Peperomia serpens (pep-er-ROH-mee-uh SUR-penz) is better known as the vining peperomia. But, this member of the Piperaceae family won’t be overtaking your home any time soon.
This little Peperomia plant hails from tropical South or Central America. It was formerly known as Peperomia scandens.
This easy-to-grow Peperomia can handle neglect for periods of time. Peperomia serpens is a great starter choice for children who are old enough to not try eating it.
The plant’s simple needs are also a great way to teach kids plant care. Kids soon learn that not all houseplants have the same light and water requirements.
Other Popular Peperomia Plants:
- Peperomia obtusifolia (Baby Rubber plant care)
- Peperomia prostrate (String of Turtles plant)
- Peperomia argyreia (Watermelon Peperomia care)
Peperomia Serpens Care
Serpens Peperomia Plant Size & Growth
One of the biggest draws for this type of Peperomia species is the small size.
It’s possible for your serpens to reach 2’ feet across, but rarely gets bigger than 1’ foot.
Despite the small size, serpens grows fast, with plenty of new leaves during the growing season.
Peperomia serpens produces dark green, heart shaped leaves. The cultivar ‘variegata’ has variegated heart shaped leaves.
Flowering and Fragrance
This plant isn’t known for producing flowers. The primary attraction is the brown woody stems and green leaves.
The flowers have no fragrance.
Light & Temperature
As with many other Peperomia species, serpens burns easily in direct sunlight.
Serpens grows best in dappled or bright indirect light or dappled light.
Being a tropical plant, serpens does well in room temperatures between 58° – 78° degrees Fahrenheit.
Avoid locations near air vents or open doors with exposure to chilly breezes.
Serpens has mild heat tolerance as long as light and humidity conditions are met.
Speaking of humidity, Peperomias prefer a humidity of 40% – 50% percent.
NOTE: This may be uncomfortable or damage electronics.
As a result, it’s best to keep these plants in a naturally humid location such as the kitchen or bathroom.
Conversely, you may choose to mist them occasionally to provide artificial humidity.
Watering and Feeding
It’s easy to overwater or neglect serpens due to the succulent-like appearance.
The plant can handle more humidity than a succulent. But, at the same time it requires plenty of drainage.
Allow the potting soil to dry approximately 1 to 2” inches below the surface before watering.
Do not overfeed your serpens, as the plant only requires a small amount of fertilizer to thrive.
A good rule of thumb is to apply a balanced fertilizer once per month during the growing season.
Soil & Transplanting
Providing proper drainage for Peperomia serpens is easy with the right potting soil.
Use a balanced potting mix and add extra perlite in the soil.
A soil pH of 5.0 to 6.0 is ideal.
Due to the small size, serpens rarely needs repotting. You may wish to transplant it into a different container for aesthetic reasons or to give it fresh soil.
Perform all repotting or transplanting in early spring before the growing season starts.
Grooming And Maintenance
Avoid pruning serpens too much.
Remove any dead or sickly leaves and prune back any creepers that are growing too long.
The plant requires no extra maintenance, even after periods of neglect.
Tips On Propagating Peperomia Serpens
It’s easy to propagate vining peperomia through leaf or stem cuttings.
For propagation details check out this article: How To Propagate Peperomia Plants
Select a stem cutting with a few healthy leaves. Place it in a jar of water until the roots are approximately 2” inches long.
Add some rooting powder to help enhance root growth.
Repot into a pot with drainage holes and well draining potting medium.
Vining Peperomia Pests or Diseases
Overwatering can lead to conditions such as leaf spot disease or Pythium.
It may also attract fungus gnats, mealybugs, or mites.
The plant is generally resistant to most other pests and diseases.
Peperomia species are mildly toxic to pets when ingested. The symptoms range from diarrhea and irritability to vomiting.
Suggested Peperomia Serpens Uses
Serpens in its native habitat grows as a groundcover. It looks great when surrounded by taller indoor houseplants.
It also looks great in a terrarium.
Place them in hanging baskets in common areas of the home to provide both beauty and act as an air purifier.