How to Grow and Care for Peperomia Scandens

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Peperomia scandens (pep-er-ROH-mee-uh SKAN-dens), Peperomia Scandens, also known as Cupid Peperomia or variegated Peperomia Scandens, hails from Central and South America and Mexico, where it grows in the treetops.

This epiphytic perennial plant is a member of the Piperaceae family of plants. It is a relative of the common pepper plant. 

Peperomia scandensPin

The genus name, Peperomia, combines the two Greek words, homoios, and peperi, meaning “similar to pepper.” The specific epithet, scandens, means “sprawling or climbing.”

Common names include:

  • False Philodendron
  • Cupid Peperomia
  • Radiator Plant
  • Vining Peperomia
  • Cupid Peperomia 

The scandens Peperomia is also known as Peperomia nitida (pep-er-ROH-mee-uh NI-ti-duh), its botanical name.

Regarding Peperomia Scandens variegata care, there are a few essential tips to remember.

In this article, we’ll share everything you need to know for a healthy pepperomia scandens plant.

Peperomia Scandens Care

Size and Growth

False Philodendron is a quick-growing, trailing/climbing plant that can attain a stem length of about 5′ feet with a spread (at the base of the plant) of about 12″ inches.

The semi-succulent type of Peperomia has heart-shaped leaves and pinkish trailing stems of this plant that store water. 

The stems are quite stiff and sturdy. The fleshy leaves are thick, green, and glossy with pale borders.

Moreover, Peperomia Scandens Variegata is a variegated variety with green leaves and cream-colored, golden, yellow, or off-white markings.

Flowering and Fragrance

The pretty foliage of this plant is its main attraction, but your Cupid Peperomia may present you with clusters of tiny green flowers on rat-tail-like spikes in the springtime. 

Peperomia scandens flower is unscented and unremarkable.

Variegated plant hanging in a nursery.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @noravillegreen

Light Needs and Temperature

Indoors, place your Peperomia near (but not in direct sunlight) a bright window. These plants do best with abundant bright, indirect light requirements.

Outdoors, place your plant in a setting that receives dappled sunlight or partial light. Under a tall tree that provides high shade is a good choice.

It’s also important to note that Cupid Peperomia can tolerate low light.

False Philodendron also does very well under grow lights or fluorescent lights.

Indoors, if you are comfortable, your Peperomia will be comfortable. Keep your plant in an area with comfortable, consistent temperatures, and protect it from hot or cold drafts.

Outdoors, this plant is winter hardy in USDA hardiness zone 10 and higher.

During the growing season, temperatures ranging from 68° to 72° degrees Fahrenheit are ideal. In winter, temperatures ranging from 55° to 60° degrees Fahrenheit are best.

Watering and Feeding

Use the soak and dry watering method to soak the potting medium thoroughly. Then, allow the soil to become almost entirely dry before drenching again. 

Use room-temperature rainwater, bottled water, or tap water sitting in the open for 24 hours to allow chemicals to dissipate.

The roots of this epiphyte are shallow, but the plant gleans moisture from the air, and the leaves and stems store up quite a bit of water, so allowing the potting medium to become nearly dry between watering will not harm the plant.

Indoor hanging plant with lush leaves.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @minhacasa.erc

As with most plants, you should water more frequently during the growing season (spring through summer) and less during winter. However, avoid overwatering, as it can lead to many problems like root rot or plant death.

Even so, be aware of the humidity in your home (or lack thereof). If your heating system causes the air to become very dry, you may need to water more in winter. 

Using a humidifier or placing your Peperomia on a pebble tray with water will help to increase humidity levels around the plant.

Peperomia are not heavy feeders, so a 1/4 strength mixture of a water-soluble fertilizer with an NPK rating of 20-20-20 applied monthly throughout the growing season should provide ample nourishment. Stop applying fertilizer during the fall and winter months.

Soil Type and Transplanting

Because it is epiphytic, Peperomia variegated scandens does best in a very light, well-drained soil potting mix. A soilless mixture (50-50 peat and perlite) is ideal. Always use a pot with a drainage hole.

You needn’t worry much about pH level because this plant can do well at any rating between 5 and 7.5.

Hand holding potted green plant at nursery.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @gardencenterzonasul

If planting outdoors in the landscape, amend the soil with fine gravel, sand, and peat to produce a light, airy mixture. You can also use a porous and well-draining soil mix of perlite and peat moss.

Because these plants have shallow root systems, you do not need frequent repotting. Once every three or four years should do just fine.

But, of course, if you notice that your plant is becoming root-bound or if it seems to be wilting excessively, it may be time to repot.

Always replace the potting medium entirely. Brush old potting mediums off the roots and rinse them as needed to provide an entirely fresh start for your plant. Give it a thorough watering once you have your Peperomia settled in its new pot.

Grooming and Maintenance

Trim away dead, damaged, or yellow leaves as needed throughout the growing season. Trim for shape and fullness as needed.

When you repot your pep scandens plant, provide a thorough pruning and carefully examine the roots. Trim away anything that seems unhealthy or appears to be dead.

Indoor plant in woven pot by windowPin
Photo Credit: Instagram @ferdagrela

Related: Explore the String of Turtles flower and how to care for this fascinating Peperomia variety.

You can also let this vining plant trail from a tree or a post. 

How To Propagate Peperomia Scandens

Now you might ask, how to propagate peperomia scandens plant?

Peperomia scandens propagation can easily be done with leaf or stem cuttings. You can also propagate Peperomias in potting soil or water. 

You can also use the air layering propagation method by simply allowing a tendril to ramble into a pot of fresh planting medium and set down roots.

When pruning or taking cuttings, always use a sharp, sterile cutting tool. The razor blades are excellent!

When starting cuttings in water, change the water daily to prevent fungal growth.

Peperomia Scandens Pest or Diseases

For the most part, this epiphytic plant is resistant to pests; however, excessive watering can lead to disaster in the form of edema, stem, and root rot. 

Always use a sharply draining potting medium, allow water to run through the medium when watering, and never let your pep scandens plant stand in water.

If your plant becomes waterlogged, it may develop one of the most common disease and a serious fungal infection called Pythium. 

Unfortunately, Pythium usually starts in the roots, so you may not know about the problem until it is too late.

Fungal infection also attracts fungus gnats, which are annoying in your plant room. Additionally, their larvae live in the potting medium and eat the plants’ roots. The best treatment for fungal infection is prevention. Don’t overwater.

Variegated trailing houseplant in pot.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @cultivesim

Excessive sunlight can also cause problems. Harsh, direct sun will burn the leaves, causing them to become yellow and then brown. Whether indoors or outdoors, protect your peperomia variegated scandens from the sun’s punishing rays.

Conversely, too little sun will cause your pep scandens plant to grow in a leggy, uneven manner. If this happens, you may wish to do a little pruning and move your plant to a slightly brighter setting. Turn your indoor plant periodically to encourage even growth.

Leaf curl can be a problem caused by a lack of nutrients and sucking insect pests. If this happens, examine your pep scandens plant carefully to determine if you have a bug infestation (e.g., mealybugs, gnats, flies, or spider mites.) 

If not, trim away damaged foliage and provide a fertilizer treatment. In addition, you may need to repot.

Is the Scandens considered Toxic or Poisonous to People, Kids, or Pets?

Peperomia is entirely non-toxic.

Is Scandens considered invasive?

Peperomia scandens variegated is not listed as an invasive plant in the United States.

Lush variegated trailing houseplant in a basket.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @hioka.i

Suggested Pepperomia Scandens Uses

Peperomia Scandens makes a lovely popular plant in a hanging basket or terrariums, indoors or outdoors. It also makes a good addition to a porch or patio or is placed near a sunny window indoors.

Because this Peperomia does so well with artificial lighting, it can be an excellent choice as a desktop plant or in a room that does not receive much natural light, such as a bathroom. 

Just providing enough light for the plant makes its a great plant choice for beginners.

In a tropical or semi-tropical setting, plant scandens Peperomia as a ground cover in a shady setting. Be sure to provide light, airy soil, and excellent to propagate peperomia scandens

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