How To Grow And Care For Peperomia Orba

Peperomia orba [pep-er-ROH-mee-uh OR-buh], also known as the teardrop peperomia, a tropical plant that does well indoors. Native to Central and South America, peperomias are members of the pepper plant family (Piperaceae).

All species of Peperomia are relatives of black pepper plants.

Peperomia Orba up closePin
Succulent green leaves of Peperomia orba | Jerzy Opioła-Wikimedia

Orba is semi-succulent and noteworthy for its delicate, teardrop-shaped leaves.

Other common names include:

  • Pixie Peperomia – Pixie is a select cultivar
  • Teardrop Peperomia
  • Radiator plants

Orba is more common in US garden centers compared to the UK. Learn more about how to care for this charming plant.

Care Of Peperomia Orba Plants

Peperomia orba care is simple and straightforward, even if you don’t have a green thumb. Let’s learn how!

Size & Growth

Teardrop peperomia grows slow and stays compact, reaching a height of 6″ inches at maturity. Its growth accelerates during the spring and summer months and slows down during cooler times of the year.

Peperomia orba grows outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 10 to 12. But, if you live in a colder climate, orba makes a great houseplant. With its petite size, it grows well in a container garden or terrarium.

Flowering and Fragrance

Peperomia flowers in the late summer and early fall. Its unusual blooms appear in the form of flowering stems – long, skinny stalks that look a bit like rat tails.

While the flowers are a sign that your plant is healthy and happy, they have no aroma and are nothing special to look at. Many people choose to remove the blossoms for cosmetic purposes. 

Light Conditions & Temperature

Teardrop peperomia prefers medium to bright light for optimal growth. The fleshy leaves are a bright green with white stripe coloration. Without enough light, the oval leaves may start to drop its leaves and take on a dull color.

Too much light can also be harmful. Peperomias are tropical plants that live beneath forest canopies. They don’t like full, direct sunlight. When grown as indoor plants place your peperomia by a window with bright indirect light.

Peperomias are not cold hardy and dislike temperature drops below 50° degrees Fahrenheit. Keep plants in areas where with warm temperatures that do not fluctuate. Keep plants away from drafty areas.

How To Water Peperomia and When To Feed

Because teardrop peperomia is semi-succulent variety of peperomia, it stores some water in its leaves but does need a regular watering schedule.

Proper watering will eliminate overwatering which can cause root rot and kill the plant fast. Orba can handle higher humidity levels – making it an excellent choice as a plant for a bathroom.

When you water plants, use the “soak and dry” method. This successful watering method works well for many succulent plants.

Water deeply, then let the soil dry out completely before watering again. Plants may  go 1-2 weeks between waterings (and possibly longer during the winter months). It ensures  your plant doesn’t suffer from too much water.

Since the plant is a slow grower by nature, it doesn’t need much fertilizer.

Feed your peperomia a balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer at half strength every month during the growing season. Stop feeding in the winter.

Take care to flush out excess salts from fertilizer after feeding. Flushing the soil keeps mineral salts from building up in the soil. A buildup of salts can be harmful to your plant’s health, burn roots and cause it to drop leaves.

Soil Mixture & Transplanting

Choosing the right potting soil is one of the most important parts of caring for a teardrop peperomia. Use a loose soil with good drainage. Orba doesn’t like soggy or wet conditions, and heavy soil can smother its roots.

An orchid planting medium is a suitable potting mix providing plenty of aeration and can work well for peperomia plants. If you already have a regular potting mix for houseplants, lighten it up before planting by mixing in some perlite.

Teardrop peperomia stays small and can tolerate being root-bound. You may not need to repot or transplant it at all. Move the plant to the next container size only if roots start to grow through drainage holes.

When transplanting your peperomia trim away damaged or diseased roots from the root ball. Replant in a well-draining soil.

Pruning, Grooming and Maintenance

As houseplants go, teardrop peperomia is low-maintenance. Prune away dead or damaged growth to keep the plant healthy and vibrant. Trim your peperomia back if it becomes leggy or etiolated due to low light.

How To Propagate Peperomia Orba

Propagate Peperomia orba from seed, soft stem cuttings, or leaf cuttings.

Stem cuttings are the easiest to start and root.

  • Plant cuttings in starter soil and keep soil moist
  • Using a rooting hormone makes rooting easier
  • Once you start to see new growth
  • Transplant cuttings into a new container

Peperomia Orba Pests or Diseases

Orba faces the pests and diseases common to most houseplants – mealybugs, gnats, and mites can all attack your plant.

Fungal infections and black leaf spot can set in and plants fall prey to root rot.

Cutting back on the watering can keep fungus gnats and mold at bay.

If you see mealybugs or mites, spray your plant with neem oil or insecticidal soap to get rid of the pesky invaders. Remove and dispose of any infected or diseased plant material.

Related: Peperomia Radiator Plant pests and Diseases

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