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Peperomia Hope Care

Peperomia Hope is a beautiful perennial epiphyte hybrid belonging to the extensive and diverse genus of Peperomia. The genus is indigenous to the tropical countries of South and Central America.

This is a hybrid of P. Deppeana and P. Quadrifolia, two low-growing vines with round green leaves growing on thin stalks. It can be grown about 6-8 inches high and as broad as given room to expand. The leaves grow as swirls in groups of 4 along the stems resembling clovers. It is not a succulent, the leaves appear to resemble succulents. 

It can be trained to grow as a ground runner, not as aggressive as other ground runners. This plant isn’t known for its flowers but does produce insignificant blooms of spikes or cattails.

It is a slow grower and doesn’t spread very fast, preferably grown from hanging baskets or decorative ceramic planters to display the beauty of the plant properly.

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Sunlight

It does well with insufficiently filtered light although it can thrive perfectly well enough in low lighting conditions as it doesn’t grow under the bright sun in its native habitat. Even so, the leaves will look faded if it’s grown under low light for lengthy periods.

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Water

Watering is possibly the critical aspect of caring for this plant and is closely connected to the type of soil you use (ideally a 50/50 well-draining mix). It needs watering once every 3 days in summers and once in 10-14 days in winter. All the water should drain out within seconds as it can handle a bit of drought but won’t tolerate being water-logged. The key to watering the plant is linked to the soil type.

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Humidity

It is quite tolerant of a broad assortment of humidity levels even though it is native to rainforests. It even does quite well in dry conditions; typically normal indoor conditions between 40-50% humidity levels are quite sufficient. 

In conditions of high humidity, you have to ensure not to wet the leaves for lengthy periods as this could lead to disease and rot. Proper air circulation is very important to prevent disease.

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Temperature

The ideal temperature range for this plant is between 65-75°F as it’s a moderate warmth-loving plant and has no tolerance for frosty conditions.

Those of you living nearer to the equator can grow the plant outdoors the entire year with frequent watering. In temperate climates, it is best to grow the plant indoors to protect it from cold drafts. It cannot tolerate temperatures below 55°F and will die at the slightest touch of frost. Extreme temperature fluctuations or constant temperatures above 86°F will also easily stress the plant.

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Soil

This plant, like all epiphytes, needs oxygen around its roots and a well-draining soil helps provide roots with the necessary aeration. If you use regular gardening soil, it has to be amended with things like coco-chips, bits of brick, sand, and perlite to add a bit of coarseness to aid in aerating the soil. 

Although it is similar to a succulent when tolerating under-watering, it does require constant moisture but no water-logging. The stems will begin to sag when it is lacking water, so together with well-draining amendments, moisture-retaining organic components such as compost, peat moss, coco peat, mulch, and manure are also required.

If these amendments are difficult to obtain, the simplest soil you can use is a mix of equal parts of peat and perlite.

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Repotting

Repot when it outgrows its original container the plant can also be divided at this time for propagation. Repotting isn’t a big concern unless the roots are cramped or if overall growth has slowed down or if water doesn’t drain properly. This task has to be performed carefully as the stems are rather delicate and easily break off. You can reuse the original container if you divide the plant since it is a slow grower and doesn’t get root bound very fast.

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Propagation

This plant is easy to propagate – from leaf and stem cuttings to dividing the mother plant or even ground layering. 

Propagation from leaf cuttings

This is more successful when done just before the growing season begins, cut away some leaves including the petioles (stalks) from a healthy mother plant and let the cut ends callous for a day. Insert the leaves into a peat/perlite mix with the stalk firmly embedded in the soil and the leaf lies flat.

You can insert a few hairpins to pin the leaf flat so that the veins are in firm contact with the soil. Place the leaf cuttings at a temperature between 70°-75°F under indirect bright light and regularly mist the soil. Moisture must be maintained but the soil shouldn’t be very wet as the leaf will rot away. New plants will begin growing from the leaf in about 4-8 weeks.

Propagation from stem cuttings 

Sometimes propagation from leaf cuttings isn’t successful so stem cutting is recommended as it is a straightforward and fool-proof way to propagate new plants. Select a healthy branch from a mature mother plant and take a cutting to hear the base of the plant with several leaves attached and let the cut end callous for a day.

You can either insert the cutting into water or directly into a mix of peat/perlite. Grow the cutting in temperatures between 70°-75°F under indirect bright light and regularly mist the soil. Rooting should set in around 4-8 weeks.

Propagation through ground layering

This is rather more straightforward as trailing vines usually tend to sprout roots at leaf nodes when coming into contact with soil. This process can be assisted by pinning down the stem into the soil with a couple of hairpins. Cut the stem closer to the mother plant’s side and transplant the new plant to a pot.

Additional Care

While epiphytes generally don’t require feeding, this particular plant is a hybrid that responds well to being fertilized. One way of doing so is by mixing a part of organic manure into the soil when you repot the plant. You can also feed it once monthly with a diluted all-round liquid fertilizer.

It doesn’t require much pruning since it grows slowly, dead leaves should be removed as you spot them.

Common Problems

Pests such as aphids, mealybugs, and scale can infest this fleshy herbaceous plant. Frequently inspect underneath leaves regularly and immediately snip off the leaf if you spot any bugs. Spraying the plant occasionally with insecticidal soap or an organic insecticide such as neem oil, a good preventive practice to follow. 

Sometimes the colors of the leaves become faded – this is usually due to insufficient light. While this plant can tolerate low lighting environments, growing it under very low light is not good for it.

When the plant is exposed to cold wind/drafts, the leaves will become dark brown and start dropping off. Immediately relocate the plant to a suitable location away from being exposed to drafts.

This can also happen if root rot has affected the plant, unfortunately, root rot is usually fatal and the plant can be saved only by propagating healthy stems/leaves. Ensure that you water it well according to the recommended schedule and that the soil is well-draining and doesn’t retain water. 

Fungal infections can make brown spots appear on leaves – this usually happens if the leaves are excessively wet (if you water the plant from the top and drench the leaves). Remove infected leaves and ensure the plant is in a ventilated spot.

Direct exposure to sunlight or chemicals in the water can burn the leaves. Do not expose the plant to too much direct sunlight. Generally, rainwater runoff is best for all indoor plants but if this is hard to collect, then distilled water is a good substitute. 

Yellow leaves typically mean that the plant is low on nutrients and fed with a diluted balanced fertilizer to help improve nutrient levels for 2-3 weeks. Repotting it into a soil mix containing organic manure will also help.

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Peperomia Hope Care
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