Few houseplants are as breathtaking as the ice-colored peperomia frost. This succulent plant lives up to its name with extravagant silver, iridescent foliage overtop a barely visible layer of deep green tucked into fan-spread folds in each leaf.
It’s easy to understand why peperomia frost is such a highly prized member of the peperomia family. Not only is it easy to care for, but it also adds a luxurious element to a room in the right pot. Since they stay rather small, peperomias also make great office window plants!
Arranging peperomia frost near other plants with deeper green colors, shiny or matte leaves, and modern pots could be the look of the century. Silver houseplants never go out of style, so in terms of aesthetics, this peperomia is perfect for the long haul.
If you’re new to plants, peperomias are a great way to test the waters, since they will typically tolerate a degree of neglect. Before we get into how to keep one alive, though, we need to learn a bit about where the plant comes from to really know how to replicate that environment.
History & Natural Habitat of Peperomia Frost
A member of a family that has over 1,000 different species, peperomia frost comes from a cultivar that was once considered rare; however, growers have helped to make this plant much easier to come by in recent years.
Peperomia frost is native to tropical Central and South America, where it thrives in warm, yet humid climates. Some close relatives can even be found in far reaches of the world, including Africa, Southern Asia, and even Oceania, where warm temperatures meet humid air.
This plant was first discovered by Spanish botanists in the 1700s, described as a succulent plant, though other types have been found to grow epiphytically on the trunks of trees and other plant species that grow in tropical climates.
The nature of peperomia frost is a bit surprising for a succulent plant, but rest assured, they’re easy to grow in modern indoor climates. Much like peperomia plants, we tend to prefer our environments on the warmer side, with just a bit of humidity. Here’s how to care for one.
Unlike your more traditional succulents that are more than happy to take up residency in your North-facing windows, peperomia frost has reservations about bright, direct sunlight. Consider that these plants grow in tropical rainforests, where there’s lots of overhead shade.
Peperomias are more accustomed to dappled, bright light than direct, so you’ll need to try to provide the same general levels of light without burning the sensitive leaves of your peperomia frost. Lighter colored leaves also make it more susceptible to sun damage.
While direct sun may be out of the question, a sheer curtain is an absolute lifesaver if you’re limited on space. Peperomia frost will tolerate full sun in a window, so long as there is a barrier there to diffuse the sun’s harshest rays.
Otherwise, peperomia frost does very well under artificial light. Full-spectrum LED lights provide plenty of light without burning leaves, so long as they’re placed the right distance away from the top of the plant.
Without regular water, peperomia frost will begin to wilt and eventually drop leaves. This is most noticeable once the soil is completely devoid of water, so it’s best to regularly check the moisture levels in the pot using your finger or a moisture meter.
The top half of the soil in the pot should be relatively dry before rewatering to prevent root rot, fungus gnats, and leaf drop, all of which are caused by soggy soil. It may sound tricky to pin down the perfect time to water, but you’ll get the hang of it fairly quickly.
When you water your peperomia frost, be sure to let any excess water drain away from the pot. A wide drip tray works well for dispersing extra water, so that it doesn’t end up sitting at the bottom of the pot.
Over and under watering both pose different threats to a peperomia frost; overwatering causes root rot, while underwatering can cause your peperomia frost to wilt and eventually die. The right soil helps alleviate these issues.
Peperomia frost can live and thrive happily in a variety of soils, as it’s a versatile plant that can survive in a range of varying conditions in tropical rainforests. Any mix of coarse soil will do, so long as there is aeration and the soil won’t break down too quickly.
An ideal soil mixture for this peperomia contains at least some perlite, coco coir husk, peat, or pumice. You can mix these components liberally into standard indoor potting mix to create your own rainforest soil, which works for lots of other rainforest plants!
Some premixed soils will work well for your peperomia frost, too. Make sure that you only purchase premixed soils that contain some of the constituents above, and that the soil is high-quality.
Using bagged premixed soil can be iffy sometimes, especially if the soil isn’t steamed or otherwise sanitized before it’s bagged. Look for mycelia, or white, rubbery to powdery substance, in the soil; this will indicate that a fungus is present, and the soil needs to be broken up and set out to dry before using.
As you can imagine, it gets pretty warm in a tropical rainforest setting. Winters are often mild, dropping no further than around 60 degrees, even on the chilliest days. However, the canopy overhead helps maintain a cooler temperature on the ground during the hottest days.
The warmest you can keep a peperomia frost is around 80 to 85 degrees fahrenheit, though this is variable depending on humidity and light. Any temperature swings below 60 degrees fahrenheit could be the end of your plant, so be sure to keep it warm!
A few things to consider when looking for the right place in your home for your peperomia frost are drafts, windows, and frequently opened doors. Try not to place your plant near a door that’s used often to go outside if you live in a very cold climate.
Similarly, avoid placing it near cold drafts, such as air conditioning vents, or near windows that easily transfer cold and heat. Heaters can also pose a threat; they can both dry out the soil quickly and heat up a small area well beyond the preferred temperature for your peperomia.
Humidity is important for peperomia frost, just as it is for other plants native to incredibly humid climates. Not only does humidity help peperomia frost grow to its best ability, but it also encourages flowering, though this can be rare indoors.
Peperomia frost requires at least 40 percent humidity to thrive, but anything above that level is even better. To provide humidity, try using a humidifier, or placing your plant near a room where water is frequently used, like a bright kitchen or well-lit washroom.
You can also use the pebble tray method, which is super easy to make and maintain. All you need to do is fill a shallow tray with pebbles, then with water to the top; once you’ve got the tray set up, you can place your plant atop the pebbles.
This method helps to diffuse water efficiently by using the surface area of each pebble for evaporation. The evaporating water creates a small bubble of humidity around the plant, given that the temperature of the room is warm enough.
Fortunately, peperomia frost doesn’t require a whole lot of fertilizer. If you’re someone who forgets to feed your plants, you’re in luck; this plant doesn’t need fertilizer at all during its dormant season.
It does, however, need a touch of fertilizer during the active growing season, which you’ll be able to identify by the signs of new growth. Once the new leaves start to form in the early growing season, you can start applying a weak fertilizer formula.
Use a half-strength, well-balanced fertilizer formulated for tropical or houseplants. Apply it to the soil every other week, making sure never to let fertilizer mix remain in the soil for long. Always allow the excess fertilizer-water mixture to drain through and away from the pot.
Once the new growth has started to slow down, you can stop fertilizing for the year. Peperomia frost goes into dormancy when weather becomes colder and the days get shorter. Remember to rinse your plant’s soil after the growing season is over to remove built-up minerals.