Peperomias as tropical plants from the pepper family that are popular as indoor plants because of they are easy to take care of and come in an almost endless array of colors and varieties.
There are well over a thousand varieties of these plants, which most commonly come with green, purple, red, silver and variegated leaves. The most popular include the Peperomia Scandens ‘Variegata’ also known as the “cupid peperomia” with its heart-shaped leaves; the P. argyreia, whose silver stripes against dark green leaves make it look like a watermelon skin; and the Peperomia obtusifolia, also known as the “baby rubber plant.”
Then there’s Peperomia polybotry, the ‘Owl Eyes’ Peperomia, which features large, tear-shaped leaves marked by a white or yellowish center (the owl eye of the name), which we have this week at Warner’s Nursery.
Regardless of the look of your Peperomia, they tend to have the same needs.
Peperomia in general like medium to bright, indirect light, but they can tolerate low light relatively well and can even grow under florescent lights, which makes them popular for offices. Keep in mind thought that if you have your Peperomia in a low-light situation, it will grow more slowly and will require less water.
Speaking of water, you’ll want to let your Peperomia dry out between waterings, and you’ll want to err on the side of underwatering your plant. First because it’s a succulent and those beautiful leaves retain water. But they are definitely susceptible to root rot, so overwatering can be a problem.
Because of the tendency towards root rot, you’ll want to plant your Peperomia in a pot with good drainage and use a light, well-draining soil for your plant.
Tolmiea menziesii is an unusual houseplant for a lot of reasons. First of all, unlike most houseplants, which tend to originate from tropical areas, this plant is a native of the Pacific Northwest. In its native environment, it’s a groundcover in forests along the coastline.
It also has an unusual way of growing leaves, with new leaves sprouting directly from the center of large, mature leaves at the point where the stem attaches to the leaf. That’s where the plant gets its more common nickname, the piggyback plant.
Caring for Your Piggyback Plant
Humidity & Temperature: This is a plant that likes conditions that mimic its Pacific Northwest roots. It thrives with high humidity, so a pebble tray should be used to make it happy. It also likes cooler temps, ranging from 50 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Light: Piggybacks prefer indirect light.
Water: Keep your plant consistently moist all year long and mist if your home gets dry.
Fertilizer: Feed once a month during the plants growing season in the spring and summer.
The Ligustrum genus is part of the olive family of plants and has more than 50 evergreen and deciduous subspecies and cultivars with a diversity of leaf colors and forms. It’s an excellent choice for gardeners who are new to cultivating bonsai plants.
Caring for Your Ligustrum Bonsai
Light: This is a plant that loves its sun, so make sure that you position your plant where it will receive full sun for at least part of the day.
Water: Getting the balance right for your bonsai involves making sure they get enough water without overwatering. Make sure they are in well-draining soil to avoid root rot. Saturate thoroughly and then allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings.
Humidity: Bonsai like higher levels of humidity, so you can supplement your watering scheduled by misting the leaves every few days.
Temperature: This plant needs warmth as well as sunlight. Typically room temperature is ideal, but avoid placing your plant near a window or door when the temperatures drop.
It’s interesting how many plants have common names that remind you of creatures that live in the water. Heliconias are known as “lobster claws” because their flowers have that shape. Then there’s the String of Dolphins. Today’s fish-as-a-plant is the Goldfish Plant.
Columnea gloriosa features dark green leaves and flowers of red, orange and gold that do look a lot like goldfish.
They are an easy plant to grow and care for and are also great for propagating. Plus, they make quite a splash (sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves) with their colorful flowers.
Caring for Your Goldfish Plant
Goldfish plants want a lot of light, but direct sun will burn them so make sure it’s indirect. They also grow well under artificial light in the winter.
These plants love humidity, so make sure that their soil never fully dries out and if you have them in a hanger, mist them on a pretty regular basis. (And mist them with room temperature water, not cold, which can damage the leaves). If you want a really happy Goldfish plant, you might want to consider the bathroom, where they’ll thrive on the steam from the shower!
You’ll want to fertilize on a regular basis during the growing season (spring and summer). Controlled release pellets are a good choice.
This is a long-living plant, and will thrive if you repot it every couple of years.
You can easily propagate this plant. Pick a stem a few inches long without a flower bud and they will take root very easily.
Also look out for aphids, spider mites, and mealybugs as these are common pests on this tropical plant.
This “king” of begonias, also often known as the “painted leaf” begonia, is famous for its beautiful variegated leaves that can grow up to six inches long and are available is shades of green, red, silver and purple.
This is a plant that you want for its leaves. In fact, it’s not uncommon that people pinch off the not-that-impressive blooms so as to not distract from the dramatic foliage.
To encourage the most beautiful leaf color, you need to give your plant plenty of (indirect) light and pretty high humidity. Here are the basics to giving your Rex begonia the royal treatment it deserves.
Caring for Your Rex Begonia
Plant your rex begonia in light, fast draining soil.
Rex begonias thrive with bright, indirect light year round. You don’t want to burn those gorgeous leaves, so no direct light. You also want to rotate the plant frequently to give it equal light on all sides.
This plant requires regular watering but be careful not to overwater. Let the soil surface become dry to the touch before watering.
They also love humidity, but be careful if you decide to mist the leaves; if they stay wet, you might find yourself seeing powdery mildew.
Rex begonias like moderate temperatures in the 60-70 degree range.
Alocasias are considered some of the most striking houseplants available because of their eye-catching foliage. Native to the subtropics, they have close to 80 varieties with a wide range of looks.
This week we are focusing on Alocasia Polly, which is also known as Alocasia Kris or the African Mask plant, because of the leaves resemblance to traditional ceremonial masks. The leaves of this plant are such a dark green as to almost look black and are contrasted dramatically with highly visible white striping along the veins and edges.
Alocasias can be a little tricky with their light, humidity and temperature needs.
They require bright, but diffuse lighting. In nature, these plants thrive beneath tree canopies and direct sun will lead to the leaves getting burned. They are also used to high humidity, so don’t place them in a place where they will dry out easily, such as an air conditioner vent or a heater. Employ a pebble tray to keep the air around them humid or mist them with distilled water.
The preferred temperature range for this plant is 70 to 80 degrees, year round. With enough water they can survive extra heat, but your plant might get damaged if the thermostat goes below 60 degrees in your home.
Allow the top 2 to 3 inches of the plant to dry between watering to ensure that the plant isn’t sitting in soil that is too wet. Make sure your soil has good drainage!
Although they have no flowers, the club moss or Selaginella, is a charming, easy-to-care-for houseplant whose beauty comes from its foliage.
Colors can range from green to gold and some species feature new growth that is white, which makes them look like they are frosted.
They also can be placed in a variety of containers, working well in pots and terrariums.
Caring for Your Club Moss
Soil – If planting in a pot, start with good commercial potting soil, which is lighter than top soil and often contains a mild “starter” fertilizer.
Water – Club Moss likes moist but well-drained soil. Check the soil moisture with your fingertips. If the top two inches are dry, or the plant is wilted, you need to water it.
Fertilizer – Apply a balanced liquid fertilizer monthly.
Temperature – The Club Moss is a native of sub-Saharan Africa and loves humidity. If you want to make this plant happy, place it in the kitchen or bathroom. Avoid placing in drafty, hot, or high sun locations.
You’ve got to love this leaf. The golden hue of neon philodendron’s heart-shaped foliage makes it a stand out addition to your home’s décor. Additionally, those bright leaves mean that your Neon will work well in a variety of light and with minimum fuss.
Here are some guidelines when cultivating your Neon Philodendron.
Light: While her golden-lime leaves tolerate lower light than other philodendrons, brighter light will reward you will more baby leaves during the growing season, which are even more beautiful (if you can imagine that) with a blush/golden color. No direct sunlight, however, or those leaves will burn.
Water: Neon likes deep drinks of water, so drench the soil and then let it dry out. When the top two or three inches of soil dry out, give Neon another good soak – although you can let your plant dry out almost completely between waterings during the winter.
Soil: A good, fast-draining soil is best. You don’t want your plant sitting in water.
Humidity: Another area where this plant is easy-peasy is its humidity requirements. However, Neon is a plant native to tropical Brazil, so it does slightly better with more humidity and will probably give you larger leaves. Consider periodic misting, which will also help you clean off any dust on your plant.
Fertilizer: You can feed your Neon while it’s growing, but scale back during the winter.
Are you seeing spots? You might very well be looking at Hypoestes, better known as the polka dot plant.
It’s freckly decorative leaves make this a popular outdoor ornamental plant, but it’s vivid oval variegated foliage, in either green and white or green and pink, can also be cultivated as a houseplant.
Even better, it’s easy to propagate your Hypoestes. They get small flowers that will produce seeds that you can germinate in warm moist soil, but the easiest method for propagation is from plant cuttings. Dip your cuttings in rooting hormone and place in peat moss.
Caring for Your Hypoestes
Your freckle-faced plant gets its best color when it is in a low light situation, but you may have to deal with canes of the plant getting “leggy” as they search for light. Indirect bright sunlight is the best for this plant.
Hypoestes does not like the cold and needs temperatures of at least 60 degrees. They like well-drained but moist soil and should be fed once a month.
Probably the easiest of the ficus plant species to grow, ficus triangularis (or triangle fig) offers all the beauty of most ficus plants, but it’s the least fussy. This makes it a perfect plant for beginners.
The name comes from the plant’s triangle-shaped leaves that are typically variegated with dark, waxy green centers morphing into cream-colored soft edges. This striking combination makes this plant a highly decorative addition to your indoor decor.
The plant grows slowly, but can reach heights of four to eight feet, so the cute centerpiece on your table today could eventually grow into a nice floor plant with time.
Caring for Your Triangle Fig
Soil: Ficus triangularis requires a rich, well-draining potting mix.
Water: The triangle fig likes deep watering and then being able to dry out before being watered again. Wait until the top third of the plant’s soil is dry before watering. Do not allow your ficus to sit in standing water.
Light: Bright, indirect light year-round is perfect for this plant. If you find that your plant is dropping leaves or losing its variegation, it’s likely it’s not getting enough light.
Fertilizer: Feed once a month from spring through fall and refrain from feeding during the winter.