Looking for a small pretty plant to grow in your home? Peperomia Obtusifolia, or it’s marbled form, the peperomia obtusifolia variegata, are fantastic choices. This plant grows as a trailing vine but is simple to prune to make it a bushy table top plant if you prefer. The baby rubber plant is an easy care, pet safe cutie that grows to about 12 inches long annually.
Peperomia obtusifolia is a low maintenance plant with rubbery cup shaped leaves. It is a strongly built plant that catches the eye. Prune it to fit a small table or shelf or grow it as a hanging plant.
This plant is called the baby rubber plant. Do not confuse it with the Rubber Plant (Ficus Elastica)which grows as a tree and reaches a stately 12 feet indoors. They both have strong rubbery textured leaves. But that is where the resemblance ends.
The petite American rubber plant is not technically a succulent. However it has fleshy stems and leaves that trap and reserve water for the dry times like a succulent. It is a slow grower so it is easy to control.
Peperomia Obtusifolia origin is the warm humid areas of Central and South America, and the Caribbean. It grows very well anywhere as an indoor plant. It also loves growing outdoors in the warm humid climates found in Florida and other southern states.
How Long can Peperomia Obtusifolia live? The obtusifolia lives 6 or more years. If you care for it well, odds are you can enjoy it for as long as you like.
Peperomia Obtusifolia Outdoor Care:
Baby rubber plant is an evergreen perennial that grows well outdoors in climate zones 10 to 12. Grow it as a ground cover as it enjoys trailing around on the ground.
You can place this plant in a container and keep it in a partially shaded area outdoors in summer if you have cold winters. Bring it indoors when the temperature drops below 60 degrees F.
Outdoors, choose an area with partial shade or dappled light. Avoid harsh afternoon light to prevent leaf burning. It does well in high humidity and with well draining soils.
This plant does not require a lot of fertilizing. Once it is established it requires little care other than an occasional watering in drought conditions.
The baby rubber plant does bloom. Peperomia Obtusifolia flowers seasonally. In Spring, Peperomias send up creamy white spikes (or flower stalks).
These plants are grown for their foliage rather than the upright spears that emerge as flowers.
If you prefer not to see the flower stalks, just snip them off as they come up.
Peperomia Obtusfolia Variegata
The obtusifolia has a variegated form named Peperomia obtusifolia marble. This lively small vine is perky and brightly foliaged. It requires a bit more light than a solid green peperomia but not harsh, direct sunlight.
Otherwise care for it like you do any peperomia plant.
How to Make Your Peperomia Bushier:
Wondering why your Peperomia obtusifolia is falling over? That’s because the American Rubber plant is a trailing plant. It grows up to about 10 or 12 inches high and then it falls over and grows as a trailer.
This peperomia naturally grows from a strong central stem and then sends shoots that eventually fill in the pot and trail. That strong central stem will fall over if it is not staked to keep it upright.
This plant works well as a hanging basket. Just trim the trailers to keep them even and discourage from getting too leggy. By occasionally turning the planter so all sides of the plant get the natural window light, you will encourage a full bushy hanging plant.
If you want a table top plant, trim off the trailers as they grow out of the pot. For a compact, bushier, more upright plant that does not trail, trim off the top growth point below a node. This will force the peperomia plant to grow bushier and more evenly.
This peperomia marble vine looks similar to a hoya with its thick trailing fleshy leaves.
The rubbery leaves create an interesting fall of color as the trailers descend.
Nip off the tips of the trailers to shape the plant or propagate it.
When shaping the obtusifolia, use sharp sterile hand pruners. You can either discard the trimming or propagate them as described below.
How to Propagate a Baby Rubber Plant:
If you prune the vines of the plant under a leaf node you can do a stem cutting.
For a water propagation:
- Place the stem into a jar of water. Do not submerge any leaves.
- Change out the water twice a week to keep it clean.
- Wait and allow roots to form. This will take 3 to 6 weeks.
- Then you can plant the rooted stem into a pot of soil.
- Cut the stem in the internodal zone about 3 to 4 inches from the vine tip.
- Plant the stem directly into moist soil. This is a great way to fill in a bare spot on a planter.
- Keep the soil cutting moist until you see signs of new growth.
Where to Buy Peperomia Obtusifolia:
There are SO many varieties of peperomia. you are sure to find several varieties of these cuties in your local plant shops. However, if you are particularly interested in the Peperomia Obtusifolia,(either the variegated or solid green forms) shopping online may be your best option.
You can find the baby rubber plant on ETSY. We prefer ETSY shops for plant purchases. They often support small families in the USA. Be sure to choose a shop that is well reviewed. We have used various ETSY shops to ship plants to us with great results.
Baby Rubber Plant Care Guide:
Here’s a quick look at how to take care of the baby rubber plant. Peperomia Obtusifolia is easy to care for. Like all the Pothos most peperomia plants this is a ‘set it and forget it’ plant once you find the correct soil, lighting and pot size. It tolerates some neglect and less than ideal conditions.
The thing you must NOT do is over water. All peperomias (and most houseplants) will develop root rot if the soil stays moist around their roots too much. Bottom watering is a good method of watering for peperomias.
For a more in depth look at caring for peperomias read our post on Caring for Peperomias.
|Familiar Names:||baby rubber plant, pepper face, American Rubber Plant,|
|Scientific Name:||Peperomia Obtusifolia|
|Care Difficulty:||easy care|
|Temperature:||65 to 85 degrees F.|
|Watering:||Thoroughly water when soil is dry. Bottom watering is a good method for this plant. High humidity is desirable.|
|Soil:||a light friable, well draining soil is best for peperomias. 80% Succulent soil mixed with 20% orchid bark is a good mix for the baby rubber plant.|
|Lighting:||Moderate to bright indirect light is great for Peperomia obtusifolia. Variegated forms need stronger light but not direct light. the leaves will burn in harsh direct sunlight.|
|Growth:||Peperomia Obtusifolia is a fleshy vine that grows to about 12 inches in length annually, depending on conditions.|
There are over 1000 different types of peperomia plants. You are sure to find some favorites for your home.
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