Peperomia quadrangularis or raydiance peperomia is a small evergreen perennial epiphyte plant from the Piperaceae family and is indigenous to South America.
It grows in beautiful trailing stems, around 12 inches long, with very attractive striped green leaves that are rounded and succulent and striated with yellow/white veins. The stems are flexible and delicate and it produces upright spike-like white flowers and is rather nondescript as opposed to its lovely foliage.
While this plant is a relatively slow grower indoors, its trailers can spread as ground cover somewhat fast when grown outdoors in tropical climate zones.
The plant is best grown like a succulent in small ceramic containers or in hanging baskets to let the stems trail down and fully display its foliage, adding a nice touch to room décor.
This plant needs sufficient light to thrive and while it is an outdoor plant, it won’t tolerate direct sun, particularly in summer. It can grow under moderate to low light but its leaves will lose color.
Ideally, it can be grown outdoors by shading it with other plants or growing it under a garden net to prevent direct sunlight from burning the leaves.
This plant is somewhat similar to a succulent, storing water in its leaves and stems, so you should water it in the same manner. The plant must not be overwatered nor allowed to become completely dry.
Water it once a week, just enough to moisten the soil and make sure water drains out. Prevent the roots from becoming water-logged as root rot is the usual cause of death due to poor drainage and/or over-watering.
Controlling/maintaining a range of 40-50% humidity is important in caring for this plant, as it is originally from tropical climates of moderate/high humidity, occasional misting will help raise the humidity, particularly in arid weather.
If you grow it in temperate climates, you have to keep it away from the air-drying aspects of heaters and air-conditioners. Includes measures such as using a humidifier to maintain humidity in winter.
It prefers a temperature range above 60°F for optimum growing conditions and can tolerate average indoor temperature ranges. While it is said to be tolerant of varying temperatures, it will not tolerate temperatures below 50°F as its leaves will drop off. You can grow this plant outdoors in tropical climates.
Like other varieties of this species, it is ruled by its epiphytic aspect – meaning that it grows on the surfaces of trees or in rock crevices in its native habitat and extracts nutrients from the air, rain, or plant debris around it.
Therefore, its potting mix has to be dense with organic nutrients and well aerated. This helps the roots to breathe and water drains away very rapidly without collecting in the pot, while the organic mix retains enough moisture and stays warm and humid.
A good mix for this plant is blending mulch or peat or compost and drainage aids such as perlite or pumice. Alternatively, a cacti/succulent mix with bark and perlite will also work.
You can help the draining process with a layer of either pebbles or gravel added to the pot before the soil mix. This also helps prevent root damage when repotting.
This plant grows tightly wedged in cracks of bark or branches or cavities in rocks and that’s how it likes to grow in containers as well, with enough debris around the roots but still well aerated.
As mentioned, it doesn’t mind living in cramped conditions since it is an epiphytic succulent but doesn’t mean living in compacted soil. Its root system is relatively small and doesn’t need to be repotted in large pots as the roots bond well to its soil mix.
The stems are rather delicate and often break during repotting – this can be minimized if a layer of gravel or pebbles is added first to the container – this allows the plant to smoothly fall out when the pot is tipped upside-down.
Leave the root ball as it is, adding fresh potting mix to the same pot, and repot. Remember, this plant will not grow large so it doesn’t need a larger pot. If you want it to be bushier, just propagate new shoots in the original pot.
It is recommended to report this plant during winter.
Leaf-cutting and stem nodes that form roots are the easiest methods for propagating this plant.
Cutaway a few healthy leaves from the plant – each leaf should have around an inch of stalk. Let the tip of the stalk callus for a day. Place the leaves in a moist soil mix about 4 inches apart (a mix of cacti/succulent soil and perlite is perfect for rooting).
The stalk must be firmly pressed into the soil and kept in a shaded but well-lit spot where there are no drafts. The soil should stay moist but must not be wet as the leaf will rot away. Water it with a mister every two days and don’t disturb the leaf-cutting until new shoots start growing from the leaf.
The other method is much easier. Loosen the topsoil with a small trowel and twist a healthy trailing stem back into the pot and pin it firmly to the soil with hairpins. Be careful with handling the stem and continue caring for the plant as usual.
The root will begin sprouting from the nodes after some time and the stem can be cut from the main plant and grown in a separate pot.
Avoid checking for roots for at least a few weeks to increase the chances of success.
This plant responds well to being fertilized once monthly during its growing period with a fertilizer diluted thrice than the prescribed dose – if the dose is 5ml for a gallon of water, dilute it down to 5ml for three gallons of water, or you could use balanced and diluted cacti/succulent fertilizer. Do not feed in winter.
If you’re not a fan of chemical fertilizers, you can alternatively add organic manure to the soil, replenishing the top few inches of soil every month or two.
While this plant rarely gets targeted by bugs or pests, it might be a good practice to include an organic insecticide spray of neem oil or insecticidal soap in your maintenance routine as a precaution. If you do happen to find bugs then clean the leaves thoroughly and spray them with insecticidal soap or neem oil.
Avoid drenching the soil while misting and don’t allow the leaves and stems to be soaked with water too long as this plant is prone to stem rot too.
Faded and/or dull Leaves on the plant are probably caused by insufficient light. Make sure it grows under shaded bright light.
If you notice rapid and sudden leaf drop, immediately inspect the plant base to check if root rot has affected the plant. This is almost always indicated by the stems becoming soggy and discolored around the roots.
Root rot is fatal, particularly if the plant is very young, unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to prevent it from dying. However, if it’s an older and mature plant having many branches, you can rinse the roots and remove the rotted portions of roots. Repot the plant in freshly aerated soil and reduce watering in general.
If plant growth is limited or stunted for a long time, it might be time to repot the plant with fresh nutrient-rich soil and maybe improve lighting conditions.
If your plant appears limp and droopy, this usually stems from under-watering. Simply water it well and check if it recovers. Severe under-watering might result in the roots dying totally and the plant won’t recover when watered. Your only option is to try and propagate the plant.
Exposure to low temperatures will cause leaf discoloration and leaf drop. Immediately check the temperature, moving the plant to a warmer location if the temperature is low.
Yellow leaves are a sign that the plant isn’t getting sufficient nutrients, feed it with a diluted balanced fertilizer and monitor the leaves. You could also try repotting it with more organic manure mixed into the soil.