Admittedly, the first time I heard of the peperomia caperata, I thought it was akind of medical condition like heterochromia iridis. Imagine my surprise when I met the unique and intensely-colored tropical plant, the Emerald Ripple.
Peperomia caperata is an evergreen perennial featuring red-purple stems ending in dark green-crimson, wrinkled, plump, and heart-shaped leaves with red to pink panicles that resemble mouse tails terminating into delicate white flowers.
Truly, the peperomiacaperata is a one-of-a-kind, if not spectacularly colorful, plant.
Don’t just take my word for it. The Royal Horticultural Society awards the peperomiacaperata (also Luna Red) with the Award of Grand Merit (AGM). So, what’s so great about the AGM?
- 1. The Luna Red Is An Undemanding And Trouble-Free Plant
- 2. Safe And Non-Toxic For Pets!
- 3. PeperomiaCaperata Thrives In The Rainforests Of Brasil
- 4. It Responds Well To Artificial Light
- 5. Peperomia Caperata Doesn’T Like The Cold
- 6. Start/Propagate A Luna Red With Seeds Or Softwood Cuttings
- 7. Plant In Loose Free-Draining Soil
- 8. Do Not Overwater
- 9. Place And Keep In A Small Pot That Drains Well Until The Plant Has Outgrown It
- 10. Feed With A 1:1 Water-Liquid Fertilizer Solution
- 11. Pests Begone
To quote the Royal Horticultural Society:
“AGM plants have been through a rigorous trial and assessment programme. They are:
- Excellent for ordinary use in appropriate conditions
- Available to buy
- Of good constitution
- Essentially stable in form & colour
- Reasonably resistant to pests & diseases.”
If that merit award doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what will. In any case, let’s start growing!
11 Tips And Tricks To Growing Peperomia Caperata
What does it take then to grow this award-winning flowering plant? Below, I’ve listed the tips and tricks you need to know to grow and care for peperomiacaperata at home!
Getting to Know
1. The Luna Red Is An Undemanding And Trouble-Free Plant
Take a breath and stop worrying. The Luna Red is very forgiving with its care and easy to grow, which is probably the reason why it’s very popular as an indoor house plant.
Additionally, it is a compact plant growing to a height of about 8 inches. This tiny stature makes the peperomiacaperata perfect for small spaces such as apartments or offices.
2. Safe And Non-Toxic For Pets!
There’s no need to worry about a poisoning a beloved cat or dog since the entire genus of Peperomia is completely safe!
3. PeperomiaCaperata Thrives In The Rainforests Of Brasil
Although the Luna Red is easy to grow, this doesn’t mean you can place the plant anywhere and then forget about it. Rather, knowing that it naturally grows in tropical rainforests means you can try to emulate these same conditions at home.
Then, one important condition you’ll find in a rainforest is the high humidity. Hence, bathrooms and kitchens will be ideal for Luna Red (40-50% relative humidity), although common living rooms will suffice. However, remember that regularly air-conditioned rooms or offices might not have enough moisture for the plant to thrive.
Incidentally, a terrarium is also an ideal location for the peperomiacaperata
4. It Responds Well To Artificial Light
Another perk to naturally growing in the shade of larger trees is the Luna Red’s ability to thrive in indirect as well as artificial lighting. On the other hand, you can go beyond your office’s fluorescent lights by placing the Luna Red under indoor grow lights. Note, though that direct sunlight will burn the plant’s foliage.
If you notice stunted growth in your peperomia, then it might be receiving insufficient light.
5. Peperomia Caperata Doesn’T Like The Cold
The Luna Red is an ideal room temperature plant, flourishing at 65°F -75°F (18°C -24°C). So, if possible, avoid temperatures below 60°F.
6. Start/Propagate A Luna Red With Seeds Or Softwood Cuttings
You can start growing a Luna Red by using either seeds or softwood cuttings namely, leaves, leaf buds, and young stem tips.
If you’re using seeds, remember to sow at 65°F -75°F when they’ve ripened.
On the other hand, you can also start with softwood cuttings which I recommend. Cut a leaf, leafbud or new and still soft stem tips then let the cut ends dry out before planting.
7. Plant In Loose Free-Draining Soil
Peperomiacaperata prefers non-compact soil with plenty of air circulation so remember never to tighten or tamp down on its soil bed. Additionally, you can choose to mix in some perlite to guarantee aerated soil.
8. Do Not Overwater
The Luna Red is very similar to succulents in that it requires little water and is drought-tolerant. Hence, avoid oversoaking the soil and water only when it has just dried up.
Additionally, focus watering its base since wet leaves may encourage plant diseases.
9. Place And Keep In A Small Pot That Drains Well Until The Plant Has Outgrown It
Puttinga little Luna Red in a pot that is too large as well as too small may result in soaked roots. Therefore, make sure to keep your plant in a pot that is just right for its size, then repot when necessary, preferably in spring time.
Most importantly, the chosen pot should easily drain water. You cannot underestimate the danger of waterlogged soil which can cause root rot.
10. Feed With A 1:1 Water-Liquid Fertilizer Solution
The Luna Red will benefit from monthly feeding from spring to fall with the diluted liquid fertilizer. However, take care that you do not overfeed or apply during the winter season.
11. Pests Begone
Schedule a routine check on your Peperomia to hinder any harmful pests or insects such as aphids and mealy bugs. If spotted, gently wipe off with a damp cloth or towel.
Just remember these 11 tips and tricks, and you’ll have a plump and healthy Luna Red at home or in the office! As always, happy planting!
- Peperomiacaperata ‘Luna Red’: AGM Plants The Royal Horticultural Society. Rhs.org.uk
- PeperomiaCaperata 2017. NC Cooperative Extension, North Carolina State University. Plants.ces.ncsu.edu
- PeperomiaCaperata – Emerald Ripple Peperomia Cal Lemke. Oct 15, 1999 University of Oklahoma Department of Botany & Microbiology. Plantoftheweek.org
- Peperomia (Peperomiacaperata) 2017. National Gardening Association. Garden.org
- Cuttings: softwood 2017. The Royal Horticultural Society. Rhs.org.uk