Watermelon Peperomia

OFFICIAL NAME

Peperomia argyreia

ALSO KNOWN AS

Watermelon Begonia

ORIGINS & CLIMATE

Northern South America | Tropical

ABOUT THE
PLANT

A simply adorable little plant whose leaves strike an uncanny resemblance to the rind of a watermelon. This petite, but bushy plant will stand out all on its own or cozied up to a few friends.

HOW MANY GREEN THUMBS?

moderate, bright indirect, goldilocks, petite, clusters, bushy or dense, shelf, tabletop, pet friendly, round, variegation, patterns, color, plump, tropical

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Watermelon Peperomia

The basics

Water Needs

Always water thoroughly, but allow the top inch or two to dry out completely before watering again. Take extra care in winter to avoid overwatering.

Water

Preferred Light

Bright, indirect light is ideal for this Peperomia. Susceptible to leaf burn in long stretches of direct light. Can tolerate lower light conditions, but be sure to adjust watering and expect the plant to take on an elongated, sparse look. In addition, the color and variegation may begin to fade.

Light

Humidity Needs

Can adapt to average room humidity, but will thrive in higher humidity, especially in the summer or hot, dry conditions (like near a heater). Your Watermelon Peperomia will also appreciate occasional misting to help remove dust from their leaves and keep brown tips at bay.

Humidity

Ambient Temperature

Adaptable to average indoor temperatures, but generally prefers the warmer side and may complain when exposed to cold drafts or dry heat from vents.

Temperature

Toxic or Not?

A non-toxic plant pal! You can introduce this plant to your whole family, pets and children included. While it'll be a sad day for you and your plant if someone takes a nibble, you don't have to worry about poisoning anyone!

Toxicity

Size Potential

Indoors, this plant can grow up to 6-8 inches tall with a similar spread (when mature and with enough light)!

Size

Overall Look

Generally found as a single cluster of stems that grow in a rosette pattern—creating a full, globular look as the round leaves spread out in all directions.

Format

Leaf Look

Thick and glossy, these semi-succulent leaves are pleasantly round with dark green and silver stripes that resemble their namesake, the watermelon. Each leaf is perched atop a red stem.

Leaf Shape

Water

|

Allow top inches of soil to dry between waterings.

Water Needs

Always water thoroughly, but allow the top inch or two to dry out completely before watering again. Take extra care in winter to avoid overwatering.

Light

|

Bright, indirect light.

Preferred Light

Bright, indirect light is ideal for this Peperomia. Susceptible to leaf burn in long stretches of direct light. Can tolerate lower light conditions, but be sure to adjust watering and expect the plant to take on an elongated, sparse look. In addition, the color and variegation may begin to fade.

Humidity

|

Extra humidity appreciated in drier spaces.

Humidity Needs

Can adapt to average room humidity, but will thrive in higher humidity, especially in the summer or hot, dry conditions (like near a heater). Your Watermelon Peperomia will also appreciate occasional misting to help remove dust from their leaves and keep brown tips at bay.

Temperature

|

Can adapt, but doesn't like sudden change.

Ambient Temperature

Adaptable to average indoor temperatures, but generally prefers the warmer side and may complain when exposed to cold drafts or dry heat from vents.

Toxicity

|

Non-toxic. Completely pet safe!

Toxic or Not?

A non-toxic plant pal! You can introduce this plant to your whole family, pets and children included. While it'll be a sad day for you and your plant if someone takes a nibble, you don't have to worry about poisoning anyone!

Size

|

A petite plant pal.

Size Potential

Indoors, this plant can grow up to 6-8 inches tall with a similar spread (when mature and with enough light)!

Format

|

Low bushy clusters of densely packed stems.

Overall Look

Generally found as a single cluster of stems that grow in a rosette pattern—creating a full, globular look as the round leaves spread out in all directions.

Leaf Shape

|

Thick round leaves with a stripe pattern.

Leaf Look

Thick and glossy, these semi-succulent leaves are pleasantly round with dark green and silver stripes that resemble their namesake, the watermelon. Each leaf is perched atop a red stem.

Beyond The Basics

Soil & Potting

Thrives in a rich, very well-draining potting mix—you can use a good quality potting mix labeled for indoor plants or make your own mix. You can try a 1:1:1:0.5 mix of potting mix, orchid bark, perlite, and activated charcoal. Ensure the pot has the appropriate drainage and don't forget to pour out any excess water collected in the drainage tray or cachepot.

Repotting

Try to repot every 2-3 years in the spring, especially when tending to a younger plant. Increase the pot size by about 2 inches each time or until you're satisfied with the size. It's still important to repot at this stage, but it'll be an exercise of refreshing to soil, keeping the pot size the same, and possibly doing some root trimming to restrict the plant's growth. More on repotting here.

Feeding

If you're not already planning to repot, you can fertilize during the spring and summer months. Once to every two months should be plenty. No fertilizer is necessary during the winter when plant growth naturally slows down. You can try a balanced liquid or water-soluble fertilizer—always diluted more than the recommended strength. More on using fertilizer here.

Grooming

While no specific pruning is required for this plant, it's always good practice to regularly remove yellowed or dying leaves and any fallen plant debris. Ensure your scissors or pruners are sanitized to avoid spreading disease or pests.

Propagation

One of the easiest ways to propagate a Watermelon Peperomia is with a leaf cutting. Pluck off a leaf with its petiole and place directly into soil (dipping the end of the cutting in rooting hormone can help ensure success). Try to cover just enough of the petiole that the leaf will stay standing, otherwise it may rot (you may need to cut down the petiole if it's particularly long). Once you see roots that are a few inches long, you can pot up your new plant! More on propagation techniques here.

Variants

TrOUBlESHOOTING

Why are the leaf patterns on my Watermelon Peperomia fading?

Symptom

Leaf variegation and pattern are fading away, giving your plant a washed out appearance.

Cause

This is usually a sign that your plant is getting too much light. In a worst case scenario, the leaves may begin to burn or bleach completely.

Solution

You may be pushing the limits on how much direct sun your plant can handle. Try moving it out of reach of those direct rays of sun or moving to a spot that receives only minimal direct sun in the mornings or evenings.

More on lighting here.
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Why are the leaves on my Watermelon Peperomia wilting and yellowing?

Symptom

Multiple leaves are wilting and turning yellow—particularly the older, lower leaves. You may also notice stunted growth and mushy stems.

Cause

The most likely culprit is overwatering and initial signs of root rot. When a plant's roots sit in waterlogged soil for too long, a fungal infection can quickly take over, causing the roots to rot (turning brown and mushy).

Solution

First, ensure that your plant has appropriate drainage (both in terms of well-draining soil and plenty of drainage holes in the plant's container).

If you think you've caught the overwatering early on, you can simply let the plant dry out more than you have been. Allow the top few inches of soil to dry out before watering again. Continue monitoring and only water when needed. You may also try using chopsticks (or something similar) to poke holes in the soil to help the roots get more oxygen. And finally, you can try to "wick" the excess moisture out of the soil by placing the whole pot (with drainage holes) in a tray or container with dry soil. This new layer of dry soil should soak up some of the excess moisture from the waterlogged areas around your plant's roots.

However, if you suspect a serious case of root rot, you'll definitely need to take a peak at the roots by removing the plant entirely from their container. If there are any black and mushy roots, trim them back completely before repotting with fresh soil in a new or sterilized container.

More on leaf changes here.
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Why are the leaf tips on my Watermelon Peperomia browning?

Symptom

Leaves turning brown just on the edges or tips. These edges may gradually change from yellow to brown, crispy, and possibly a bit curled.

Cause

Browning just on the edges of tips is usually a reaction to low humidity. Since many of our houseplants have tropical origins, they also thrive in humid conditions. Our average indoor humidity is usually adequate, but some plants are simply more sensitive to changes in humidity than others. You may notice this more acutely when conditions are particularly dry—like when you turn on the heater in winter.

Solution

Try to accommodate your plant's needs by locating them in more naturally humid places, like the bathroom or kitchen, or grouping a bunch of humidity-loving plants together. But the only way to truly guarantee increased humidity is to get a humidifier!

Once you've addressed the problem: If the brown tips bother you, you can trim them back. Do your best to follow the shape of the leaf to help them look natural. Also, try to cut just short of the discolored edge so it doesn’t expand.

More on leaf changes here.
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Why are the leaves on my Watermelon Peperomia curling inward/outward?

Symptom

Leaf edges curling, either inward or outward. Usually accompanied by some discoloration.

Cause

Leaves curling inward is often a sign of dehydration from either too much light or not enough water. Leaves curling outward is more likely a sign of not enough light or too much water.

Solution

The key is a well tuned balance between the amount of light and your frequency of watering. Instead of going by a set schedule, check-in with your plant to see if they need the water or not. You'll want to allow around half the soil to dry out completely before watering again. While this may be on a consistent schedule for some months, as the seasons change, so will the amount of light and therefore your watering schedule must shift.

More on watering here.
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