The Watermelon Peperomia (scientific name: Peperomia Argyreia) is a houseplant with small teardrop-shaped leaves that resemble an uncut watermelon. Adding to the “watermelon theme”, it also has bright pink-red stems!
It is a compact plant – growing to just 12 inches (30cm) tall and 8 inches (20cm) wide when mature. What we love the most? How its glossy leaves shimmer in the sunlight. 🙂
Care-wise, the Watermelon Peperomia is beginner-friendly and adaptable. It loves indirect light, needs a well-draining soil, and average room humidity. Keep temperatures within 65-80 degrees F (18-27 degrees C), and fertilize lightly during the growing season.
Here’s everything you need to know to grow a healthy and thriving Watermelon Peperomia.
In nature, the Watermelon Peperomia lives in the understory of tropical rainforests of Brazil.
Caring for your Watermelon Peperomia
These little plants grow towards the sun, so it’s best to rotate them every week or so for even growth and that round, bushy look! 🙂
Ours sits on a desk in the study room, where it gets some indirect light from an adjacent window… and provides a little bit of greenery to an otherwise drab workspace!
I would say that the light intensity in that spot is medium, indirect light. Generally, any spot that has medium to bright indirect light will do. Just avoid more than 3 hours of direct sunlight a day – as they burn easily.
You’ll know there’s too much sun if you see the watermelon pattern on its leaves starting to pale and fade.
Peperomias generally have lower water requirements than many other tropical plants, so the key thing is to avoid overwatering.
An easy way to check if the Watermelon Peperomia is ready to be watered is by gently trying to fold the leaf. If the leaf is resistant to being folded, there is sufficient water stored in its foliage.
Hold off for a day or two and check back again.
On the other hand, if the leaf is easily folded, then water stores have been depleted, and it’s safe to water. 🙂
Another important way to protect against soggy roots is to use a terracotta pot. Terracotta pots dry out 2-3 times more quickly than the usual plastic pots.
Of course, using the RIGHT potting mix (one that is light and airy) is very important too, which we’ll cover off in the soil section.
Good news – your Watermelon Peperomia doesn’t require above-average room humidity to grow well. Its roots and leaves store water efficiently, giving it succulent-like qualities…. including the ability to withstand drier air than many other tropical plants! 🙂
Of course, a higher humidity level is still beneficial, and you’ll see faster growth in above-average humidities.
So place your Watermelon Peperomia in the vicinity of a humidifier if you have one, but it isn’t an absolute necessity.
While they tolerate many growing conditions, cold is not one of them! Coming from the tropics, the Watermelon Peperomia is not cold-hardy at all.
They do best as indoor plants, in a warm and stable temperature environment between 65-80 degrees F (18-27 degrees C). Also, make sure this small-statured beauty is protected from winds and air vents… basically anything that may cause too much air circulation or temperature fluctuation.
Though somewhat rare, you may spot thin flower stalks appearing in the summer. These skinny, green spikes aren’t anything special! You can opt to cut the spikes off so that your plant can focus its energy on new growth.
When fully grown, the Watermelon Peperomia stands at just 12 inches (30cm) tall and 8 inches (20cm) wide. It grows in an adorably round, bushy mound.
Soil or Growing Medium
When choosing soil, opt for an airy and well-draining mix. Any commercial mix that is labeled “indoor potting soil” will be okay as a base.
- 1 part indoor potting soil; with
- 1 part orchid bark; and
- 1 part perlite.
Orchid bark and perlite improve the drainage and aeration in the soil, allowing the roots to breathe. You can substitute bark for pumice or charcoal – all 3 are chunky amendments that create air pockets in the soil. 🙂
The Watermelon Peperomia is not a heavy feeder, so a little fertilizer goes a long way.
We like applying a gentle liquid fertilizer once a month at 1/3 strength. Incorporate this directly into its water, so the solution is very dilute. This helps protect its sensitive roots.
Alternatively, a slow-release fertilizer like Osmocote is a good option too.
Fertilize only during the growing season – the spring and summer months.
Before applying fertilizer, do make sure to check with the nursery if fertilizer has already been added to your plant’s soil. If this is the case, start your fertilizing regime 6 months later.
When it comes to repotting, the usual few pointers apply:
- Repot only when you see little roots emerging from the drainage holes.
- Repotting is best done in spring or summer, when your plant is under optimal growing conditions to recover.
- Watermelon Peperomia have SMALL root systems. So only upsize the pot by 2inches (5cm) at the most when repotting. Overpotting will lead to overwatering.
The only other caution is to be extra-gentle with your Watermelon Peperomia roots. Roots are fragile and hair-like, so don’t go pulling your plant and damaging its rootball!
We like watering our plant 24 hours before repotting, which helps it more easily dislodge from its pot… making repotting a less traumatic experience!
Hoorah – your Peperomia is not toxic to animals or humans. For this reason, it’s a great genus to explore if you have kids or fur kids at home.
Watermelon Peperomia (like many Peperomia) can be propagated through either stem cuttings or leaf cuttings. Both ways are simple and easy to do.
- Propagation is best done in spring or summer.
- Wait until your Watermelon Peperomia is established and growing well before propagating.
Propagation through Stem Cuttings
Stem cuttings are easy – all you need to do is to place a few leaves with their petioles attached (the small stem connected to the leaf) into potting soil. Wait for 8-10 weeks for your new plant to establish.
- Gather all the items needed:
- Clean Garden shears.
- Soil mix.
- a small terracotta pot with drainage holes;
- Remove 6-7 leaves with their petioles attached. Cut the petioles to about half an inch (1.2 cm) 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.
Propagation through Leaf Cuttings
Another way to propagate your Watermelon Peperomia is by placing cut leaves directly into the soil.
- Examine your healthy plant, and remove a couple of leaves.
- 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.
- 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.
Pruning is not required unless you see wilted, yellow, or damaged leaves. You can also opt to prune off extra growth to keep your plant compact and neat.
In both cases, use sharp and sterilized gardening shears. Don’t prune off more than 1/3 of the size of the plant, as this causes undue stress to your Watermelon Peperomia!
We like sterilizing our gardening tools by dipping them into a 70% isopropyl solution for 45 seconds. This ensures the shears are bacteria and fungi-free!
- Yellow leaves. This is commonly due to overwatering. Check the soil moisture with your finger to confirm. Trim off damaged leaves and adjust your watering practices accordingly!
- Lackluster, faded leaves. If leaves lack shimmer and are starting to look pale and dull, too much sunlight might be the issue. Check that your plant gets only indirect light – as they are understory plants, they aren’t used to direct light.
- Drooping leaves that also curl downward. This is another sign of overwatering.
- Leaves curling inward, forming a cup shape. There are 3 main reasons for this. Either your Watermelon Peperomia is getting too much light, is suffering from too much heat, or is underwatered.
- Leaves curling outward, like a dome. This is usually due to too little light and overwatering.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you root Watermelon Peperomia in water?
Yes. They root easily in water. Water propagation also allows you to observe its root growth before replanting in soil.
However, soil propagation leads to the strongest root systems. So we still prefer that method.
Where can I buy a Watermelon Peperomia?
Try Etsy. It shouldn’t cost you more than ~US$20 for a small starter pot.
Other Peperomias we love
- Peperomia Hope – button-like leaves in a compact, trailing plant.
- Peperomia Frost – an upright growing Peperomia with thick, succulent-like leaves with a rippled texture, and a silvery sheen.
- Peperomia Ginny – a tricolor (pink, cream, green) plant with thick and long oval leaves.
The Watermelon Peperomia is an easy-going houseplant with succulent-like qualities. It doesn’t require much maintenance. To grow it well,
- Avoid direct sunlight.
- Use a terracotta pot to help your plant dry off quickly.
- Provide temperatures between 65-80 degrees F (18-27 degrees C).
- Choose a well-draining potting mix.
- Fertilize lightly during the growing season.
Deborah is a plant enthusiast and founder of Gardening Collective.