Exploring a single genus of popular plants can give you a deeper appreciation for all the exciting varieties available. The Peperomia genus is a good choice because it’s full of cute houseplants and unique landscaping options. Take a deep dive into a collection of the most popular types of Peperomia plants to find new some new favorites for your urban jungle. Along the way, learn about the care and important history of these charming plants.
- Types of Peperomia Plants with Pictures and Care Tips
- About Peperomia Plants
- 23 Popular Types of Peperomia Plants
- 1. Baby Rubber Plant (Peperomia Obtusifolia)
- 2. Trailing Jade Plant (Peperomia Rotundifolia)
- 3. Ivy Peperomia (Peperomia Griseoargentea)
- 4. Beetle Radiator Plant (Peperomia Angulata)
- 5. Felted Pepperface (Peperomia incana)
- 6. Glow or Ruby Peperomia (Peperomia Graveolens)
- 7. Raindrop Plant (Peperomia Polybotrya)
- 8. Beetle Plant (Peperomia quadrangularis)
- 9. Four-Leaved or Acorn Peperomia (Peperomia Tetraphylla)
- 10. Emerald Ripple Peperomia (Peperomia Caperata)
- 11. Pincushion Peperomia (Peperomia ferreyrae)
- 12. Dainty Peperomia (Peperomia perciliata)
- 13. Watermelon Peperomia (Peperomia Argyreia)
- 14. Teardrop Radiator Plant (Peperomia Orba)
- 15. Vining Peperomia (Peperomia serpens)
- 16. Treetop Peperomia (Peperomia Scandens)
- 17. Shining Bush Plant (Peperomia Pellucida)
- 18. Parallel Peperomia (Peperomia Puteolata)
- 19. Red Log Plant (Peperomia verticillata)
- 20. Peacock Peperomia (Peperomia albovittata)
- 21. String of Turtles Plant (Peperomia Prostrata)
- 22. Jelly Plant (Peperomia Clusiifolia)
- 23. Edible Peperomia (Peperomia quadrifolia)
- Essential Peperomia Plant Care
- Peperomia Plant FAQs:
- The Final Word
About Peperomia Plants
Peperomia is a genus of roughly 1,000 species that are closely related. While this name is commonly used for many of the species popular as houseplants, it’s best to know the scientific name of each variety to keep them apart since they can have slight differences in care requirements.
The genus belongs to the Piperaceae family, which means that the Peperomia genus is distantly related to plants like the black pepper vine. Most members of the Peperomia genus are small-growing plants that may or may not be succulents, depending on where they originate.
These plants tend to be native to subtropical and tropical areas worldwide. Some are found in southern Asia, certain parts of Africa, and the islands of Oceania. However, the majority of the species in the Peperomia genus are native to Central and South America. Only a handful can be grown successfully outdoors in North America, and even then, they’re limited to warmer climates with plenty of rainfall.
There is a lot of botanical variety within the genus. Some Peperomia plants are succulents with thick and soft leaves that hold water. Others have a fleshy underground tuber for water storage or grow as climbing vines on other plants.
Some grow in rock crevices that protect them from the elements or in the branches of well-established trees. They tend to be compact plants regardless of how they grow and return year after year as perennials in suitable climate zones.
Growth Expectations & Lifespan
Most Peperomia varieties are slow-growing plants because they tend to be found in challenging environments. Growing too large too quickly would only waste their limited resources and leave them struggling to survive when water or sunlight was scarce. The slow growth rate of most Peperomia makes it easy to keep them as houseplants without a lot of pruning or fertilization.
Uses & Benefits
Most of these plants are only used for decorative purposes, such as a houseplant or landscaping feature. However, some varieties are considered herbs due to their spicy scent and flavor.
Central American cooking takes advantage of this flavor in some dishes that are cooked with Peperomia pellucida. Other varieties are used as folk remedies for wound healing and ear infections. However, these varieties are not commonly available as houseplants.
Symbolism and Meaning
Named after its close relation to the Pepper plant, Peperomia symbolizes good luck and success in many parts of the world where it is native. Brazilian floral arrangements for luck often feature cuttings of these plants.
23 Popular Types of Peperomia Plants
1. Baby Rubber Plant (Peperomia Obtusifolia)
One of the few Peperomia plants native to parts of North America, the Baby Rubber Plant is also known as Peperomia obtusifolia. It’s a perennial that takes the shape of a small shrub, growing up to 10 inches tall with cupped leaves in a glossy green.
It’s not related to a true rubber plant, but the succulent leaves do share a passing resemblance to them. The leaves have a slightly waxy feeling that helps distinguish them from similar species. They can be grown indoors with a well-draining soil mix and outdoors in areas that don’t freeze over the winter.
2. Trailing Jade Plant (Peperomia Rotundifolia)
The Trailing Jade plant, or Jade Necklace plant, is one of the more unusual Peperomia species. It has a vining shape that helps it climb over the ground, with long strands of stem spotted with almost teardrop-shaped succulent leaves. The leaves have a matte appearance and pale, lime-green color.
These plants are delicate and often thrive in terrarium environments that protect them from being disturbed. They need less watering and light than many other Peperomia species but prefer a higher average humidity level. They are native to the rainforests of South America.
3. Ivy Peperomia (Peperomia Griseoargentea)
This native of Brazil has a striking appearance. With thinner and less succulent leaves than other species, the Ivy Peperomia instead offers a dark gray color with silver accents over the top of each leaf. The modern color palette makes it a popular houseplant choice, but it’s not always easy to find.
It can be brought outdoors in shaded and sheltered environments for the summer and returned indoors over the winter as a houseplant. Due to its dark leaf color, it needs slightly more light than some other green varieties of Peperomia grown indoors.
4. Beetle Radiator Plant (Peperomia Angulata)
This variety has a mildly vining growth habit that makes it ideal for keeping in hanging baskets and similar containers. The beetle name is taken from the small, dark green leaves that feature lighter stripes. The stems are wiry and often take on a red tone as the plant ages.
Despite the smaller leaves, this plant can get larger than other Peperomia varieties commonly sold as houseplants. It’s native to Central America, South America, and the West Indies but is grown worldwide thanks to extensive cultivation.
5. Felted Pepperface (Peperomia incana)
The unusual name of this plant makes sense when you see how felt-like the leaves look. With a frosted sage green color that is attractive in all home settings, the Felted Pepperface is worth seeking out as a showcase houseplant.
It’s more humidity resistant than other varieties of Peperomia, making it a good choice for the kitchen or bathroom. It can grow up to one foot tall and just as wide, especially if planted outdoors in USDA zones 10 to 12. Consider this Brazilian plant to make a statement.
6. Glow or Ruby Peperomia (Peperomia Graveolens)
One of the more eye-catching succulents sold today is the Peperomia graveolens or Glow Peperomia. Found growing wild in Ecuador, it’s native to high-altitude rock faces and has a unique appearance that attracts a lot of attention. The leaves are thick and V-shaped, with a red underside and a light green upper face that seems to glow when indirect light illuminates the plant. The top of the leaf is technically windowed, which means it has a clear upper layer that lets you see the green inside of the leaf.
7. Raindrop Plant (Peperomia Polybotrya)
Big, teardrop-shaped leaves hang from tall stems to give this Peperomia genus member an elegant and upright look. This variety can handle various growing conditions, including dry and humid indoor areas. You’ll need to provide a little more light for this Peperomia than most other varieties.
When starting out as a smaller plant, the leaves tend to be more rounded and easy to mistake for the Chinese Money plant. However, the Raindrop plant needs far less care and can handle lower light levels than this popular houseplant.
8. Beetle Plant (Peperomia quadrangularis)
Peperomia quadrangularis is another name for the Peperomia angulata or Beetle plant. No matter the name, this variety is known for its pointed leaves that feature light-colored stripes on a dark background. The reddened stems are also beautiful and give it a unique appearance. Widely available as a houseplant, this Peperomia is native to most of Central and South America.
9. Four-Leaved or Acorn Peperomia (Peperomia Tetraphylla)
Considered a good luck symbol for its rounded leaves appearing in four clusters, the Acorn Peperomia is not as commonly available as many other varieties. Yet it’s still easy to keep indoors or out with the proper care. It has a wide native range throughout southern Asia and South America, but it is now also found in Hawaii.
This variety is creeping and prefers to stay very low to the ground, making it ideal for ground cover in tropical areas. Thanks to its root system, it can grow over logs and tree limbs.
10. Emerald Ripple Peperomia (Peperomia Caperata)
The name of this variety comes from the deep ridges and ripples that form on its distinctive green-gray leaves. Peperomia caperata is short-growing and has red veins and stems for a look that will turn heads.
The leaves of the Emerald Ripple plant are less succulent than other types, making them appear similar to begonias and other high-demand houseplants. Yet they have the exact easy care requirements as other Peperomias.
11. Pincushion Peperomia (Peperomia ferreyrae)
Long, spiky, and almost needle-like leaves give the Pincushion Peperomia its accurate name. No one would guess it’s related to the well-known Watermelon or Beetle varieties with their unique appearance.
Taller than many other types of Peperomia, the P. ferreyrae is sometimes also known as the Happy Bean plant. Like almost all other Peperomia plants, this variety is non-toxic and safe to grow around dogs and cats that might chew it. It’s native to South America, most specifically the rainforests of Peru.
12. Dainty Peperomia (Peperomia perciliata)
Few Peperomia plants are rarer and harder to find than the Dainty Peperomia. Named for its diminutive size, it’s the red stems and bright pink flower spikes that make it higher sought after by collectors. It’s one of the smallest Peperomia in the world. The tiny rounded leaves are slightly succulent, giving them a soft look. It’s considered endangered in its native range, so only purchase plants you can verify came from trustworthy sources to avoid creating demand for wild-harvested samples.
13. Watermelon Peperomia (Peperomia Argyreia)
Few Peperomia plants are more common than the iconic Watermelon Peperomia. With boldly striped leaves and very easy care, this Peperomia is kept in many homes and offices where there is not much humidity or light available. As long as it has well-draining soil, this Peperomia will happily grow for months without much attention. The bright red stems that tend to curve as they age also help add to the watermelon appearance.
14. Teardrop Radiator Plant (Peperomia Orba)
Preferring warmer and drier conditions, the Teardrop Radiator plant has a waxy appearance that helps it resist dust accumulation. It’s a good choice for offices that lack bright lighting or humidity. As only a semi-succulent, it has an elegant look that works with a range of decor styles. The leaves are round and pointed at the tips, giving them the classic teardrop shape.
15. Vining Peperomia (Peperomia serpens)
Climbing and densely packed with leaves, the Vining Peperomia is a true succulent that shines in more humid environments. Choose the Peperomia serpens for its heart-shaped leaves that put a twist on the classic look of Pothos or Philodendron.
A variegated cultivar is available for mottled leaves that are even more eye-catching. This species is native to Central and South America. It can develop a somewhat bare-stemmed look after a long period of growth, but it’s easily pruned back to create a more dense look again.
16. Treetop Peperomia (Peperomia Scandens)
Another variety, sometimes known as the Treetop Peperomia, P. scandens grows even longer strands than its previously listed relative. This native of Mexico needs little watering and prefers much more sunlight than other popular Peperomia types. Still, you’ll need to avoid direct sunlight on the glossy leaves. The variegated cultivars are less light-sensitive.
17. Shining Bush Plant (Peperomia Pellucida)
One of the few Peperomia species that only grows as an annual, the Shining Bush plant is sometimes eaten or used as a medical herb. Its strong spicy odor can be somewhat irritating, but it’s generally considered non-toxic like the rest of the genus.
The leaves of this species are thinner and less succulent than many other cultivars. Yet they’re still fleshy when compared to other plants. You can find it growing in both South America and Asia in similar subtropical environments.
18. Parallel Peperomia (Peperomia Puteolata)
Also known as Peperomia tetragona, the Parallel Peperomia is a striking houseplant named for the parallel stripes running down the length of the leaves. The strong contrast between the cream stripes and dark leaves ensures the enjoyment of the patterned plant.
It is sometimes confused for the striped Watermelon Peperomia, but the leaves of this variety are smaller and generally grow closer together. Sensitive to cold temperatures, this species is native to South America.
19. Red Log Plant (Peperomia verticillata)
Vibrant and colorful, the Red Log plant has a wine-colored underside to the leaves that contrasts sharply with the dusty green upper side. The individual leaves are thick and V-shaped with an elegant curve. This variety of Peperomia looks best with more sunlight than other species require so that the stems don’t reach too tall and flop over. Staying short with proper care, the Red Log plant is an excellent addition to a desk or bedside table.
20. Peacock Peperomia (Peperomia albovittata)
A hybrid between multiple Peperomia species, the Peacock Peperomia lives up to its name with showy striped leaves that look slightly more refined than the Watermelon cultivar. The leaves are rippled and have dark veins between the stripes to add to the visual effect, while the stems are darker than in most similar varieties. These plants enjoy higher levels of indirect light and humidity that other Peperomia species don’t prefer. They are native to South America.
21. String of Turtles Plant (Peperomia Prostrata)
A slow-growing vining plant, the String of Turtles species has one of the most unique common names of the Peperomia genus. This name comes from its appearance, which involves many small and round leaves covered in complex patterns hanging from thin and draping stems. It’s not easy to find but is worth seeking out as an attractive succulent that is easy to care for. Native to the rain forests of Brazil, this plant looks best in a hanging basket.
22. Jelly Plant (Peperomia Clusiifolia)
Bright colors splashed across the foliage are the signature of the Jelly plant. The leaves are slightly cupped and somewhat succulent, with a variegated look that combines red, white, and green colors all on the same leaf.
The center of each leaf features a splotch of dark green, surrounded by white edges that are stained bright pink to red. It can be found growing wild in the southern parts of Florida and throughout Central America. Sometimes it’s just called Jelly for short due to its reddish coloration.
23. Edible Peperomia (Peperomia quadrifolia)
One of the few Peperomia species in the world to be used as a seasoning, this variety is not widely available as a houseplant. It has small, pointed leaves that are succulent. People that live in its native range in Central America tend to dry it before using it as a spice for flavoring certain dishes. Like many other Peperomia plants, it grows in the branches of trees and cracks in rocks as a protected environment.
Essential Peperomia Plant Care
Temperature & Humidity
The radiator plant is one of the only common names for the Peperomia varieties grown as houseplants. This helps hint at the fact that they prefer somewhat hot and dry conditions and don’t mind warm drafts. It’s not strictly necessary to place them above a radiator or heating vent, but it’s prudent to find them a location that is moderately warm throughout the day.
Peperomia plants grown as houseplants tend to need only indirect and low light levels. Some popular types can handle very low light levels for months without wilting or losing leaves. Keep them away from bright and direct light, which can burn the sensitive leaves and cause yellowing.
Having adapted to living in dry and well-aerated environments, most Peperomia varieties need very well-draining soil when raised in containers. They need sandy or even gravel soil when grown outdoors in the ground.
However, you still need some organic material to hold moisture around the roots, so they don’t dry out too much. Mixing cactus or orchid soil mix 75:25 with some peat moss should produce the right texture.
Don’t overwater Peperomia plants, which tends to cause their roots to rot. Some varieties have fleshy tubers that are particularly prone to rotting when raised in wet soil. Don’t let the plant dry out entirely, either. They are native to subtropical areas that tend to rain heavily at least a few times a year, so mimic that with heavy watering when the plants are close to drying out.
Most Peperomia varieties only need one to two applications of diluted houseplant fertilizer per year. Larger and more aggressive shrubs or vines grown outdoors may need monthly feeding with a balanced fertilizer during the summer.
Pruning is generally only needed for Peperomia plants that have flowered or are producing tall and stretched out growth. These plants tend to produce unremarkable spikes that serve as their flowers, so you can remove those blooms whenever they appear without hurting the plant. Uneven growth can be used for propagating new plants while you create a neater and more compact shape.
Slow-growing and preferring to stay slightly crowded, Peperomia plants only need repotting when they are truly rootbound. Avoid moving to a much larger pot, only adding half an inch of space each time you upgrade the pot.
Peperomia Plant FAQs:
Do Peperomia need lots of sun?
Most Peperomia varieties only need minimal light to thrive. Some types need more than others, especially colorful cultivars.
Are Peperomia hard to care for?
Peperomia are among the easiest plants to care for, thanks to the need for relatively little light or humidity.
Do you water Peperomia from the top or bottom?
Most varieties best respond to top-down watering, but some can easily absorb water from the bottom up without getting too soggy.
How long do Peperomia live for?
Peperomia plants live multiple years with proper care, except for a few annual species that are more short-lived.
Where should I place a Peperomia?
Keep most Peperomia plants away from windows where they might be exposed to direct light. Watch out for cold drafts, although warm air is usually just fine.
Types of Peperomia Plants – The Final Word
Mix and match a few different Peperomia plants to create a dynamic display of live plants that all share similar care requirements. No matter what you prefer when it comes to houseplants, there is a Peperomia that can make you happy with its relative lack of demands.
Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.