Peperomia Clusiifolia

The Peperomia Clusiifolia is a highly sought after houseplant because of its beautiful appearance. It is a member of the Peperomia genus with over 1,500 species.

If you’re on the lookout for the plant, it is worth noting that it has many common names including:

  • Peperomia Jelly
  • Peperomia Jellie
  • Peperomia Ginny
  • Peperomia Tricolor
  • Peperomia Red Edge

Some actually refer to the Peperomia Clusiifolia while others are varieties or cultivars of the Peperomia Clusiifolia. Unfortunately, many shops will label them as the same plant.

Therefore, you want to rely more on what you see because the plant’s features are very distinct.

Similarly, the Peperomia Clusiifolia is often confused with the Peperomia Obtusifolia because they look quite similar. Again, this is something worth considering so you don’t end up buying one plant when you wanted the other.

That said, both are gorgeous looking plants.

The biggest draw of the Peperomia Clusiifolia is its color.

It features green leaves with cream variegations and red-pink borders on wide oval shaped leaves.

It hails from the Caribbean Central and South America which makes it tropical in nature.

Peperomia Clusiifolia Plant Care

Light Requirements

The Peperomia Clusiifolia thrives with bright indirect light making an east facing window ideal for the plant. It likewise does very well with moderate light and will tolerate low light.

But, there are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Direct sunlight – the plant cannot tolerate long exposure to direct sunlight on a regular basis. This is also true for very intense light (including grow lights). Therefore, if you want to place it facing south, it is a good idea to keep it at least a few feet from the window or filter the light. That said, it will be perfectly happy 10 feet away from a south facing window in a well-lit room.
  • Very dim or little light – again, it can tolerate low light. But as the light decreases, you’ll see its leaf colors lose their luster and brightness. They won’t actually disappear. However, the more insufficient the light gets, the more color it will lose. Also, you’ll notice the plant grow slower.

Therefore, somewhere in between works best. Of course, bright, indirect light will produce the fastest growth with the most vibrant foliage colors.

One of the reasons that the Peperomia Clusiifolia is an easy houseplant to care for is that it does not have a problem with fluorescent light. So, you can keep it in a room or office with less than ideal window access and it will still stay healthy.

However, with grow lights and fluorescent lighting, it will need at least 10-12 hours of exposure compared to the 4-6 hours with natural sun.

Outdoors, partial shade is the best light for the Peperomia Clusiifolia.

 

Temperature

The Peperomia Clusiifolia is native to the Caribbean, Central and South America. There, it lives in the forest under the shade of larger plants and trees.

This makes it thrive in moderate to warm weather. It is also important to note that because it lives in tropical and subtropical regions, the plant does not experience snow or freezing conditions because there is no winter weather in these regions.

Thus, the best temperature to keep your Peperomia Clusiifolia is between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It also does not have a problem in very hot climates, so you don’t have to worry if your summers reach the high 90s.

However, winters are a different story.

It is ill-equipped to tolerate the cold, especially temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, you want to keep it away from these conditions.

Indoors, this means avoiding air conditioners, vents that blow cold air or drafts from open windows. Outdoors, you’ll want to bring it back inside once the climate gets near 50 degrees.

Because it is hardy to USDA Zones 10 through 12, you can keep it outdoors all year round since these areas have very mild, sunny winters.

 

Humidity

The other aspect of Caribbean, Central and South America weather is humidity. Hot and humid is the best way to describe it, although some regions are not as hot or not as humid.

But at the very least, they are warm and still quite humid.

As such, the Peperomia Clusiifolia likes humid environments. And it will appreciate humidity levels of 60% and higher if you can consistently give it that.

But for most homes in the northern hemisphere this can be difficult to achieve unless you have a greenhouse or want to keep the plant in something like a terrarium.

That’s because average household humidity is usually between 30% to 50% depending on the time of year.

Fortunately, the plant does have succulent leaves where it stores moisture to help it through periods of dryness. This also allows it to tolerate lower humidity without any problems.

Therefore, unless you have very dry air or consistently get humidity of 30% or less at home, you likely won’t need to mist the plant or use a humidifier.

The one caveat indoors are appliances.

Avoid placing your Peperomia Clusiifolia near air conditioners, radiators or heaters as these tend to dry the air significantly.

 

How Often to Water Peperomia Clusiifolia

The Peperomia Clusiifolia’s biggest weakness is water. It has a small root system and its fleshy leaves store moisture. Therefore, you can easily overwater the plant.

And when this happens regularly or the soil is left wet for long periods at a time, the plant is very susceptible to root rot.

This is the biggest thing you want to be aware of since it can destroy your plant.

Once you master how to water your Peperomia Clusiifolia, the other aspects of care are easy.

Here are a few guidelines to remember.

  • The plant can tolerate more dryness than it can take wetness. Therefore, err on the dry side.
  • Allow the soil to dry at least the top 2 inches before you water again. If you want to play it safe, water once the soil is halfway (50%) dry. At this point, there’s no risk of overwatering and also no risk of lack of water.
  • The plant likes moist soil to water deeply but infrequently. Soak the entire root ball to let the moisture reach the roots. But allow excess water to drain completely after that. On average, I usually end up watering my Peperomia Clusiifolia once every 7 days during the summer and closer to once every 2 weeks in the winter.
  • Make sure the pot has drainage holes to let the excess moisture escape. If it does not, drill some homes (if the pot is plastic) or place gravel or some kind of drainage at the bottom to keep the soil above the pooled water.
  • If you keep a saucer under the pot, throw any water that pools there. Otherwise, the soil will suck that all back up over time.

 

Peperomia Clusiifolia Potting Soil

The Peperomia Clusiifolia enjoys rich, well-draining, well-aerated soil. The most important thing here is good drainage.

This will prevent too much moisture. The airy soil will also let the roots breathe. Altogether, you’re able to prevent root rot.

Fortunately, there are many different ways to achieve this kind of growing medium. Here are some that have been successful for my Peperomia Clusiifolia.

  • 2 parts peat with 1 part perlite or coarse sand
  • 1 part potting soil with 1 part perlite or coarse sand
  • 1 part succulent & cactus mix with 1 part perlite
  • 1 part potting soi with 1 part orchid bark

I think you get the picture.

The key is to add a component that increases drainage. This can be perlite, pumice, coarse sand or even orchid bark. You want to avoid using store bought potting soil on its own because that tends to retain too much moisture for your Peperomia Clusiifolia.

 

Fertilizer

Spring and summer are when you want to focus on feeding the plant. During this time, it is actively growing and will need the extra sustenance to grow optimally.

Of course, you don’t necessarily have to feed it.

But because it is living in a pot, it does not have the benefit of the different things available to it outdoors I the ground. Therefore, without fertilizer, your plant will grow slower, produce fewer leaves that are smaller as well.

You can use a balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer diluted to half strength. An N-P-K formulation of 10-10-10 works really well once a month.

Don’t feed the plant in winter as it takes a breather from growing.

If you don’t want to use commercial chemical fertilizers, you can check out organic options as well.

Fish emulsion (fish fertilizer) is the simplest way since you can just pick one up from the store. But beware of the fishy smell. Therefore, apply it in a more open area with good air circulation.

I remember the first time I used it and I was in my room.

Whoof! My room smelled like fish for a good few minutes.

Other great options are compost and worm castings.

 

Pruning

The Peperomia Clusiifolia has a compact growth habit and it won’t grow into a big plant.

It will typically reach 6 inches in height, although some will get to between 6 and 12 inches tall.

The plant will likewise extend outwards to the sides of the pot as the stems and leaves get longer.

However, since its leaves are the most attractive part of the plant you want to let them grow.

That said, if you want to keep it looking more compact and bushy, then pruning is needed. You’ll want to trim off the longer leaves so the plant looks fuller.

In either case, much of the trimming is really cosmetic. The other part is for plant health since you also want to remove any leggy stems, dead leaves or discolorations.

 

How to Propagate Peperomia Clusiifolia

The most common ways to propagate the Peperomia Clusiifolia are through

  • Division
  • Leaf cuttings
  • Stem cuttings

You can choose which one you want to go with depending on what you feel most comfortable with.

In general, leaf and stem cuttings are similar and yield somewhat close results (although they still vary).

Division is quite different as it involves separating the plant. It is also more limiting since the plant is not big in size. However, you get the fastest results since the new plant is already grown.

Here’s how to do them.

Propagating Peperomia Clusiifolia from Leaf Cuttings

  • Take a leaf cutting with a little bit of stem attached to it.
  • Leave the cuttings to dry and callous. This will take a few hours.
  • As you wait, prepare a pot and fill it with well-draining potting mix. You’ll be planting the cutting here.
  • Once the cutting dries, dip the cut end into rooting hormone.
  • Then plant the cutting in the soil.
  • Water the soil to keep it moist.
  • It will take between 4 to 8 weeks for the roots to develop. After that the plant will start growing.

Propagating Peperomia Clusiifolia from Stem Cuttings

  • Cut a healthy stem from the plant. Choose a stem that has at least 2 leaves.
  • Remove the lower leaves to expose more stem. This will make it easier to plant.
  • Let the cutting dry. Then dip the cut end into rooting hormone.
  • Plant the cutting into well-draining potting mix.
  • Water the soil and keep the soil moist

Propagating Peperomia Clusiifolia using Division

The best time to propagate your Peperomia Clusiifolia through division is when you repot the plant. Although technically, you can do it any time.

That said, avoid very cold or warm days since these place additional stress on it. For this reason spring is the best time to divide or repot.

  • Take the plant out of its pot. Be gentle here and careful since the plant’s roots system is small and fragile.
  • Separate the root ball into 2 sections. You want to match up the stems and leaves to their respective roots so that each section gets enough roots. Otherwise, the plant there won’t survive.
  • Plant each of the sections into their own individual pots. Use well-draining potting soil.
  • Water the potting mix and keep it moist.

 

How to Repot or Transplant Peperomia Clusiifolia

Spring is the best time to repot your Peperomia Clusiifolia. Although you can repot it any time if you live somewhere with sunny weather all year long.

The plant is not going to suddenly have a growth spurt. Nor is it a fast grower. Therefore, you can expect to repot anywhere between 2 to 4 years.

Repotting is very similar to dividing the plant except that you won’t be separating the root ball into sections. Instead, you’ll move the plant to a slightly larger pot.

And the only time you’ll need to do so is when it has outgrown its container.

The best way to tell is to look out for roots coming out from the bottom of the drainage holes. When this starts happening, it means the plant is looking for more room.

 

Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs

The Peperomia Clusiifolia is completely safe for people and pets. They’re no risk of irritation even if you have sensitive skin. And, in case the kids, dogs or cats chew or ingest its leaves, there’s also no toxicity there.

 

Problems & Troubleshooting

Yellow Leaves

A Peperomia Clusiifolia with yellow leaves often mean a few things.

  • Lack of water
  • Too much sunlight
  • Significant change in temperature

Therefore, you want to check to see which one is the cause. The best way to do this is to eliminate each potential culprit until you’re just left with one.

 

Drooping & Wilting

Wilting can happen then if the plant lacks water or is getting too much water.

Of the two, excess moisture can lead to bigger problems. So, that’s what you want to watch out for.

The best way to verify what’s causing the problem is to check the soil.

Wet soil means overwatering. Very dry soil means it needs more water.

 

Pests

The Peperomia Clusiifolia is not prone to pests nor diseases. However, it is not feeling well, it stressed, getting too much or too little of one requirement or more, it can be susceptible to these issues.

Mealybugs, mites, thrips and fungus gnats are the plant’s biggest threats when it comes to pests.

You want to take care of them the moment you spot them because they will multiply very quickly.

 

Diseases

Soggy and wet soil can lead to root rot. And this is the biggest threat when it comes to diseases.

However, there are bacterial and fungal infections as well which you should not ignore.

The thing is, all of these are caused by excess moisture.

Whether you’re overwatering the soil or getting the leaves wet (and they’re not drying quickly enough), it is too much water that brings these problems. Therefore, be mindful of how you water and try to stay on the dry side.

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