Tropical and humid climates provide us with a large list of exotic and succulent plants that are very attractive for ornamental use. Many of them can be adapted little by little to the interior of the house, simulating the annual temperature and humidity of the equatorial areas where they are always warm and pleasant. One such epiphytic tropical plant is Peperomia prostrata , a creeping plant that we can grow in containers.
Peperomia prostrata is a fantastic houseplant whose stems can hang from a hanging pot , with small leaves attached to the stems that look and feel like a tortoise shell . Hence, in some Anglo-Saxon areas it is known as a “chain of turtles” plant, something comparatively similar to the rosary plant, with small green balls hanging from the creeping stems.
However, within the genus Peperomia we find a world of totally different plants each one from the other. Some with large leaves and a wide variety of hues. So different that we might even think that they do not belong to the same group or gender. Take a look at our article on this genus to see all the plant options you have at your disposal.
Characteristics of Peperomia prostrata
Peperomia prostrata is considered a creeping plant that, in its original environment (humid forests of Central America and northern South America), can grow on stout trees that develop detritus at the right angles of their trunks. This is known as an epiphytic plant (like orchids ).
This plant is a lover of humidity and shady conditions, maintaining a practically tropical climate with annual temperatures of between 18 and 25 ºC . Under these conditions we can adapt our Peperomia prostrata to indoor cultivation, but with minimal conditions that we will discuss below (especially due to the necessary humidity).
|Botanical name||Prostrate peperomy|
|Common name||Walking berrito or cute grass|
|Plant type||tropical succulent|
|Mature size||30 to 50 cm long.|
|Solar exposition||Sifted light without direct sun|
|Soil type||Moist (loam or clayey)|
|Soil pH||acid or neutral|
|Water needs||Continuous moisture in soil|
|Temperature range||18-25 ºC|
Care of Peperomia Prostrata
It is not so easy to achieve the ideal conditions for the development of Peperomia prostrata , especially due to the needs of environmental humidity that it demands and that are not easy to achieve in any home. However, little by little we can get used to the plant to its new home, getting a fantastic tropical plant whose stems will fall through the pot and simulate a very attractive plant waterfall
Location and weather conditions
We will locate our plant indoors or outdoors in very warm areas, ensuring stable temperatures of between 18 and 25 ºC throughout the year. This range is common and easy to get in our home, so we have this part quite successful.
Regarding lighting, we will place our Peperomia prostrata in an environment with medium lighting (light filtered by curtains or north location, for example), without direct sun , and in a not very dry area of the house.
This point is one of the main requirements of this plant to achieve well-hydrated, green leaves without burnt edges or with a decayed appearance. Therefore, we need to locate our plant in the wettest area of the house . For example, a bathroom with access to natural light, or in the kitchen, where they are usually the wettest areas of a house.
In addition, we will also apply every several days, in the driest and hottest season (late spring and summer), distilled water with a sprayer , spraying all the leaves and increasing the relative humidity of the environment. You can automate this by placing a humidifier near Peperomia prostrata.TIP: if your plant needs a growth boost, you can take advantage of these applications to add a little amino acids to the mix (1 application per week). You will notice a rapid evolution of the plant in a few weeks.
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Type of substrate and pot
This type of peperomia usually inhabits humid environments with a good presence of organic matter , detritus and decomposing organic matter. Therefore, it is somewhat demanding on fertile soils , so we will look for a mixture of peat and coconut fiber.
Peat provides a texture similar to organic matter, as well as essential nutrients for the development of the plant. On the other hand, coconut fiber is a natural substrate that improves oxygenation and drainage when we water, also important to avoid any type of rot in our plant.
In short, 70-80% peat or substrate humus, added to 20-30% coconut fiber to improve drainage. Peat is recommended to be slightly acidic, as it is the point where more nutrients can be absorbed by the roots of Peperomia prostrata .
How to water Peperomia prostrata
We will maintain a constant humidity in the substrate, but we will never add so much water that it can cause rot. And we say it because the highest failure rate with this plant comes from wanting to provide excess water. We remember that this plant is very demanding in environmental humidity , but not so much in humidity in the soil, although it has an indirect relationship.
If we grow it in an area with filtered light and without direct sun, the waterings last for many days at home, so the frequency of water supply will not be so high.
- Waterings in spring and summer: 2 or 3 waterings per week, checking the humidity with a finger at a depth of 5 cm from the substrate.
- Waterings in autumn and winter: 1 watering per week, checking the humidity with a finger at a depth of 5 cm from the substrate.
As for the volume of water, we will follow the rule of 1/5 or 1/6 of the volume of the pot.
We can resort to organic fertilizers to recover the properties of the peat. In this way we will not salinize the earth excessively and achieve a green and healthy plant, without excess growth. We can provide liquid humus , provided together with the irrigation water (dose of 2-3 ml / liter of water).
We will apply this organic fertilizer at the beginning of sprouting, when the duration of the days increases and Peperomia prostrata is activated. If you notice the plant somewhat yellow and with a lack of growth, look for a liquid fertilizer rich in nitrogen (at least 5% in N), applied at a dose of 1 ml / liter of water.
Pruning and maintenance
When we talk about pruning this creeping plant, ideal for hanging pots, it is to achieve homogeneity of size with all the stems , ensuring that they are the same length. Otherwise, the appearance of this plant may be somewhat more neglected.
Otherwise, transplanting to a larger pot is usually done when the volume of stems almost completely covers the entire pot. Every 3 years on average, although it depends on the location and the use of fertilizers.