Peperomia obtusifolia or Baby rubber plant care and problems


The baby rubber plant (Peperomia obtusifolia) belongs to the Piperaceae family which is a true succulent. As a true succulent plant, this can be grown with normal care and can bear a rough and tough environment, unlike other members of this family. Another plant of this family is Peperomia caperata.

Therefore the baby rubber plants sometimes called pepper faces are compact low maintenance plants with glossy, thick, and round leaves. This foliage of the plant gives it a beautiful appearance. The following article is about how to take care of Peperomia obtusifolia or the Baby rubber plant.

Botanical description

The genus Peperomia is one of the largest genera of basal angiosperms having about 1500-1700 different species distributed tropically. The plant Peperomia obtusifolia is a bushy upright species belonging to Piperaceae and is native to Florida, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

This plant is an evergreen perennial having a thick erect stem growing up to 25 cm tall. the leaves are broad and cup-shaped with a leathery and waxy appearance (1).

Flower: It produces small white flowers on a narrow spike that grows up to 12 cm long.

Other variety

Rainbow Peperomia (Peperomia clusiifolia)

This plant resembles almost like that of the baby rubber plant and it belongs to the same family.

It has more pointed leaves and has having red color in the leaves.

How to take care of Peperomia obtusifolia or Baby rubber plant

1. Light and temperature

This plant prefers medium to bright light. This plant is well suited for indoor plants and can survive in low light conditions.

2. Watering

Overwatering rots the leaves and base of the leaves. Use a fast-draining potting medium as this is a succulent plant and water when it becomes dry.

3. Soil

As the plant does not tolerate overwatering and also does not survive well under low watering it grows well in soils that do not retain water. as water retention causes root rot. Therefore choose only those types of potting mixture that have low water holding capacity. Do not use peat as it retains water (2).

4. Fertilizer

The plant requires low fertilizer. Nourish only once in two months or twice a year (2).

5. Pest problems

This plant is susceptible to stem and root rots and leaf spot diseases (3).  Another type of pest attack that is very common in the Piperaceae family is the Mealybugs. To protect the plant from the infestation of mealybug simply keep the plant healthy. Healthy plants are least affected by any kind of disease or insect attacks. But still, if you spot any unwanted guest on your plant simply treat it with insecticidal soap.

How to grow Baby rubber plant (Peperomia obtusifolia)

1. Take a small pot having a total diameter of 15 cm.

2. Place it under shade or indirect light conditions.

3. Fill the pot with a potting mixture having good drainage ability.

4. Cut a baby rubber plant leaf with one or two nodes position it in the pot and gently pour the potting mixture. Make sure the nodal part should be under the mixture, not the leaf and its petiole.

5. Water it daily and check the moisture level. In six to seven weeks the new roots will come.

Problems or Concerns of Peperomia obtusifolia

Stunted growth

Lack of sunlight may result in the stunted growth of this plant. Shade results in slow growth and also causes faded leaf color.

Yellow leaves

The yellow leaf may be the result of overwatering. In Peperomia plants yellow leaves are mostly spotted near the base or the bottom when the water concentration in the soil is high. Hence the best remedy is to let the soil dry at least the top layer. If still, the yellowing of leaf is happening then better to check the roots of the plant and maybe repot the plant in order to prevent further rotting of the roots or the leaves.

Leaf drop or dropping of leaf

Dry soil or lack of irrigation results in the drooping of the leaf. Water the plant properly and check regularly the soil texture. If the soil becomes dry especially the top layer then it means that it is time to give the plant water. If the environment is very dry or less humid then try to keep the plant in a place where there is high humidity or place the plant over a try filled with water to prevent the leaf drooping.

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