Peperomia caperata is a small houseplant with very dark green leaves, lovely red to purple stems and interesting rat tail shaped flowers. It’s a species much appreciated by terrarium keepers but it can actually also easily be grown in most homes, which makes it a great choice for anyone looking for a compact houseplant that’s not too demanding.
Keep reading for everything you need to know about Peperomia caperata care and growing this plant in your own home!
|Easy||Bright but indirect||When top is dry||Light soil|
Peperomia caperata care
As with all houseplants, looking at the way Peperomia caperata naturally grows gives us some basic care indications. This plant is naturally found in tropical rainforests in Brazil, which means it doesn’t appreciate low temperatures and will do well with relatively high humidity. Because the sun is mostly blocked out by taller trees in these regions, this plant is also not used to receiving direct sunlight.
Peperomia caperata location and temperature
Because Peperomia caperata can naturally be found in tropical rainforests, it’s a good idea to (at least partly) imitate these conditions in your home.
- Because direct sunlight would naturally be blocked out by larger trees, full sun is not ideal for this plant. It does require plenty of indirect light.
- Any window besides South facing ones should work well, but there is also another option: Peperomia caperata is known to grow very well under artificial lighting, which means it’s a great option for darker rooms. Indoor grow lights are not expensive and can be of great help.
- An environment that mimics the humidity of the rainforest is much appreciated by Peperomia caperata. Kitchens, bathrooms and greenhouses can provide the moisture needed, but I’ve found that mine still does very well in a regular living room. As discussed below, another great option would be a terrarium setup.
- Peperomia caperata cannot withstand low temperatures so be sure not to expose it to anything below 59 °F/15 °C. Room temperature works best for this plant.
Planting Peperomia caperata
As discussed above, Peperomia caperata is naturally found in rainforests and therefore appreciates a relatively moist environment.
- Its preference for higher humidity levels and tendency to stay relatively compact make this plant a great choice for terrariums. This doesn’t mean you need to have a full sized terrarium just to grow your Peperomia: as mentioned in the Cryptanthus caresheet (another great terrarium plant), even something simple like a cookie jar could work well. Just don’t put the lid on!
- Because Peperomia caperata needs plenty of air around the roots, a relatively loose soil is a good idea. Mixing your regular potting soil with a heavy dose of perlite should produce a light soil mixture that will work for this plant; just be sure to avoid anything too compact to keep your Peperomia happy.
- Peperomia caperata doesn’t like permanently wet soil so a well-draining pot is definitely a must.
- Repotting often is usually not necessary because most Peperomias are already mature. If you do need to repot, do so in the Spring months. A big pot is not needed: the root systems are not that large.
Watering Peperomia caperata
Figuring out when to water Peperomia caperata can be a bit difficult, but be sure to keep in mind that this plant has succulent-like leaves and is able to store some water. Succulents prefer to be left to dry for a bit before watering and the same can be done with Peperomia caperata, although you shouldn’t let the soil dry out completely.
Once the soil has had some time to dry out, thoroughly water the plant and let any excess water drain out of the pot before repeating the process.
Feeding Peperomia caperata
Peperomia caperata is not a heavy feeder at all and you should be careful not to overfeed it. Try to feed only during the active growing months when the foliage is growing. Be sure to use a diluted liquid fertilizer and leave the plant alone entirely during the Winter months.
Buying Peperomia caperata
You should be able to find Peperomia caperata in most regular garden and plant stores. You can also buy it online!
When buying this plant, be sure to keep in mind that not all varieties of this plant look the same. Leaves can be bright green to dark purple. Peperomia caperata “rosso” (pictured above) has thinner, pointed leaves instead of the regular rounder variety.
Is Peperomia toxic to cats and dogs?
The ASPCA and other sources list plants from the Peperomia genus (including Peperomia caperata) as non-toxic to cats and dogs. Yay!
If you have any more questions about Peperomia caperata or want to share your own experiences with this rat-tailed houseplant, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!
Cover photo: By Lazaregagnidze (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons