Peperomia Obtusifolia Care: Tips On Growing The Baby Rubber Plant

Peperomia obtusifolia (pep-er-ROH-mee-uh ob-too-sih-FOH-lee-uh) is a native subtropical rainforest evergreen plant from Central and South America.

‘Obtusifolia’ is grown as a:

  • Hanging garden plant
  • Ground cover in shade
  • Low growing potted indoor plant
Green baby rubber plant
Deep green baby rubber plant – image: Wikimedia Commons

The P. obtusifolia is one of the 1000 species and numerous Peperomia plant varieties belonging to the family Piperaceae. It is known by several common names:

  • Hanging Peperomia
  • Baby rubber plant
  • Pepper face plant
  • American rubber plant

There are two varieties of obtusifolia:

  • Dark green – Peperomia obtusifolia
  • Peperomia obtusifolia variegata

Peperomia Obtusifolia Care

Learn more about Peperomia Care in our guide

Size and Growth

Hanging Peperomia grows fairly quickly. It has a trailing growth habit and can grow 3′ to 4′ feet per year under the right conditions.

It has a spread of 12″ inches with leaves growing up to 2″ – 4″ inches in length.

Flowering and Fragrance

This plant is characterized by thick, wide deep green leaves.

The plant produces spikes of small white flowers. However, the blooms are insignificant because of the small size.

Light and Temperature

This evergreen plant loves bright indirect light and can tolerate low light. If placed in direct sunlight for a long period, the leaves turn pale in color.

The plant does well in temperatures ranging from 55 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit and likes high humidity.

Watering and Feeding

This succulent plant stores water in its leaves and can go for long periods of time without watering and why it does not require excessive watering.

Water it moderately during the summer months and reduce the frequency during winter. What out for overwatering!

Because it does not develop an extensive root system, it does not need to be lots of fertilizer.

Fed during the spring and summer months with a diluted liquid fertilizer. Do NOT fertilize at all during winter.

Soil and Transplanting

Rich, organically dense potting mix soil is ideal for growing baby rubber plants.

They do not need transplanting often and grow comfortably in their original pot for years before requiring repotting.

Grooming and Maintenance

So, how to make a rubber plant bushy?

If you want your plant to have a bushier growth, you can pinch them back to encourage them to grow more bushy.

Once a plant begins to get older, you should remove any shoots that don’t have leaves or flowering.

Peperomia obtusifolia variegata

How to Propagate Hanging Peperomia

Peperomia propagates easily propagated from leaf cuttings or stem tip cuttings.

This is ideally done during the spring season.

To propagate, from stem cuttings, remove the leaf with a sharp knife from about 3″ inches from the tip.

  • Make sure there are at least two pairs of leaves.
  • After removing the lower pair of leaves, dip the stem cutting into a hormone rooting powder
  • Plant the stem cutting in equal parts of sand or perlite and peat moss.
  • Cover the pot with a plastic bag and keep it at a temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Continue watering until the young plants show new growth and begin to take root.
root system of peperomia
Healthy root system of a peperomia plant

Obtusifolia Peperomia Pest or Disease Problems

Obtusifolia is susceptible to red spider mites that suck the sap out of the leaves. This causes them to turn yellow and dry out.

Treat with neem oil or other insecticides. Regular misting can help prevent the occurrence of mites.

Other symptoms include falling leaves or blisters are a result of environmental incompatibility.

Blisters on the leaves mean they’re being overwatered

Falling leaves signify that the plant is in a cold area and needs to be moved to a warmer spot.

This plant can be slightly poisonous if ingested.

More Details in our article on Peperomia Pests and Diseases

Suggested Uses for Hanging Peperomia

Peperomias such as Obtusifolia and the watermelon peperomia (Peperomia argyreia) are an excellent choice to grow by a window as a house plant or in a greenhouse. However, there are many other Peperomia types to grow and enjoy.

Their spilling growth habit makes them hanging basket candidates. The dark deep green leaves make them nice companion plants as potted specimens to mix with bromeliads for color.