How To Grow and Care For Peperomia Rubella

Peperomia rubella is a unique, small succulent-like houseplant from Jamaica. Often compared to hoyas, peperomia plants have fleshy leaves and minimal care requirements.

The name Peperomia Rubella [pep-er-ROH-mee-uh ROO-bel-u] comes from a Greek origin, peperi (pepper), and homoios (resembling), suggesting the leaves resemble small peppers. Rubella (a little bit red) refers to the leaves’ undersides, which boast a beautiful red hue.

Peperomia Rubella with flower spikesPin
Flower spikes on Peperomia Rubella | AfroBrazilian-Wikimedia Commons

The perennial Peperomia rubella belongs to the Piperaceae plant family. The family shares the Piper genera, including pepper plants and vines.

Although Rubella is grown for its foliage, it does flower.

You sometimes see the Peperomia Rubella referred to as Red Trailing Peperomia. While this plant species can grow straight up, it starts to vine once the stems grow heavy enough to lay down.

Peperomia Rubella Care

Size & Growth

The Peperomia Rubella plant is small, it makes a great house plant. It has small green leaves and throws out runners from the base of the stem to grow wide.

As a result, the plant reaches 4-6″ tall, and then falls over like a vine. It continues to grow as long as the environment will allow.

Due to its natural vining tendencies, Rubella Peperomia grows best in a hanging basket. Baskets allow Rubella to display the red hues from the foliage’s underside.

Flowering and Fragrance

Rubella Peperomia produces small, greenish-white flower spikes in the summer. The spikes tend to look like tentacles sticking out of the plant’s leaves and do not have a fragrance.

Light Conditions & Temperature

Indoors keep Peperomia Rubella in indirect lighting. Direct sunlight can damage the plant. Try to keep any afternoon sunlight from hitting the plant.

Outdoors, provide Rubella with partial shade. Medium or bright light does encourage growth. Again try to steer clear of any potential damaging direct afternoon sunlight.

Peperomia Rubella is native to Jamaica, and grows best in humid climates. It is recommended USDA Hardiness Zone 10-11. They thrive in terrariums, do well as an indoor plant, and make a beautiful outdoor plant.

The plant thrives in climates with a 60-90% humidity range.

Generally speaking, they survive in most settings with controlled temperature. Regardless of the indoor situation, try to keep the temperature between 60° – 80° degrees Fahrenheit or 15.5 to 26 degrees Celsius.

Watering and Feeding

Peperomia Rubella tends to be picky about watering. It is sensitive to overwatering. Plants will begin wilting and scabbing on the foliage if not treated.

To avoid this, allow rubella plants to dry between watering. Allow 1/3 of the potting soil to dry before watering again.

Underwatering is not much of an issue since the thick, fleshy leaves retain a lot of moisture.

If you are looking to ramp up the growth, try any of these three fertilizing options:

  • Water-soluble fertilizer
  • Slow-release fertilizer
  • Organic fertilizer

Any time you use fertilizer, read, and follow the instructions.

Soil & Transplanting

Peperomia Rubella prefers moist soil. When picking out a potting mix, it should retain moisture and drain well. The soil does not like staying soaked.

The soil pH should be in the 6 to 7.5 range to reach the optimal plant life.

The Rubella Peperomia does not need repotting due to its vine-like nature. If you must repot, use a pot with drainage holes and step up one pot size. Otherwise, it will remain happy in its original home.

Refresh the soil every spring, repot every few years to keep plants at their optimal health.

Grooming and Maintenance

Because Rubella sprouts new growth from the stems’ base, it can get quite unruly if not pruned. A quick fix is to prune the plant back anytime you feel it getting out of hand.

How To Propagate Peperomia Rubella

The plant propagates from any tip cutting, stem, or leaf cuttings. The best season to propagate Rubella is in spring or summer. These are the seasons it is in active growth.

When propagating, the tip cutting should have a growing tip with at least two leaves. For size, stick to around 6″ inch cuttings.

Learn More on How To Propagate Peperomia Plants

Peperomia Rubella Pests, Diseases or Problems

Common peperomia problems involve mealybugs, unsightly spots, leaf drop, and root rot.

Mealybugs do not spare Peperomias. These white, cotton-like clumps cluster underneath leaves and around leaf axils.

Cercospora leaf spot shows up as raised black or tan areas underneath the leaves.

Ring Spot virus has light or dark rings, some distortion, and/or stunting on the plant’s leaves. Sadly, there is no way to combat this virus.

The only solution is to destroy the infected plant and sanitize any tools used in the process.

Chlorosis is the leaves yellowing and losing its green color. The yellow color is often linked to potassium and/or nitrogen deficiencies.

Check your fertilizer to make sure it is rich in these two nutrients to avoid this issue.

If Peperomia Rubella has extreme leaf drop, it is likely due to:

  • Temperature extremes
  • Fertilization problems
  • Waterlogged soil

A plant with waterlogged soil:

  • Drops leaves
  • Is more susceptible to root rot
  • Invites unwanted fungi

Follow the soil and watering instructions, and you should not have any issues with your Peperomia Rubella.

JOIN Our FREE Plant Care Newsletter 

By entering your email address you agree to receive a daily email newsletter from Plant Care Today. We'll respect your privacy and unsubscribe at any time.