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Watermelon Peperomia: 1 Vital Care Tip and How to Propagate

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Watermelon peperomia, or Peperomia argyreia, is a beautiful foliage houseplant named after the fact that its leaves resemble watermelon rinds. And what beautiful foliage it is! I’ve known many people that have killed this plant, but if you follow my tips, you can succeed so keep reading!

This plant is truly easy to grow if you follow my lead!

WATERMELON PEPEROMIA CARE

Although this plant is mainly grown for its foliage, it is a flowering plant. No one would purchase it for its flowers, but they do bloom!

Take a look at the green flower spikes that they produce.

watermelon peperomia

Like I said…no one grows these plants for their flowers! Let’s talk a little about how to care for Peperomia argyreia.

I’ll mention some basic care tips for this plant, and later on will talk about what I consider the absolute most important factor in keeping this plant alive (and thriving) and also how to propagate it.

LIGHT

Watermelon peperomia definitely prefers bright conditions, but mostly indirect light. These plants can not take too much direct sun otherwise their vivid foliage coloration will wash out.

These plants are well suited to larger Northern exposure windows, and Eastern exposure windows as well where they would receive some morning sun. If all you have is a window with a lot of direct sun, you may want to diffuse the light a bit.

Just keep in mind that the higher light you have these in, the more quickly they will dry out, so you’ll need to monitor that carefully. More on that in the watering section.

FERTILIZING

Watermelon peperomias are considered to be light feeders so avoid too much fertilizer otherwise your plant may lose its characteristic compactness.

I like to fertilize regularly, but very dilutely. This is the method I really use for all my houseplants.

My favorite fertilizer has become Dyna-Gro Grow. It is a complete fertilizer that contains all the necessary macro and micro nutrients for plant growth and is urea-free. I’ve achieved fantastic results with this fertilizer.

Of course, I would like to mention that fertilizers are NO substitute for poor cultural conditions. You should provide fertilizer on top of proper light, watering, etc.

watermelon peperomia

Temperature

Watermelon peperomia are definitely freeze babies and they like to stay warm. These plants come from the tropical regions in northern South America. If at all possible, keep this plant above 60F (about 16C).

As a rule of thumb, for tropical houseplants, I like to tell people that if you are comfortable, then your houseplant is OK when it comes to temperature.

Always avoid any really cold drafts.

Watering

Now we are getting to some of the most critical care tips for Watermelon Peperomia.

These plants are very sensitive to extremes in soil moisture. I’ll get to the best soil mixes to use for these plants later. For now, let’s talk a bit about watering.

Try not and let this plant completely dry out. If you do, what you’ll notice is that the lower leaves and petioles (the “stems” attached to the leaves) will droop.

Withhold water for even longer, and the entire plant will be droopy and start to collapse.

Ironically, the same thing will happen if they stay wet for too long. If these plants stay wet for too long, they are prone to rot.

So you’ll want to find a happy medium and avoid “overwatering.”

Simply wait until the surface of your soil is dry before giving it a thorough watering. Never let these plants sit in water. Always discard extra water that comes through the drainage hole of your pot.

If you notice that your plant is drooping, and also the leaves are turning yellow, you should immediately feel the soil.

Your soil has gone either completely dry or your soil is wet.

I haven’t been the best all the time with watering all my plants since I have SO many and it’s hard to keep up out of busyness or laziness…and for me, this has happened many times because I’ve allowed my soil to get bone dry.

So what I do is remove any leaves that are severely yellowed or very droopy, give it a good water and try not to let it happen again.

On the other hand, if your soil feels wet…then you have to determine why. Does your pot have a drainage hole? If not, repot it into one that does.

Did you let your plant sit in water in a saucer for a long time? Always, always discard excess water. And try not to let it happen again.

Potting Mix

I’ve been a stickler for potting mixes. You should put in a little more effort into choosing a good potting mix for your plants. Having your houseplants thrive depends on many factors.

You can’t just have one thing right. You need to have multiple things right (watering, soil mix, light, etc) in order to truly have a thriving houseplant.

Potting mixes are one of the most important factors. I rarely will use a potting mix straight out of the bag anymore. Depending on what I have on hand, I will either add some perlite, orchid bark, or pumice to a prepackaged potting mix.

Why do I do this? Because drainage and oxygen to plant roots are vitally important! By introducing a larger particle size (from the perlite, bark, or pumice) to the potting mix, it will do 2 things for you.

First, it will improve the rate at which water drains. Secondly, there will be more oxygen available at the plant roots because you improved the soil structure.

So it will be less likely that you will “overwater” your plants. “Overwatering” kills your plants because waterlogged soil is depleted of oxygen.

I’ll get to propagation soon, but I grew a beautiful Watermelon Peperomia in a soil blend to which added pumice. In my most recent project, I added orchid bark to a potting soil.

I strongly advise you to consider adding either perlite (I prefer the larger size perlite), orchid bark, or pumice to your potting mixes. Regardless of what you are planting! You will not regret it.

I have all 3 items on hand at all times because I like perlite in all my mixes. I grow plenty of orchids so I always have orchid bark, and I love using pumice for my succulents, so nothing will go to waste!

So don’t underestimate the importance of a good potting mix! Going the extra effort of adding additional components to your prepackaged soil mixes will go a long way.

Watermelon Peperomia Propagation

These plants are very easy to propagate. There are two ways that you can propagate and I will show you photos of one way that I’ve done it.

You will need to choose a healthy leaf. Don’t use a leaf that has yellowed or that is heavily damaged.

Simply cut a leaf off the plant (actually, you’re going to be cutting the petiole which is the leaf “stem”). Then you can either propagate it in water or place it in soil.

I like to water propagate so I placed all my cuttings in vases:

watermelon peperomia

The time they take to root will vary, but mine rooted within about a couple months or so. The roots will form right where you cut the petiole, and the pups or small plants will follow shortly afterwards.

Take a look at this cutting that actually produce two sets of pups! You can see pups were produced further up on the petiole because the petiole was damaged. Talk about putting a positive spin on things…

watermelon peperomia

Once your cuttings have roots, or you can also wait until the pups start to grow, you can pot it up in soil.

watermelon peperomia

A few months later, here is the same pot (and this is also after neglected to water it a few times!)

watermelon peperomia propagation

Of course if you prefer soil propagation, you could have dipped the cutting in rooting hormone and placed it right into soil instead of water.

Another method to propagate Watermelon peperomia is to take leaf cuttings. You actually would cut the leaf horizontally in half and insert the leaf segments into the soil (with the cut side inserted in the soil).

This method is supposed to produce pups more quickly, but I haven’t tried it myself.

One last tip, if you are propagating anything, always do multiple cuttings (if you can) because not every cutting will grow roots.

Lastly, check out my YouTube video where I show how I repotted and propagated my Watermelon Peperomias!

Want to grow other kinds of Peperomia? There are lots! I’ve also written about the gorgeous Peperomia Ruby Cascade and the rare Peperomia perciliata that I planted in a terrarium.

They’re an amazing genus of plants for the houseplant enthusiast!

Please do me a favor and share this post to social media because it will help me spread the Ohio Tropics houseplant care tips to the masses! Also, check out my shop on Amazon for all your houseplant care needs:

OHIO TROPICS PLANT CARE STOREFRONT

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Natalie

Thursday 21st of May 2020

Hey, why do you put clay over the drainage holes when you're propagating, wouldn't this cause the newly formed roots to rot because there's no drainage? Great video 😊

Raffaele

Tuesday 26th of May 2020

The clay shard doesn't lay flat. It's curved on the inside so it stops the soil from going through the hole but it allows water through. :-).

Carol C.

Thursday 23rd of April 2020

Hi Raffaele, I truly appreciate all of your expert plant knowledge. I have learned a lot from your blog. My Watermelon Peperomia is Putting out new growth but some of the leaves are deformed. I read this is a possible calcium deficiency? It’s in a terra cotta pot. I just started using the Dyna Gro fertilizer you use. Is there enough calcium in it to correct this issue? Thanks in advance for your response. Carol

Carol C.

Saturday 25th of April 2020

@Raffaele, Thank you for responding back to me. Hopefully my Watermelon Peperomia is on it’s way to being a healthy plant!

Regards,

Carol

Raffaele

Friday 24th of April 2020

Hi Carol! I'm so glad that you are enjoying my blog :-). If it indeed is a calcium deficiency, that fertilizer will take care of it because it is a complete fertilizer! If you look on the label, it even has instructions on what to do for nutrient deficiencies if I remember correctly!

Dobrinka

Thursday 23rd of April 2020

These plants are beautiful and easy to take care of. I had luck with putting them near a lamp during the day - I have no sun in my room. I give a bit of water when they start to droop. I am not sure how long they can grow and what I should do about that because some stems are pretty long.

I did not have luck with spider plants, supposedly they are supposed to be very easy but not with me! They turned yellow and brown and started dying.

Raffaele

Thursday 23rd of April 2020

Hi Dobrinka! Do you have a window that you can place your plant right in front of? Even if it gets no sunshine, that would work!

Jane

Saturday 18th of April 2020

Hi Raffaele, thanks for this incredibly helpful post! I have a question for you - my watermelon pep. is looking sad and droopy, with several leaves feeling soft and tender to the touch (VS their usual firm/turgid self). It's in a pot with drainage holes and gets good indirect light from a west facing window so I don't think that's the issue. Watering might be though - I was afraid of overwatering it so tend to let it go more dry than I probably should. I last watered this 18 days ago (I keep my home warm, around 22ºC even during winter, if you're wondering about temperatures). The pot feels VERY light in weight so I suspect that's the problem? Just want to get confirmation before I treat it (thinking a good soak for about 45 mins in a bowl of water). Thanks in advance for your help!

Jane

Sunday 19th of April 2020

@Raffaele, that's great. Thanks for the info! When you say "water it several times in a row" I'm guessing you're referring to doing this in a single day, as opposed to watering it a few days in a row right (the latter sounds like a recipe for root rot). BTW, I gave it a good watering and the soft tender leaves have actually regained their firmness so looks like it wasn't too far gone. Will definitely monitor more closely but will really appreciate it if you could answer my question above for future reference too. Thanks again!

Raffaele

Saturday 18th of April 2020

Hi Jane! Thank you for all the details ahead of time (you saved me some work :) ), and yes it definitely sounds like your plant has been suffering from being too dry, hence the pot feeling really light. And based on your other conditions that you described, it sure sounds like it. Definitely give it a good soak now. I would just water it several times in a row until the soil actually has accepted the water. Sometimes when you let soil get too dry, it is hard to "re-wet." Do it several times in a row until the pot doesn't feel light anymore. Know that you may have lost those droopy outer leaves though. Don't be surprised if those leaves continue to look worse after you water them. They're just continuing their decline...If you just let the top inch or so of the soil dry out (use your finger), and then water, you have no reason to be scared of overwatering. This is not overwatering at all. On another note, "overwatering" is very misunderstood. I've included a link here to my overwatering/underwatering post. Please read it. It will help you! https://www.ohiotropics.com/2018/10/01/what-happens-when-you-overwater-a-plant/

Val

Wednesday 8th of April 2020

Hi Ben, I have been studying your video in preparation to pot a leaf propagation and finally did that today. I am now starting another leaf to root to add to this new pot. Crossing my fingers!

I noticed today that my mother plant recently developed in the last few days a brownish green cluster of freckles on one of its leaves. I did move it closer to my east facing windows to get more light to encourage more growth and not sure if that is the reason why the freckles appeared. Any thoughts? I can’t seem to find something that matches the description of my problem online.

Val

Saturday 11th of April 2020

@Raffaele, thanks for the reply. No it’s not on the underside. It’s actually starts on top of the leaf and looks like it eventually shows on both.

Raffaele

Friday 10th of April 2020

Hi Val! You may be referring to the freckles on the undersides of the leaves? I've actually seen that too on one of my plants. I'm unfortunately not sure what it is! If it's a disease or more of a result of cultural conditions that are not ideal. If you end up finding out, please share!