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Peperomia obtusifolia (Baby Rubber Plant)

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Scientific Name

Peperomia obtusifolia (L.) A.Dietr.

Common Names

American Rubber Plant, American Baby Rubber Plant, Baby Rubber Plant, Blunt Leaf Peperomia, Blunt-leaved Peperomia, Oval Leaf Peperomia, Pepper Face, Pepper Face Plant

Synonyms

Peperomia antoni, Peperomia bayatana, Peperomia commutata, Peperomia cruciata, Peperomia cuneifolia, Peperomia daiquiriana, Peperomia dodecatheontophylla, Peperomia earlei, Peperomia fieldiana, Peperomia floridana, Peperomia gollii, Peperomia hemionitidifolia, Peperomia lunana, Peperomia mentiens, Peperomia palmae, Peperomia peninsularis, Peperomia petenensis, Peperomia pyrolifolia, Peperomia romaensis, Peperomia valerioi, Piper cuneifolium, Piper humile, Piper milleri, Piper obtusifolium, Rhynchophorum floridanum, Rhynchophorum obtusifolium

Scientific Classification

Family: Piperaceae
Genus: Peperomia

Description

Peperomia obtusifolia is a bushy plant, up to 12 inches (30 cm) tall, with thick, erect stems. Leaves are waxy, dark green, elliptic and up to 6 inches (15 cm) long. Small, greenish-white flowers appear from late spring to early fall on spikes up to 5 inches (12.5 cm) long. They are interesting but not particularly showy.

Photo via plantopedia.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 Peperomia tend to wilt or have raised, scab-like protrusions on their leaves. Don't be alarmed if your plant loses a few bottom leaves, but massive leaf-drop is usually due to a temperature change or fertilizer problem. Lastly, Peperomia are susceptible to mealybugs, so keep an eye out for cottony white masses on the stems or undersides of leaves. These plants thrives when slightly pot-bound, so don't 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 Peperomia 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

Peperomia obtusifolia is native to Florida, Mexico and the Caribbean.

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