Peperomia obtusifolia 'variegata', or Variegated Baby Rubber Plant, is a variegated form of the old standard houseplant P. obtusifolia. They are native from Florida to Central America. The upright to trailing stems will reach about 6 inches (15 cm) in height and can have a spread of 12 inches (30 cm). Leaves are dark, glossy green, edged with creamy yellow variegation with some marbling throughout the leaf. They are of very easy culture and make outstanding houseplants. They are hardy in the landscape in USDA zones 9-11.
Blooming: In the greenhouse, the plants can bloom any time from spring to fall. The very small flowers are on upright flower spikes that reach about 6 inches (15 cm) tall. The flower spikes are very interesting but not particularly showy.
Culture: Peperomia obtusifolia 'variegata' need bright indirect light to full shade with a rich organic soil mix. We grow ours under 60% shade with a soil mix consisting of 3 parts peat moss to 1 part sand with small bark added to increase drainage. The plants are kept moist but not overly wet. Fertilize the plants every other week during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer diluted to ½ the strength recommended on the label. During the winter month water should be restricted, but the plants should never dry out completely. Re potting should be done in the spring before new growth begins. When grown in the landscape they make a very good groundcover for shady areas.
Propagation: Peperomia obtusifolia 'variegata' are propagated by division, leaf and stem cuttings.
Peperomia obtusifolia 'variegata' was featured as Plant of the Week April 7-13, 2006.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.