Why does my Watermelon Peperomia have brown leaves?

Over the past few years, the Watermelon Peperomia has definitely become one of our favourite houseplants.

Over the past few years, the Watermelon Peperomia has definitely become one of our favourite houseplants. Their incredible thick, round and silver striped leaves paired with those thin deep red stems make them one to remember! However, they are a little bit of a fussy plant sometimes and a common problem that occurs is brown leaves. It’s always pretty devastating when you notice one of their luscious leaves has developed brown edges or patches but don’t fret any longer because we have put together this guide to help you diagnose the problem. 

Below we will be going through each of the reasons why your Watermelon Peperomia has brown leaves, so you can not only figure out the problem but treat it and prevent it from happening again in future.

Temperature fluctuations can cause brown leaves

Watermelon Peperomia plants don’t like rapid changes in temperature, so you should make sure you keep them out of areas of your home that might be exposed to cold drafts. This includes drafty doors or windows, but also AC vents as a constant flow of cool air will really harm your plant and cause them to develop brown leaves. 

It’s also best to keep them away from heating vents, radiators and cookers as the hot dry air that is produced can quickly turn your Watermelon Peperomia’s leaves brown. 

Luckily, temperature fluctuations are fairly easy to fix as you just need to find a new spot for your plant that has a consistent temperature.

Waterlogged soil can quickly cause brown leaves 

One of the most common reasons why Watermelon Peperomia plants develop brown leaves is too much water. It can be pretty easy to accidentally give your plant too much water and their leaves can be quite sensitive to any damage caused to the root system. As they have such thin stems and heavy leaves, even the slightest bit of damage to the root system can turn the stems soft enough to not be able to sustain the healthy leaves attached. 

Waterlogged soil cuts off air circulation in the potting mix which can quite quickly rot the root system and prevents your Watermelon Peperomia from taking in any oxygen and nutrients. 

Before you change your watering routine, you need to be 100% sure that overwatering is the cause of the brown leaves on your Watermelon Peperomia. The first thing to do is to take your plant out of its pot which will allow you to closely inspect the potting mix and root system. You want to be super careful here as the stems are even more breakable if your Watermelon Peperomia is damaged.  

If the potting mix feels soggy and clumpy, then this means your plant has been overwatered. If the roots are soft and mushy it suggests that this issue has been going on for a while and may be harder to revive your Watermelon Peperomia.

How to fix an overwatered Watermelon Peperomia:

  • 1

    Replace the waterlogged soil straight away

    It’s crucial that you replace any waterlogged potting mix straight away with fresh, high-quality soil. Don’t wait for the soil to dry out naturally as you risk causing even more damage to an already rotting root system.

  • 2

    Trim off any soft, mushy or brown roots and leaves.

    Use clean, sharp scissors to remove any dying parts of your plant. This will prevent your Watermelon Peperomia from wasting valuable energy trying to keep dying roots and leaves alive.

  • 3

    Adjust your watering schedule moving forward

    Take a look at how often you were watering your Watermelon Peperomia, and how much water you were giving it each time. Cut back on one of these factors to ensure you don’t overwater your Watermelon Peperomia again. It’s also worth looking into increasing the drainage to help with this too.

Underwatering can also lead to brown foliage 

Whilst your Watermelon Peperomia will often forgive you for forgetting to water it every so often, it won’t be able to survive for long periods of time without any water. Consistent underwatering will eventually lead to brown patches forming on the leaves. These leaves will not only be light brown in colour, but they will be very dry to touch. 

The best way to do determine if your Watermelon Peperomia has been underwatered is to lift the plant up and see how light it feels, before also inspecting the potting mix. If your Watermelon Peperomia is underwatered, the potting mix will be dry and crumbly and the roots may look crispy (if the problem has been going on for a while).

To stop the problem from happening again, we recommend buying a moisture meter. These are really affordable little devices that indicate how much moisture is in the potting mix. So gone are the days of guessing when to water. These will help you avoid underwatering (as well as overwatering and root rot) which should help prevent brown leaves on your Watermelon Peperomia in future.

Natural Ageing 

There’s one more cause of brown leaves on Watermelon Peperomias which is actually not a problem at all; natural ageing. As your Watermelon Peperomia matures, it will want to spend most of its energy on the new growth. This is so it can grow taller, bushier and produce larger leaves. For this to happen, it will sacrifice some of its oldest, lowest and smallest leaves. 

This is absolutely nothing to worry about as long as the rate of browning is slow, then it’s just simply part of the natural ageing cycle of your plant. You also want to make sure that the rate of new growth is higher than the number of leaves turning brown. If this ever switches, you have an issue with the watering or environment that your Watermelon Peperomia is in.

Those are the most common reasons why Watermelon Peperomia plants develop brown leaves. Unless it is natural ageing, you need to act quickly to stop the problem from progressing any further.

Brown leaves are just a few steps away from your Watermelon Peperomia dying completely so fix any watering problems or temperature extremes immediately. Over the next few weeks, we recommend giving your plant a detailed once over every few days to see if any new leaves are turning brown or if your preventative measures have taken effect already. 

To learn more about how to help your plant thrive, check out our Watermelon Peperomia care guide.


Written by Billy Dawson


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