Watermelon peperomia plants are known for bouncy green leaves that sit atop long red petioles. But despite our best intentions, these turgid leaves sometimes become limp and droopy. Numerous factors can lead to drooping watermelon peperomia plants, so you must know the cause before implementing a solution. Join me as I cover five reasons why your plant may be drooping.
Despite their succulent-like leaves, watermelon peperomia plants often put on a dramatic performance when they can’t access enough water. Their leaves transform from rigid to pliable, and the red petioles bend more than usual.
While the limp appearance can be concerning, don’t fret. You actually want your watermelon peperomia plant to become a bit droopy before watering.
When I brought my watermelon peperomia plant home, I learned that houseplant fanatics often refer to the “taco test” when determining when to water watermelon peperomias. When the leaves transition from succulent, rigid structures to foldable “tacos,” it’s time to water. However, if wet soil coincides with pliable leaves, underwatering isn’t the cause.
If the soil is dry, watering an underwatered plant will fix the droopiness. You can top water or bottom water your plant, as long as you fully saturate the soil. Remember to try to avoid wetting the plant’s leaves.
Alternatively, overwatering your watermelon peperomia plant can also lead to limp leaves. These plants’ succulent-like leaves can hold lots of moisture, so they survive brief periods of drought. However, it also means they can develop issues if you water them too often.
Since these plants don’t use much water, overwatering can lead to constantly wet soil. When the soil remains too wet, conditions can become anaerobic, and plants can develop root rot.
Root rot is a general term that people use to refer to multiple fungal and fungal-like diseases. Some of the specific pathogens that cause root rot include Pythium, Rhizoctonia, and Fusarium.
Although various pathogens can cause root rot, they all create similar symptoms. Bottom leaves begin to droop, and eventually the entire plant wilts. If you remove the plant from the soil and inspect its roots, you’ll see soft, mushy, and/or discolored roots.
The best way to deal with root rot is to remove your plant from the pot, dust off excess soil, and remove rotten roots with a sharp and clean tool. I like to do this process outside or over a towel since it’s messy.
Next, repot using fresh potting soil. Going forward, only water when the top two inches of soil is dry.
3. Poorly Draining Soil
If you’re only watering your plant once every two or three weeks, but the top few inches of soil remain wet, you’re probably using an improper soil mix. This constantly wet soil can lead to root rot, which causes drooping leaves.
A soil mix high in peat moss, coco coir, or clay will have poor drainage. Alternatively, perlite, pine bark, pumice, and sand increase drainage.
If you suspect your plant is growing in poorly draining soil, repot it in a more appropriate soil mix. Before repotting, ensure that your pot contains drainage holes on the bottom.
Since these plants like well-draining soil, look for a mixture designed for cacti and succulents. You can also use a standard peat moss or coco coir based potting mix and add a few handfuls of extra perlite.
4. Sudden Change in Temperature
A less common but still possible cause of drooping leaves is a sudden change in temperature. Watermelon peperomia plants like stable temperatures that remain between 60–80°F. If they are in a warm environment and suddenly experience temperatures below 50°F, they’ll become stressed.
This stress can lead to drooping leaves. Fortunately, plants will recover if the temperatures stabilize. All you have to do is be patient.
Remember to keep your watermelon peperomia away from both hot and cold drafts. That means avoiding fireplaces, radiators, air conditioner vents, exterior doors, and other drafty areas.
5. Low Humidity
Watermelon peperomia plants aren’t as reactive to low humidity as some other houseplants (I’m looking at you, prayer plants), but they like humidity between 50–60%. If the humidity drops low, they may protest with drooping leaves.
Since the watermelon peperomia’s ideal humidity is just a little higher than average household humidity, you probably only have to worry if you live in a dry area or run the heat a lot in winter.
If your lips are chapped and your skin is dry, there’s a good chance your watermelon peperomia is unhappy with the low humidity. Fortunately, you can boost the air moisture with a humidifier.
A humidifier is the best way to increase humidity, but you can also place your plant’s pot on a pebble tray filled with water. I avoid spritzing your plant’s leaves since this can lead to common watermelon peperomia fungal diseases and doesn’t increase the humidity much.
Even if you’re careful, repotting is a stressful process. Just think about it—you’re removing your plant from its home and putting it in an entirely new location. So, if you just repotted your watermelon peperomia and noticed it’s dropping, don’t worry.
Rather than constantly moving the plant to a new location, watering daily, or dowsing it with suitable watermelon peperomia fertilizer, just give it time to recover from repotting. After a few weeks, your plant will acclimate to its new home and perk up.
If your plant still looks droopy a month after you repotted it, check if it’s in a proper environment.
Both too little and too much water are common causes of drooping watermelon peperomia plants, but improper temperature, soil, and humidity can also be the cause. Taking note of your plant’s environment can help you determine the cause and fix the issue.
For more, see our in-depth guide to Watermelon Peperomia care at home.