Peperomia Graveolens Care & Propagation

Updated: Jun 8

Peperomia Graveolens ‘Ruby Glow’ is a gorgeous succulents plant with bright red outside leaves and stems and green top part of the leaf. This stunning colour mix makes it a very desirable plant.


Peperomia Graveolens may a bit tricky to keep alive, but with some extra tender love and care it will thrive. The advice below is based on us growing many thousands of these succulents in our nursery Fern Farm Plants.


Description


The thick ruby red stem and red and green chunky leaves of this succulent plant are waxy and bright. Peperomia Graveolens originates in Ecuador, but is well distributed all around the world. It is highly valued among succulent collectors and until very recently was very expensive and difficult to find.


Peperomia Graveolens
Peperomia Graveolens

Thanks to the marvels of tissue culture, this plant is now mass produced and available throughout the world.


Peperomia Graveolens has a shrub-like growing habit with new branches shooting out of the main stem. The plant can grow to approximately 20cm height and 15 in width.



The leaves are roughly 2-3 cm long and look as if they are about to fold right down the middle. The underside of the leaf is wine read and glossy. The top side is green and makes a beautiful contrast to the stem.


The flowers appear mainly in spring and are slightly strange. The thin flower spike does not look like a flower at all. It grows out of the centre of each branch and is composed of many tiny little flowers.


It also has a very unusual smell that many have compared to unpleasant things such as urine. Personally, I don’t think it’s too bad, but is certainly odd and very specific to Peperomia.


Propagation


Peperomia Graveolens can easily be propagated from cuttings. Leaf and seed propagation are unlikely to work with this plant.


In our opinion, the best and safest way to propagate Peperomia Graveolens is to cut off a branch with multiple leaves. Bigger the branch, better the chance of it rooting.



It is very important to only propagate in the spring/ summer as this is when the plant grows. The absolute best time to propagate cuttings is mid-late spring as the sun and the heat is not too strong to knock out the vulnerable cuttings.


In winter you will risk the cutting rotting before it has a chance to root as Peperomia Graveolens will be dormant and not growing.


To get your cutting, cut with clean scissors and leave to dry for a day so the wound does not get infected. Next, plant in seed raising or succulent potting mix. There is a bit of controversy about watering cuttings and you will find lots of conflicting advice.


When we propagate our nursery succulents we always water our cuttings, but leave to dry out between waterings. Do not spray or mist Graveolens cuttings as this can encourage mildew or rot the plant. If you have a favourite method with succulent cuttings, by all means follow it with this plant as well.


In Spring/ Summer roots should start appearing in about 2-3 weeks. The cuttings will grow quite slow from then on but this is normal for this succulent. Even quite established plants will not have a massive root-balls.



Peperomia Graveolens cannot be propagated by a leaf. A section of the main stalk needs to be present for the plant to root successfully. So a leaf on its own will not grow, but a leaf with a bit of the main stalk should send roots and, eventually, new shoots. Having said that, it is always better to propagate bigger cuttings.


This succulent does flower, but does not seem to produce seed pods. Furthermore, we could not find anyone selling seed which suggests it is not possible to propagate Peperomia Graveolens from seed.


Position & Care


Peperomia Graveolens likes bright or filtered light and dislikes full sun, especially during warm months. In summer, this plant can burn if left in hot, full sun. At our nursery they grow best under 30% shade-cloth, but a bright veranda with a some morning sun, a sunny windowsill or a spot under a tree will be just as good.


It is suitable for both pots and garden. In pots succulent potting mix should be used. In the garden Peperomia Graveolens will happily grow in plain garden soil, but it must have shade from the sun and at the same time enough bright light.


Repotting Peperomia Graveolens into a slightly bigger pot is recommended yearly. The purpose of this is to provide growing space for the roots as well as fresh potting mix.


As the plant grows taller, the leaves may get a bit heavy causing a lean. To avoid the whole top part falling to the ground, small stakes or skewers can be used to keep it in place.



Water when the potting mix dries up. In good quality potting mix Peperomia Graveolens should be ok even if exposed to heavy rain. The majority of plants we grow for sale are outdoors all year round and live happily through all the rainy spells. To make the potting mix more free draining during wet periods, add perlite or pumice.


Peperomia Graveolens is not frost hardy and will die if exposed to freezing temperatures.


Pests


The only pest we have experienced on this Peperomia are mealybugs on roots. They rarely feed on the foliage (it is not unheard of though), but mostly love to hide out in the roots.



Re-pot your Graveolens every growing season to make sure there are no nasty mealies there.

The occasional slug/snail may take a small bite, but Peperomia Graveolens is not their favourite food source.


Toxicity


Although there is not any particular information available on the toxicity of Peperomia Graveolens, Peperomias are generally listed as non-toxic to pets and humans.


Having said that we do not recommend eating this plant and always be cautious. If the plant is ingested by a pet or human, consult a medical professional.


Where Can I Get It


If you’re in Australia a number of online nurseries, including ours sell Peperomia Graveolens for a fairly reasonable price.


Around the world these plants are not yet readily available in garden centres and therefore shopping for one online is your best bet. If you can't find one at online nurseries try Amazon or eBay.