Garden information and advice from Alan Pergament

Euphorbia kella master piccolo.

Known as caperata, peperomia laku or caperomia ponte, peperomia is an invasive vine that can be found in abundance in the garden. If you love the bare, shaded, acidic soil of your backyard yard, greening up with peperomia isn’t a bad idea.

Growing peperomia inside the house won’t be that pleasant — because it will need a lot of space. And it does take a lot of water, sun and light.

But peperomia is such a showy, beautiful plant that it’s worth the effort. By giving it all the care and attention needed to keep it in top shape and grow it well, you’ll be rewarded with wild-looking multi-stemmed tropical foliage.

Plant peperomia wherever there is bright light, room and water for a place to spread and grow. Ideally, plant it next to a natural meadow or in front of a sunny window in warm weather. If that’s not feasible, buy peperomia plants directly from an exotic plant dealer and plant them inside the house on a trellis or bed of dry, mulched soil. If possible, make the container larger than it needs to be so it can stand on its own feet and not be planted on top of something else.

In a greenhouse, plant peperomia on a dark, cool soil in two- or three-inch mounds about eight inches apart. In sunny, well-drained locations, repeat plantings are made in the same location every week or two.

Place a piece of paper (or better yet, a magazine) over the plants. When the plants stand up upright, fill it with damp sand and a thin layer of fresh flower cuttings. With a soft, sharp knife, cut through the plant’s base. Leave about three inches or so of thick rooting medium and a soil cup around the plant. Replant peperomia in a damp spot and place the three inch mound over the small pile. Water regularly and never more than once per week.

If you forget to give your peperomia water each week, to prevent crown rot, gather a coffee can or small cookie tin. Place it full front-centre in a sink or tub full of warm water and poke peperomia with a sharp round knife. Turn the plant upside down on its side so there’s more water droplets coming off the nail and put in another refill. Don’t let it dry out or you may lose it.

The peperomia’s exfoliating, insulating, bacteria-generating outer skin coat encourages the root system to grow evenly through the inside surface layer. It’s so thick that it may be difficult to prune the plant for a short period of time.

Keep peperomia in regular checking water to ensure they are watered no less than once per week.

When pruning, make sure to pull the top two inches of each leaf toward the plant’s base to reveal the delicate, phallic root system.

That peperomia’s pretty fur coat does come in handy when it’s time to harvest the plant or cut it off. To do this, grab it by the coat and gently hold it upside down until the fur sags over the stem, then either scoop or cut it out with a sharp vegetable knife.

PREPARE THIS FOR OVERDOING

Keep in mind that this plant will hate shade for the same reason that anyone will hate potted potting soil. If you still have this plant sitting in your front yard potted up and you want to move it inside, just stagger its damp piles over a sunny area in the garage to get the sun on it more.

GRAB the leaf tip and push into any small depression or crack to create a drainage hole. This will enhance the plant’s air circulation and will also allow the roots to grow properly through the newly formed plugs. Never rinse any pots in a basin or sink or a jug of water. Just dump out what’s left in the potting or watering solution and move the potting soil into the space. Set the bag on the bottom rack of the window so there’s a place to grab it and never leave the plant.

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