Beautiful, attractive foliage, Low maintenance and can survive in low light conditions as well, what else do you expect for any plant to be a perfect houseplant. Baby Rubber Plant is the one for those without a green thumb or the beginners. It is also known as Peperomia Obtusifolia or Peperomia Obtusifolia jade or Radiator plant and is a Piperaceae family species. Peperomias are native to the rainforests of South America.
These are semi-succulent plants with thick upright stems and glossy cup-shaped leaves that store enough water in their leaves and stem, making them drought tolerant. Usually, the leaves are green in colour, but some variegated varieties have a mix of cream or yellow with light or dark green on their leaves. Peperomias do not grow very tall. They like to spread around the pot like a small bush.
Baby Rubber Plant is also well known for its air-purifying properties. Peperomias are ornamental plants that are extremely easy to take care of.
Peperomias prefer medium to bright indirect sunlight. Exposing them to direct sun can cause burns on the leaves and fade the beautiful glossy look. Surprisingly, peperomias do well in low light conditions as well. But providing them with bright filtered light will help in enhancing the healthy growth of the plant.
If you are a person who likes to view rather than read, I have created a YouTube video on this topic.
As peperomia Obtusifolia plants are semi succulents, the thick leaves and stem store enough water, which makes them drought tolerant. Peperomias do not need a lot of water. Watering them once a week during summers and once in two weeks during winters or even less will be enough for these plants. You must allow the topsoil to dry between watering. The best strategy is to check the soil first by sticking your finger at least 1 inch in the soil. If you feel any moistness in the soil, then you can wait for a few more days till the soil feels dry to touch. Remember, Overwatering can cause root rot and can kill the plant in just a few days.
Peperomias grow well in moist, well-drained soil with is rich in minerals and other nutrients. Therefore, peaty soil with a mix of compost or worm castings and perlite or coarse sand or pumice will be the right soil mix for these plants (60% coco peat or coco coir, 30% of compost or worm casting and 10% perlite). Keep the soil moist during spring and summer but not soggy at the same time. Make sure that the pot has enough drainage holes for the excess water to seep through easily.
Feed your Baby Rubber Plants with a diluted balanced liquid fertiliser once a month during the growing period, which is the spring and summer season. No need to fertilise during the fall or winter season.
PRUNING and MAINTENANCE
Prune your Peperomia during the spring season. This helps not only in maintaining the shape and size of the plant but also initiate side growth for a bushier look. The pruned cutting can be propagated easily in soil or water. Cleaning the dust from the leaves of the plant will maintain its attractive look and help the plant breathe easily. To do this, wipe the leaves with a damp soft cloth.
Peperomia Obtusifolia is non-toxic to children and pets. But still, you might keep them away from the reach of your children and pets because you do not want to damage your beautiful Peperomia.
DISEASES AND PESTS
Peperomias are quite resistant to diseases and pests. I would still suggest keeping an eye on your plant to ensure no pest attack on your plant. In case they do, spray them with homemade insecticides, dish wash soap solution with baking soda. Neem Oil spray is quite effective in getting rid of all those nasties.
COMMON PROBLEMS of Baby Rubber plant
Even though Peperomias are quite resistant to diseases and pests, you might still see some problems such as dull and fading leaves. This happens due to exposure to direct sunlight so keep your plant under the shade, so they receive filtered light. Wilting of the leaves can happen due to underwatering, and if you see wilting along with leaf loss, then this is the sign of overwatering. You might see browning of the leaves’ edges or tips, which is a sign of cold temperature.
Peperomia Obtusifolia plant PROPAGATION
Peperomias are super simple to propagate compared to other plants propagation. Always propagate them during the spring season as it is their growing season. Baby Rubber plants can propagate by leaf cuttings as well as stem cuttings in water.
Propagation through Stem cutting: Every stem gives out many aerial roots at the nodes. Make sure that you clean your scissors or secateurs with rubbing alcohol to sterilise them before using them. Take a clean-cut from below the node where the aerial roots are and then place your cutting in water if you want to go for water propagation. When the root develops, Transfer your cutting to the soil. I would recommend water propagation more than soil as you can see the development of the roots. The success rate is better through water propagation than that with soil propagation.
Propagation through leaf-cutting: Take a cutting of a healthy leaf and immerse the base of the leaf in water. When the roots develop, transfer them to the soil.
I have had my Peperomia Obtusifolia for 3 years approximately, and I have not faced any problems of diseases or pest infestation or any other problems. It is a very forgiving plant as I neglected it many times. It is a must-have plant for any household for its eye-catching look, air-purifying properties and easy care.
See this link for more Houseplants care and propagation tips.
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