The Peperomia Frost is a beautiful plant with heart-shaped fleshy leaves with a silver-frost, metallic sheen.
They are low-maintenance, non-toxic, and relatively pest-resistant; just be careful of overwatering! 🙂
- Place in a warm spot with ample bright filtered light. East or North-facing windowsills are ideal;
- Using a well-draining potting soil for this epiphyte is critical.
- Ensure the topsoil is dry before watering; your succulent-like plant can endure dry spells, so don’t overwater.
- Fertilizing helps this slow-grower grow a bit quicker and develop larger leaves. Apply a high-quality liquid succulent fertilizer during the growing season.
- Humidity >50% is preferred, though they can endure average room humidity.
- Avoid overwatering your Peperomia Frost! and Avoid wetting its leaves.
- You can ward away most houseplant pests by applying neem oil as a preventative measure.
Let’s get into the details.
Table of Contents
What is the Peperomia Frost?
The Peperomia Frost (scientific name: Peperomia caperata Frost), otherwise known as the Silver Frost Peperomia or Silver Peperomia, is an evergreen flowering epiphytes.
They come from the Peperomia genus, nicknamed “Radiator Plants” due to their love for warm air and ability to tolerate wet and dry environments.
Grown mainly as an indoor plant, the Peperomia Frost is an excellent addition to a home or apartment – growing to just 8 – 12 inches (20- 30 cm).
Caring for your Peperomia Frost
Like many houseplants, the Peperomia Frost THRIVES in bright indirect light. It does best when placed on an East or North-facing windowsill.
You’ll know it needs more light if you observe smaller and fewer leaves and slower overall growth. In this case, consider using a grow light to give your plant a needed boost.
Watering is an essential part of care for your Peperomia Frost. When watering,
- Water near the soil level using a long-spouted watering can. Importantly, avoid wetting its leaves!
- Water until the soil is saturated and excess water escapes from the drainage hole.
- Then, empty the plant’s saucer.
- Water again only when the top 2 inches of soil are dry to the touch. If the topsoil is slightly moist or if soil particles stick to your finger, don’t water. Check back again in a day or two.
That’s it! It’s simple but very important to follow, especially as this plant hates sitting in stagnant water and is susceptible to overwatering.
- 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!). Remember that water is stored in your Peperomia Frost’s leaves.
- Signs that your plant is underwatered: dry, cakey, or cracked soil, soft and malleable leaves, and droopy stems mean your plant needs water, stat!
- Pot-wise, always use a pot with drainage holes. Terracotta pots are preferable as they are breathable.
Like the Peperomia Ginny and Peperomia Hope, your plant has succulent-like leaves. The thicker the leaves, the more they can tolerate dry spells: both in terms of surviving without water and without moisture in the air. So while the Peperomia Frost comes from the rainforest, where humidity levels can be upwards of 90%, it can still thrive in levels around 50% and above.
If you live in an arid climate, you may still need to use a humidifier or pebble tray to give your plant the best conditions for growth.
Being native to Central and South America, you might think your plant prefers the heat. However, it is happier with cooler temperatures than you might expect. Keep temperatures between 60-80 degrees F (15 – 26 degrees C) for optimal growth, with the higher end of this range being ideal.
Nevertheless, your tropical Peperomia is NOT cold-hardy, so temperature drops below 50 degrees F (10 degrees C) will cause damage over extended periods. It will also slow down your plant’s growth rate.
Like many other houseplants, it needs stable temperatures to grow well, so keep this one well away from drafty doors or windows.
This plant has an interesting growth habit. It grows both horizontally and vertically, having a rounded, mound appearance. We think it’s cute 🙂
Nevertheless, it will only really reach about 8-12 inches (20-30cm) across and in height when kept indoors, meaning your plant is still relatively compact. In our view, this also means the choices for placement are endless!
Do note that your plant, like most Peperomias, are slow-growers. So you’ll need to have a bit of patience.
If your plant is growing well, in no time you’ll, you’ll find flower stalks poking their heads out from the foliage in the summer and autumn months. But the flowers themselves are hard to see! They are tiny and numerous and grow along the length of the flower spike (itself about 2-3 inches or 5-8cm long).
Peperomia Frost produces inflorescent-type flowers, not the traditional showy flowers we like to buy from florists. You’ll need to use the zoom function on your camera phone to see them.
Truth be told, gardeners don’t usually grow this cultivar for their flowers, which are considered insignificant. Much more often, people fall in love with their frosty silver heart-shaped leaves, and the rest is history!
Soil or Growing Medium
Peperomia Frost isn’t too fussy about the potting soil as long as it is well-draining (meaning it allows excess water to escape quickly), loose and airy for its roots to breathe easy. This is because your plant is both succulent-like (they can store water efficiently) and also epiphytic (so love maximum breathability for its roots)!
They prefer slightly acidic soils but can tolerate neutral to slightly alkaline soils all the same.
From our experience, we like making our own potting mix below, as this achieves the best results. Combine:
Perlite and orchid bark lightens the soil, giving your plant the airy and well-draining mix it craves. The indoor potting soil we recommend is slightly acidic and also provides your plant with some organic nutrients for the best growth.
Light feeding is an excellent idea for Peperomia Frost; we’ve seen the difference in how large and vigorous the plant grows with and without it!
We like using a liquid succulent fertilizer (these are formulated to be less harsh than other fertilizers) for our Peperomias. In particular, we enjoy using this one, which has yielded us impressive results.
Apply at half-strength just once a month in the spring and summer months. Do not apply fertilizer in the fall and winter months, as your plant doesn’t need it. Growth is slow during this time.
Just a few other things:
- Water the soil before applying fertilizer to avoid burning its sensitive roots. You may also choose to use the liquid fertilizer as part of your watering routine (diluted every time you water).
- When you first purchase your plant, check with the seller whether its soil has been treated with a slow-release fertilizer (typically six months’ worth). This is common practice amongst some nurseries. In this case, hold off on fertilizing until the effect has worn off.
You would have noticed that your Peperomia Frost is quite a compact plant. It has a small root system, so repotting is not a common occurrence! They also like to remain slightly root-bound.
We generally repot our Peperomia Frost about once every 2-3 years, or when we see roots poking out from below the drainage hole, whichever comes first.
When repotting, do use fresh soil as nutrients deplete over time. It’s also essential to use a pot with drainage holes for excess water to escape.
Also, be gentle with this plant, as we’ve noticed that its leaves break easily! (And our heart breaks a little every time we accidentally lose a healthy leaf due to nothing but our clumsiness…)
Wiping down leaves
We probably don’t do this enough, but you should wipe down your Peperomia’s leaves occasionally with a damp cloth and then wipe dry. This goes for any plant that either has large, leaves thick leaves or leaves that have grooves or veins, which allow dust to gather.
Dust actually partially blocks the “pores” or stomata and can hinder sunlight from being fully absorbed by the chloroplasts. So wiping down helps your plant photosynthesize and transpire efficiently.
Thankfully, your Peperomia Frost is not toxic to humans or pets. There’s nothing to worry about here. We told you this little guy is low-maintenance and trouble-free!
Propagation through Leaf Petiole Cuttings
An easy way to propagate your Peperomia Frost is through leaf petiole cuttings. Using this method, you don’t need to cut off the entire stem; instead, place a few leaves with about 0.5 inch long of the petioles attached (the small stem connected to the leaf) into a propagating medium.
- 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;
- and a small pot with drainage holes.
- humidifier or clear plastic bag with holes
- Remove 6-7 leaves with their petioles attached. Cut the petioles to about half an inch long.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Treat as you would any other Peperomia Frost!
Propagation through Leaf Cuttings
Another special way to propagate these plants is through the leaves themselves!
- Examine your healthy plant, and remove a couple of leaves. LEAVES only; you don’t need to petiole (stem holding up the leaf).
- Using clean garden shears, cut the leaf across the center of the leaf. A clean horizontal cut (TRUST us!)
- Place the cut leaves, with the cut side down, into the moist potting mix – equal parts indoor potting soil, perlite, and orchid bark.
- 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.
- Keep the soil evenly moist but not soggy. If using a plastic bag, remove it daily for an hour or two for fresh air.
- In about 10 weeks, you’ll notice new roots from the leaves and baby leaves popping up.
- When the new baby plants reach a few inches tall, you can take the old cut leaf off (they should come off quite easily).
- Now, replant your new baby plant in its permanent pot with light and well-draining potting soil.
While your slow-growing plant doesn’t need regular pruning, the occasional trim in spring and summer is a great way to keep your Peperomia Frost’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 a third of the length of the plant; this causes too much stress.
Pruning allows your Peperomia Frost to focus its energy on new growth.
Do use high-quality, sharp shears to minimize trauma when cutting. We always sterilize our shears before and after cutting with 70% isopropyl solution. This kills off any bacteria and pathogens (the kinds you cant see with the naked eye) to prevent bacteria spread or cross-contamination with our houseplants.
Common Pests and Diseases
Thankfully, your hardy Peperomia Frost is not too susceptible to pests or diseases. Nevertheless, like any plant, it may suffer from the occasional problem. The most common issues are:
- Root rot from overwatering. Here’s our guide on how to save your overwatered plant.
- Spider mites, Mealybug, or Whiteflies. Use a neem oil spray or Insectidial Soap spray to rid your plant of these pests!
Why are my Peperomia Frost’s leaves dropping?
Leaf drop is a sign of stress and may be due to several issues:
- TOO cold temperatures. Your plant comes from the tropics – it just can’t ensure colder weather. Bring your plant indoors, and provide a warm spot away from any air vents or drafts.
- Overwatering. Root rot from overwatering may cause your plant to shed its leaves. Check the soil moisture; if your plant’s soil is soggy, what to do next depends on the extent of the damage. In the case of overwatering, leaves will appear stiff and very plump. Do check out our step-by-step guide on how to rescue your overwatered plant.
- Lastly, underwatering may also cause leaf drop. Check the soil’s moisture; of the soil is cakey and dry, and if the leaves appear soft and malleable (easily folded), your plant needs to be watered.
Why are my Peperomia Frost’s leaves yellowing?
- If the occasional old leaf is yellowing, this may be the normal cycle of shedding off the old to make way for the new. However, if you notice several newer leaves yellowing at the same time, this is not natural.
- The most common reason for yellowing leaves in a Peperomia Frost is overwatering. Check the soil moisture, and make sure you only water your plant when the topsoil is dry to the touch.
- Excessing yellowing of lower leaves could be a sign of chlorosis – possibly due to under-fertilized leaves. Check that you are fertilizing your plant with a high-quality liquid fertilizer.
- Somewhat confusingly, yellowing leaves may also be a sign of overfertilized leaves. Check that you are only fertilizing once a month during the active growing season, at half-strength. A little goes a long way in the case of the Peperomia Frost!
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is a good place to buy a Peperomia Frost?
You can easily buy a Peperomia from reputable sellers on Etsy. Expect to pay about US$20-40 (nothing too crazy), depending on the size of the plant and logistics costs.
Is the Peperomia Frost a succulent?
The Peperomia Frost is a semi-succulent. They have SOME succulent characteristics:
- fleshy stems and leaves that are adapted to store water for dry spells
- they also can endure lower humidity levels (~50% is sufficient)
Despite this, most do not consider the Peperomia Frost a true succulent. They still have higher water and humidity requirements than a typical succulent.
Do note that the term “succulent” is not well defined with clear and specific criteria. Instead, it’s more like a sliding scale, with plants like Hoyas and Peperomias exhibiting some succulent-like characteristics. Others have many more adaptations and can tolerate much drier and arid conditions.
Is the Peperomia Frost rare?
No! They are not rare. While this cultivar was once (a while back) considered hard to find, they are now quite common. Count yourself lucky 🙂
Does Peperomia Frost grow quickly?
No. Your much-loved plant is a slow-grower, as are many other Peperomias! They also remain pretty compact. But their frosted foliage is undoubtedly worth the wait.
Is Peperomia Frost easy to care for?
Yes. They are exceedingly unfussy and easygoing plants that can endure a little neglect. Peperomia Frost is also not overly susceptible to pests and diseases, another plus point!
Being slow growers, pruning and repotting is not a common occurrence, plus they like to be a little root-bound anyways.
The trickiest part of care is watering (or making sure not to overwater). Once you nail the watering bit, most of the rest is easy.
Similar Plants and Varieties
Peperomia Silver Ripple vs. Peperomia Frost
This guy is much-loved and has a couple of names: Silver Peperomia, Peperomia Silver Ripple, Peperomia Ripple Frost, or Peperomia Frost; they are the same plant!
Another ADORABLE plant, you can tell from the photo why this Peperomia argyreia is more commonly known as the Watermelon Peperomia. This plant has a compact growing habit and has leaves that shimmer in the sun!
Your Peperomia Frost’s scientific name is the Peperomia Caperata Frost; it is a cultivar from the original Peperomia Caperata. Despite having the same small heart-shaped foliage,
- Unlike the original Caperata, the Peperomia Frost’s leaves are not deeply wrinkled (look at the photo below!);
- The Peperomia Frost’s petioles are not red like the OG Peperomia Caperata.
- And of course, our Peperomia Frost has a frosty sheen!
- 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.
- Peperomia Albovittata, also known as the Peacock Peperomia.
- Peperomia Napoli Nights, a Peperomia Frost look-alike but with darker green leaves.
Deborah is a plant enthusiast and founder of Gardening Collective.