Peperomia Caperata ‘Frost’
Peperomia Frost is a popular, easy-care houseplant. These cute little plants won’t take up too much space on your windowsill, but their beautiful foliage makes them a sweet addition to any plant-loving home.
This plant is a member of the Peperomia Family, just one of over one thousand species that is widely cultivated as a tropical houseplant.
Each has a different leaf variation and all are related to the black pepper plant.
Position Bright, indirect sunlight
Watering Water when soil is dry
Size Six to twelve inches tall and wide
Climate Up to 60°- 80°F
Propagate Stem cuttings and plantlets
Toxicity Non-toxic to pets and people
The scientific name Peperomia is a combination of Greek words. Peperi means pepper, and homoios means resembling because the species resembles the pepper plant.
Peperomias are native to South America and Mexico, where they are considered perennials in their native habitat. However, they can be found in Brazilian rainforests, too, so they are ideally suited to most home environments as tropical houseplants.
These adorable tiny plants will delight you as a stand-alone houseplant or even in a terrarium with other types of tropical houseplants. They grow in small, compact mounds with heart-shaped leaves. The leaves are silvery-white with darker green veins running through them. They look gorgeous when placed next to contrasting colors of peperomias.
Peperomia Frost Care
Its common name, Peperomia Frost, refers to its pretty, silvery color, however, that does not mean this plant is frost-hardy. Quite the opposite in fact. Don’t allow that to put you off taking care of these little beauties, though. I’ve found that they are very easy houseplants to care for. In this article, I’ll share with you all you need to know about just how to provide the right conditions for your Peperomia Frost plant.
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Peperomias, in general, prefer bright, indirect light, and your Peperomia Frost will enjoy the same conditions. However, you’ll need to keep them out of the direct sun. Too much sunlight can burn delicate leaves and even kill your plant.
Your Peperomia Frost can even tolerate lower light conditions. However, growth will be slow, and it might stretch out and look a little bit spindly. When lighting conditions are just right, the plant will have a pretty and compact shape.
If you place your Peperomia Frost in a south-facing window, you’ll want to hang a sheer curtain between the plant and the sun so that it doesn’t get burned by the direct rays. Otherwise, your plant will do great in west or east-facing windows where the sun’s rays are not as strong.
Keep it in an area of your home where the temperatures stay between 60 and 80˚ Fahrenheit. Avoid cold drafts or air conditioning vents because this could cause leaf drop.
If you live in USDA hardiness zones 10 to 12, you could keep your Peperomia outdoors all year. However, if you live in cooler areas, bring it indoors from the Fall onwards.
Height & Spread
Peperomia Frost is a small variety of houseplants, so you don’t need to worry about them taking up a whole lot of space. They’re great for smaller apartments or tiny kitchens because they typically only get 6 to 12 inches tall and wide.
Since they are so small, I have several grouped together at varying heights for a pretty display. They also look fab hanging in a macrame plant hanger for added drama and to really showcase the frosted leaves.
Peperomias are unique because, like succulents, they can store water in their leaves. This kind of drought resistance makes them an excellent plant for indoor gardeners who may be a little remiss with a watering can.
Just like many tropical plants, you need to be careful not to overwater your frost plant. Instead, it’s better to underwater them than overwater them because this can lead to disease and root rot.
To water your Peperomia, place it in your sink and pour water over the soil. It’s better if you don’t splash the leaves. Keep watering until the excess water drains out through the holes in the bottom of the pot. (If your plant pot doesn’t have holes in the bottom, you’ll want to consider repotting this plant into one that does.)
Allow all of the excess water to drain away and replace the plant to its normal position. If your pot sits in a saucer, make sure that it is empty, too. Then you can allow the soil to dry out a bit. Don’t water again until the top half-inch or so of soil feels dry to the touch.
In the winter months, your plant will go dormant or will grow very slowly. Therefore, it won’t need as much water during this time. You can wait to water the plant until its leaves start to look a little bit droopy but don’t wait until they are completely wilted.
These are tropical plants, which means they love humidity. If your home isn’t humid enough – around 40 to 50% is excellent – you can set the pot on a pebble tray. Fill the bottom of the tray with water but not so high that it reaches the pot’s drainage holes. A pebble tray will provide a little extra humidity for the plants.
Soil is an essential part of peperomia frost care because they don’t like to have their roots sitting in pools of water. You’ll need to keep them in a soil mix that drains quickly and provides some aeration for the roots.
You can always purchase potting soil for tropical houseplants, or you can make your own. One method is to create a soilless potting mix. A soilless potting mix is typically made up of one part sand or perlite to two parts peat. Perlite is an excellent choice because it prevents the soil from becoming too compacted so water can pass through.
If you don’t like using peat, you could substitute coco coir, which is more sustainable, in place of the peat. You could also mix one part houseplant soil to one part cactus and succulent soil to get a mix that drains well.
Another choice would be to use equal parts of coco coir, potting soil, and perlite. Any soil that drains well provides good aeration and holds in a bit of moisture should work just fine for your peperomia frost.
Your Peperomia Frost won’t flower like a pansy or a begonia. But if you can give it all the right conditions, it should reward you with flower spikes.
Flower spikes are thin, tall spikes of tiny flowers that poke out over the top of your Peperomia. And while they don’t resemble the traditional idea of a flower, they add some visual interest to your plant. In addition, they are a sign that all is well and your plant is doing great!
If you don’t like them, you certainly could snip them off at the base, but I think they are both pretty and exciting.
You don’t need flower spikes to propagate your plant, though, so if you don’t have any, don’t worry. We’ll talk about propagation below. If you would like for your plant to grow flower spikes, keep working on the conditions. You might need to adjust the lighting or fertilizing schedule if you don’t see any spikes.
How to fertilize Peperomia Frost
Peperomias aren’t heavy feeders at all, and if you use potting soil that contains time-release fertilizer in it, you won’t have to worry about fertilizing your frost plant. However, if you make your mix, you may want to fertilize your plant to help it grow.
First, you don’t need to fertilize your plant during the winter, when it is dormant or growing very slowly. Fertilizing at the wrong time of year would cause the fertilizer to build up in the soil and possibly burn your plant.
However, during the growing season, you can give your plant a little boost. You’ll know it’s time to start fertilizing in early spring when your houseplants begin to ‘wake up’ and show signs of growth. Choose a commercial houseplant fertilizer, and mix it to half the strength that the directions say to use. Then, you can apply this to the soil every other week.
That should be plenty of food for your Peperomia Frost; they don’t need more than that.
Peperomias don’t usually require a lot of pruning, but you may want to groom them a little bit in the spring to help them maintain a nice, compact shape. Also, if your Peperomia isn’t getting a lot of bright, indirect light, you might notice it starting to get a little bit leggy-looking or stretched out.
You can fix this in the early spring by pinching off the branch or shoots with your fingernails. Be sure to pinch it off just above, but very close to, a set of leaves. If you are growing your frost plant outdoors, you might need to use garden shears as the stems might be a little thicker. Sanitize the shears before you cut the shoot because this could introduce bacteria or fungus into your plant.
You can also snip off any misshapen leaves, leaves that are withered, or leaves that have turned yellow. It is ok for an occasional leaf to look abnormal, but if there are a lot of yellowing or withered leaves, you may need to reassess the conditions of your plant.
Due to its compact and slow-growing nature, Peperomias don’t need to be repotted often. In the rainforest, these plants are only occasionally found growing in soil. They are technically epiphytes, so you might find them clinging to the bark of a dead tree. The mounding plant will lightly hold without a whole lot of soil to grow in.
When you grow your Peperomia Frost indoors, it will be happier without a lot of root space. It’s perfectly happy in a shallow pot without a lot of soil. You’ll know it’s time to repot your plant when its roots begin to peak out of the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot or escape over the rim. This tells you the plant is getting rootbound, and it’s time to move up to a larger-sized pot.
When you do re-pot, you should be able to slide the plant gently out of its pot. Always use fresh soil to line the bottom of the new pot and carefully place the plant in, before back-filling with more soil around the plant. Remember to use well-draining, well-aerated soil so that your plant has a chance to dry out between waterings.
How to Propagate Peperomia Frost
You don’t need flowers or seeds to propagate your Peperomia Frost. They are easy to propagate with leaf or stem cuttings.
Choose a healthy stem with a couple of leaves, and snip it off with a pair of sharp, sanitized gardening shears. You can dip the end of the stem into rooting hormone if you desire, but it isn’t necessary.
Plant your cutting into a clean pot with a fresh potting mix. Keep the soil slightly moist but not soggy. This will give your plant the opportunity to grow new roots without rotting. Place your cutting in a similar setting to where the original plant was. It needs bright, indirect sunlight and a nice, warm temperature away from drafts.
When you see new growth, you can replant the new plant into a bigger pot, if needed.
If you don’t want to try your hand at stem cuttings, just observe your plant. Your peperomia should grow baby pups around its base. When these begin to get large, you can carefully separate and replant them into a new pot.
Common problems with Peperomia Frost
Peperomia plants are generally easy to care for and healthy plants. However, you should be aware of a few pests and common problems so you can keep your plant healthy and thriving.
Aphids, mealybugs, and scales are the most common pests you might find. To prevent an infestation, keep an eye on the underside of your plants. If you see a white cottony substance on the bottom of your plant’s leaves, you can wipe it off with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol.
If it is just one or two leaves that have been affected, you can simply pinch them off and dispose of them. It also helps to thoroughly wash the leaves on a watering day, making sure they dry completely. If necessary, you can spray your plant with neem oil or insecticidal soap.
Your Peperomia Frost might also experience some other issues such as faded or dull leaves. This could be a sign that your plant needs more light. Move it to a brighter spot.
If the leaves of your Peperomia Frost are dropping unexpectedly, a cold draft may be to blame. Simply move your plant to a warmer spot.
More alarmingly, dropping leaves may also be a sign of root rot. If it is, you’ll need to make sure the soil dries out completely between waterings.
If you suspect root rot, then it is always a good idea to take the plant out of the pot and check the condition of the roots. Healthy roots are cream or white and firm to the touch. Diseased roots will be brown or black and mushy. If you find any sign of root rot, remove the diseased roots immediately. Do this by taking a paid or sharp scissors or a pruning knife that has been thoroughly sanitized. Cut away all traces of the root rot making sure you re-sanitize between each cut.
Another common problem with Peperomia is leaf burn. Leaf burn is usually caused by too much sun. However, it can also be from over-fertilizing. Rinse the soil thoroughly to remove some of the fertilizer and repot if necessary.
One further problem that is also common with Peperomia is brown spots on its leaves, and this could be due to the leaves being too wet. Try to water the plant at the base of the soil rather than over the leaves. If it affects only a few leaves, you can remove them to make the plant look prettier.