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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.

Looking to purchase a Watermelon Peperomia? One of my favorite and most convenient one-stop-shops to buy practically any plant is Etsy. Check out the Watermelon Peperomia selection (link to Etsy) today!

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!

Looking to purchase a Watermelon Peperomia? One of my favorite and most convenient one-stop-shops to buy practically any plant is Etsy. Check out the Watermelon Peperomia selection (link to Etsy) today!

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

Faith

Friday 7th of May 2021

Oh...and one more thing. Anytime, I try to water propagate the stems ALWAYS turn black & No luck with leaf propagation yet :(

Raffaele

Friday 7th of May 2021

Try changing the water frequently and giving your propagations enough light. Keep your cuttings by a window where you would normally keep a regular plant. If you do these two things, it's pretty easy. And always do more than one leaf if you can since not all leaves will necessarily root, and only choose very healthy leaves for the best chances of success.

Faith

Friday 7th of May 2021

Hello there! I see that this is an old post. However if you have any advice that would be great. I have had 4 watermelon pepperomias. About a month ago my daughter bought me a full one from Lowe’s. It was doing great. And then it started drooping and the new growth is turning black. I set it further back from the grow light so it has more diffused light. However I am very confused because I’m still having the same problem. I just can’t seem to get the watering right? Any help would be appreciated it.

Raffaele

Friday 7th of May 2021

Hi Faith! If your plant is drooping, most of the time it's due to extremes in moisture. If your potting mix has gone completely dry, it will droop. If your plant got to that point there is a point of no return where the older foliage that drooped may not come back. On the other hand, if it's staying wet for too long and not drying out at all, you might still have the same issue. You'll need to determine which it is. The best thing I can recommend is to feel the surface of the potting mix and when it feels dry to the touch, go ahead and water. And don't use a moisture meter because they're all junk! Hope this helps.

Sarah

Saturday 28th of November 2020

Hi there, thank you for your post, it's really helpful. I am trying to propagate in water but the stem has rotted and turned to sludge! What did I do wrong???

Ashley

Wednesday 3rd of March 2021

@Raffaele, how often do you recommend changing the water? Also, would you recommend a growlight for these propagations?

Raffaele

Sunday 29th of November 2020

Hi Sarah! Have you been changing your water? Did you use good, healthy leaves? Were they near a window and getting proper light?

Josh

Thursday 12th of November 2020

Hey there,

Thanks so much for your website and this post! They are very helpful :) I have a watermelon peperomia which was potted a while ago into a loose soil mix of coco coir, coco chips and perlite, but has recently started to drop leaves. I'm not sure if its because I have overwatered it (I usually stick my finger in the soil and wait until it has dried down to 30-50% of the pot), or if its just dropping leaves because I have moved recently and that may have stressed it. The peperomia is still producing new leaves and flowers however so I'm not sure if it is just purging some of the older leaves? Any advice you may be able to offer would be so appreciated!

Josh

Thursday 3rd of December 2020

@Raffaele thanks so much for your response! I’m my efforts to get to the bottom of the problem, I accidentally yanked the whole plant out of the pot, and found that what I thought was wet was actually very very dry ??‍♂️ I also found the pot it was in was way too big for the root ball so took the opportunity and reported it into a much smaller pot. It’s much happier now I think. While a few more leaves have fallen off there are lots of new ones sprouting!

Raffaele

Thursday 12th of November 2020

Hi Josh! How quickly does that potting mix dry out? Is it drying out very quickly? If that's the case, that might be your issue. I'm wondering if it's not retaining enough moisture, or maybe you're perhaps waiting too long to water again? Some degree of losing older leaves is normal, but if it's a lot, it's very likely a cultural issue and this plant is super sensitive to extreme dry and extreme wet conditions.

Rosa

Tuesday 6th of October 2020

Hi Raffaele,

I recently bought a watermelon pep and it’s producing new leaves which is awesome, however they are growing twisted and deformed and not looking like the original leaves that are normal. Do you know why my new leaves are twisting as they are growing? I’m watering about once a week and it’s sitting in a sunny position so I don’t think that’s the problem... any tips would be appreciated! Thanks!

Raffaele

Tuesday 6th of October 2020

Hi Rosa, right before you water, are you judging how dry the soil is? Is it completely dry? It's probably soil moisture related. If they go really dry, it could be affecting the new leaves especially. How much direct sun is it getting?