Have you been searching for a small, low-maintenance houseplant to brighten up your home? You’re in luck! The raindrop peperomia, or Peperomia polybotrya, could be exactly what you’re looking for! This little beauty is known for its thick, glossy leaves and hardiness.
This plant is native to the tropical forests of South America and is commonly known as the raindrop peperomia or coin leaf peperomia. It’s sometimes confused with the Chinese money plant, Pilea peperomioides, because of its similar appearance. Rest assured, Peperomia polybotrya is its own plant with unique (and easily met) needs and requirements! Read on to learn all about them.
|Common Name||Raindrop Peperomia, Coin Leaf Plant|
|Botanical Name||Peperomia polybotrya|
|Native Areas||South America, Ecuador, Colombia|
|Sun/Light Requirements||Bright, indirect sun|
|Watering||Water thoroughly once the soil is completely dry|
|Soil||Well-draining, slightly acidic|
|Humidity||60% (tolerates 40% and up)|
|USDA hardiness zones||USDA zone 10|
Raindrop peperomia get their name from the shape of their leaves. They’re rounded and come to a short point, making them reminiscent of a raindrop or coin. Its deep green leaves are thick and waxy and often have a noticeable shine.
There are some popular giants in the plant community, but Peperomia polybotrya sits on the other side of the scale. It’s fairly compact, reaching a maximum of around 15 inches in height. That makes them perfect desk mates and ideal for tables that you actually need to use as more than a vessel for more plants.
One of the greatest features of the raindrop peperomia is its flowers. Flowering typically happens in summer, so look out for the first signs that it’s beginning. With adequate care, your raindrop peperomia will form a long tail-like spadix. Its flowers form in tight clusters all along the spadix and produce a fragrant, sweet scent. Although the blooms are tiny, they’re a sign that you’re taking excellent care of your plant! Its fragrance intensifies if the plant is kept in warmer temperatures, but you’ll certainly notice it even without that added step.
There’s nothing particularly difficult with Peperomia polybotrya. Its care is simple enough, especially if you’re familiar with the basic needs of tropical plants. As with any plant, keep in mind where it came from and you’ll more thoroughly understand what it needs. In the case of the raindrop peperomia, that means the lush tropical forests of Peru, Colombia, and other parts of South America.
Peperomia polybotrya prefers bright, indirect light and can suffer damage when exposed to direct light for too long. It’s accustomed to being near the floor of the jungle, which means any light it receives is filtered through a canopy of trees and other, taller plants. Exposing it to too much sun risks burning your plant.
If you’re trying to find the perfect spot in your home, consider a north-facing window. If you’re opting for south or west instead, situate your raindrop peperomia a few feet away. As long as they’re getting enough light for growth and aren’t being burned, you’re doing a great job!
Too little light is a risk to watch for, too. It causes your plant to shoot off leggy growths, which is an unappealing sign that your plant needs more sunlight. It is quite literally trying to reach for it! Evaluate your lighting situation and consider moving it closer toward a window or switching out its place entirely.
The raindrop peperomia has a good system going. It stores plenty of water in its leaves and stems, making it drought-resistant and forgiving if you miss an extra day or two of watering.
It’s best to wait until the soil is almost fully dry before offering your Peperomia polybotrya a drink. Once the pot feels light and you don’t detect lingering moisture, water it thoroughly. If you doubt your ability to test the soil, just feel the leaves. If they don’t have their usual thickness or feel less sturdy than usual, it’s time to water! That means they’ve started to deplete their stores.
Take careful precautions not to overwater this plant, though. They’re susceptible to root rot and it’s entirely possible to lose your raindrop peperomia if you keep it in wet or overly damp soil.
In their native tropical forests, Peperomia polybotrya don’t grow in soil. You’ll find them growing on and out of trees or making their homes on rocks instead. That’s critical to remember when you’re mixing or choosing their soil. They need something very well-draining, as retaining too much moisture can quickly cause rot and decay.
If you’re looking for a ready-made answer, you’ll be safe with a bag of African Violet mix. Otherwise, you can create your mixture with standard potting soil and a healthy dose of drainage medium (like perlite or bark). Peat moss is also a solid choice, too.
Peperomia polybotrya prefers slightly acidic soil or neutral soil. Keep that in mind if you’re mixing your soil, as some ingredients (like the peat moss mentioned above) affect the acidity of the soil.
Your raindrop peperomia is perfectly content living at room temperature. As long as it’s kept between 65°F and 80°F, there’s no cause for concern. If you’re keeping your plant indoors, it won’t need any special temperature adjustments.
Because it is a tropical plant, it isn’t very tolerant of colder temperatures. Don’t place it near drafty windows or doors in the winter. If it’s unlucky enough to be left in freezing temperatures, don’t count on it to survive.
Raindrop peperomias are tolerant of a variety of humidity levels, but to truly thrive they require at least 60% humidity. They’re tropical plants, after all, so this should come as no surprise. If you’re struggling to keep things humid enough, offer them a bit of added moisture with a daily misting. Pebble trays filled with water are another option.
Peperomia polybotrya can live with humidity levels as low as 40%, however, so don’t fret if you can’t keep the levels right at 60%. Your plant will likely be fine in the meantime!
You can help your plant along during the summer growing season by fertilizing once a month (every four weeks) with a balanced fertilizer. It isn’t necessary to continue during winter, as over-fertilizing comes with a host of its own problems. If you notice any signs of yellowing or burning near the stem, cut back on the fertilizer or dilute it – it’s too strong for your plant!
Since Peperomia polybotrya doesn’t grow very large, it doesn’t have a lot of pruning needs to worry about. Aside from removing the obvious dead or decaying leaves, you can trim away leggy or unsightly growths with a pair of clean shears. However, if you see your plant growing at odd angles, try to find and address the reason behind it rather than trimming away the growth and moving on.
When your raindrop peperomia flowers, you’ll need to prune away the blooms as they start to die. Otherwise, they’ll remain on your plant and decay.
Pruning offers the perfect opportunity to propagate your plant, too! There are two ways to go about it.
Propagating with stem cuttings is simple enough. Remove a decently sized portion of the stem containing two to three leaves. Remove any leaves from the bottom portion of the stem (the part that will be planted). Dip the end of the cut step in rooting hormone and place it into your soil mixture. Pat the soil down to ensure the cutting is securely in place. Water it thoroughly and put it into a partly shaded area that still receives some light. Don’t leave your cutting out in direct light or too much darkness.
Leaf cuttings are also a viable way to propagate your raindrop peperomia. To do this, just cut a healthy leaf (petiole still attached) away from the stem and root it in the soil. Alternatively, remove the leaf and cut in in the middle, crosswise. Press the cut end of each leaf into your soil and proceed just as you would with a stem cutting!
You’ll be able to go quite a while between repotting sessions for your raindrop peperomia. They don’t grow quickly and they’re not large, so there comes a point where you don’t have to accommodate much new growth. New raindrop peperomias will need to be repotted as they grow from cuttings, however.
It’s worth noting that this plant doesn’t root deeply, which makes repotting a delicate affair. If you’re too rough with the plant, you can damage its roots.
You can also repot your plant if it’s suffering from overwatering. At that point, repotting is your best chance of saving the plant. Repot it into fresh soil and give it a chance to recover!
Pests and Insects
Raindrop peperomias don’t deal with many pests, thanks to their waxy leaves, but there are a few that might persist. Mealybugs and spider mites both go after raindrop peperomias and drain the life from your plant. If you spot any signs of them, they can both be successfully treated with neem oil or other horticultural, plant-safe soaps and oils.
This adorable green vine will be right at home on your office desk, bedroom, or any space you’re looking to fill with a dash of green. It’s easy to care for, so don’t worry about making a few mistakes along the way. Peperomia polybotrya is the ideal place to start your plant collection and it’s a fabulous find for established plant enthusiasts, too.