Peperomia polybotrya is non-toxic and is considered both cat and dog safe.