Complete Care Guide for Ripple Peperomia (Grow Bushy Plants!)

You don’t actually need a lot of light or space to keep a thriving peperomia at home or in your office. Whether you’re gunning for the bold Burdgundy ripple peperomia or the dual-toned Variegata, you won’t need to put a lot of effort into making sure it stays alive and healthy!

To successfully grow emerald ripple peperomia as a houseplant it is recommended to provide,

  • Small 4–6-inch diameter pots
  • Moist but well-draining peaty soil
  • Watering 1–3 times a week
  • 2–6 hours of morning sun from northern or eastern windows
  • Temperatures of 60–80°F
  • Humidity levels within 30–80%
  • Application of complete fertilizer 1–2 times a month from spring to fall

As you’ve probably realized by now, the answer to the question “How do you care for ripple peperomia indoors?” is much more multifaceted than other people let on. But don’t worry! Despite needing to cover multiple bases, ripple peperomias are pretty low-maintenance!

Ripple Peperomia Care Guide Table (Ready to Print!)

Common NamePeperomia
Ripple Peperomia
Emerald Ripple
Emerald Ripple Peperomia
Emerald Ripple Pepper
Scientific NamePeperomia caperata
Planter4–6 inches wide shallow clay or plastic pot
Soil CompositionWell-draining rich peaty soil
5.0–8.0 pH
WateringOnly water once the top 1–2 inches of the soil is dry
LightFull morning sun for 2–6 hours
Grow light for 12–16 hours
FertilizerComplete liquid fertilizer 1–2 times a month
(Spring to fall)
Common PestsFungus gnats
Shore flies
Spider mites
White fly
Common DiseasesLeaf spot
Ring spot
Root rot
Stem rot
Care Guide for Ripple Peperomia Plants
Simple Ripple Peperomia Plants Guide – Infographic
Simple Ripple Peperomia Plants Guide – Infographic

1. Planter

Small, shallow, 4–6-inch-wide pots with drainage holes are ideal for compact ripple peperomia plants. When up-potting, only go up by 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter.

Want to add some plants to your work desk or a bare windowsill at home without taking up too much space? Then, go for a gorgeous pot of ripple peperomia!

But most ripple peperomias come in very drab and quite thin nursery pots so you’d want to give them a better, sturdier container that will also help bring out their beauty.

Ripple peperomia plants have a pretty compact growth habit, normally growing no wider than 6–12 inches (15–30 cm). They also don’t develop deep root systems so they thrive in shallow soils, making them perfect for dish gardens and terrariums.

In terms of planter material, you can use pretty much anything so long as it has ample drainage holes to prevent water-logging—especially since ripple peperomia is prone to rotting from too much water.

Best Pot for Ripple Peperomia
Best Pot for Ripple Peperomia

For the most part, however, unglazed clay and rigid plastic pots are the top picks for ripple peperomia.

If you live in a very dry region like Arizona, I would recommend choosing a plastic pot for better and longer water retention as it doesn’t like having its soil get too dry. Conversely, if you are in a more humid area like Florida, clay is a better option to allow for soil aeration.

2. Soil

Potted ripple peperomia plants grow best with peaty potting mixes to ensure sufficient moisture and drainage. They can’t handle soil that is too dry or too wet well.

Compared to more succulent peperomia species such as the baby rubber plant (Peperomia obtusifolia), the emerald ripple is much more sensitive to soil moisture.

As such, it’s best to provide it with a potting mix that accounts for and balances out its needs for both moisture and drainage. You can do this by simply amending your existing regular potting mix like my personal favorite below from Amazon.

Just combine 1 part potting soil with 2 parts peat moss and you’re all set. Alternatively, you can replace the peat moss with 1/3 part perlite, pumice, or bark, 1 part horticultural sand, or 3 parts cactus soil.

Learn more about the different growing mediums! 

Pro Tip: If you’re planning to grow ripple peperomia plants outdoors as an evergreen groundcover, just replace the potting soil with loam soil in these recommended mixes.

Lastly, make sure that the soil for your ripple peperomia has a pH value between 5.0 and 8.0. It can thrive in slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil but it doesn’t like it when the soil pH gets too low or too high.

3. Watering

The ripple peperomia requires moderate watering from spring to fall while it grows actively. Water it early in the morning only once the top 1–2 inches of the soil is dry.

Ripple peperomia is neither flood nor drought-tolerant. So you really have to observe how long it can go between waterings to be able to set up your very own regimen to keep it moist.

During most months of the year, I only water it 1–2 times a week given that it is in a relatively small 5-inch pot. Because it is semi-succulent, I let it dry out a bit before I water it again.

Red Ripple Peperomia Care Guide

But when daytime temperatures do get as hot as 86–95°F (30–35°C) during the height of summer, you may need to water your emerald ripple peperomia as often as 3 times a week.

Oftentimes, I water it from the top and make sure to deeply water it until all the excess water flows out of the drainage holes completely without any issues whatsoever. Some people prefer watering it from the bottom to avoid crown or stem rot as much as possible.

Come wintertime, you can drastically reduce watering to only 1–2 times per month as this plant is dormant during the colder months of the year.

In terms of what water you should use, well in my experience it isn’t all that fussy. I’ve used rainwater and tap water to keep mine nice and moist.

4. Light

Emerald ripple peperomias flourish with bright indirect natural light from an east or north-facing window. But they can also fare well with 2–6 hours of direct morning sun exposure. Ripple peperomias can even tolerate low light conditions with heavy shade.

As long as it doesn’t get direct exposure to the intense afternoon sun, you can virtually place your potted ripple peperomia plants in any corner of your house!

You can place it near north, east, or west-facing windows or a few feet away from a curtained or partially shaded south-facing window. They can also grow well when placed 4–8 feet (1.2–2.4 m) away from windows that get direct sunlight.

Peperomia caperata (Emerald Ripple) Care: What to Know

These lovely beginner-friendly foliage houseplants are also widely known to flourish with the use of different artificial light sources such as fluorescent and LED lights in offices. You don’t even have to look for specialty grow lights.

But, if you do want to maintain a very compact and full ripple peperomia, I would recommend investing in a good quality full-spectrum grow light that’s about 10–20 Watts (on Amazon).

Place this 12–24 inches from the top of the peperomia and leave it on for up to 12–16 hours. Remember, variegated varieties of peperomia plants develop better colors with more light.

Pro Tip: When moved outdoors, especially during summer to boost overall growth, it’s best to provide dappled sunlight for your peperomias to avoid sunburn—because yes, ripple peperomia can get too much sun.

5. Temperature

The ideal temperature range for growing ripple peperomia plants is 60–80°F (16–27°C). Originating from Brazil, it prefers mild and warm weather over harsh winters.

Emerald ripple plants are much more tolerant of heat than they are of frost and cold weather. It likes warm summers and mild winters.

But here are plants that are perfect for winter gardens! 

At most, a ripple peperomia can withstand hot daytime summer temperatures of up to 95°F (35°C) but it requires more water to survive such heat. It is hardy to zones 10–12 in the US.

This period of warmth is essential if you want to see your peperomias produce their showy rat-tail-like inflorescence from summer to fall!

Best Temperature for Ripple Peperomia
Best Temperature for Ripple Peperomia

On the other hand, it will only be able to survive as an evergreen foliage plant and tolerate cold winter temperatures above 55°F (13°C).

If abruptly exposed to much colder temperatures for a very long time, its leave will start sustaining cold and frost damage.

Having said that, keep in mind to place your potted emerald ripple peperomia away from vents, doors, and other entryways to avoid cold and hot drafts, which can be detrimental.

6. Humidity

Despite being native to the tropics, the ripple peperomia has grown accustomed to relatively low humidity levels common to American homes. It grows best in 30–80%.

Let’s face it, many American home gardeners struggle with growing tropical foliage plants at home, especially during winter when humidity can drop far below 20%.

Needless to say, that is often too dry for many unique and colorful plants. But this isn’t necessarily the case for our lovely peperomia plants.

You see, even if it is native to the tropical jungles of Brazil, the emerald ripple peperomia plant has developed a considerable resistance to low humidity over the years.

In case it does get too dry indoors during the winter months where you live, there are plenty of tricks to raise the humidity around your peperomias to keep it healthy.

Common tricks for raising humidity for houseplants include:

  1. Grouping them closer together
  2. Placing them on top of a shallow tray filled with pebbles and water
  3. Turning on a room humidifier
  4. Using cool mist vaporizers
  5. Transferring them into a terrarium
  6. Moving them to the bathroom or laundry room temporarily
  7. Keeping them temporarily in a grow tent or small greenhouse

7. Fertilizer

Applying a mild, balanced, and complete liquid fertilizer 1–2 times per month helps promote rapid and fuller growth for emerald ripple peperomia plants. Only fertilize peperomia plants from spring to fall, do not apply any during winter.

Quite honestly, you can do without fertilizing. That is unless your emerald ripple starts showing signs of nutrient deficiency like yellowing of its leaves from the lack of nitrogen.

Pro Tip: Newly transplanted or repotted peperomia plants generally don’t need supplemental feeding for up to 1–2 months. This is because most potting mixes have some type of plant nutrient incorporated into it.

Peperomia caperata Houseplant Care — 167 of 365

Most complete liquid fertilizers specifically formulated to encourage growth in houseplants are a great option for peperomia.

To avoid having too much or too little of the essential plant nutrients, opt for balanced formulations—those with equal proportions of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

Fertilizers with N-P-K values of 6-6-6 and 10-10-10 like this one from Amazon will suffice for bushier potted ripple peperomia plants.

Just follow the instructions for proper application. If you want to err to the side of caution to avoid the horrors of overfertilizing such as root die-back, apply it at half-strength instead.


Do you need to prune ripple peperomia?

Prune ripple peperomia plants as needed to maintain their round bushy shape. Use clean gardening scissors or pruning shears to prevent the possible spread of pests or diseases. Trimmed-off leaf and stem cuttings can easily be propagated to multiple peperomia plants starting from spring. Peperomia plants can also be propagated through division.

Is ripple peperomia safe for pets?

Similar to most other commonly cultivated peperomia species, the emerald rippled peperomia (Peperomia caperata) is safe for pets including cats, dogs, and horses. It poses no more potential harm to animals than vegetables. However, there are some reports of mild poisoning in animals after eating oval leaf peperomia (Peperomia obtusifolia).

Summary of Care for Ripple Peperomia

Ripple peperomia plants generally don’t need a growing space larger than 12 inches (30 cm), so they do very well in pots as little as 4–6 inches (10–15 cm) in diameter. They like peaty potting mixes that retain moisture well and also have great drainage.

Water ripple peperomia plants moderately, allowing the topmost soil layer to dry up a little before watering again. Provide it with bright indirect sunlight or grow it with some artificial lighting for at least half a day to promote fullness.

Keep your ripple peperomia plant in a growing area with temperatures around 60–80°F (16–27°C) and humidity levels of about 30–80%. Though it can thrive without feeding, applying some diluted liquid fertilizer bi-weekly or monthly during the growing season will help it produce new growth and become much more bushy.


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