The Peperomia polybotrya [pep-er-ROH-mee-uh] [pol-ly-BOT-ree-uh] is a compact plant well suited for life as an easy to care for house plant.
The plant features heart-shaped, succulent foliage and typically only achieves a maximum height of one foot.
Like many botanical names, the name of this plant is taken from the Greek language. Peperomia means “resembling pepper,” while Polybotrya means “many.”
Peperomia plants are part of the Piperaceae family, also known as the pepper family.
The plant also goes by the common name “coin-leaf peperomia” and is native to tropical regions of South America, including parts of Colombia and Peru.
Some call the plant the “Chinese Money Plant” [Pilea peperomioides] assuming they are the same. They do have similar leaf shapes.
Caring for the coin-leaf peperomia is not hard, but you may want to review a few basic plant care tips.
Coin Leaf Peperomia – Peperomia Polybotrya Care
Size and Growth
The coin-leaf peperomia has succulent leaves and stems allowing Polybotrya to store water through the dryer seasons.
The leaves are thick, shiny, and heart-shaped with a glossy dark green sheen and pale green underneath.
The coin-leaf peperomia doesn’t get very big. With proper care, it may achieve a size of at least one foot.
It’s recommended for USDA hardiness zones 10-12 but grows best outdoors in zone 10.
Flowering and Fragrance
The coin-leaf peperomia produces interesting flowers resembling green-tipped mouse tails. They grow in clusters from the tops of the stems.
Most people enjoy the sweet fragrance produced by the plant’s flowers.
Unfortunately, the flowers don’t last long. When the flowers fade, remove them from the plant.
Light and Temperature
This is a hardy plant if you place it in the right spot. When grown indoors, place Peperomia Polybotrya near a window with bright light.
However, avoid direct afternoon sunlight, which may burn the leaves.
The general temperature range for this plant is 65°- 80° degrees Fahrenheit. It prefers cool, humid conditions, but may tolerate the warmer temperatures during the summer.
When grown outdoors, place the coin Peperomia in an area where it gets no direct sunlight and plenty of partial shade, especially if you live in a region where temperatures exceed 80° degrees Fahrenheit in the summer.
Watering and Feeding
During the spring and summer, thoroughly water plants and allow the soil to dry between watering.
It’s easy to overwater these plants if you’ve never cared for succulent peperomia plants before. The stems and leaves store water, which allows the plant to go longer without water.
Pay attention to the soil. To avoid overwatering, stick one finger in the soil. If the soil is dry, water the plant.
Add a balanced liquid fertilizer once per month during the warmer months.
In the winter, limit the watering and stop fertilizing.
Soil and Transplanting
Plants should not need repotting unless you start it in a small plant and pot and need to move it into a permanent home.
The coin-leaf peperomia has a relatively weak root system. Transplanting may damage the plant if you’re not extremely careful.
When potting the plant, use a houseplant potting mix (African Violet mix works well) to ensure the soil has good drainage. Another option is a mixture of 50% peat moss and 50% perlite.
Grooming and Maintenance
These plants don’t require any special grooming. They grow slowly and rarely exceed more than one foot.
However, remove the old flowers as they start to dry out.
NOTE: Some indoor gardeners choose to mist the plant. This provides several benefits:
- Misting helps recreate the humid conditions the plant prefers
- Misting also helps keep the thick leaves clean and free of dust
- Cleaning the leaves reduces the risk of red spider mite infestations.
How To Propagate Coin Leaf Peperomia
Propagating the coin leaf Polybotrya isn’t difficult. Take leaf or tip cuttings during the spring.
Cut one of the leaves in half. Plant the cutting in moist soil in a small pot.
Make sure the cuttings receive moderate sunlight and soil remains moist. Within one or two weeks, small leaflets should appear.
These leaflets should soon grow to become their own new plants. After several weeks, or when the leaflets begin to crowd each other, transplant them to individual containers.
Peperomia Polybotrya Pests or Disease Problems
The coin-leaf peperomia can live for many years when watered correctly and doesn’t face any major threats.
With proper care, the only issue plants may encounter is an infestation of red spider mites and mealy bugs.
These small critters suck the sap from the leaves, which cause small yellow spots to develop. The leaves eventually dry out and fall from the plant.
- If you detect the yellow spots, look for spider mites webbing around the stems.
- If you notice cottony looking masses on leaves or the leaf axils look for mealybug infestation.
Remove and control spider mites and mealybugs with Neem oil sprays or with regular cleaning.
Suggested Uses For Coin Leaf Polybotrya
The coin-leaf peperomia may be grown indoors or outdoors. It’s best suited for outdoor growth in cooler regions that experience humid, mild summers, such as the Great Lakes region.
When grown indoors, it can be placed in a large decorative pot and used as a focal point among an arrangement of house plants.