Watermelon Peperomia plants are great! They aren’t super difficult to care for and are completely safe for pets and children. And on top of that, they are really easy to propagate. We have written this guide to help you figure out all the different ways you can propagate your Peperomia plant, with step by step guides, a list of tools you will need and all of our top tips to help you along the way.
Why propagate a Watermelon Peperomia?
There are several reasons why you might choose to grow more Watermelon Peperomia plants. Firstly, simply getting new plants for free; it’s a great way to make gifts for friends and family without having to buy new plants!
Another reason why many choose to propagate their plant is to curb leggy growth. During winter, they cam to go a little leggy and straggly as they deal with having less sunlight. To encourage bushier growth we recommend pruning your plant. But instead of simply throwing away those beautiful leaves and stems, why not use them and start a whole new mother plant.
You may also want to propagate your Watermelon Peperomia if you notice that part of it is starting to look a little unhealthy or starting to die. Be careful that you only use the healthy parts of your plant though, as trying to grow leaves that are rotting or have pests won’t be much of a success.
What tools will I need to propagate my Watermelon Peperomia?
Let’s start off with the easy part as it’s important to make sure you have all the right things before you start propagating!
Healthy and mature Watermelon Peperomia
Fresh soil and water
Sealable plastic bag
Newspaper or plastic sheet if you’re propagating indoors
What are the different methods I can use to propagate my Watermelon Peperomia?
One great thing about these plants is that they root fairly quickly from either the leaf or the stem which means there are several ways to propagate them.
You can use one whole leaf and the roots will form from the red leaf stem or you can also cut the leaf and roots will grow directly out of the leaf forming a whole new plant. You can also propagate your Watermelon Peperomia plant by dividing cutlets and growing those in water or directly in potting soil depending on the maturity of the root system.
We will go over each different method in detail below so you can figure out which is the best for you and your plant!
How to propagate a Watermelon Peperomia using leaf cuttings
Unlike most other houseplants, you can actually use just a single leaf cutting.
Locate a healthy leaf
When taking a leaf cutting you want to make sure that the part of the plant you are cutting is healthy to give you any chance of success. Avoid any sign of disease or pests as they will be transferred onto your new cuttings.
You can try to use leaves that have naturally fallen off but you will have more success with healthy leaves.
Make the cut
Use your clean scissors to cut off one or several leaves. Make sure your tools are clean to avoid passing on any bad bacteria to your cutting.
Choose how to grow your leaf cutting
It’s at this stage you need to decide between two methods of growing leaf cuttings. The first trims off the stem so there is about 2-3cm still attached to the leaf. Then place the entire leaf into potting mix so that the stem is dug into the soil. Using this method will result in one new Watermelon Peperomia plant growing out from the stem.
For the second method you cut the leaf in half horizontally across the stripes. Place both parts of the leaf into the potting mix with the cut side faced down. Push the leaf section with the stem further into the soil than the other as this is where the roots will form. WIth this method, you should see multiple Peperomia plants grow out from the darker stipes in the leaf.
Place in a sealable clear plastic bag
Once you have pot your cuttings in fresh mix, you want to create a little greenhouse with a plastic bag to make the environment warm and humid. Keep the bag a little open to have some air circulation. The humidity that will build up in the bag means you won’t have to water as much. Just a little each week or slightly more if you notice the potting mix is very dry. But be cautious when watering as overwatering is the number one reason why this method fails.
Now all there is left to do is wait and occasionally add water and check in on your Watermelon Peperomia cuttings. It will take several weeks or even months for roots to start to grow. The most important thing is that you don’t try and check root growth every few days by pulling the cutting out to inspect it. This can damage the cutting and stop any future growth.
Check on your cuttings
After about 4-5 weeks, it’s time to check how growth is going on your cuttings. If roots are still very small and delicate then maybe grow in the ‘greenhouse’ for a few more weeks. If roots are quite established then you can start to grow the cutting outside of the plastic bag.
Enjoy your new plants
After a few months, you may start to see new leaves growing out from your leaf cutting. This is a great sign and shows that your propagation efforts have been a success. Continue caring for your new plants as you would any other Watermelon Peperomia and in no time you should start to see even more new growth appearing.
How to propagate a Watermelon Peperomia using stem cuttings in water
This method is sometimes a little easier, it’s also a more standard method used for other kinds of houseplants!
Take your Watermelon Peperomia out of its pot
In order to locate the various sections of your plant, you will need to take your plant out of the pot so you can divide the root system. Carefully lift the plant out and shake off the potting mix around the roots.
Locate the various offshoots
When looking for a part of the plant to divide it will become very obvious if there are various offshoots on your Watermelon Peperomia. They will be completely separate and growth will stem from the middle of each section.
Separate the sections
If there is a natural section within your plant then it should come apart fairly easily. However, if your plant comes out of just one central rhizome then you will have to slice it in two to propagate a cutlet.
Place in water
Pot the main mother Watermelon Peperomia plant back into its original pot and decide whether you want to place the offshoot in water first or straight into potting mix. If the offshoot has quite mature roots then it will be totally fine growing in potting mix already. However, if you feel the roots need to grow a little more then we recommend placing them into water as a middle step.
Refresh the water often
When growing your Watermelon Peperomia cutting in water you want to make sure you replace the water every few days to stop it stagnating. Stagnant water is a great breeding place for bacteria that can harm your cutting.
Pot your Watermelon Peperomia cutlet
Once more mature roots have grown out from your cutting it is ready to be pot into soil. We always recommend using a high quality well-draining potting mix so your plant gets all the right nutrients. Ingredients such as perlite can help avoid root rot caused by overwatering.
Resume normal care
If your Watermelon Peperomia cutting is now in fresh potting mix then you can care for it as you would your other plants.
Watermelon Peperomia Propagation FAQs
It can be a little trickier than other plants so it’s really important to understand the various steps, the best time of year, equipment needed and fertiliser needs.
What’s the best time of year to propagate a Peperomia?
We always recommend propagating Watermelon Peperomia plants in early spring. They take a long time to root and grow new leaves if you are using the leaf cutting method. Starting in spring then gives quite a few months of sunshine and a warm environment which will encourage new roots and leaves to grow. It will also allow the mother plant to recover quicker from the shock.
Try to make sure that any wintery cold weather is behind you so that your new plants are growing in warmer brighter months. Starting in autumn or winter will mean that your new plants will be trying to grow in the dormant period and you won’t see much growth. Cold temperatures can lead to an increased risk of root rot which can kill your cuttings quite quickly if their root system is delicate.
Should I use a rooting gel or powder?
Whilst it is not essential, you might want to use rooting gels or powders to increase success. Rooting hormone products stimulate root growth on new cuttings helping to produce stronger, healthier roots.
We only really recommend using rooting hormone if using the stem cuttings/division. Using directly on the leaf can damage it quite easily and hinder any chance of success.
Should I use a grow light to aid my propagation?
Grow lights are great to use when propagating houseplants as they provide ideal light conditions for young seeds, cuttings and plants. LED grow lights can help avoid problems such as slow and leggy growth caused by a lack of sunlight. They won’t harm your cuttings so are safe to use if you wish.
Grow lights are also a great investment beyond just propagation. If you don’t get much natural sunlight in your home then you can use these to help all of your plants grow stronger. We use them during autumn and winter when the days are a lot shorter and darker.
Why is it important to use clean tools when propagating?
It’s important to clean all of your tools before and after contact with any plant to stop cross-contamination between your houseplants. Scissors and shears can transfer pests and diseases across plants without you even knowing.
Another crucial reason to clean your tools after touching the plant is that many houseplants are toxic. Therefore you want to make sure that there is no trace of the plant on your tools as this can be harmful to you and anyone who might come into contact with your tools. Although Watermelon Peperomia plants are largely non-toxic, it’s a good habit to get yourself into!
How to propagate a Watermelon Peperomia plant from a single leaf
Yes! One of the greatest things about Watermelon Peperomia plants is that you can propagate them from just a single leaf. It means that if you accidentally damage the plant and a leaf falls off you can grow it instead of throwing it away.
We don’t recommend using leaves that naturally fall off though as usually they aren’t super healthy.
Do I need to fertilise my cuttings?
We never recommend fertilising your cuttings until they are around 1 year old. However, because you are propagating your Watermelon Peperomia through stem cuttings/division and the cutlet has quite a mature root system then you can fertilise after a month or so.
Common problems when propagating a Watermelon Peperomia plant
Propagating plants will never always be successful and you will probably run into some issues from time to time. But luckily for you, we have learnt the hard way to bring you all the different problems that might arise as well as how you can try to solve them.
Why isn’t my new Watermelon Peperomia growing any new roots?
Propagating Watermelon Peperomia plants is a long game and it can take a month or two for any signs of new growth. As long as the environment and care are right for your Peperomia leaf or stem cuttings then you should start to see new roots and leaves growing.
If you are doing this in autumn or winter then cool temperatures may be the cause of the lack of growth. You can help to speed up root growth by using a heat pad that you place underneath your plant. This warms up the area and provides an ideal environment for new growth.
Why is my Watermelon Peperomia leaf cutting turning mushy?
If your cutting is turning brown and mushy then unfortunately this isn’t a good sign. This is usually due to overwatering of the leaf cutting. If growing in a plastic bag, it should create enough of a humid environment so that you don’t have to water very much at all.
Trim away the mushy parts of the leaf and see if there is anything left to start the process again. Hopefully, the healthy part of the leaf can still recover and grow roots.
Why are the new leaves on my new plants small?
After propagating your Watermelon Peperomia it’s totally normal for some of the new leaves to start off smaller. This is completely natural and simply due to the root system being less mature than that of the larger plant. Give it time and slowly the new leaves will start to get bigger and you can trim away the smaller leaves to encourage new healthy growth.
We hope you have found this complete guide on how to propagate a Watermelon Peperomia useful. It’s never an exact science and some divisions of the plant will take longer to grow than others. But with the right methods, care and environment you should have plenty of new plants in no time!
Check out our Watermelon Peperomia care guide for all the information on how to care for your new plants after propagation.