Peperomia Dolabriformis Care: How To Grow The Prayer Pepper Plant

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Peperomia dolabriformis [pep-er-ROH-mee-uh, doh-la-brih-FOR-miss], is a shrubby succulent Peperomia plant with purse-shaped foliage and woody stems.

This species is native to the warm valleys of northern Peru, where it grows as an epiphyte or terrestrial on rotten wood and leaf litter.

Unique looking Peperomia Dolabriformis aka Prayer PepperPin
Peperomia Dolabriformis Prayer Pepper

Common names include Prayer Pepper and Prayer Peperomia.

The prayer peperomia plant is part of the Piperaceae family, known as the pepper family.

Peperomia dolabriformis is a shrubby succulent with thick fleshy light-green leaves folded in half upward and fused along the dark green margins creating a narrow dark green window.

It’s native to the warm valleys of Peru. Peperomia Dolabriformis is part of the Peperomia genus.

All plants in the Peperomia genus are commonly called “Radiator plants.” 

They’re typically short with stout stems and thick leaves. If the leaves are beginning to turn pale, then that could mean the plant is deficient in essential nutrients and minerals.

The Prayer Pepper plant thrives in containers and pots and remains relatively small, making it a simple houseplant to cultivate. Peperomia ferreyrae aka pincushion peperomia looks similar to dolabriformis…

Peperomia Dolabriformis Plant Care

Size and Growth

Peperomia dolabriformis has thick, green, succulent foliage.

The shape of the foliage resembles pea pods or small purses.

They are lime green and appear folded in half.

The top of each leaf has a dark green translucent stripe along the fold, helping the foliage absorb more light.

The healthy leaves measure about 3″ inches long and half an inch thick.

The leaves may form a rosette or a loose branch.

Over time, the Prayer Pepper develops a dense cluster of purse-like leaves, reaching 12″ to 24″ inches tall.

Prayer Pepper Flower and Fragrance

The peperomia dolabriformis flower is rarely seen in cultivated plants.

In the wild, it may produce green inflorescences measuring up to 16″ inches long.

Small, green-white flowers appear along a stalk and don’t produce a noticeable fragrance.

Light and Temperature

The Prayer Pepper succulent requires bright light and warm temperatures.

It can grow outdoors in tropical climates and USDA hardiness zone 12 or higher. Also, keep the temperature levels around 25 degrees Celsius during the day and 22 degrees Celsius at night.

Throughout most of North America, it should overwinter indoors.

Bring indoors at the first risk of freezing temperatures.

Houseplants should receive light throughout the day.

Place near a window receiving bright light.

If the window receives direct afternoon sunlight, position the plant at least 2′ feet from the window.

If the light conditions are lacking, the plant will begin to turn pale and feeble. Freezing temperatures tend to break the nutrient intake path on this epiphyte.

While it’s not common for Peperomias to demand too much sunlight, it’s still useful for the entire photosynthesis process.

Watering and Feeding

Peperomia dolabriformis doesn’t require frequent watering or feeding.

Overwatering is a common cause of wilting. Even though watering needs to be a routine caring tip, it’s worth noting that too much moisture getting stuck in the soil would ruin this plant’s aura.

Keep the soil moist throughout the summer while avoiding overwatering.

First off, the container and soil you use will determine how often to water and how much water to use each time.

Be sure you use a container with plenty of drainage holes in the bottom so extra water can escape the pot.

TIP: Water thoroughly for one week and allow it to dry the following week.

The soil should remain mostly moist without allowing the soil to become oversaturated. Too much moisture over time leads to root rot, which prevents the roots from being able to absorb nutrients and water from the soil.

To promote fuller growth, add liquid plant fertilizer to the water during the summer.

Don’t fertilize during the rest of the year.

Soil and Transplanting

  • Plant in well-drained soil, such as commercial cactus mix or succulent potting mix. 
  • Combining standard soil with equal parts of coarse sand and perlite should provide the same results.
  • Repot plants at the start of spring each year to refresh the soil.
  • Place the plant back in its original container or move up one size. 
  • These plants remain small and shouldn’t need large containers.
  • NOTE: Prayer Pepper grows best when slightly pot-bound. 
  • Keeping it in a smaller container encourages a stronger root structure.

Grooming and Maintenance

The peperomia prayer plant shouldn’t require any grooming.

However, if the plant develops leggy growth due to a lack of sunlight, cutting the plant back can renew the plant and allow for new growth.

Cut away the upper leaves and place the plant in a brighter spot to remedy the prayer pepper leggy.

Peperomia Dolabriformis Propagation

Propagate Prayer Pepper using stem cuttings placed in soil or water.

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.

The water propagation method requires an entire leaf with part of the stem on the bottom.

  • Place the cutting in a glass of water. 
  • After about six weeks, semi-translucent white roots should appear. 
  • Transplant the cutting into a small container with well-drained soil.
  • Keep the soil moist, but don’t cover it with plastic. 
  • The plant needs airflow to prevent mold growth.

To propagate using stem cuttings, carefully remove one or more stems from the plant.

  • Allow the succulent cuttings to dry overnight and dip in rooting hormone powder.
  • Plant the cuttings in small pots and place them in bright, indirect lighting. 
  • As with the water propagation method, keep the soil moist.
  • After about six to eight weeks, the cuttings should take root using either propagation method. 
  • Wait several more weeks for new growth before transplanting to permanent homes.

Peperomia Pest or Diseases

The Prayer Pepper is virtually pest and disease-free. It also contains no toxins and isn’t considered invasive.

When temperatures are warm, mealybugs tend to find this plant quite habitable. They’re white and leave a waxy layer on the leaf nodes.

You can get rid of them by wiping off the affected areas using cotton swabs dipped in isopropyl alcohol.

While it’s a safe and easy plant to grow, it can still attract pests in certain environments.

  • White mealybugs provide the biggest threat to the plant, appearing as cottony white masses on the undersides of the leaves.
  • Remove the mealybug growth using cotton swabs. 
  • Dip the cotton swabs in rubbing alcohol and gently wipe the leaves. 
  • Spray the plants with water afterward.
  • If the mealybugs remain, treat the plant with a commercial insecticide.

Another potential issue is mold growth. 

  • The plant may develop mold if the soil doesn’t drain properly or the plant is placed in an environment with high humidity levels.
  • Trim away leaves infected with mold and transplant to a new container. 
  • Allow the soil to remain dry for the next several weeks.
  • If no new mold appears, continue with the standard prayer pepper plant care tips. 
  • If mold continues to grow, discard the plant or propagate using a healthy stem cutting.

More on Peperomia Diseases and Pests

Suggested Peperomia Dolabriformis Uses

Prayer Pepper is an excellent addition to any succulent or cacti garden.

It also works well on its own, adding colorful foliage to any window.

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