he heart-shaped leaves of the peperomia plant are, as the name suggests, deeply rippled. Ripple peperomia has many different common names based on leaf colors, including green ripple peperomia, emerald ripple peperomia and, for the brilliant emerald peperomia cultivar, emerald pepper. According to Peperomia.net, growers refer to the red-leaved variety of Peperomia caperata by several different cultivar names based on the shade of red in the leaves, such as ‘Red Sunshine’, ‘Red Luna’, ‘Shumi’ and ‘Shumi Red’.
Additional cultivars of Peperomia caperata include purple peperomia ‘Burgundy Wine’, gray or silver peperomia ‘Luna’ and ‘Alesi’, and pale green varieties ‘Silver Ripple’ and ‘Lemon’. Variegated leaf patterns occur in varieties such as ‘Helio’, ‘Variegata’ and ‘Pink Lady’. Whatever the color, Peperomia caperata’s visual interest lies in its leaves rather than the 2-inch to 3-inch tall flower stalks that appear in summer and early fall.
The Genus name ‘peperomia’ derives from the Greek words peperi, which translates as “pepper,” and homoios, or “resembling.” Peperomia looks like its closely related true black pepper plants (Piper nigrum, according to Missouri Botanical Garden Piper nigrum). The species name caperata comes from the Latin word caperatus, which translates as “wrinkled.”
Care of Ripple Peperomia
Ripple peperomia plants grow to about 8 inches tall and wide. This small size makes these plants suitable as office plants and houseplants. They enjoy bright but not direct sunlight, so north- or east-facing windows work well. But peperomia also grows well under fluorescent lights. The leaf colors become brighter and more pronounced when the plants receive more light, but direct sunlight can burn the plant.
Peperomia require a porous, well-drained soil to avoid root rot. Peperomia like slightly dry soil, so let the surface soil dry before watering. Increase the humidity for the plant by placing a saucer of pebbles and water under the plant. Place the pot on pebbles to avoid oversaturating the soil and mist the plants during the hot months. Fertilize about once a month during the growing season and reduce water in winter. Rot from excess water and cold temperatures are bigger problems for peperomia than insects or disease.
Peperomia plants grown from seeds might not remain true to the parent plant’s color or form. Plants to Grow explains that growing from cuttings requires carefully removing a leaf and stem. Cut the stem to about 1 inch using sterilized scissors or shears. Make a slight cut in the stem at the base of the leaf and bury the stem in soil or rooting medium so that the base of the leaf touches the ground. A new plant will start at the intersection of the stem and leaf.