Virtues: Peperomia caperata is a leafy houseplant with textural leaves. It is easy to grow and it can take lower light and imperfect watering.
Common name: Rippled peperomia
Botanical name: Peperomia caperata
Exposure: East, west or north window. Peperomia caperata takes low to bright light, but no direct sun.
Season: Year-round, for foliage.
Flowers: Quirky, spiky, upright flowers that look like rat’s tails or hockey sticks may appear in summer (shown, lower photo, cultivar ‘Lillian’).
Foliage: Peperomia caperata is grown for its handsome, rounded leaves, which are a dark green with deep, dark green ridges. New leaves, which rise up from the center of the plant may be pink at first. Older leaves may take on a reddish cast. There are several named cultivars that have more pronounced and consistent coloring (shown, upper photo, cultivar ‘Luna Red’).
Habit: Mounded. This peperomia makes a rounded clump of leaves to 8 inches tall and wide.
Origins: Rain forests of Brazil, where it grows as an epiphyte (a plant that depends on another for physical support but not nutrients).
How to grow Peperomia caperata: Place this peperomia in bright light but not direct sun. Lower light is acceptable. Allow the soil to dry between waterings. Provide good drainage and a light potting mix that allows air to reach the roots. Err on the side of under watering rather than overwatering this plant. Its fleshy leaves and stems can hold some water, so it is somewhat tolerant of neglect. It does not tolerate soggy soil or poor drainage, however. Repot when it has outgrown its container, but move up to a pot only an inch or two larger to avoid creating too damp conditions.
Image credits: Top: Peperomia caperata ‘Luna Red’ by Jonathan Buckley/Getty Images. Bottom: Peperomia caperata ‘Lillian’ by Photos Lamontagne/Getty Images.