Monday, March 1, 2010

Peperomia obtusifolia problem

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Hello internet, I have a question for you: what is this on my Peperomia obtusifolia?

Slightly raised, slightly shiny, sort of metallic looking scaly stuff on the bottom of leaves (mostly older).

Next question: I understand this is supposed to be a pretty easy plant so why does mine look like crap?

Update - so once it became apparent that edema is very likely just another symptom of the broken down, very dense soil the plant was in I repotted it down from a gallon sized pot to a 4" (once I got the plant out of its old pot I also found that it was very over potted) in much better draining soil. With any luck that will solve all my problems, and if not it needed to be done anyway. I'll probably give it a fairly firm pruning once it seems to have gotten established. Maybe a branch at a time as so far it seems to be a slow grower (for me, anyway).


  1. Can't really answer either question, though my best guess for the former would be edema.

    Could you be more specific on the looking-like-crap issue? How long have you had it, how long has it looked like crap, in what ways does it look like crap, etc.

  2. Edema, which I'd never heard of before, looks and sounds extremely likely. The site you linked to mentioned that succulents can be prone, as well as Violets, where we've also seen this (another site also mentions Jade plants and Violets). A third site mentions that Peperomia may be particularly susceptible to developing this. It's worth noting as well that new growth does not have these markings, they only develop on older leaves. I'll do a lot more reading on this but I suspect (and really, hope) this is it.

    I'd been worried that the general "looking like crap" issue was caused by whatever this was on the leaves but now I suspect that it's the conditions that have lead to the Edema are also the cause of the plant looking like crap. The soil looks pretty awful and very heavy, probably hasn't been repotted in a while and probably does not drain fast enough or well enough to keep this plant happy.

    What soil should I use when repotting?

  3. Just a regular potting mix is all I use. It maybe wouldn't hurt to cut it with a little bit of aquatic "soil" (small but semi-coarse clay granules) or perlite or something, but I don't do anything special. Whatever all-purpose soil you've got that drains fairly quickly.

    I'd advise against something with high peat moss content for succulent Peperomias, but I advise against something with high peat moss content for everything.


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