Peperomia Albovittata (Peacock Peperomia care + #1 growing TIPS!)

peperomia albovittata, also known as peacock peperomia or piccolo banda, in small pot with small green oval ripple leaves

The Peperomia Albovittata is a new hybrid that has gorgeously prominent veins. It is sometimes known as Piccolo Banda or the Peacock Peperomia.

With textured ripple leaves held atop reddish petioles, this plant is a beauty. However, the leaf stems break off easily, so be careful when handling!

Care-wise, these plants love moderate-intensity indirect light. They grow well in average room humidity, though 50-60% is ideal if you can manage it. Pest-free and low-maintenance, the Peperomia Albovittata grows well in most room conditions.

Our only caution will be to be very careful not to overwater. Being small plants that are also slow-growing and succulent-like, they don’t need much water at all. Overwatering is by far the most common problem.

This compact hybrid tops out at about a foot (30cm) tall and wide. We keep ours on a side table for a touch of greenery in our otherwise minimalistic hallway. 🙂 It is also safe for pets and children.

peperomia albovittata potted plant topview

Caring for your Peperomia Albovittata

Light

Your Peperomia Albovittata doesn’t need much light to grow well. In fact, direct light tends to burn its leaves rather quickly!

So the best prescription is moderate, indirect light for a couple of hours a day. Ours is growing happily in a hallway a few feet (~90cm) away from a North-facing window.

If the light in your home is bright, consider using a translucent curtain or shade cloth to diffuse the light.

Water

The Peperomia Albovittata has slightly stiff and thick leaves that store water efficiently. These succulent-like characteristics enable your Albovittata to endure dry spells.

It also means your houseplant generally needs much less water than many others! We water ours once the topsoil is dry, which usually works out to be once every 7-12 days.

Here are our top tips:

  • Rule #1: Water your Peperomia Albovittata only when the topsoil is dry to the touch.
  • Use a long-spouted watering can to slowly saturate the soil without wetting the foliage. Wet foliage attracts fungi spores.
  • Always use a small planter with drainage holes. Your Peperomia Albovittata has a small root system, so there’s no need to “overpot”.
  • Once excess water starts escaping from the drainage holes, stop watering. Then, empty the saucer.

That’s it! These watering practices are simple, but very important to follow. Peperomia Albovittatas hate sitting in stagnant water and is susceptible to overwatering.

Signs of Over and Underwatering

  • Signs of an overwatered plant: wet soil that remains consistently wet for over five days, stiff and plump leaves … almost looking like they will burst!
  • Signs that your plant is underwatered: dry, cakey, or cracked soil, soft and malleable leaves, and droopy stems mean your plant needs water.
peperomia albovittata in a small pot with succulent-like thick leaves

Humidity & Air Circulation

This low-maintenance Peperomia doesn’t ask for much. Average room humidity is acceptable. But if you have a humidifier, set this to 50-60% for a slight moisture boost. Your plant will thank you. 🙂

A little bit of airflow is good for your Peperomia Albovittata. They are epiphytes in nature, growing above-ground on top of rocks, trees, and other plants.

A good way to ensure some air circulation is to switch on a ceiling fan occasionally, or open a nearby door so that fresh air can move into your home. But of course, don’t go overboard and create a draft.

Temperature

Hailing from Ecuador, your Peperomia Albovittata enjoys mild temperatures. Keep temperatures between 60-80 degrees F (15 – 26 degrees C) for best growth.

Despite having succulent-like characteristics, the Albovittata is NOT a true succulent. They don’t thrive in high heat the same way succulents do.

On the other hand, the Peperomia Albovittata is not cold-hardy. Dips below 60 degrees F (15 degrees C) may damage your plant, and will lead to stunted growth. Over an extended period, cold weather will lead to plant death.

As long as you avoid extreme temperatures and fluctuations, your Peperomia will grow well. 🙂

Flowering

Inflorescences in Peperomia consist of a long and thin conical spike (called a spadix), with tiny numerous flowers growing along it. Spikes are sometimes nicknamed “rat’s tails” for obvious reasons! 😛

However, flowering is quite rare when kept as a houseplant.

Growth

The Peperomia Albovittata, like most Peperomias, are slow-growers. While low maintenance and tolerant to different growing conditions, they grow… SLOWLY and stay compact.

At maturity, expect your Peperomia Albovittata to top out at around 1 foot (30cm) tall and wide.

peperomia albovittata close up of ripple leaves

Soil or Growing Medium

Being an epiphyte, the Peperomia Albovittata doesn’t do well in dense and heavy soils. We like to make our own well-draining, airy mix.

Mix together:

  • 1 part Miracle-Gro Moisture Control potting mix
  • 1 part orchid bark
  • 1 part perlite or pumice

Peat-heavy commercial mixes retain too much moisture for Peperomias. Adding orchid bark, perlite and pumice lightens the soil and improves drainage.

These amendments also create airflow to the roots, reducing the risk of root rot. Our Peperomia loves it. 🙂

Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix, 1 cu. ft. Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix, 1 cu. ft.
$13.49
Pros:
  • Protects against over- and under-watering
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12/06/2022 12:15 am GMT

Fertilizer

Being a slow grower, a little fertilizing goes a long way. Fertilize lightly, incorporating a gentle liquid fertilizer into its water to make it extra-dilute.

The worst thing you can do is overwhelm your Peperomia Albovittata with excessive cheap, harsh fertilizer. This will likely lead to root burn, and a thin white crust forming on the soil’s surface.

(If this is you, flush the soil so that excess minerals are removed. In extreme cases you may have to repot in fresh soil.)

Instead, be gentle. We like using Dyna-Gro Grow at half strength, once a month during the active growing season. Don’t fertilize in fall and winter.

Repotting

The Peperomia Albovittata does well when slightly root-bound, so there’s no rush to repot.

Our advice is to repot your plant only when roots emerge from the drainage hole. This is usually every 2-3 years.

peperomia albovittata houseplant with succulent-like thick leaves

You can also use the opportunity to divide the plant into two. In either case, repot your plant(s) in fresh potting mix, as nutrients deplete over time. Soil also tends to compact and harden, so refreshing keeps the mix airy and light.

If upsizing, choose a pot (with drainage holes, please!) that is 2 inches (5cm) larger than the original. There’s no benefit to using an overly big pot – in fact, it increases the risk of overwatering and root rot.

Lastly, be ever so gentle when repotting, as your plant’s stems are delicate and break easily. (Trust us…. we speak from experience!)

Toxicity

All Peperomias are non-toxic to animals and humans. It’s a great genus to explore if you have pets or curious toddlers at home.

Propagating your Peperomia Albovittata

Propagating your Peperomia Albovittata follows the same steps as many others in the genus. There are 2 main ways to propagate – through stem cuttings and through leaf cuttings. Both are quite simple to do, though stem cuttings usually has a higher success rate.

As always, spring is the best time to propagate your plant.

Propagation through Stem (Petiole) Cuttings

Here’s how:

  1. Gather all the items needed:
    • Garden shears. You can sterilize them by dipping them into 70% isopropyl solution;
    • Equal parts of indoor potting soil, perlite and orchid bark mixed together;
    • a small pot with drainage holes;
    • humidifier or clear plastic bag with holes
  2. Remove 6-7 leaves with their petioles attached. Cut the petioles to about half an inch (1.2 cm) long.
  3. Stick these leaf petiole cuttings into a lightly moist potting mix. The end of the petiole should be buried under the soil, but the leaf should remain above the soil’s surface!
  4. Place the pot of cuttings in a warm spot with loads of bright but filtered light. If you have a humidifier, place it next to the leaf cuttings and set it at 80%. Alternatively, you can use a clear plastic bag with tiny holes and secure it above the pot to boost humidity levels. When propagating, an exceptionally humid environment helps roots develop.
  5. Keep the potting soil lightly moist but never soggy. Use room temperature water when watering. If using a plastic bag, make sure to remove this at least an hour or two a day for fresh air.
  6. In about 8-10 weeks, roots should develop. You can confirm this by giving your plant a VERY GENTLE tug; a little resistance means the roots have formed.

Propagation through Leaf Cuttings

Another easy way to propagate is through the leaves themselves.

  1. Examine your healthy plant, and remove a couple of leaves.
  2. Using clean garden shears, cut the leaf across the center of the leaf. A clean horizontal cut (TRUST us!)
  3. Place the cut leaves, with the cut side down, into the moist potting mix – equal parts indoor potting soil, perlite, and orchid bark.
  4. Place the pot in a warm spot, preferably with a humidifier beside it set at 80%. Alternatively, you can use a clear plastic bag with holes and lightly secure it over the pot.
  5. Keep the soil evenly moist but not soggy. If using a plastic bag, remove it daily for an hour or two for fresh air.
  6. In about 10 weeks, you’ll notice new roots from the leaves and baby leaves popping up.
  7. When the new baby plants reach a few inches tall, you can take the old cut leaf off (they should come off quite easily).
  8. Now, replant your new baby plant in its permanent pot with light and well-draining potting soil.

Pruning

While your small and slow-growing plant doesn’t need regular pruning, the occasional trim in spring is a great way to keep your plant’s bushy, mound-like appearance. You can trim off:

  • Any wilted, dead, or damaged leaves;
  • Any leggy, dead, or damaged stems. Just be sure not to trim off more than 1/3 of the plant; this causes too much stress.

Beyond keeping a neat look, pruning allows your Peperomia Albovittata to focus its energy on new growth. 🙂

Use high-quality, sharp shears to minimize trauma when cutting. Another tip is to cut at a downward-sloping angle, which allows water to run off the wound site, reducing the risk of infection.

Lastly, remember to sterilize any garden tools before and after use. One option is to dip your shears into 70% isopropyl solution. 45 seconds in long enough to kill off any pathogens or pests.

We learnt the importance of this the hard way – by dealing with cross contamination of pests!

Common Issues

Pythium Root rot

Proper drainage is essential for the health of your Peacock Peperomia. In their natural habitat, the Albovittata doesn’t grow in a pot of soil, rather hangs from rocks and other plants or trees.

This means roots are usually exposed to air, allowing them to dry off quickly after rainfall.

Stagnant water at the roots causes air supply to be cut off. Roots start to go brown and decay, attracting the Pythium fungi. Fungi feed on decaying roots, leading to root rot, which prevents roots from functioning normally.

Altogether, a sorry state!

  • To avoid root rot, use a well-draining potting mix. You can also add orchid bark or perlite to increase the drainage properties of any commercial potting mix.
  • Watering ONLY when the topsoil is dry is one of the best defences against overwatering.
  • Also, ensure you are emptying out the saucer after watering.

Despite all this, if you find yourself with an overwatered plant, we’ll show you how to rescue your plant with our step-by-step guide here.

Cercospora Leaf Spot

According to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Cercospora Leaf Spots start off as legions on older leaves before progressing to newer ones. Legions may be grey or tan with a brown, or purple margin.

Such Leaf Spot diseases weaken your beloved Peperomia Albovittata by interrupting photosynthesis. Thankfully, the disease initially only affects a portion of the leaves, giving you time to stop its spread!

Here’s how:

  1. First, gather and destroy fallen damaged leaves and dispose of them securely. Growth on affected leaves can re-infect other parts of the plant or new healthy plants it comes into contact with.
  2. Isolate your plant from other plants to prevent contamination.
  3. Trim off any damaged leaves, again carefully disposing of them. Make sure to sterilize your garden shears using 70% isopropyl.
  4. Apply a fungicide that contains chlorothalonil to contain the spread of the infection. Chlorothalonil is an effective broad-spectrum pesticide.

Houseplant Pests

While not very common, houseplant pests may occasionally cause problems with your Peperomia Albovittata.

Such pests rarely originate in the home, rather are often introduced into the house by an infected plant. For this reason, it’s good practice to inspect any plants for pests before bringing it home and at regular intervals after that.

Look under stems and leaves where pests tend to hide. You can also apply a dilute solution of neem oil as a preventative measure to ward off pests.

Here’s what to look out for:

  • Aphids – these are light green and pear-shaped, about 1/8 of an inch (0.3cm) long. However, there are over 5,000 species of aphids that also come in black, pink, and white.
  • Spider mites – they are about 1/50 inch (0.5mm) in size, so it’s not easy to observe them directly without a microscope. Instead, look out for pale, grey stipplings on leaves or fine webbing on leaf undersides and near the stems as signs of an infestation.
  • Mealybugs – these sap-suckers look like little bits of cotton wool. While easily recognizable, they like to cluster together in hard-to-reach corners of the plant.
  • Fungus Gnats – attracted to overwatered plants, fungus gnats are black flying insects, usually around 1/8 inch (0.3cm) long, and look like fruit flies.
  • Scale – scale often look like immobile shell-like bumps that are clustered together, usually between 1/16 (0.2cm) to 1/8 inch (0.3cm) long. They come in many colors.

We recommend the Bonide Insecticidal Soap Spray to kill houseplant pests. Insecticidal soap penetrates exoskeletons and dries out cells. We keep it on deck in case of pest emergencies – it is also convenient to tackle all these pests in one product!

Troubleshooting

  • Wilting leaves. This is usually due to overwatering or underwatering.
  • Leaf drop. Dropping leaves signify too-cold temperatures or a temperature fluctuations. Is your Peperomia located near a drafty door or air vent? If so, relocate it.
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Frequently Asked Questions

Do Peperomia Albovittata need a lot of sunlight?

No, they don’t. They need moderate intensity, indirect light. In fact, more than a few hours of direct light tends to burn its leaves quickly.

Instead, these low-growers do best in diffused light. 🙂 North-facing windows are great for your Peperomia.

Do Peperomia Albovittata need to be misted?

No, they don’t need to be misted. And we don’t recommend it! If you want to increase humidity, use a humidifier.

Fungi and bacteria breed on wet foliage, which may lead to leaf spot diseases. Given that leaf spot is a common issue for the Peperomia Albovittata…we just don’t think it’s worth the risk.

But if you must, mist gently in the mornings. Chances are that the light misting will evaporate well before the day is over, reducing the chances of infection.

Similar Ripple leaf Peperomias

Peperomia Napoli Nights

Despite having similar size and shape, the Napoli Nights has much darker green leaves that makes it easy to recognize. It requires similar care to the Peperomia Albovittata.

holding up a small pot of peperomia napoli nights with dense low-growing rosette greyish-green leaves with a silvery sheen and deep veins
The Peperomia Napoli Nights

Peperomia Frost

The Peperomia Frost, or Silver Frost, is another Peperomia Albovittata look-alike. Despite the similarities, the silvery-green color of the Frost’s leaves make it easy to distinguish between the two.

holding up a small peperomia frost houseplant with ripple leaves and a silvery sheen
The Peperomia Frost

Peperomia Albovittata ‘Rana Verde’

A popular cultivar of the Peperomia Albovittata, the ‘Rana Verde’ has gorgeous deep green leaves. 🙂 ‘Rosso,’ and ‘Emerald’ are other popular cultivars.

holding up small potted peperomia albovittata 'rana verde'

Other Peperomias we love!

  • Peperomia Ginny – this is a beautiful, upright plant with large, elliptical leaves with tricolor variegation: cream and green leaves with striking pink-red borders.
  • Peperomia Hope – a compact vine with lush, round button-like green leaves. This one is a beauty!
  • Peperomia Prostrata – the String of Turtles plant is a vining plant with small, round leaves with variegation that resembles turtle shells. Another compact and unique species.
  • Peperomia Obtusifolia – the Baby Rubber Plant is an upright plant with obovate, bright green leaves. Keeping compact, this hardy plant is very popular.
  • Raindrop Peperomia – a small compact plant with beautiful raindrop-shaped leaves.
  • Watermelon Peperomia (Peperomia Argyreia) – a compact upright plant with leaves that resemble uncut watermelons 🙂
peperomia ginny with tricolor leaves
The Peperomia Ginny, an upright-growing houseplant with fleshy, tricolor leaves.
trailing jade or peperomia hope - long vins with small succulent-like button green leaves in a small black pot
The Peperomia Hope, also known as the Trailing Jade.

Wrapping Up

Easy to care for, low-maintenance, and pet/child-friendly, the Peperomia Albovittata ticks all boxes! To keep it happy, you truly don’t have to do much.

The few key things to remember are:

  • Use a well-draining potting mix. Add perlite and orchid bark to commercial mixes.
  • Moderate light conditions are best for growth.
  • Be careful not to overwater. Water sparingly, only when the topsoil is dry. It will need much less water than a typical houseplant.
  • Fertilize lightly, using a gentle liquid fertilizer incorporated into its normal watering routine.
  • Mild, indoor temperatures are key – between 60-80 degrees F (15 – 26 degrees C).
  • Repot only when roots start emerging from the drainage hole.

If you love the Peperomia Albovittata, check out the Raindrop Peperomia next!

Deborah is a plant enthusiast and founder of Gardening Collective.