Peperomia graveolens looks more like a true succulent than many other plants in the Piperaceae family. It’s native to high altitudes in southern Ecuador and grows on cliffs. Peperomia graveolens is considered a mini shrub and its maximum height is around 10 inches.
Common names for Peperomia graveolens include Ruby Glow and Ruby. It has red stems and thick, green fleshy leaves shaped like a fat canoe. Each leaf has red edges and a transparent window that facilitates photosynthesis.
Peperomia graveolens care requires providing adequate light. Peperomia graveolens sun exposure should be indirect, but bright. An ideal spot would be indoors beside an east or north facing window. It also grows well under plant grow lights.
Peperomia graveolens leaves and stems are thick, waxy, and sturdy—perfect for standing up to droughts. The best way to water ruby Peperomia graveolens is the “soak and dry” method.
Once every week to 10 days, flood the soil with water and allow it to fully drain out of the holes in the bottom of the pot. Return it to its usual spot in the house and allow the soil to completely dry out before watering it again. Reduce watering to once a month during the wintertime.
Soil and Fertilizer Requirements
Peperomia graveolens soil must be airy and well-draining. A good mixture includes equal parts peat moss and perlite, with a top application of organic compost.
During spring and summer, fertilize once a month with a liquid fertilizer specially made for succulents. Look for one that has “8-8-8” or “10-10-10” on the label and only use half of the manufacturer’s recommended amount.
Temperature and Humidity Levels
Normal indoor room temperature is best for Peperomia graveolens (between 65 and 75 degrees F or 18 and 24 degrees C). As for humidity levels, Peperomia graveolens hardiness is good. It will thrive equally well in high, medium, or low humidity conditions.
Peperomia graveolens cold tolerance is low, so avoid placing it where the temperature is likely to fall below 60 degrees F. For the same reason, keep your ruby glow graveolens away from air conditioning vents or drafty doors and windows.
Potting, Repotting, and Pruning
When potting a new Peperomia graveolens plant, choose a pot that’s slightly bigger than the root ball. Like most plants in the same family, Peperomia graveolens enjoys being somewhat rootbound. Putting it in a container too large can shock the roots and interfere with growth.
Peperomia graveolens repotting is best done in the spring, while it’s actively growing. An annual repotting allows you to replace old soil with fresh potting mix and transfer to a slightly larger pot, if needed.
A graveolens Peperomia’s growth can be somewhat erratic, with leaves appearing in various hues and sizes. Feel free to remove the ones that take away from the overall appearance.
Peperomia graveolens flower racemes resemble pale yellow rat tails. You can leave them on the plant if you like the way they look. If not, simply clip them off.
Propagating Peperomia Graveolens
Peperomia graveolens propagation is easily accomplished through cuttings. Use a sterile knife or scissors to remove several stems with leaves from the main plant. Place the cuttings on a paper towel and allow them to rest for a week so that calluses can form over the cut end.
If you wish, dip the stems into rooting hormone to speed up growth, then insert them cut side down into moist, well-draining soil. Keep the container away from direct sunlight. Gently water when the soil is dry and you should have new root and leaf growth within a month or so.
Troubleshooting Peperomia Graveolens
The most common problems with Peperomia graveolens cultivation are related to water: too much, or too little. If watered too often, the roots will rot and the plant will soon die. If you notice pale, dry leaves it’s a sign you’re underwatering. Give it a good soak and increase how often you water the plant or it will die from dehydration.
If your ruby Peperomia graveolens’ leaves are covered with dark spots, pests are probably to blame. Whiteflies, spider mites, and mealybugs are the most common culprits. Rub the spots with ordinary rubbing alcohol every day and within two weeks, the pests should disappear.
Peperomia Graveolens FAQs
Peperomia graveolens leaves are normally shaped like an open canoe. If they’re closed or have scab-like protrusions, it’s usually due to overwatering.
The word “graveolens” actually means “bad smell.” But don’t let that put you off buying this beautiful plant. It can occasionally emit a faint urine-like odor, but it’s difficult to detect unless your nose is right beside the plant.
Up until the 1990s, it was hard to find a Peperomia graveolens for sale. In this century, its cultivation has become far more common. Graveolens is no longer considered a rare type of Peperomia and is relatively easy to find around the globe.