While some plants such as Pothos and Monstera can grow happily in the water, can Peperomia grow just as well?
Peperomia do propagate extremely well in water, but they don’t do as well in water when they’re mature plants as they tend to rot. Once your peperomia develop roots, you need to transfer them into well-draining soil.
In this article, you will learn actionable steps on how to propagate and grow peperomia in water, as well as care tips on how to keep your water-grown Peperomia healthy.
Let’s get started!
Why you should propagate Peperomia in water
Peperomias are semi-succulent plants, which means that they hold water in their stems and leaves — less than true succulents — and more than non-succulent plants. It also means that they are some of the easiest plants to root in water.
There are some benefits to propagating Peperomia in water:
Easier to monitor compared to soil propagation
One big advantage to propagating your plant in water is that you will be able to keep track of the water quality, how the cuttings are doing, and catch any potential problems early before they destroy the plant.
Propagating in soil is just as effective, but you won’t be able to check the root development since it won’t be visible under the soil
Fun to watch roots growing and tiny leaves sprouting
With water propagation, you will be able to see easily through the glass how the roots are developing so that you’ll know when they are ready to transfer to soil.
If you’re lucky, sometimes Peperomias will sprout leaves under the water from the nodes in addition to roots, and you’ll be able to see that as well.
Unique gift for the plant lovers
When you have matured peperomias, propagating them in water can be a fun way to share the joy of this tropical plant with your friends and family.
You can give the cuttings to your friends as a gift. Or, you can give them away on special occasions, such as Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.
Consideration of propagating Peperomia in water
There are not many cons to propagating Peperomia in water. If you make good cuttings and keep the conditions for your plant healthy, there should be no problem getting it to root.
However, if you don’t do these things correctly, your little cuttings could just sit in the water refusing to root, and after a time, begin to rot.
Stagnant water is oxygen-depleted and is a perfect environment for fungus to grow, especially if it is sitting on a bright windowsill.
If you are not vigilant and don’t change the water at least every other day, your plant is at risk for fungal infection and can become covered in a bacteria-laden film.
Steps for Propagating Peperomia in Water
Step 1: Prepare the equipments and materials
To make the process of propagating Peperomia in water easier, things can be set up ahead of time. This will allow you to focus on the task at hand instead of running around looking for pots or jars.
You won’t need any fancy equipment to propagate these plants. All you’ll need are cuttings, a glass or jar, water, bright indirect light, and some patience.
- A clear or opaque glass jar, bowl, or vase with wide opening
- A pair of pruning shears or sterilized razor blade
- Rooting hormones (optional)
Step 2: Get the proper Peperomia cuttings
There are three kinds of cuttings that work well for Peperomia propagation: leaf, stem, and tip cuttings.
Peperomia leaf and stem cuttings do well in perlite, vermiculite, or propagation soil.
However, the best kind to use for propagation in water are tip cuttings. These are the top parts of the plant with the growing tip.
Tip cuttings will grow the same form of the plant as the mother plant. If it is variegated, a tip cutting will produce the same form.
On the other hand, leaf and stem cuttings from variegated plants will revert back to their all-green forms.
Use a sharp, clean knife or shears and make a quarter-inch (0.5 cm) cut below a node. A node is the place on a stem where a leaf is attached.
Step 3: Remove lower leaves and place in water
Remove all the leaves that will be submerged and any dead or wilted leaves and flower spikes that will be above water. You’ll want the energy of the plant to go into growing roots and not repairing unhealthy plant tissue or maturing seeds from flowers.
The Peperomia will need a good balance between water and light in order for it to stay alive and growing, so make sure there is a substantial amount of stem above water.
Step 4: Fill container with water
Fill the container so that the nodes without their leaves are submerged and some stems with leaves are above water.
Remember to change the water in the jar regularly every 3 to 5 days with fresh room temperature water.
You’ll see the first sign of roots after about three or four weeks. Then it will take two to four more weeks until there are enough good-sized roots for the plant to be transferred to the potting mix.
Tips for Growing Peperomia in Water
Choosing the right container
Almost any wide-mouth jar or glass will do the trick for Peperomia propagation. There are just a couple of things that you’ll need to be aware of.
Should you use a clear or opaque container?
Some gardeners feel that roots will develop faster in an opaque container, and others favor clear glass.
Either one will work, but a clear one is more aesthetically pleasing and you’ll be able to see the developing roots and cute little leaves sprouting underwater.
Water won’t evaporate as quickly in an opaque container and will be slower to develop algal, fungal, or bacterial growth since it won’t admit as much light as clear glass.
The main thing is that the jar or glass is easy to clean, since you’ll be washing it and changing the water frequently. It also need to has a large enough opening so that you can safely remove the plant with its delicate roots.
Choosing the type of water
The best water to use for propagation is spring water, denatured water, rainwater, and well water since they all have minerals that the plant can use as nutrients.
Tap water is all right as long as it doesn’t have any softeners or a high amount of chlorine.
Distilled water is not good to use, however, since it has no minerals and can’t nourish your plant.
Changing the water frequently
A change of the rooting water goes a long way to keep fungus, bacteria, and algae from growing and damaging your Peperomia.
Ideally, you should change the water and wash the container every other day, but if you use an opaque container, you could change the water less frequently.
Providing proper lighting
Peperomias do best in medium to bright indirect light especially morning light from the east or south-facing window.
Under low light conditions, you will need to provide your Peperomia cuttings between 12 and 16 hours of daily artificial lighting.
Variegated Peperomia plants will need more light than their all-green cousins since they don’t have as much chlorophyll to nourish them from the sun’s rays.
Too little light can cause leaf drop, and it can also cause the plant to grow more green leaves to capture what available light there is. On the other hand, direct, bright sunlight can burn the leaves, so be sure the amount of light is moderated.
Transferring the plant to soil or potting mix
Plants develop delicate, white, “water roots” when they are propagated in water.
They get their oxygen from the water, and they don’t need to seek water since they are already growing in it.
When they’re propagated or grown in soil or potting mix, the roots are thicker, stronger, and brown. “Soil roots” extend out to seek water and oxygen and have to be tougher to push their way through the soil.
Once your Peperomia has developed water roots that are proportional in length to the top part of the plant, you can transfer it to the soil in one of two ways:
Removing it from the water and repotting it in soil
To repot in soil, fill a third of the pot up with a coarse, well-draining potting mix.
Gently remove the Peperomia from the container of water and set the plant in the pot, careful not to break the roots.
Fill the pot with the mix above the root line and water thoroughly. It will take a bit for the water roots to begin to develop soil roots.
Slowly acclimating it to the soil by adding a small amount of soil or potting mix to the water.
To gradually acclimate the plant to the soil, empty out a couple of tablespoons of water from the container, then add the same amount of soil in its place.
Do this every few days, and as the soil increases around the roots, they will begin to toughen and turn brown.
Propagating Peperomias is easy when you supply them with the right care and have enough patience. Happy propagating!