Peperomia caperata

'Rosso'
Common Name: emerald ripple pepper 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Piperaceae
Native Range: Brazil
Zone: 11 to 12
Height: 0.50 to 0.75 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 0.75 feet
Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Description: Whitish-green
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Ground Cover
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 11-12. In St. Louis, this plant is easily grown as an indoor container plant in a peaty potting mix in bright indirect light. Avoid direct afternoon sun. Best indoor location is a north or east facing window. Thrives under fluorescent lights. During the growing season (spring to fall), water moderately but consistently, allowing the soils to almost dry on top before adding additional water plus apply fertilizer once per month. Reduce watering and eliminate fertilization from fall throughout winter. Likes high humidity in summer, so consider setting plant on wet pebbles in a humidified room. Mist plants frequently. Cut back foliage as needed to maintain plant shape. Minimum recommended winter temperature is 60 degrees F. Propagate by stem or leaf cuttings in spring.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Peperomia caperata, commonly known as emerald ripple or peperomia, is a dense mound-forming tropical perennial that typically grows to 8” tall and as wide. It is an epiphytic plant that is native to Brazil.

Features rosettes of long stemmed, wrinkled, deeply corrugated, heart-shaped, dark green leaves (to 1 1/2” long) on long red-tinged stalks. Leaves are deeply veined with an attractive corrugated surface. Leaf color is close to black along the corrugations. Tiny, whitish-green flowers in 2-3” long spikes bloom in summer and early fall atop thin reddish flower stalks which rise well above the foliage. Flowers are not particularly showy, but are produced in abundance and add considerable interest to the ornamental appearance of the plant. Flower stalks are purportedly reminiscent of mouse tails.

Genus name comes from the Greek words peperi meaning pepper and homoios meaning resembling. The plants resemble, and are closely related to, true black pepper (Piper nigrum).

Specific epithet comes from the Latin word caperatus meaning wrinkled in reference to leaf texture.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Watch for mealybugs, spider mites and white fly. Leaf spots may occur. Susceptible to rot if soils are kept too moist. Wetness and cold winter temperatures must be avoided. For more information see: Problems Common to Many Indoor Plants

Garden Uses

Popular low-maintenance houseplant for bright indirect light locations. Grow as ground cover or borders in frost free areas.