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Peperomia columella (Columnar Peperomia)

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Scientific Name

Peperomia columella Rauh & Hutchison

Common Names

Columnar Peperomia

Scientific Classification

Family: Piperaceae
Genus: Peperomia

Description

Peperomia columella is a succulent with fleshy, ascending stems densely covered by the alternately arranged leaves. The stems branch profusely and send up new growth from the base. They are up to 8 inches (20 cm) tall and up to 0.4 inches (1 cm) in diameter. Leaves are thick, fleshy, bright green, truncated, and shaped like a horseshoe. The leaf apex is transformed into a "window" composed of water-storing tissue, which allows light penetration to the interior photosynthetic tissue. Occasionally, it produces tail-like flowers in spring.

Peperomia columella - Columnar Peperomia

Photo via cactiguide.com

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Peperomias are not particularly hard plants to grow, and their small size and delicate leaves make them perfect for desktops and dish gardens. They will rarely overtake their neighbors or shade them out. In short, they are perfectly mannered and attractive little plants. The biggest problems are usually related to watering. They like steadily moist soil but can be very sensitive to overwatering. Overwatered Peperomias tend to wilt or have raised, scab-like protrusions on their leaves. Do not be alarmed if your plant loses a few bottom leaves, but a massive leaf-drop is usually due to a temperature change or fertilizer problem. Lastly, Peperomias are susceptible to mealybugs, so keep an eye out for cottony white masses on leaves' stems or undersides. These plants thrive when slightly pot-bound, so do not over pot them.

Repot plants in spring, especially to refresh the existing soil, but place either back into the same size container after root-pruning or go up only one pot size. The largest Peperomias remain relatively small, so they will never grow into large specimen plants. Most species can be relatively easily propagated from leaf cuttings.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Peperomia.

Origin

Native to deserts of western South America.

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