Watermelon Peperomia, botanical name Peperomia argyreia, is an evergreen perennial shrub in the family Piperaceae. The plant is native to Brazil and Ecuador but has been introduced as an ornamental houseplant worldwide. It is also sometimes called “Watermelon Begonia,” as the leaves share some likenesses to begonias and watermelons even though the plant itself is neither.
This semi-succulent shrub has oval leaves 3-4 inches long and 1-3 inches wide. They are deep green with silver veins that strongly resemble the white markings on a watermelon, hence the name. Their stems are colored blood red, providing a striking contrast to the leaves. In comparison, the flowers are small, green, and borne on short spikes that barely peek over the foliage in summer.
Peperomia argyreia Main Characteristics
|Common Name||Watermelon Peperomia, Watermelon Begonia|
|Botanical Name||Peperomia argyreia|
|Native Range||Northern South America to Brazil|
|USDA Hardiness Zones||10 to 12|
|Mature Size||Height: 0.50-0.75 feet; Spread: 0.25-0.50 feet|
|Propagation methods||by seeds, by cuttings|
|Soil||Medium Moisture, Well-Drained|
Watermelon Peperomia Care
As long as you stick to the proper care routine, there’s very little that can go wrong. The dutiful are rewarded handsomely with lush growth. Here’s how you get started.
Light and Location
It does best in medium light while being protected from direct sunlight. It can even tolerate very low light conditions for a long time but don’t consider this their preference.
Aesthetically, these plants rarely serve as centerpieces when placed in a garden. Instead, their distinct, bright green leaves are better suited to accentuating other, more striking plants. Therefore, complementing this perennial with others that share similar needs is a great way to increase the value it brings to your garden. Alternatively, its small size makes it perfect as a desktop plant, something to consider if you’re redecorating the office.
Watermelon Begonia should be watered moderately and consistently in the growing season. Lessen the watering frequency in the fall. Then, resume watering moderately again in the spring. Before watering, make sure that the top layer of soil has dried out from the last session.
Peperomia argyreia is native to the tropics and prefers warm, wet environments. Temperatures of about 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit are optimal. However, it can tolerate cold down to about 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
This plant requires moderate to high humidity levels to thrive. The plant will not do well in dry conditions and can suffer from leaf drop, wilting, and even death if the humidity levels in its environment are too low. Use a humidifier if you have one, or place the plant on a water tray filled with pebbles.
Fertilizing Watermelon Begonia is not necessary, but if you choose to do so, use a balanced liquid fertilizer every other week from spring to summer. Follow the package instructions when you feed. Don’t feed at all during the fall and winter; it simply isn’t needed.
Propagating Watermelon Peperomia
The recommended method for propagating Watermelon Peperomia is by way of leaf cuttings. Stem and tip cuttings can also work, but most people stick with leaf cuttings as the tried and true method. Here’s what you need to do:
- Take a cutting of a leaf with a stalk from a healthy plant.
- Dip the cutting in rooting hormone powder to increase the chances of the cutting taking root.
- Plant in seedling starter potting mix.
- Keep the soil warm with some moisture until the cutting has rooted.
This plant can also be propagated using seeds, but propagation by cuttings is easier with a higher chance of success.
Potting and Repotting Watermelon Peperomia
Peperomia argyreia can be potted in a wide variety of containers, depending on your preference. When potting, make sure to use a well-draining potting mixture. The potting soil needs to be neither too dry nor too wet. A well-draining mix with medium moisture is the way to go.
This is a slow-growing plant that rarely needs repotting. In fact, it prefers being pot-bound most of the time. Only when the roots are overflowing from the pot should you consider repotting. Use a pot one size larger than the previous pot and repot the plant in fresh soil. Water thoroughly and keep warm.
Watermelon Peperomia is Non-Toxic to cats and dogs. It is completely safe to be around. Plant without worry.
The most common pests of Watermelon Peperomia are spider mites and mealybugs. Both are sapsuckers that can cause significant damage to the plant if left unchecked. Thankfully, infestations are rare. But, if you’re unlucky enough to be visited by these unwanted guests, dab cotton balls laced with rubbing alcohol on the affected areas of the plant. In general, this is more than enough to take care of things.
Care Tips for the Watermelon Peperomia Plant (Video)
How to propagate Watermelon Peperomia?
You can propagate this plant by seeds or cuttings. The most common method is leaf cuttings. Seeds are generally not recommended as they tend to take longer to mature than leaves, and they have less chance of success.
How to care for Watermelon Peperomia?
This plant is a succulent perennial that is easy to grow and care for. It thrives in well-drained soil and moderate light and adapts well to low-light conditions. You should water it moderately following a strict routine in the growing season. But less so in winter. It also requires temperatures between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
How often to water Watermelon Peperomia?
In spring and summer, water this plant moderately. Allow the top layer of soil to get dry before watering again. In fall and winter, reduce watering drastically as the plant doesn’t need as much water since it isn’t growing.