Peperomia Patience

If you plan on growing plants, sometimes patience is more than a virtue – it’s a necessity.

During Valentine’s Day I was working at the flower shop unpacking some plants that had been delivered. Mixed in among all of the standard green plants that you can find at every florist was a variety of peperomia that I’d never seen before. Peperomia is very common house plant that has interesting leaves that come in a variety of shapes and variegation. But this peperomia was not an upright plant like all of the others; instead it was a hanging plant that had three thick green leaves growing from each node along the dangling stems. When I unpacked it, I saw that a couple of broken stems were at the bottom of the box. After checking with the owner, I shared one with a coworker who likes growing plants and took the other one home to grow my own hanging basket peperomia.

I cut the stem into four pieces so that there was a node on each of them. From propagating other plants I know that the roots usually grow from the area of the nodes. I put three pieces in one pot, making sure that the nodes were in the soil. I then took the fourth piece and broke off the three leaves. I’d read that peperomia could be propagated by leaf cuttings so I put these three leaves into another pot. I was looking forward to growing this interesting plant.

After one month, the stem pieces and the leaf cuttings had all rooted – a gentle tug let me know roots were holding them in the soil. After two months the leaves were still green and healthy. After three months the cuttings looked the same as they had when I’d potted them up in February. It seemed like nothing was ever going to happen.

Peperomia Cuttings with New Growth

But now at four months, I can finally see some small shoots starting to emerge from the soil. While it’ll still be some time until the plants are large and can fill a hanging basket, at least I can see them growing. I was tempted to throw them out a month ago but I decided to give them a little more time. I’m glad that I did!

The lesson in all of this is that plants grow in their own time and in their own way. I gave the peperomia cuttings what they needed to grow – light, water, soil and warmth. But I almost forgot the most important thing of all – patience.


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