Peperomia Obtusifolia (Baby Rubber Plant) Plant Care Guide
Easy peasy and super cute to boot. The ultimate coffee table, desk-top or side-table plant. As at home in your office as in your bathroom. The Peperomia Obtusifolia - also called the Baby Rubber Plant or Miniature Radiator Plant - is one of our faves. An awesome go-to for gifts as well. What's not to love?
Non-toxic. Pet safe. Cute, round, glossy, green leaves. Handles lower light and forgetful watering. Even his roots are low maintenance. Very rarely need repotting and they even do well in those shallower pots you've ruled out for other plants. This happy chap gets the best LTLC Rating of 1 out of 5.
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Bright light is appreciated but low light is tolerated too so he's a super flexible chap. Even fluorescent lights at work will do the job. Like most indoor plants, bright indirect light is ideal but this Pep is more tolerant than most of lower light and artificial light that other plants won't put up with. No direct sun for this guy though. The more light you give him, the more frequent he'll need watering.
A free-draining soil is ideal. No wet feet. Something relatively light and airy is the way to go. A peat-based mix is a popular choice. With water stored in those leaves and his shallow root system, there's no need to repot often at all. All our peps are yet to be repotted and we've had some coming up 3 years.
Warmer is appreciated and he's a fan of humidity too but extra humidity is not a must. Aim to keep him above 10 degrees and he'll cope beautifully. Too cold - or a sudden temperature drop - and you may get leaf drop. An ideal range is between 18 and 30 degrees.
He's easy care in the water department too. His succulent-like leaves retain water so he doesn't need constant watering, and can handle being dry for longer than many. Better too dry than too wet, so if you're in doubt, wait longer before you water. No wet feet for this chap thank you.
Wait to give him a good drench when the first 5cms or so of soil is dry on top and let him fully drain. In summer we water our Peps about every fortnight but it will depend on the conditions at your place.
Keep in mind a plant's growth is limited by the mineral they need the LEAST of (yes, the least, not the most), so not feeding at all can inhibit growth and health of those new leaves. Being a slow grower every leaf matters.
We start feeding early in the growing season, as by the time new growth has appeared, some mineral deficiencies have already occurred (calcium being a common one), some you can't fix later. We feed our slower Peps a quarter dose every feed in Spring and Summer and usually take a break over Autumn and Winter (our faster growing Peps get a half dose feed every water Spring and Summer).
Go for a complete NPK type fertiliser with a nice long list of minerals, including the all-important calcium, and ideally one that avoids urea-based nitrogen to avoid the risk of fertiliser burn.
Baby Rubber Plant pro tips & problem solving
Growing really slowly
That's to be expected. These chaps are slow and steady. It's extra special to have a big Peperomia Obtusifolia for this reason. Slow growth is nothing to worry about if everything else is looking good.
Sparse or leggy
If you're getting a leggy or bare patch appearing (or rather, disappearing), pinch off a growth tip to encourage bushier growth and branching to fill in that area.
The most common causes of changes in leaves are overwatering and cold temperatures. If the soil isn't too wet, try moving your Pep to a warmer spot.
Overwatering and underwatering both cause wilted leaves. Very easy to diagnose which the cause is. Check the soil.
Brown, crispy leaf edges
Check the soil. This can be due to under-watering. If that's not an issue for your Pep, there could be salt build-up or a potassium deficiency in the soil. Try moving to a fertiliser without urea in it instead.
They do have a slight cup shape to them naturally, but curling leaves is another story. Normally caused by under-watering.
Yellowing or black stems
Uh oh, This one's a worry. Typically caused by over-watering. A sign of root rot.
YES!!!There are so few indoor houseplants that are non-toxic, pet and kid safe, that we got a bit excited. But yes, the Peperomia Obtusifolia or Baby Rubber Plant IS pet safe. Yipee!
LTLC Rating (Love That Leaf Care Rating)
We give this easy care, cheerful chap a coveted 1 out of 5 LTLC Rating. He makes a perfect gift for beginner plant parents, and friends with pets and curious kids.