The Peperomia Obtusifolia may well be the plant responsible for my current plant addiction. The first one I bought, I planted in a little copper canister and it while it did look sweet, it quickly outgrew it and the easy success spurred my confidence on to try another plant soon after. The Obtusifolia has been one of my favourites ever since and while I no longer have the original, we had to move house in the winter, I replaced it as soon as I was able and it has been living happily ever after.
This was the second, shown above, and it started out in this 3″ pot. Peperomia Obtusifolia, or commonly referred to as Baby Rubber Plant (as it bears some resemblance to Ficus Elastica,) is a fantastic beginner plant. Growing one is a wonderful introduction to the genus of Peperomia which includes over 1000 species and are often very different from each other aside from their strange, rat-tail like flowers.
This is how that little 3″ starter looks now. While they do grow fast, they won’t become infinitely larger and larger. At roughly 12″ tall now, it is becoming a bit top heavy and will soon trail over unless staked for support. Now, instead of growing up – it will expand outwards with new growth forming a bushy habit.
General Peperomia Obtusifolia Care Tips
Light: Generally, peperomia plants love a lot of light and can even handle some direct sun if the heat isn’t too scorching. I have, however, had success even in lower light spots with this easy going plant. Mine is 4 feet from an east window currently but I also grew this up in Northern BC, where I was a beginner who didn’t even know which way her windows faced and it did just as well.
Water: This is a semi succulent plant with quite a delicate root system and so it is much better to go easy on the water than to have a heavy hand. Peperomias can signal when they are thirsty and by touching the leaves often, you will begin to note when they feel less plump. This is when it’s good to provide a nice, drink. I usually water mine approximately every 10-14 days and my plant is currently in terracotta which aids in moisture loss. It is advisable to let it dry out completely between watering.
Soil: I treat this plant much like a succulent in that it really needs a well draining soil mix. A sandy cactus soil will work well or amend a general potting mix by adding in some perlite for good drainage – about 3 parts soil to 1 part perlite will do well to help the roots breathe and prevent rot.
Humidity: Peperomia Obtusifolia does well in standard household humidity and really does not require supplemented moisture or misting which is another reason it’s a fantastic beginner plant.
Fertilizer: This plant isn’t a huge feeder so an organic balanced fertilizer, diluted to half strength will be enough. Fertilize once a month during the growing season.
Pruning and propagation: This plant will not require pruning unless you wish to remove damaged or dying growth. Propagation is easy in water with either a stem or leaf cutting. Let the roots grow as much as you can because they are fine and hair-like. You’ll need quite a few to anchor your new plant into soil when it makes the transfer and you may even wish to provide a support in the beginning.
Pests: I have not had any pest problems however, if you get one, it would likely be a mealy bug.
Toxicity: Peperomias are non-toxic but as with any plant, don’t let pets or children chew on them. One never knows when there might be a reaction.
Obtusifolia is quite underrated and I highly recommend this variety of Peperomia for either experienced houseplant growers or newbies. It is enjoyable to find a plant that is so easy to care for and provides nothing but growth and beauty. These houseplants are found in big box stores, grocery stores and nurseries so you won’t have trouble tracking one down and they are among the least expensive plants on the market. Give one a go!