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Flowering Peperomia, part 2...

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2004
by Canadian CrabGrass on April 12, 2004 04:14 AM
It must be flowering season for those plants... my peperomia obtusfolia went through it a few months ago ( and suffered for it ) and now it's the griseoargentea that's sending spikes after spikes upward - granted that they are fragrant, but I swear the silly thing is trying to flower itself into oblivion! [nutz]

It used to be such a beautiful plant - healthy, bushy and full of crisp, perfectly formed silvery leaves... now it's just a shadow of itself, leaves drooping, yellowing and dying. Nothing has changed in the care I give it - light, watering, humidity, location, everything is the same. No insects, no obvious disease. Pot and soil are fine. It's just sitting there and sending up flower spikes - I counted about 50 of them before getting bored with it, and they're all very healthy among the decaying foliage!

Is there any hope for my plant, or should I just watch it kill itself in a burst of citrusy-scented flower spikes ?... maybe if I nip the spikes as they form it would help ?... sorry if I sound frantic [Eek!] but I really like that little plant and I don't want it to end in the compost bin.
by Will Creed on April 17, 2004 10:47 PM
It is not uncommon for plants to go for a long time doing very well even as they are over or underwaterd or in inadequate light. No symptoms appear until suddenly the plant starts to fall apart. It is often too late at that point. This is particularlyt common with succulents, such as Peperomia.

The fact that you have been doing the same thing all along doesn't really help with the diagnosis. How much light have your Peperomias had? What is you watering routine? When were they last repotted?

Can you e-mail a photo to me at
by Canadian CrabGrass on April 18, 2004 03:11 AM
Thanks so much for your reply, Will.

So far the peperomia is still alive, although I've had to cut off nearly half of its leaves. It's still sending out dozens of flower spikes ( and the fragrance is still strong! ) but what I find encouraging is that there also seems to be a lot of healthy new growth. Unfortunately it's down to half the size it was before, but now I don't think it's headed for the garbage bin.

Light has always been the same - 12 hours of fluorescent light, 12 off. Potting was done back in September when I got the plant, and only because the 4" pot it was in was broken, and it's been in its 6" pot since then. I'm very cautious about watering it - I usually wait until the top inch of the soil is dry before adding water.

I'm still puzzled as to why this plant went into such a sudden decline - if I am indeed doing something wrong then I want to correct it as quickly as I can !
by Will Creed on April 19, 2004 03:38 AM
The small leaves indicate that your plants are not getting enough light to thrive. The older (larger) leaves were grown in bighter natural light (greenhouse) and are now dropping off to be replaced by newer (smaller) leaves that are adapted to the reduced light. The fluorescent light is adequate to keep your Peperomias alive, but the growth will be smaller and slower.

Light rules!
by Canadian CrabGrass on April 19, 2004 04:51 AM
I'm sorry, I didn't explain the plant situation properly. The new leaves are growing to a large size, but the plant itself is down to half its size.

When I got it back in September, the plant had about 10 leaves each about the size of a quarter and the whole thing was about 4" tall. Under fluorescent lighting ( 2 40W bulbs about 5" from the plant ) it grew to 12" and the leaves were on average 4" in diameter. It was absolutely georgeous until it began flowering, and there the troubles began.

If you still think that the cause of the leaf loss is lack of light, should I then put the plant in direct sunlight ?

Thanks for your help, Will
by Will Creed on April 20, 2004 04:26 AM
I think a photo would be very helpful.

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