How To Propagate A Peperomia: Top Propagation Methods

How To Propagate A Peperomia: Top Propagation Methods

Peperomias are popular houseplants that are easy to look after and just as easy to propagate to create new plants when you know how. Peperomia houseplants come in a whole range of different varieties with some really interesting variegated forms that will add some colour and pizzazz to your interiors. 

As these plants are semi-succulents, you’ll find that they are incredibly easy to propagate if you follow one of these methods. 

Peperomia caperate 'Abricos'

Leaf Cuttings

For plant enthusiasts who love to grow their own plant collections or delight in giving newly propagated plants to family and friends, using leaf cuttings is probably the easiest way to propagate peperomia plants. 

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But only those varieties that have nice fleshy leaves on mature plants will respond well to this type of propagation method. Those that have thinner leaves should be propagated using stem cuttings.

Here’s all you have to do.

table with propagating tools, pots, plant materials, soil and watering can

1. Prepare Your Propagation Mix

Unlike many other types of succulents, peperomias will grow quite well in normal potting mix and don’t necessarily need special cacti or succulent mix to thrive. As long as the mix is free-draining, your plant will be happy.

I have a lovely variegated peperomia growing happily in my bathroom in just a premium potting mix. For this reason, you can use a standard seed-raising mix for propagating your peperomias or make your own using coco coir, river sand and perlite. 

The ideal mix would be 2 parts coco coir and 1 part each of river sand and perlite. This mix should be free-draining enough for happy root growth.

Once you’ve prepared your mix and filled some small pots or even a seedling tray with it, it’s time to move on to the next step.

watermelon peperomia showing close up of leaves

2. Take Your Leaf Cuttings

Choose a healthy leaf or two from an existing plant and cut these from the parent plant. Just cut each leaf at the base where it’s connected to the stem. You can even cut each leaf in half widthwise if you want to double your peperomia cuttings.

It’s important to select healthy leaves that are fairly mature and have no signs of damage or discolouration. Really healthy leaves will give you a much better chance of success.

To help speed up propagation, you might want to use a rooting hormone. Just dip the cut ends of the leaves in the rooting hormone liquid or powder before planting them in the propagation mix. 

Next, you want to lay your leaves on top of the mix, making sure that the cut side has good contact with the soil. Press the cut side of the leaf down gently into the soil. Alternatively, you can make a small slit in the soil to insert the cut ends of your leaves. Gently firm the soil around the leaves so that they have good contact with the soil and are sitting upright.

Then, water very gently so that you don’t dislodge the leaves or wash the soil away from the cut ends.

3. Put Your Leaf Cuttings In A Warm Spot

Your cuttings will need a fair bit of warmth to initiate root formation, so you may want to time your propagation for the warmer months of the year. Make sure your cuttings get plenty of bright indirect sunlight but keep them out of direct sun. 

Keep an eye on your cuttings and make sure you keep the soil moist. Using a spray bottle filled with water is ideal. It should only take a few short weeks for your cuttings to produce roots. 

Once you start to see evidence of new growth such as new shoots starting to grow, you can gently pot your new little plants into their own pots.

peperomia suitable for stem cuttings showing stem details

Stem Cuttings

Stem cuttings are just as effective but you’ll need a large parent plant that has lots of healthy stems that you can use. Here’s what to do.

1. Prepare Your Propagation Mix

You can prepare exactly the same propagation mix as that suggested in leaf propagation. Just make sure that it’s free-draining.

2. Take Your Stem Cuttings

Look for young healthy stems on your plant that have at least two or three leaves on the tip. Cut these stems from the parent plant using a sharp pair of secateurs or pruning shears. Make sure your tools are clean and have been sterilised in order to prevent spreading any diseases onto your cuttings. Ideally, you want the stem cuttings to be around 7.5 cm (3 inches) long.

Remove any lower leaves on your stems cutting and only retain two or three leaves at the top of your cuttings. Once again, you can help to speed up the propagation by dipping the base of the stem into rooting hormone liquid or powder before inserting it into the soil.

Using a small pencil or dibber, make a hole in the potting mix for each stem cutting. This makes it easier to insert the cutting without damaging the delicate stems. Insert your cuttings into the pre-made holes and gently firm the soil around the stems.

Water the soil gently, taking care not to dislodge your cuttings.

3. Place Your Cuttings In A Bright Spot

Just like leaf cuttings, you want to put your stem cuttings in a warm spot that gets plenty of bright light but no direct sunlight. 

Once again, you want to ensure that you keep the soil moist but always make sure that it’s not soggy. You’ll be surprised that your stem cuttings will probably produce roots faster than the leaf cuttings.

You might even want to try both methods at once to see which one produces faster and better results.

Water Propagation

peperomia prostrata being propagated in water

Peperomia stem cuttings can also be rooted in water. It’s much easier to use stem cuttings for this method because you don’t really want the leaves sitting in water as they may rot. Here’s what you need to do.

1. Find A Nice Clean Glass Jar Or Vase

Choose a clean glass jar or vase that’s not too deep and fill this with tap water.

2. Take Your Stem Cuttings

Choose healthy stems that have at least one or two leaves at the tip and some nodes below these that will be submerged in the water. The nodes are where the leaves meet the stem. 

Remove the lower leaves carefully so as not to damage the stem. These leaves can used for propagating in soil.

3. Use Rooting Hormone To Speed Up Propagation

For propagating in water, you want to use rooting hormone gel as this won’t wash off like the liquid or powder will. Dip the cut end of the stem into the gel and then place this in the glass jar or vase.

You want to make sure that there is at least one leaf node submerged in the water as this is where the roots will grow from. You also want to ensure that the base of the leaf sits slightly above the water level.

4. Put Your Cuttings On A Warm Window Sill

Place your stem cuttings onto a nice bright window sill but make sure that the cuttings aren’t exposed to direct sunlight. 

Refresh the water every few days to prevent algal growth and to keep the water oxygenated. It should only take a few weeks for your cuttings to start producing roots. 

While propagating in water should produce roots fairly quickly, these cuttings may fail once they’re planted into soil. This is because water roots are very different to soil roots. In fact, once planted into soil, the water roots will probably not survive all that long and the plant will have to replace them with new roots. 

Nevertheless, it’s still worth giving this method a try to see what sort of success you can achieve. 

peperomia caperata in bloom

Problems You Might Encounter With Peperomia Propagation

Although peperomias are relatively easy to propagate, you might still encounter a few problems along the way.

For example, because these plants are semi-succulents, they’re more prone to root rot than other types of houseplants. This means you have to get the soil moisture just right. This is one reason I suggested using a spray bottle filled with water to moisten the soil rather than just watering it.

Any browning of the stem near the soil is a clear indication that your cutting has succumbed to root rot. When this happens, it’s best just to discard and start afresh. Make sure you also discard the mix, wash the pot and refill it with fresh mix. Some gardeners say that mixing a little cinnamon into the soil can help prevent this but I haven’t personally tried it to say that it definitely works.

You might also find that when you’re using the leaf propagation method, the leaves will start to wilt and turn brown. This can be the result of not enough bright light or too much moisture.

To prevent this from happening, make sure your cuttings get lots of bright, indirect light and only water lightly when the top of the soil looks and feels dry. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will it take for peperomias to root in water?

Peperomia stem cuttings should only take around two to six weeks to produce roots in water, especially if you change the water regularly and your little cuttings get enough light.

What is the common name for peperomia plants?

There are many species of peperomia plants and these don’t collectively have a common name. Some species are known as baby rubber plants while others are known as radiator plants.

What are some common species of peperomia plants?

Some common peperomia species include Peperomia obtusifolia (Baby rubber plant), Peperomia argyreia (Watermelon peperomia), and Peperomia caperata (Emerald ripple peperomia).

For other indoor plant information, you might be interested in these articles:

How To Grow Aloe From Seed

How To Grow String Of Turtles

Can You Plant Multiple Succulents In One Pot?

Final Thoughts

Peperomias are delightful and easy-care tropical plants that you can easily propagate from either leaf or stem cuttings. The process is fairly easy and if you follow it and give your cuttings the right conditions, you should have a fair bit of success propagating these beauties.

The best time to try your hand at propagating peperomia is during the summer months because these plants will root much easier when exposed to plenty of warmth and bright light.

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