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November 7, 2022

Watermelon Peperomia Care & Growing Guide

Struggling to keep your Watermelon Peperomia foliage lush and green? This post will address all your concerns and teach you all the tricks of the trade to become an expert in growing Peperomia.

Botanical Name (Latin Name/Scientific Name): Peperomia argyreia
Common Name: Watermelon Peperomia
Light: Medium indirect light
Watering: When the soil dries out to the bottom of the pot
Soil: Well-draining mix
Repotting: Once a year
Temperature: 55°F to 75°F (13°C to 24°C)
Humidity: 25-50% humidity, but adapts well to lower humidity
Toxicity for Pets: Non-toxic
Toxicity for Humans: Non-toxic
Propagation: Stem or tip cuttings

Leaf cuttings

Division

Pruning: Prune dead or diseased growth or when you want the plant to branch out

What is Watermelon Peperomia

Watermelon Peperomia belongs to the Peperomia genus, which comprises more than 1,000 species of tropical plants, native to South America. Watermelon Peperomia got its scientific name, Peperomia Argyreia, from the Latin word ‘’argyreia’’, which means ‘’silver’’, owing to the silver stripes on its leaves. This plant is native to Brazil and it grows to be 15-20 cm (6-8 inches) tall. Watermelon Peperomia has fleshy, green and silver striped leaves, which look like watermelon rind. The stems and leafstalks are dark red. This plant has unusual, whitish flowers that rest on long, slender stems.

Some of Peperomia species, like the Peperomia Obtusifolia or Trailing Jade (Peperomia Rotundifolia) are in demand as houseplants due to their lush foliage.

Peperomia argyreia with her big leaves in the white pot next to the window

Beautiful Watermelon Peperomia with striking leaves basking in bright light

Watermelon Peperomia Care Requirements and Growing Instructions

Light Requirements

Minimal amount of light: 1,000 lux (100 FC)
Optimal amount of light:  2,500+ lux (250+ FC)
Direct sun tolerance: 2-3 hours
Category: Medium light

Watermelon Peperomia plant has medium light requirements. It needs at least 1,000 lux (100 foot-candles). Your plant will achieve optimal growth if you provide it with light over 2,500 lux (250 foot-candles).

The more indirect light your plant gets the more it will photosynthesize. More photosynthesis means faster growth and a bigger, healthier plant that is more resistant to pests and diseases. Peperomia can handle 2-3 hours of weak direct sunlight, in the early morning or late afternoon. In this blog post you will find what bright indirect light means for plants.

Water Needs

You should water your Peperomia argyreia when the soil dries fully, all the way to the bottom of the pot. The easiest way to know if the soil has fully dried is to use a chopstick. Take a chopstick and stick it to the bottom of the pot. If the chopstick comes out completely dry, without any soil attached to it, this is a sign that you should water your plant.

Peperomias tolerate better staying dry than staying wet.

How often you should water your Watermelon Peperomia houseplant depends on your environment (amount of light, type of pot, type of soil, humidity…) That’s why it’s best to always check the soil before watering with a chopstick, to avoid underwatering or overwatering.

Ideal Soil For Growing Peperomia Argyreia Plants

The ideal soil for growing Peperomia Argyreia plants will include the following:

  • 2 parts of any commercial potting mix
  • 1 part of perlite or another inorganic amendment (pumice, coarse sand…)

Watermelon Peperomia prefers well-draining potting soil. Pot it in a pot with drainage holes. Otherwise, you risk the water pooling up at the bottom of the pot, which can cause root rot.

A plant growing new leaves in a brown pot

Healthy Peperomia in high-quality soil growing new leaves

Adding amendments to a store-bought potting mix is a great way to improve drainage and add oxygen to your plant. Amendments like perlite, pumice, bark, and similar help create macro pores in the soil. Macro pores contain oxygen. Roots need oxygen. More oxygen for roots equals a sturdier, happier plant with more resilience to pests and diseases.

Humidity Needs

Watermelon Peperomia is a tropical plant originating from South America, and according to the University of Georgia Extension, it is used to 25% to 50% humidity in its natural habitat. However, it tolerates lower humidity levels, like most tropical houseplants.

Temperature Requirements

Watermelon Peperomia prefers temperatures between 65°F (18°C) and 75F (24°C), according to the University of Georgia Extension, but it will tolerate temperatures down to 55°F (13°C). Be sure to protect your houseplant from cold air, especially from cold drafts during winter.

Fertilizing

To fertilize Watermelon Peperomia, use a high-quality liquid fertilizer like Dyna Gro Foliage Pro. Mix 1/4 teaspoon of Dyna Gro to each gallon of water and use with every watering. You don’t have to wait for spring and summer to fertilize it. As long as your plant is actively growing, you can fertilize it.

Dyna Gro Foliage Pro contains all 16 macro and micronutrients that plants need for optimal growth. Many fertilizers only contain N-P-K (Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Pottasium). Some fertilizers contain additional nutrients but are still not complete.

If your Watermelon Peperomia plant is healthy and thriving, and you repot it once a year, it is not necessary to fertilize it. Annual repotting will provide a sufficient amount of nutrients. You can give it a boost if you want to.

Whichever fertilizer you decide to use, carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Different fertilizers will have different usage instructions and application frequencies

Repotting Your Watermelon Peperomia:

These are the steps for repotting your Watermelon Peperomia:

  • Choose a pot that’s one size bigger than the one you’ve been using
  • Fill the pot ⅓ with a potting mix (2 parts of any commercial potting mix, 1 part of perlite, or another amendment)
  • Take your Watermelon Peperomia out of its pot
  • Loosen the rootball and inspect it
  • Prune rotten, dead or diseased roots, if any
  • Put your plant in the new pot
  • Fill around the plant with fresh soil
  • Press the soil around your Peperomia and water it
Watermelon Peperomia's leaf with dark green and light green patterns.

Watermelon Peperomia leaf

Repot your Watermelon Peperomia once a year, or sooner if you notice that it’s outgrowing its pot. Repotting houseplants provides great benefits for your plants because the soil gets compacted over time and loses nutrients as the plants are growing and absorbing them. The roots need oxygen. Oxygen is vital for the proper growth and development of the roots, since they absorb oxygen and release CO2. And oxygen is provided by fresh non-compacted soil.

Toxicity For Humans

Watermelon Peperomia, like its other cousins from the Peperomia genus, is not toxic for humans, according to the University of California Department.

Toxicity For Pets

According to ASPCA, the Watermelon Peperomia plant is not toxic to cats and dogs. However, if you want your plant to keep beautiful foliage, it’s best to keep it out of your furry companions’ reach, so they won’t nibble on it.

Pruning

You can prune your Watermelon Peperomia in the below-listed cases:

  • if it has diseases or pests
  • if the leaves are dead (dry and brown)
  • or if you want your plant to be bushier

If your plant has diseases or pests, or if the leaves are turning brown or dying, you should remove the parts that are diseased, pest infested or dead. Prune the affected leaves and stems with a pair of pruning shears that you have previously sterilized with rubbing alcohol.

You can prune your Watermelon Peperomia if you want it to be bushier. Select where you want the plant to branch out and prune it above the closest node with a pair of sterilized pruning shears. Your plant should branch out from the node below the cut.

If your Peperomia is healthy, you don’t have to prune it.

Watermelon Peperomia Propagation

You can propagate the Watermelon Peperomia plant using the following methods:

  • stem cutting in water or soil
  • leaf cutting in water or soil
  • division

To propagate Watermelon Peperomia using leaf cuttings in water, follow the steps listed below:

  • Pick a larger, healthy leaf
  • Pull the leaf off the stem with your fingers (try to pull off the whole petiole)
  • Put the leaf in a propagation vessel with water
  • Place the propagation vessel in bright indirect light
  • Replace water weekly
  • In a couple of weeks, the cutting will develop roots
  • When there is two to three inches of roots, plant the leaf cutting in soil
  • Water the soil
  • In a few weeks, you will see a new shoot growing out of it

Rooted leaf cutting of Watermelon Peperomia

Unlike some plants that will only grow roots from a leaf, Watermelon Peperomia will actually grow new shoots.

Check out my post about leaf propagation:

How Long Does It Take to Propagate Watermelon Peperomia?

It takes on average about 3-5 weeks to propagate your Watermelon Peperomia plant. If you’re choosing the water method, it will take about a month for the leaf with the petiole to grow two to three inches of roots, after which you can plant it in soil.

The Most Common Watermelon Peperomia Pests And Diseases

The Watermelon Peperomia plant can be afflicted by several fungal and viral diseases, as well as pests. The good news is that you can prevent these issues by providing your plant with just the right amount of light and water, as well as by using fresh, pathogen-free potting mix when you repot your Peperomia.

Common Pests Affecting Growth

Common pests affecting the growth of Watermelon Peperomia are listed below:

  • Fungus gnats
  • Root mealybugs
  • Spider mites
  • Scales
  • Thrips
  • Caterpillars

Common Fungal Diseases Affecting Growth

Common Fungal Diseases affecting growth of Watermelon Peperomia are listed below:

  • Cercospora leaf spot
  • Phytophthora and Pythium stem and root rot
  • Sclerotium stem rot
  • Phyllosticta leaf spot
  • Rhizoctonia leaf spot

Common Viral Diseases Affecting Growth

A common viral disease on Peperomia Argyreia caused by viruses is ring spot (Peperomia ring spot virus). Symptoms include distorted leaf shape, or rings of light or dark pigmentation, or necrotic lessions (brown sections) on the variegated cultivars. Plants affected by the ring spot virus should be discarded as it’s not possible to cure them.

Common Growing Issues With Peperomia Argyreia

Leaves Turning Yellow

The leaves of your plant can turn yellow due to multiple reasons which include underwatering, overwatering, lack of light, or too much sun. Not providing sufficient water (underwatering), can cause older leaves to turn yellow and die. Providing too much water or watering too frequently will do the same. If your plant isn’t getting sufficient light, it won’t have the energy to support all leaves, so older leaves will turn yellow and die. When your plant is exposed to too much sun, the leaves get bleached, and yellowish, especially during longer exposure to direct sunlight.

Bleached leaves on a plant in the white pot as a result of a too much direct sun

Peperomia bleached leaves due to too much direct sun

Leaves Turning Brown

If you notice that your plant’s leaves are turning brown, it could be just normal leaf senescence (leaf loss), which means that the older leaves are dying as the new leaves grow. It could also be caused by a sunburn. If the plant is exposed to very intense sun, the leaves will burn and appear brown, burnt, and crispy.

Another possible culprit is a viral disease caused by the Ring spot virus, which causes necrotic lesions (brown areas) on plants with variegated leaves, and those leaves that are infected usually fall off.

Curling Leaves

The leaves of your plant will start to curl if the plant is infested with thrips. Thrips are small, thin insects that feed on leaves, by sucking out the sap from the plant. Infested leaves start to curl or change shape, and silver-gray scars show up on the areas infected with thrips.

Drooping Leaves

Drooping leaves can be caused by underwatering, overwatering, pests, diseases and normal leaf senescence. That can happen either because a plant is underwatered, so it needs more water, or because it has been overwatered, the roots have rotted and now it can’t absorb moisture from the soil. The symptoms of overwatering and underwatering are similar. That’s why it’s important to have proper watering practices and not water until the soil has fully dried out.

Watermelon Peperomia FAQs

How Long Does Watermelon Peperomia Live?

Watermelon Peperomia is a perennial, and according to The Royal Horticultural Society, with proper care it can live for more than 5 years.

Does My Watermelon Peperomia Need to be Misted?

No, your Watermelon Peperomia doesn’t need to be misted because it doesn’t require high humidity. Misting also doesn’t increase humidity for more than a few minutes. As soon as the water evaporates, which takes a few minutes, the humidity returns to normal. Misting also increases the chances of fungal and bacterial infections, so it’s not recommended.

Learn how to grow gorgeous Watermelon Peperomia with this comprehensive care & growing guide.

Yours Truly,

Mr.Houseplant-signature-tr

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