Peperomia scandens is a vining houseplant that has heart-shaped, shiny green leaves. Also called peperomia scandens variegata or cupid peperomia, it originated in Mexico and South America, where it climbs trees in tropical forests. Its pinkish vines can grow as much as 5 feet (1.5 meters) long.
Like other plants in the Piperaceae family, its leaves and stems can store water. This allows scandens peperomia to survive drought conditions. Peperomia scandens variegated care is relatively easy when you follow these tips.
Peperomia cupid requires indirect sunlight, ideally positioned beside a window. North, east, or west facing windows are best as a south-facing window may provide too much light for its delicate leaves.
Outdoors, peperomia scandens loves dappled sunlight, so position it under a tall shade tree when possible. Peperomia scandens green also grows very well in artificial light, making it a great houseplant in offices, basements, and other darker rooms.
Green or variegated peperomia scandens cannot handle being waterlogged, but neither should it be allowed to dry out entirely. During spring and summer, when the plant is growing, watering every 7 to 10 days is sufficient. If you’re unsure whether it’s time to water, insert your finger into the potting mix. If the first two inches feel dry, water it thoroughly.
It’s best to flood the soil with room temperature water, then allow it to drain fully before returning the plant to its window. Never allow your peperomia scandens to stand in water, as it easily leads to root rot.
Soil and Fertilizer Tips
Peperomia scandens needs a lot of air circulation around its delicate roots. Heavy potting soil will kill it, so always choose a loose mixture and a container with excellent drainage. A combination of 50 percent peat and 50 percent perlite is ideal.
Only fertilize peperomia scandens during the growing seasons of spring and summer. Apply a ¼ strength 20-20-20 water-soluble fertilizer once a month, then stop fertilization during the fall and winter.
Temperature and Humidity Requirements
Generally, if you’re comfortable indoors, your peperomia scandens will be, too. Protect it from temperature extremes, both hot and cold.
The same is true for humidity requirements. Normal room humidity is fine for most peperomia cupid plants. If you live in an arid, desert environment, or your winter heating dries out the air, your peperomia scandens may need a little more moisture. Place it—and your other houseplants—on a water and pebble tray to increase the surrounding humidity level.
Potting and Repotting Peperomia scandens
A hanging basket is an ideal container for a scandens peperomia. It will also look beautiful in an ordinary pot placed upon a shelf where its long tendrils can flow below the edge.
Peperomia scandens has a shallow root system, which means that it doesn’t need frequent repotting. If you notice it becoming root bound, it’s time to repot to a slightly larger container. Otherwise, it’s a good idea to repot every few years to refresh the soil. Be sure to brush away all old soil from the roots and trim any roots that appear dead.
When to Prune Peperomia scandens
Because it’s a slow grower, peperomia scandens variegata won’t need frequent pruning. However, you can prune and shape it as desired. Always remove dead, yellow, or damaged leaves as soon as possible to protect your plant from disease.
Peperomia scandens flowers appear as tiny green unscented spikes. As they resemble rat tails, you may wish to prune them when they appear. Peperomia scandens cupid is popular because of its ornamental foliage, not its plain flowers.
Peperomia scandens Propagation
Cupid peperomia propagation is an easy process via air layering. Simply lie one of the vines over a pot of fresh soil and it will soon grow new roots. Once the roots are established, you can cut the new plant away from the original stem.
You can also propagate peperomia scandens with leaf or stem cuttings. Use a sterile razor blade, knife or scissors to cut away a healthy stem or leaf. Place the cutting into soil or water until new root growth occurs. If you use water for propagation, change it daily to prevent fungal or bacterial growth.
Troubleshooting Peperomia Scandens Problems
Peperomia scandens has a good level of disease resistance. Overwatering can lead to many problems, however. If you see your plant wilting excessively or if its stalks and leaves turn yellow, it’s a sign that it’s waterlogged.
An overly wet peperomia scandens can develop a fungal infection called pythium. It starts in the roots and can be hard to detect until it’s too late to save the plant. Additionally, fungal infection will attract fungus gnats that eat your peperomia scandens.
Dry, yellow or brown peperomia scandens leaves are a sign of it receiving excessive sun exposure. If your cupid peperomia looks leggy or sparse, that usually means it needs more sunlight.
Peperomia scandens FAQs
Although cupid peperomia stores water in its leaves and stems, it’s not a true succulent. Often called a semi-succulent, its fleshy leaves do have a succulent-like appearance. However, peperomia scandens care is somewhat different than caring for a cactus or other succulent.
Yes. The name “scandens” means “climbing or sprawling.” Its heart shaped leaves grow along thick, pinkish-green stems that eventually trail over the container sides.
Although some people call it philodendron peperomia or false philodendron, peperomia scandens is in a different plant family. These tropical plants are easily confused because there are several vining philodendrons with heart-shaped leaves that closely resemble peperomia scandens.