Peperomia Scandens (Cupid Peperomia)

The Peperomia Scandens goes by many different names including:

  • Cupid Peperomia
  • Peperomia Cupid
  • Peperomia Scandens Green
  • Peperomia Nitida
  • False-Philodendron Peperomia
  • Piper Scandens

Of these, the most popular one is Cupid Peperomia. Although it is worth noting that the Peperomia Nitida is the botanical name of the plant.

This is why plant names and store labels can get confusing.

Additionally, it is also important to know that there are two varieties of Peperomia Scandens.

  • Peperomia Scandens which is more specifically Peperomia Scandens Green – this has solid green leaves
  • Peperomia Scandens Variegata – has similar looks but its leaves are light green with cream/light yellow variegations.

I’m pointing this out because while general care for these two Peperomia Scandens variety is the same, they do vary in certain aspects including lighting and propagation. So, you want to know how to care for each on depending on the variety you have.

With that out of the way, we can now focus on the plant itself.

The Peperomia Scandens is one of the rarer, less commonly found peperomias.

It is also somewhat unique to the genus because it has a trailing nature. Thus, you get longer stems that either overflow from the sides of the pot or will drape down from a basket.

Other trailing peperomia varieties include:

  • Peperomia rotundifolia
  • Peperomia prostrata
  • Peperomia hoffmannii
  • Peperomia quadrangularis
  • Peperomia japonica
  • Peperomia puteolata

These are prefect to grow in hanging pots and baskets.

That said, it does have many similar features as well.

The most obvious are its small, fleshy heart-shaped leaves that are about 2 to 3 inches in length. These have a glossy texture and grow on the plant’s long stems.

Depending on whether you have the Green or the Variegata, the colors on the leaves will vary.

Finally, it is native to South America and some parts of Mexico which makes it tropical in nature.

Peperomia Scandens Plant Care

Peperomia Cupid Light Requirements

The Peperomia Scandens thrives on moderate to bright, indirect light.

Keep in mind that there are two varieties of the plant:

  • Peperomia Scandens which is also known as the Peperomia Scandens Green
  • Peperomia Scandens Variegata

The “standard” variety is the Peperomia Scandens Green. And gets its name from its solid green leaves. Meanwhile, the Peperomia Scandens Variegata has yellow variegations on lighter green foliage.

The reason I point this out is that although both do best in moderate to bright indirect light, the Peperomia Scandens Green will not be able to tolerate as much bright light as the variegata.

On the other hand, the variegata has less tolerance for low light.

Their difference is in the color of their leaves.

The non green sections don’t contain chlorophyll which are the components that give leaves their green pigmentation. More importantly, chlorophyll is also what absorbs light to be used for photosynthesis.

So, with more green sections, the plant can end up taking in too much light which is something that the Peperomia Scandens is not used to (since it lives under larger plants in the forest).

This will cause its foliage to get discolored or even experience sunburn.

On the other hand, the Peperomia Scandens Variegata cannot withstand too little light because of its lack of green sections. Thus, it will try to adapt and survive by reverting to more green (and less variegations) once there’s insufficient lighting.

Thus, if you can’t get enough natural light to keep the plant happy, you can use artificial lighting or fluorescent lights. Both of these work well, especially if your home or office has little window access.

But the plant will need 12 hours of exposure because artificial lights don’t have the same full color spectrum the sun has.

Outside, the Cupid Peperomia thrives in partial shade. So you can keep it under a tree or in covered patio, balcony or terrace where it has line of sight to the sky (and not the sun’s rays).

This will give it more than sufficient lighting to grow optimally.

 

Peperomia Cupid Temperature

Temperature is one of the easiest aspects when caring for your Cupid Peperomia.

A simple rule of thumb is when you feel comfortable with he weather, the plant feels comfortable as well.

That’s because the Peperomia Scandens is tropical in nature. Thus, it is used to moderate to warm climates.

More importantly, this is the exact environmental condition in most homes.

As far as specifics go, keep the plant between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. This is where it is happiest. Although it can withstand hotter climates as well.

The thing it is not used to is cold winters. It cannot tolerate temperatures below 50 degrees for extended periods of time. And the lower the climate gets, the more at risk it becomes for leaf drop, wilting and other problems.

Outdoors, it enjoys USDA Hardiness Zones 10 through 12 because it can stay outside 365 days a year. There’s no snow in these areas and the winters feature very mild weather with sunshine.

 

Peperomia Nitida Humidity

If it were up to the Peperomia Nitida, it would stay in humidity between 50% and 70%. This is where it is happiest.

Unfortunately, this is typical humidity that’s often found in tropical and subtropical regions. But since the United States is fairly far away from the equator, most homes don’t have this kind of humidity.

The good news is the Cupid Peperomia has thick leaves. This succulent-like feature allows it to tolerate lower humidity as it stores moisture in its foliage.

Thus, the plant adapts quite well to average room humidity. Although if you can try to keep humidity at 40% and above.

You can use a humidifier or a pebble tray. But I don’t recommend misting as spraying too much water can increase the risk of fungus gnats.

 

How Often to Water Peperomia Scandens

Another reason that I don’t recommend misting your Cupid Peperomia is that it is prone to too much water.

Basically, you cannot water it like your other houseplants. If you do, you could end up losing your peperomia. Unfortunately, I know because I lost a few of them early on doing this.

Instead, you want to let the soil dry a bit before watering.

The reason for this is two-fold.

  • The plant has a small, fragile root system – so too much moisture can easily overwhelm it
  • Its succulent leaves – since it stores extra water in its leaves, it is easier to give the plant too much moisture

That said, you also want to avoid dehydrating the plant. Therefore, never let the soil go completely dry for prolonged periods of time.

Instead, wait until the top 2 inches of soil dries out completely before adding more water.

If you’re like me and want to be conservative (primarily because I did lose a few peperomia to overwater before), you can wait until the soil is dry 50% to 75% of the way before adding more water.

Anything between these ranges will work.

The key is to avoid watering too early or much later than that.

In general, this comes out to between once every 7 or so days during the summer and closer to once every 12 to 14 days during the winter.

 

Peperomia Scandens Potting Soil

The Peperomia Scandens needs moist, well-draining soil with pH between 5.0 and 7.5. It will also appreciate extra nutrients.

But the most important thing for your plant’s survival is good drainage. This will prevent excess liquid from being held by the soil.

In doing so, the plant will never end up standing in water, which is something its roots cannot tolerate.

Thus, you want to consider components like perlite, pumice, coarse sand and even orchid bark. All of these provide extra aeration by getting rid of excess moisture.

Here are some potting mix recipes for Cupid Peperomia. I’ll use different combinations so you can go with the ingredients you already have.

  • 1 part succulent mix with 1 part coconut coir
  • 1 part potting soil with 1 part perlite or coarse sand
  • 1 part peat moss with 1 part perlite or pumice
  • 1 part coconut coir with 1 part potting mix

 

Peperomia Cupid Fertilizer

The Cupid Peperomia is not a heavy feeder. But it does need fertilizer to achieve its best colors and growth.

Thus, feed the plant with a balanced houseplant fertilizer. An N-P-K of 10-10-10 works well. I also like going with a water-soluble formation as this lets you easily dilute the dose. You want to use half-strength.

If you have added soil amendments like compost or worm castings, you may use quarter strength or even no chemical fertilizer at all. It all depends on how much topdressing you use.

In any case, once every 2 weeks is all the plant needs during the spring and summer. Once fall arrives, you can stop and then start again next spring.

With fertilizer, avoid overthinking things or overdoing things.

As long as you feed the plant with a light or weak plant food it will stay happy and healthy. The problem often occurs if you overfeed it in the hopes to make the plant grow faster.

 

Peperomia Cupid Pruning

The Cupid Peperomia is a fairly fast growing plant with trailing stems. This makes it perfect for hanging baskets or other pots where its stems can drape downwards.

It takes about 3 to 5 years for the plant to mature. And it can grow to about a foot in length (sometimes more). That said, the length of the plant is mostly due to the long stems. Thus, it will not grow into a large plant.

It looks its best when you let it get bushy and full.

Although, it will need minor pruning every so often because the stems can something get tangled or messy.

In most cases, trimming is used to encourage new growth or to shape the plant.

 

How to Propagate Peperomia Scandens

There are many ways to propagate the Peperomia Scandens. However, before you do, it is a good idea to check to see whether the plant you have is the Peperomia Scandens Green or the Peperomia Scandens Variegata.

Why?

From experience, I prefer using stem propagation for variegated species because this allows them to maintain their colored patterns. On the other hand, they’re less likely to keep their variegations when you use leaf cuttings  (or leaf propagation).

Therefore, if you have the Peperomia Scandens Green, the you can use either leaf or stem propagation regardless. But if you have the Peperomia Scandens Variegata, it would be better to propagate your Cupid Peperomia from stem cuttings.

Peperomia Scandens Stem Propagation

  • The best time to propagate your Peperomia Scandens is during spring. This gives it an entire growing season before the winter arrives.
  • To do so, take stem cutting or stem tip cutting. Make sure to use a sterile pair of scissors or pruning shears. You also want to choose a healthy stem with at least 2 leaves.
  • Remove any leaves that are at the bottom of the stem. This exposes more of the stem and lets you easily get the stem into water or bury it into soil
  • Next, it is time to decide whether you want to propagate the stem cutting in water or in soil.
  • For soil propagation, allow the cutting to dry for a few hours. Then, dip the cut end into rooting hormone and plant it into well-draining soil. You want at least half an inch or an inch of stem buried in soil. Then water the soil to keep it moist.
  • For water propagation, immediately place the cutting into a glass jar filled with water. Again, remove any leaves that end up in the water. And you want an inch or more of the stem submerged. Change the water once a week to keep it from getting murky.
  • Place the cuttings in a bright spot with no direct sun. ideally, the location should have moderate to warm temperature as well.
  • It will take about 4 weeks for the cuttings to root. If you propagated in water, you can monitor the roots as they grow.
  • Also, with the water propagation, you’ll eventually need to move the cuttings to soil. You can do so once the roots get longer than 2 inches. And you can wait much longer if you want as they’ll continue to grow.
  • However, after you get past 12 months or so, roots will start rotting which means you need to regularly prune them.

 

How to Repot or Transplant Peperomia Scandens

Thanks to its small root system and preference for being slightly pot bound, you don’t need to repot your Peperomia Scandens often.

In most cases, it will take around 2 to 4 years.

The only time you need to repot is when the roots start coming out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot.

When you do repot, be careful in taking the plant out of its container. Its roots are fragile and you can damage them especially those on the outer sides of the root ball.

Due to its relative small size, there’s also no need to increase pot size more than 2 inches at a time.

Finally, because it takes a while before repotting is needed, I do recommend changing the soil once a year even if you just replace the topsoil.

 

Is the Peperomia Nitida Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs

The Peperomia Scandens is not toxic to humans, dogs and cats. Therefore, you can have peace of mind keeping it anywhere in your home.

However, you do still want to avoid any ingestion since the plant is not edible.

 

Peperomia Cupid Problems & Troubleshooting

Peperomia Scandens Yellow Leaves

With the Peperomia Scandens, too much intense light or direct sun is the most common cause of yellow leaves. Therefore, check the amount of light it receives at different times of the day.

You want to keep it away from direct sun as well as strong light.

Other potential causes of yellowing leaves are temperature and transplant shock.

 

Drooping & Wilting

Drooping and wilting often occurs due to overwatering or underwatering.

Of the two, the former is more dangerous. Therefore, you don’t want to take a wilting plant for granted.

Instead, immediately try to figure out what the cause is.

The best way to check this is to feel the soil.

Wet, mucky soil points to overwatering. Very dry soil means lack of water. Then adjust as needed.

 

Peperomia Nitida Leaf Drop

Transplant shock, too much cold temperature and overwatering are the most common causes of leaf drop in Peperomia Nitida.

Therefore, you want to see which one is the potential culprit by eliminating the other causes.

 

Peperomia Scandens Green Leaf Curl

Nutrient deficiency and pests tend to cause leaf curl.

You want to make sure you’re giving the plant enough fertilizer. If you are, check the soil pH. High acidity will affect the calcium levels. And, if the plant lacks calcium its leaves will curl.

Then there’s pests, If this is the case, inspect the plant to see if there are any bugs or infestations.

 

Peperomia Cupid Pests

Fungus gnats, mealybugs and spider mites are the most common pests to watch out for. Thankfully, the Cupid Peperomia is quite resistant to them.

But, you still need to regularly inspect for intruders.

This way you can quickly treat the bugs before they tun into infestations. Use neem oil or insecticidal soap.

 

Diseases

Root rot is the biggest thing to look out for when caring for your Cupid Peperomia. Thus, you want to be mindful of watering, especially adding too much water too frequently.

If you happen to see black or brown spots on foliage, this indicates leaf spot disease.

Immediately isolate the plant and prune off the affected sections to prevent it from spreading. Also, try to limit moisture to help slow the infection from spreading.

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