Watermelon Peperomia: A Ultimate Care Guide

Plants

Last Updated - July 1, 2022

If you're looking for a houseplant that is perfect for small spaces that is low maintenance, the Watermelon Peperomia is just the plant for you! The slow-growing plant is beautiful, can even purify the air, and is popular for good reasons.

Perfect for small spaces or grouped with other indoor plants. The round teardrop-shaped Watermelon Peperomia leaves have striped green leaves with a slight silvery hue and pink stems. Below, we'll discuss everything you need to know to care for your Watermelon Peperomia.

Botanical Name

Common Name

Plant Type

Mature Size

Sun Requirement

Soil Type

Hardiness Zone

Pet Friendly

Pilea argyreia 

Watermelon peperomia, watermelon begonia 

Perennial 

12 in. tall, 8 in./ wide 

Partial 

Moist but well-drained 

10-12

Yes

What Is Watermelon Peperomia?

Watermelon Peperomia (Peperomia argyreia) is given its common name because the teardrop-shaped leaves are striped in a way that resembles watermelon rinds. The leaves have a silvery sheen and are attached to the top of pink stems, one leaf per stem. It's native to South America, specifically tropical Brazil. It grows slowly and tops out at 12 inches high and 6 inches wide, making it the perfect plant for a side table or desk. It can produce small green flowers on red flower spikes, but they aren't particularly showy flowers. The uniquely-striped leaves are the main attraction of Watermelon Peperomia.

This plant can be grown outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 10 to 12. Most people choose to keep them as indoor plants, however. You can place the Watermelon Peperomia plant outdoors during the spring and summer if you have an adequate location.

Watermelon Peperomia Care Requirements

Light

These tropical plants would typically enjoy the filtered light from rainforest canopies. As a houseplant, this translates into plenty of bright, indirect light.

If given too much direct sunlight, the darker stripes on the leaves will start to fade. The leaves might even scorch if given too much light. And too little light will also cause the leaves to lose their trademark stripes. When the plant is not getting enough light, you will notice the foliage becoming a darker shade and losing its variegation.

It's best to place your Watermelon Peperomia in the east or south-facing window. If a west-facing window is your only option, consider using a sheer curtain to help diffuse the light. Choose a shady spot if you place your plant outdoors during the warmer months. Most any place under a porch or covered deck should be fine!

Water

Watermelon Peperomia is not a fussy plant, but its water requirements can be a bit of a balancing act. They don't require much water, so it's easy to overwater them. Overwatering them will lead to root rot. However, they aren't drought-tolerant plants. If your Watermelon Peperomia isn't receiving enough water, it will let you know through wilting, drooping leaves. Generally, water the plant thoroughly when the top inch of the soil is dry. This is usually once a week.

Temperature

Thankfully, the ideal temperature range for this tropical plant aligns with the typical indoor temperature of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. If you set your Watermelon Peperomia outside for part of the year, be sure to bring it in when temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Humidity

For a tropical plant, Watermelon Peperomias really don't need extra humidity but will appreciate a good mist once in a while. The average indoor humidity will be just fine, depending on your usual climate. You may need to boost humidity levels if you have dry winters or dry summers. If you notice brown leaves, consider boosting humidity by:

  • Placing house plants next to each other. All plants boost the humidity of the air directly around them, so placing other plants near your Watermelon Peperomia plant will help them all out.

  • Misting the leaves. Mist regularly during dry seasons, trying to concentrate the moisture on the leaves.

  • Use a pebble tray. Fill a dish with pebbles and fill it with water to just under the top of the pebbles. Place your Watermelon Peperomia pot on top of the pebbles, taking care that the pot isn't actually sitting in the water. As the water in the tray evaporates, it adds moisture to the air.

  • Run a humidifier. During dry months, you'll likely benefit from extra indoor humidity as well!

Soil

Watermelon Peperomia plants require a rich, well-draining, peat-based soil. It's likely that you'll need to amend or replace the original soil that your plant came in. Starting with any indoor potting mix or succulent potting mix, work in perlite, peat moss, or orchid bark in a 2:1 ratio of soil to additional elements. Be sure to always use a pot with a drainage hole.

Fertilization

You may notice more vibrant stripes and steadier growth if you feed your plant a diluted liquid fertilizer every 2 to 4 weeks during the spring and summer months. If your Watermelon Peperomia suffers from a nutrient deficiency, you will notice the leaves turn yellow. Those leaves won't bounce back, so prune them. Don't over-fertilize if you notice this deficiency, or you may burn the roots. Simply fertilize every two weeks until the nutrient levels are normal.

Propagation

Watermelon peperomia propagation is easy. You can propagate Watermelon Peperomia with either stem cutting or leaf cuttings.

Stem Cutting Method

  1. Use clean garden shears to cut a stem off, and trim it to 1 inch in length.

  2. Dip the tip of the stem cutting in rooting hormone. This speeds up the process and promotes stronger roots.

  3. Place the cutting into a pot of moist soil and place the pot in a location with bright, indirect light. You should see roots in 4 to 6 weeks!

Leaf Cutting Method

  1. Use clean garden shears to cut off a healthy leaf, then cut that leaf in half perpendicular to its stripes. The veins in the stripes will produce roots, so we need to expose them!

  2. Dip the edges of the leaf in a rooting hormone. This speeds up the process and promotes stronger roots.

  3. Place the cuttings into a pot of moist soil. This propagation method requires lots of humidity, so place a plastic bag over the top of the pot until roots are established. You should see the roots in about a month!

Common Problems

Almost all of the problems you may come across with your Watermelon Peperomia are due to overwatering.

  • Fungus Gnats - Battle this pest by reducing the watering frequency, using insecticide or neem oil, and setting up sticky traps.

  • Mealybugs - Along with reducing waterings and using neem oil, use a hose or shower to spray off the mealybugs.

  • Root Rot - Remove the plant from the pot, let the roots completely dry out, and repot with fresh soil.

  • Fading Leaves - Consider fertilizing or moving to a location with adequate light.

Is Watermelon Peperomia Toxic To Pets?

Watermelon Peperomia is completely non toxic to both pets and humans.


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About the author

Bella Zinti

Bella has a Bachelors degree in interior design, is a master gardener with extensive experience building homes from scratch. She designs nourishing outdoor & indoor spaces guided by the practice of Feng Shui, as well as helping clients create year-round sustainable organic gardens.

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