The Emerald Ripple Peperomia is a variety of the stunning Peperomia caperata, which is a tropical plant that has adapted extremely well to household environments. Like all other P. caperata varieties, the Emerald Ripple Peperomia is a low growing, bushy plant with distinctive, crinkly (or rippled!) heart shaped leaves. Because of how easy it is to care for an Emerald Ripple Peperomia, this plant has grown in popularity yet is still a bit difficult to find.
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This plant is kind of like Goldilocks in that it likes everything ‘just right’. By this I mean, the Emerald Ripple Peperomia likes everything in moderation; not too much light, not too little water, but just the right amount! This care guide will walk you through how to provide the best care for your stunning Emerald Ripple Peperomia.
- Common Name: Emerald Ripple Peperomia or Peperomia Emerald Ripple
- Scientific Name: Peperomia caperata ‘Emerald Ripple’
- Mature Size: 8 inches wide and tall
- Sunlight: bright, indirect sunlight to partial shade
- Water: when top 3 inches of soil is dry
- Soil: well-draining, succulent base with added nutrients
- Temperature: 65°F-80°F
- Propagation: stem cuttings and leaf cuttings
- Hardiness Zone: 11a-12b
- Toxicity: non-toxic to humans and pets
Growth Pattern and Habits
Everything you need to know about Emerald Ripple Peperomia care is based on its natural habitat. This plant is part of the Piperaceae family, native to the rainforests of Brazil. It is low growing, found both on the ground and on the lower branches of large trees!
The crinkled leaves of an Emerald Ripple Peperomia are reminiscent of those of an African Violet. The Emerald Ripple, however, does not have any hair to make their leaves fuzzy and have much deeper ripples with significantly more contrast than that of African Violets. Enjoy the deeply furrowed leaves’ deep display of rich greens! In the light an Emerald Ripple Peperomia’s colors can shift from a deep green to a shiny silvery, purple tint.
The Emerald Ripple Peperomia is a low growing, bushy plant reaching a maximum height of eight inches. It is a slow growing plant so don’t expect any periods of abundant growth. This is great because it doesn’t require frequent pruning or repotting.
To encourage full but compact growth, prune your Emerald Ripple Peperomia as needed if you notice any leggy growth. In addition to pruning, consider exposing your plant to a brighter light source as this is the most common cause of leggy stems. By regularly pruning your Emerald Ripple Peperomia you can expect more prolific growth from the pruned ends! This creates a fuller, healthier looking plant.
While not common, if grown in ideal conditions indoors, your Emerald Ripple Peperomia may produce small spiked, conical inflorescences (also known as a complete group of flowers) on creamy white stalks.
Let’s discuss the Emerald Ripple Peperomia’s light requirements. The Emerald Ripple Peperomia is a low growing tropical plant that receives filtered light through the dense canopy of trees that grow high above the ground. To best mimic this light in an indoor environment, position your Emerald Ripple Peperomia in a bright room in an area that is protected from long exposure to direct sunlight.
You can choose to place your plant in an east or west facing window. If you want to display in a south facing window (or north facing if you live in the southern hemisphere), be sure to dress the window with a gauzy curtain to filter the bright, direct sun rays from reaching your Emerald Ripple Peperomia.
The Emerald Ripple Peperomia also does well in lower light environments or under fluorescent lights!
It is best to water your Emerald Ripple Peperomia when the top three inches are dry to the touch. This plant does best with a consistent watering schedule that does flex with seasonal needs. During summer (or winter in the southern hemisphere) when the days are longest, you will likely need to water your Emerald Ripple Peperomia more frequently than in the winter months.
I prefer to water my Emerald Ripple Peperomia from the bottom. In order to bottom water your plant, it must be potted in a container with a drainage hole! To do so, fill a large container with water high enough to reach halfway up your pot’s sides. Place your potted Emerald Ripple Peperomia in the container for fifteen minutes or until the top of the soil is damp to the touch. Remove the pot and allow excess water to drain into a sink. Then replace your Emerald Ripple Peperomia in its regular home!
Bottom watering an Emerald Ripple Peperomia is an excellent choice because this plant does not like its leaves to get wet. This technique also encourages stronger roots systems, allows the soil to become more evenly saturated and helps prevent pests from making your plant their home!
Because the Emerald Ripple Peperomia has the ability to retain water in its plump leaves, much like succulents, I like to use a commercial succulent soil as the main potting component. To further increase aeration and nutrition I like to add in some orchid bark mixed through evenly.
Alternatively, you can make a custom Emerald Ripple Peperomia soil mixture by using the following components:
- Two parts peat moss
- One part organic potting soil
- One part perlite or orchid bark
Well-draining soil, in addition to proper watering and a proper container, is really important to prevent root rot in your Emerald Ripple Peperomia.
Temperature and Humidity
Emerald Ripple Peperomias thrive in household environments as they prefer temperatures between 65°F-80°F. This plant enjoys a moderate level of humidity which can be obtained without any changes to your home environment. That is what makes the Emerald Ripple Peperomia so excellent as an indoor plant!
If you do notice leaves with brown tips, consider increasing the Emerald Ripple Peperomia’s humidity by placing it on a pebble tray. If this does not prevent more browning, your plant may be in an area that is too drafty or receives direct airflow from a furnace/AC vent. If this is the case, try moving your Emerald Ripple Peperomia to another area of your house.
It is recommended to fertilize your Emerald Ripple Peperomia once a month during the spring and summer months. During fall and winter, cut back to fertilizing once every other month if you continue to notice new growth.
Use a balanced, water soluble fertilizer with equal parts nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Dilute the fertilizer to half strength to prevent fertilizer burn.
Emerald Ripple Peperomia propagation is easy and fun! I have found that using stem cuttings is the fastest most reliable way to propagate an Emerald Ripple Peperomia, however you can use leaves as well. In this section I will detail how to propagate stem cuttings in both water and soil and how to propagate using leaves!
Propagation By Stem Cuttings in Water
- After choosing a stem with at least two healthy leaves, make a cut at the lowest point on the stem with sterile scissors or shears.
- Pop your cuttings into a clear, thin container and fill with enough water to submerge the bottom inch of the stem. Refresh container with fresh water as needed to keep clean.
- After four to six weeks you will see baby roots forming at the cut end of the stem!
- Once the roots are approximately one inch long, transplant the newly rooted cuttings into a pot with well-draining soil.
- Keep soil moist by misting daily, or as needed, until you see new growth. At this time, transition to caring for your Emerald Ripple Peperomia as you would a mature plant.
Propagation by Stem Cuttings in Soil
- Start the same as you would with the above method; make cuttings from stems with at least two healthy leaves.
- Let the ends of the cuttings dry out overnight then transplant into fresh, well-draining soil.
- Make a mini greenhouse by covering the container with plastic. Poke a couple holes in the plastic to allow for airflow.
Expert Tip – (and recycling tip!) Use leftover take out containers as your pot and poke holes in the lid! This creates a great greenhouse effect and gives the new plants room to grow!
- Mist daily, or as needed, to keep the soil moist.
- Within four to six weeks you will notice new growth appear!
- Gently pull on the cuttings. When you feel resistance, it is time to transplant into their final containers! Once transplanted, keep the soil moist for the next two weeks then gradually decrease the watering frequency so it’s only done when the top three inches of soil are dry.
Propagation by Leaf Cuttings
To propagate an Emerald Ripple Peperomia using leaves you still need to include a small amount of the petiole, or stalk that attaches the leaf to the stem. You can choose to cut leaves off of a mature plant or use healthy ones that have fallen off if someone has bumped into the plant. The most important thing is that you use a healthy leaf!
- Using sterile scissors or shears, cut healthy leaves leaving a couple centimeters of petiole attached.
- After leaving the cut leaves to dry slightly overnight, place the leaf in fresh, well-draining soil with the petiole buried completely.
- Keep soil consistently moist and the leaves in a bright area of the house but out of direct sunlight. Cover with plastic or a plastic lid with a couple air holes for ventilation.
- Within six to eight weeks you should notice new growth. At this time gently pull on your new plants to test for slight resistance. If you feel resistance, transplant the new Emerald Ripple Peperomias into a new pot and establish care as you would a mature plant.
Leaves Falling Off
There are three main reasons why your Emerald Ripple Peperomia may be dropping its leaves. The first reason is completely normal; if you notice that a few leaves, especially the oldest (those closest to the soil) are yellowing and dropping, don’t fret. This is a normal part of a plant’s life cycle.
Expert Tip – When troubleshooting, be sure to only change one thing at a time or else you won’t be able to pinpoint the true issue!
If you notice that your leaves are dropping frequently and are yellow and feel slightly soggy to the touch, you have likely overwatered your Emerald Ripple Peperomia one too many times. If this is the case, prune all damaged leaves and don’t water your plant until the soil is completely dry. Once you resume watering, be sure to only water your Emerald Ripple Peperomia when the top three inches are dry.
The third reason your Emerald Ripple Peperomia might be dropping its leaves is because it is actually too dry! Leaves will be curled, fragile and may even have a crispy, brown look to them. Like with overwatered plants, prune all damaged leaves and up your watering schedule.
Curling and/or Crispy Leaves
This is a sign of chronic underwatering and/or too much direct sunlight. Evaluate your Emerald Ripple Peperomia care and start by changing the aspect you think is the most likely cause. If you believe the problem is too much direct sunlight, move the plant away from the window or move it to a window facing a direction with less exposure.
If you tend to forget to water your plants and the soil is bone dry, try watering your Emerald Ripple Peperomia more frequently.
Yellow Drooping Leaves
An Emerald Ripple Peperomia with drooping, yellow leaves scattered throughout the plant has been chronically overwatered. If you even notice that some stems are mushy, your plant likely has root rot.
Root rot is caused by persistent overwatering and needs to be treated immediately. Remove the entire Emerald Ripple Peperomia from its pot and gently shake the roots free from the soil. Using sterile shears, cut away all damaged (brown, slimy, mushy) roots. Allow the remaining plant to dry out overnight before replanting in fresh, well-draining soil.
Luckily, if given great care, your Emerald Ripple Peperomia will likely not experience an issue with pests. The most common, however, to keep an eye out for are mealybugs, aphids and spider mites. An Emerald Ripple Peperomia that has a pest problem will show signs of stress such as dropped leaves and leaf discoloration. You may even note the insects themselves.
Quarantine your plant from the rest of your collection to prevent a full on infestation. Cleanse the plant and remove all signs of insects using a cotton soaked cotton ball. Do this daily until all traces of bugs are gone. You can treat your Emerald Ripple Peperomia weekly with neem oil to prevent pests in the first place!
In general Peperomia, including the Emerald Ripple Peperomia, are considered non-toxic to both humans and pets. That being said, I suggest airing on the side of caution and keep this, and all plants, away from curious mouths!
Emerald Ripple Peperomia care is easy and rewarding! Though not as common in brick and mortar shops as other Peperomia, consider looking at reputable sellers on Etsy to add this beautiful plant to your collection.