I’ve always admired watermelon peperomia plants. Maybe I love how their cute striped leaves remind me of one of my favorite summertime treats, or perhaps I couldn’t stay away from their compact form. No matter the case, I was excited to bring one of these plants home. In this guide, I’ll run through everything I’ve learned about watering watermelon peperomia plants correctly.
Don’t Stress About Water Type
Firstly, I’ve always watered my watermelon peperomia plants with tap water, and I’ve never noticed any issues. Plus, I’ve moved my plant between two houses with different water systems. Both of these municipal water sources kept my plant happy.
That’s not to say your watermelon peperomia won’t appreciate filtered or distilled water. But, don’t feel like you need to go through extra trouble to provide your plant with this type of water.
When and How to Water
I’ve found that paying attention to factors like the soil, plant foliage, and seasons helps to determine when and how to water.
Take Note of the Seasons
It’s easy to fall into a watering schedule and stick there—especially once you’ve found a schedule that keeps your plant happy. The trouble is that your watermelon peperomia’s watering needs change with the seasons.
While your plants may be happy with you watering every Sunday in the summer, this will probably be too much water in the winter. Rather than following a strict watering schedule, pay attention to factors such as soil moisture and wilting leaves. That’s not to say you can’t use a schedule as a guide, but be ready to alter it with changes in seasons.
Pay Attention to the Foliage
Paying attention to the watermelon peperomia’s striped leaves is the best way to tell when to water the plants. When I’ve gone off of the soil moisture level, I find that I either underwater or overwater my plants.
So, how do you use the leaves as a guide? If you have one of these plants, you know their leaves are typically rigid and sort of plump. However, leaves begin to go limp when they don’t have access to enough water. The key is to water as soon as you notice the leaves are just a little bit wilted.
If you wait to water until the leaves are fully wilted, you’re not acting quickly enough. While these wilted leaves may bounce back, your plant will experience unnecessary stress. And watering before plants go limp leads to overwatered plants.
I’ve learned that thoroughly soaking the soil is the best watering approach for most houseplants. And this holds true for watermelon peperomia.
When I notice the leaves are a little limp, I move the pot from its home on my windowsill and place it in the sink. Then, I turn on the faucet so it’s running in a slow but steadily-flowing stream. The water should not splash any soil out of the peperomia’s pot but moisten the soil.
I let the water flow until it’s running out of the planter’s drainage holes. At this point, I turn the water off and let the water drain for a few more minutes. Once the water drains, I place the plant back on its windowsill.
Signs of Underwatering and Overwatering
Watermelon peperomia are susceptible to both underwatering and overwatering.
Signs of underwatering include limp leaves, drooping plants, stems that have lost their ‘bounce,’ and yellowing leaves. As you probably expect, these symptoms accompany dry soil.
Overwatering leads to similar symptoms, making it difficult to tell if your soil is too dry or too wet. Yellow leaves, limp foliage, and soft roots can all indicate overwatering. Poorly-draining soils and a lack of drainage holes will often lead to overwatering.
Dealing with Root Rot
Remember how I said that limp leaves indicate that you should water? Well, what if the soil is still wet? If you notice wilting leaves and wet soil, you’re probably dealing with a bigger issue than dry soil.
While limp leaves can indicate dry soil, they can also signal that your plant can’t absorb water. This can happen if your plants develop a fungal watermelon peperomia disease called root rot. So, if limp leaves coincide with wet soil, it’s time to do some investigative work.
Remove the plant from its pot and dust off excess soil so you can examine the roots. Cut off any discolored or decayed portions, repot your peperomia in fresh potting mix, and decrease the amount you water. Adding a boost of beneficial soil microorganisms can help plants recover.
When it comes time to water your watermelon peperomia, remember to use the plant’s foliage as a guide. Water as soon as you notice the leaves wilt and thoroughly soak the soil.