Variegated Teardrop Peperomia (Peperomia Orba Variegata) Plant Care

The Peperomia Orba Variegata is also known as the Variegated Teardrop Peperomia or Variegated Teardrop Plant.

It looks very similar to its parent, the Peperomia orba, except that it has yellow variegations on the edges of its leaves. In contrast, the Obra has solid green foliage.

Also, if you prefer something with a lighter green leaf color, you can opt for the Peperomia Pixie Lime which is another sport of the Peperomia orba.

This gives you the option to choose the look you prefer.

That said, the Variegated Teardrop Peperomia is a compact plant with green-colored teardrop-shaped leaves. What makes it different are the yellow-cream patterns on the sides of the leaves.

It looks great in pots, planters, terrarium and hanging baskets. Its small size makes it easy to move or position almost anywhere in your home or office.

The plant is likewise a fast grower which makes it perfect if you don’t like waiting months just to see a few leaves. With the Peperomia Orba Variegata, you’ll see a few of them quite soon.

One of the best things I love about peperomias is that they come in so many different shapes, looks and sizes.

This one is perfect if you like variegated plants. Below are other variegated peperomia plants that you can go with if you want something other than solid green foliage.

  • Peperomia Ginny
  • Peperomia clusiifolia
  • Peperomia Jelly
  • Peperomia scandens
  • Peperomia obtusifolia Variegata

Peperomia Orba Variegata Plant Care

Variegated Teardrop Peperomia Light Requirements

The Variegated Teardrop Peperomia is native to the forest floors of Central and South America where it enjoy living under the canopy of large trees and plants.

This makes moderate to bright indirect or dappled light ideal for the plant.

As with other variegated peperomia, light plays an important role not only in the growth and health of the plant but also for it to maintain its beautiful colors.

Thus, you want to give your Peperomia Orba Variegata either:

  • 4-6 hours of indirect, filtered or dappled sun daily
  • 10-12 hours of artificial lighting or fluorescent lights

Either of the two will work.

Although the Teardrop Peperomia does appreciate natural light more, it will be perfectly happy and healthy with grow lights, artificial lighting or fluorescent lights if your home does not get enough access to the sun.

In the fall or during times when the sun is hiding behind the clouds, be it overcast skies or cloudy days, you also don’t have worry about lack of sunlight.

With my Peperomia Orba Variegata, I’ve noticed that as long as it sees the bright sky (even when the sun is not out), it will grow well and keep its colors.

So, if you live in the Northwest which is notorious for have less sunshine at different times of the year, don’t stress as the plant will thrive there as well.

On the other hand, the plant can also tolerate lower light. But only to a certain degree.

If you notice the plant get leggy, lose its variegations or start having a dull color, it means it is not getting enough light.

On the other hand, avoid direct sun or very harsh light as this can scorch its leaves.

Outside, partial shade is best for the Variegated Teardrop plant.

 

Variegated Teardrop Peperomia Temperature

For me, temperature is one of the easiest things when it comes to taking care for the Variegated Teardrop Peperomia.

That’s because it enjoys the same climate conditions we humans do. So, if you feel comfortable, it feels comfortable as well.

Fortunately, it has a very wide temperature tolerance.

From my experience, as long as you keep it between 45 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit, it won’t experience any problems.

But its ideal temperature range is between 65 and 75 degrees, which makes it perfect for indoor care since that’s climate condition found in most homes.

The most important thing about the Peperomia Orba Variegata when it comes to temperature is to keep it away from very cold places. It cannot stand staying in locations that are lower than 45 degrees Fahrenheit for long periods.

Thus outdoors, you’ll often see the plant thrive in USDA Hardiness Zones 10, 11 and 12. In these regions it can be left outside all year round since there’s no threat of snow or cold winters.

If you live somewhere colder, the plant is better off as indoors as a houseplant.

 

Humidity

Two aspects I love about the Peperomia Orba Variegata is that it is:

  • Drought tolerant
  • Humidity tolerant

This makes it so much easier to take care of the plant even if you’re a beginner. It makes it low maintenance. And you don’t have to jump through hoops just to accommodate its needs.

That said, because the plant hails from regions near the equator, it does like humid environments.

In fact, it prefers humidity between 60% and 90% as this is similar to the conditions it is used to in its natural habitat.

Fortunately, if you look at the Variegated Teardrop Peperomia’s leaves, you’ll notice they are fleshy and thick, much like succulents. This allows it to store water for dry periods.

And it is why it can tolerate drought and lower humidity.

So, as long as you can maintain humidity of 35% to 40% and higher, you should not have any issues with dry air.

However, if where you live consistently experiences humidity of 30% or lower, you can help the plant along by increasing indoor air moisture. Here are a few ways:

  • Misting
  • Using a humidifier
  • Placing it on a pebble tray
  • Leaving the plant in the bathroom
  • Grouping it together with other plants

 

How Often to Water Peperomia Orba Variegata

As I’ve mentioned, one the reasons that the Peperomia Orba Variegata is easy to care for is that it is low maintenance and does well in containers.

Its drought tolerance also means that you don’t have to worry if you forget to water for a few days. It will easily tolerate your being late a week (and more).

That said, avoid letting the soil go completely dry and stay dry for extended periods of time. The roots do need moisture and they enjoys consistently moist soil especially during the warmer months of the year.

However, the most important thing you need to learn when caring for your Variegated Teardrop Peperomia is to avoid overwatering it.

This means both adding too much water each time and watering too frequently. Both are disasters waiting to happen.

Instead, try to stay on the drier side since the plant is better able to tolerate this. In contrast, it is very sensitive to too much moisture. And putting it in that position can easily kill the plant.

Thus, the two most important things you want to remember when watering your Variegated Teardrop Peperomia are:

  • Wait until the soil is dry 50% of the way before adding more water
  • When watering allow it to soak and dry

The first tip prevents overwatering.

By waiting until the soil is dry halfway down, you’re ensuring that you don’t water too early. At the same time you also avoid letting the plant go completely dry.

To check you can

  • Lift the pot – a light pot means it needs watering, a heavier pot means it still have moisture
  • Feel the leaves – its succulent leaves will feel firm when they have enough water. And they will feel softer and slightly flatter/limp when they lack water.
  • Use your finger – stick your finger down 2 inches into the soil (or until the second knuckle). When you take your finger out, feel your fingertip. If it feels moist in any way, wait a few more days then test again. Only water if your fingertip feels dry.

With the second tip, you want to soak the entire root ball so the roots get the moisture they need. But once water starts dripping from under the pot, stop watering.

Then allow the soil to completely drain any excess liquid. You can just leave it in the sink or some kind of stand where the moisture can keep dripping.

This takes a while but it is well-worth it since it ensures the plant will never end up sitting in water.

 

Peperomia Orba Variegata Potting Soil

To make sure that your Peperomia Orba Variegata’s roots don’t end up standing in water for prolonged periods of time, using the right kind of soil is very important.

Thus, the best soil for your Variegated Teardrop Peperomia is well-draining, light and airy. It will also appreciate extra nutrients which will allow it to grow optimally.

Therefore, avoid heavy soils or those that tend to hold on to water. These are better for other houseplants not your peperomias.

Similarly, try not to use standard potting soil since it often retains more moisture than the Peperomia Orba Variegata likes.

Instead, add some kind of drainage component to the potting soil to help get rid of excess moisture. You can use perlite, pumice or coarse sand.

Here are some options that I’ve used that work well for the plant:

  • 1 part peat moss with 1 part perlite
  • 1 part potting soil with 1 part perlite
  • 1 part potting soil with 1 part orchid bark
  • 1 part succulent soil with 1 part coco coir

Try them out and use the one that works best for your plant given your home’s living conditions. You can also adjust the amounts based on how the plant responds.

 

Variegated Teardrop Peperomia Fertilizer

Feeding your Variegated Teardrop Peperomia is another low maintenance task. But it is something you want to do to help the plant grow optimally and stay healthy. Doing so also ensures it achieves and maintains beautiful leaf coloration.

Note that the plant is short and has a small root system.

Therefore, the most important thing is to avoid giving it too much fertilizer. This can damage its roots and harm the plant. And it is actually worse than not feeding the plant at all.

That said, feed your Peperomia Orba Variegata with a balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer once a month during the spring and summer. Dilute the application by half strength each time you do.

Once fall arrives, you can stop feeding around early or even mid fall.

It is also a good idea to flush the soil every now and then to get rid of excess salts left behind by the fertilizer in the soil. This will prevent root burn from happening.

 

Variegated Teardrop Peperomia Pruning

As mentioned, the Variegate Teardrop Peperomia is a small plant. It will typically grow to about 6 to 8 inches or so making it smaller than many other species in its genu.

That said, I do like the plant because it is a fast growing plant. So, you’ll see your efforts pay off quite quickly.

This allows the plant to get bigger and more importantly, produce quite a few leaves over a short period of time.

The most important thing when it comes to growth is to give it enough light. I’ve noticed that the brighter the light, the faster it will grow. But as always be careful with too much light or direct sun.

The good news is, the plant does not need a lot of pruning. It is also low maintenance with this regard.

I actually like allowing it to grow because it looks lovelier when full.

And with proper care, it will get wider and bushier than it is tall. This is when it looks the prettiest.

Therefore, pruning is really for shaping purposes as well as removing leggy stems and dead leaves.

 

How to Propagate Peperomia Orba Variegata

The best ways to propagate your Peperomia Orba Variegata are:

  • Stem cuttings
  • Leaf cuttings
  • Division

For larger operations, starting from seed is usually the best way as this allows you to grow lots of plants at the same time. However, for home growers, the 3 listed above are the most efficient in that they produce the highest success propagation success rates and allow you get grow a new plant the fastest.

Variegated Teardrop Peperomia Stem Propagation

  • Begin by taking a stem tip cutting. You can likewise take a stem cutting from closer to the base of the plant. Try to choose a healthy stem with at least 2 or 3 leaves on it.
  • Remove the lower leaves to expose more of the stem. This will make propagation much easier.
  • You can propagate the stem cutting in water or in soil. Both methods work very well so you can’t go wrong either way. The choice is really based on what you prefer doing and which one you have better success with.
  • If you decide to go with water propagation, place the stem cutting in water. I like to use a glass container so you can see the roots as they grow. Remove any leaves that get submerged in the water as these will rot. You want to make sure about an inch of stem (at least) stays in the water. This is where the roots will grow from. Finally, change the water once a week to keep it fresh.
  • If you choose to use soil propagation, allow the cutting to dry. Then dip it in rooting hormone and plant it into well-draining potting soil. You can use a 1:1 mix of peat moss and perlite. Again, remove any leaves that get buried in the soil. Water the soil and keep it moist.
  • Place the cuttings in a warm spot with bright, indirect light.
  • It will take about 4 or so weeks for the cuttings to grow enough roots. Although within the first 7 or so days, you should see the first signs of small white roots coming out (if you use water propagation).

Also, with water propagation, you’ll need to eventually move the cutting to potting mix. Once the roots are longer than 2 inches, you can do this.

Variegated Teardrop Peperomia Leaf Propagation

Leaf propagation is similar to stem propagation. But instead of stem or stem tip cuttings, you’ll be using leaves instead.

Here, you have a few choices. You can use a leaf with the petiole, without the petiole or divide the bigger leaf in half.

  • Begin by taking a leaf (or multiple leaves if you want to grow more than one new plant). Decide if you want to propagate with or without the petiole as this will let you cut off the appropriate section. If you decide the cut the leaf in half, split it down the middle lengthwise.
  • Dip the leaf cutting in rooting hormone.
  • Then plant the leaf cutting in moist, well-draining potting soil. You can make a small hole using a pen or skewer then insert the leaf cutting.
  • Cover the cuttings with a plastic bag (with small holes) to increase humidity. This creates a makeshift greenhouse over the cuttings. Be sure to remove the plastic every now and then for a few minutes to let fresh air in. This will get rid of excess moisture trapped by the plastic.
  • Again, place the cuttings in a warm spot with bright, non-direct sun.
  • It will take about 4 to 8 weeks for the leaf cuttings to develop.

Variegated Teardrop Peperomia Divisoin

Division is different from taking cuttings because you need a big enough sized Variegated Teardrop Peperomia. Ideally, you only want to do this if the plant has a good amount of leaves with it.

Since the plant is small, the most you can get out of it is 2 smaller plants.

This makes it somewhat limiting compared to stem and leaf cuttings where you can propagate many at one time.

But, with division, you immediately get a good sized plant right after you’re done. No waiting to grow needed.

  • Start by carefully taking your Peperomia Orba Variegata out of its pot. Be careful doing this because the plant has a fragile root system. Also, it does not have a ton of roots, so you don’t want to damage them.
  • Once out, look for where you can divide or separate the plant. The goal is two have two fairly even segments each with enough leaves and their corresponding roots. This way each segment will survive.
  • Separate the segments using your hands. You can also use a sharp, sterile knife to cut through the root ball.
  • Then plant each segment to their own individual pots with well-draining potting soil.

 

How to Repot or Transplant Peperomia Orba Variegata

The Peperomia Orba Variegata won’t grow to become a huge plant, which makes it perfect for tabletops, shelves and counters. Additionally, it enjoys being slightly pot bound.

So, you can keep it in its pot for a little longer.

That said, because it grows quickly, you will need to repot it a few times especially when younger. If you start with a 2 inch pot (which is what many sellers will give you), it won’t take a long time before you need to repot.

However, as it matures, this pace will slow down.

Another option to repotting is to divide the plant, which is responds to quite well. I’ve this this once instead of repotting early on as the plant grew fairly quickly.

 

Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs

The Variegated Teardrop Peperomia is not toxic to cats, dogs or people. This makes it safe to keep the plant in a pot or hanging basket in your home without risk.

However, since the plant is not edible, it is still a good idea to prevent pets and kids from chewing or consuming the leaves or stems.

 

Variegated Teardrop Peperomia Problems & Troubleshooting

Pests and Diseases

As with other houseplants, you need to watch out for pests and diseases.

The Variegated Teardrop Peperomia in not particular prone to either. But it can experience them especially if it is not in its best shape.

Stress, shock, too much or too little of something all make the plant more susceptible.

And, with pests, the most common are fungus gnats, mites and mealybugs.

On the other hand, root rot is the most serious disease you want to watch out for. This is caused by overwatering the plant. And it can eventually destroy your Peperomia Orba Variegata.

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