How to Care for Peperomia Obtusifolia Variegata – 8 Hints and Bonus Tip!

If you’re a plant enthusiast like me, you’re probably constantly on the lookout for the next addition to your collection to care for. Today I present you a little green gem that’s been making waves in the plant community- Peperomia obtusifolia variegata (or baby rubber plant if that’s too much of a mouthful!).

Before we dive into this little guy’s specifics, let me tell you a little story.

I was mooching around my local nursery a few months ago when I spotted this beauty. I couldn’t resist its stunning chunky variegated leaves, and before I knew it, it was in my shopping cart and on its way to a new home.

close up of peperomia obtusifolia

Since then, the Peperomia obtusifolia variegata has become a favorite of mine. It’s not just its beauty I love but also its chilled-out nature. It’s free, easy to maintain, and perfect for those who forget to water our green friends.

What makes this plant so stunning is its mottled variegated cupped leaves that are bright green with creamy edges. These characteristics, paired with the fact that the Peperomia obtusifolia is incredibly versatile to different environments, make it an excellent addition to anyone’s plant collection.

So, if you want a new green friend to add to your collection, why not try Peperomia obtusifolia variegata? Trust me; you won’t regret it!

peperomia obtusifolia variegata

Table of Contents

What Are the Optimal Light Conditions?

One of the essential factors to keep in mind if you want to keep this Pepper face plant (another known name) happy and healthy is the light conditions.

I’ll be honest with you because buying this plant was impulsive; I had no clue about what kind of lighting it needed. After searching the net, I found it can tolerate various light conditions, from bright indirect light to low light situations.

So, what does bright indirect light mean, you ask? Basically, it means placing your Peperomia obtusifolia variegata near a window that gets some sunlight but not direct sunlight. So, a window with a drape or sheer curtain is ideal. Direct sunlight can be too harsh for this plant and scorch its leaves.

If you’re like me and don’t have a lot of natural direct light in your living space, don’t worry. The Pepper face plant can also thrive in low-light situations. For example a north-facing window of a room with fluorescent lights. Just keep an eye on it; if your baby rubber plant isn’t getting enough light, it may lose its variegations and revert to dark green leaves.

hand holding peperomia obtusifolia among other plants

How Often Should You Water Peperomia Obtusifolia Variegata?

As it turns out, Peperomia obtusifolia variegata likes to be watered thoroughly but not too frequently. You want to ensure the soil is completely dry before watering it again. Overwatering can lead to root rot and a very sad, wilted plant.

On the flip side, this plant is highly forgiving. It won’t wither away if you forget to water the baby rubber plant for a day or two (or maybe even a week if you’re really forgetful!). In fact, it’s best to err on the side of underwatering than overwatering.

Use room temperature water when it’s time and let the excess water drain before placing it on the tray again. If the baby rubber plant is left standing in water for too long, it can cause root rot.

So how do you know when your Peperomia is parched? Well, you can stick your finger in the top 2 inches of the soil and see if it’s dry. 

Or, if you prefer to let technology do the work for you, you can invest in a moisture meter. It’s like a little thermometer for your soil, telling you when to water again. You can buy these online or at your local garden store. You should water more often when warm temperatures arrive in the summer.

close up of peperomia obtusifolia variegata leaf

What Type of Soil Should I Use?

The Peperomia obtusifolia varigata thrives in soil that is well-drained and rich in organic matter. That means you want soil that will only hold onto water for a short time but will dry out quickly. I like to mix my potting soil with a bit of perlite or sand to increase drainage and aerate the soil.

You don’t have to go out and buy the fanciest soil for your baby rubber plant. You can actually make your own! I like to compost my kitchen scraps and yard waste and use that to make my own nutrient-rich soil. Plus, it is a great way to reduce waste and be a more sustainable plant parent.

Avoid using soil that is too compact. This means heavy clay or sandy soil. Try not to pack the soil down too tightly when you’re planting; the baby rubber plant needs a little wiggle room for its roots to spread out and grow.

peperomia obtusifolia in green pot on white background

Does It Need Warm Temperatures?

The baby rubber plant is pretty relaxed when it comes to temperature requirements. They prefer warm temperatures between 60-70F (15-24C). So, it should be fine if you’re not cranking up the heat or leaving your plant in a drafty spot.

One thing to keep in mind- Peperomia obtusifolia variegata is it doesn’t like sudden temperature changes. So, if you’re moving it from one spot to another, try to do it gradually over a few days to give it time to adjust. In addition to that, try to keep it away from any drafty windows or entryways where the temperature fluctuates.

When I first got my baby rubber plant, I was a little nervous about finding the perfect spot for it in my house. I didn’t want it to be too hot or cold, and I didn’t want it to freeze to death. So, the best place I found to keep it was my home office- the temperature is regulated in there for me to work, so I keep it happy at the same time.

hand holding peperomia obtusifolia variegata in black pot outside

What Level of Humidity Is Required?

This is a topic that many beginners dread- fear not, you don’t need to turn your house into a rainforest or sauna. The American rubber plant (another common name) likes a bit of moisture in the air to keep it healthy and happy. Aim for a humidity level of around 40-50%, and make sure your Peperomia has good airflow to prevent any moisture build-up.

So how can you regulate humidity as a good plant parent? You could invest in a fancy humidifier that is inexpensive and easy to run. Or you could go old school and give your American rubber plant a misting now and then. Personally, I like to use a humidifier; they are great for my collection of houseplants and provide us with some health benefits too- double win!

When I first got my Peperomia home, I didn’t realize that humidity was even a thing to worry about. I live in a humid climate, so I figured it was no big deal. As it turns out, indoor air can be a bit dry and lack moisture even in high humid climates.

side view peperomia obtusifolia in garden

Another option for higher humidity is to group your plants. They create a microclimate that is more humid than the surrounding air. Plus, having a bunch of plants hanging out together looks pretty darn cute!

What Type of Fertilizer Should Be Used?

A good practice for fertilizing your Peperomia obtusifolia variegata is using a general-purpose diluted liquid fertilizer (10-10-10npk) monthly during the growing season (spring and summer). During the dormant season (fall and winter), you can cut back to every two months.

When it comes to actually applying the fertilizer, there are a couple of things to be mindful of. First off, make sure your soil is moist before you start. You want to avoid fertilizing dry soil- that’s just asking for trouble. Next, follow the instructions on the fertilizer packet, and don’t go overboard. A little goes a long way.

peperomia obtusifolia variegata in white pot on brown table

Overfertilizing can cause the leaves to burn, which can be seen when the edges have turned yellow and brown. Another way to tell if the baby rubber plant has been overfertilized is the excess salt build-up from the fertilizer- it will look like a salty crust on the top of the soil. If this happens, you can flush the plants’ soil or repot it into fresh soil.

When I fertilized my Peperomia obtusifolia for the first time, I was worried about overdoing it, but you know what- it was fine- and you be too if you follow these simple tips!

What Are the Best Methods to Propagate Peperomia Obtusifolia?

This is one of my favorite plant topics- propagating. Peperomia obtusifolia varegata is a great plant to propagate. You can make more of these babies by stem cutting or division.

Stem Cuttings

Here are some simple, easy steps to propagate by stem cuttings:

Step 1: Choose a healthy stem for your Peperomia plant, preferably with a few leaves.

Step 2: Use a clean, sharp pair of scissors or secateurs and cut off the stem about two inches long and 3-4 inches (7-10cm) from the base.

Step 3: Then remove the stem’s bottom leaves, leaving about two or three leaves at the top.

Step 4: This is optional, but you can use a rooting hormone and dip the cut end of the stem into the hormone powder and tap off the excess.

Step 5: Next prepare a small pot with a well-draining soil mix- just like the mother plant. Make a small hole in the center.

Step 6: Gently push the stem into the hole pressing the soil around it to hold it in place.

Step 7: Water the soil lightly, making sure not to overwater.

Step 8: Cover the pot with a clear plastic bag or plastic container like a cut-off bottle to create a mini greenhouse effect. This will help retain moisture and promote rooting.

Step 9: Place the pot in a warm, bright area but out of direct sunlight- the same position as the mother plant would do best.

Step 10: Finally, check your cutting every few days, ensuring the soil stays moist but not too soggy. You should see new growth in a few months, indicating the cutting has rooted!

This can feel like a lengthy process, but remember to be patient and have fun!

peperomia obtusifolia in white and green pot on white background


I’ve propagated many plants by division over the years, and it is a gratifying way to increase my plant collection. Just be patient and gentle with your plants; they’ll reward you with beautiful new growth in no time!

Here are some simple steps to follow:

Step 1: Take your plant and remove it from its pot. You should loosen the soil around the plant with a trowel or your hands to make it easier.

Step 2: Then once you’ve taken your plant out of the pot, look at its small root system. If the plant is big enough, you will see multiple stems or clusters of leaves coming from the same plant.

Step 3: Use a clean, sharp knife or pair of scissors to separate the stems from each other carefully. You want to ensure that each stem has its roots, so if you have to cut through some roots to separate the stems, that’s okay.

Step 3: Take your individual stems and pot them up separately into their own pots. Ensure the pots have drainage holes filled with fresh, moist potting mix. You can also add some rooting hormone to help the plant establish itself.

Step 4: Water your plants well, and keep them in a warm, bright spot out of direct sunlight to avoid scorching their new tender growth.

Step 5: As time passes, keep an eye on your baby rubber plants and water them when the soil feels dry. After a few weeks, you should start to see some new growth emerging from the stems.

Congratulations, you’ve successfully propagated your baby rubber plant by division!

What Are Some Common Pests That Affect Peperomia Plants?

close up of peperomia obtusifolia leaves

Dealing with plant pests is never fun, but it’s something every plant owner must deal with at some point! Peperomia obtusifolia variegata is no exception. There are a few pesky critters that you might encounter when growing this baby rubber plant. Spider mites, mealy bugs, and fungus gnats are all pests I’ve had issues with over the years. Thankfully there are a few ways to combat these pests.

One of the best ways to fight off these plant pests is to catch them early. Keep an eye on your Peperomia plant and check the undersides of the leaves for any signs of tiny insects or fine webbing. If you see something, you can use a soft cloth or cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to gently wipe off the insects from the leaves of the baby rubber plant. 

You can also use a neem oil spray to help deter pests. 

Mix one teaspoon of neem oil with four drops of dishwashing soap and 1 liter of water in a spray bottle. Apply the solution once per week until the infestation has disappeared.

Prevention is the key when it comes to pests. Keep your plant clean and healthy, and avoid overwatering or letting the soil become too wet.

Bonus Tip: Whenever I bring a new plant home, I quarantine it from the other plants for a week to avoid getting new pests into my existing collection.

About Peperomia Obtusifolia Variegata

ariel view of peperomia obtusifolia grey background

This little guy is a fleshy succulent and belongs to the Peperomia family (sounds like a pizza topping!). It is known for its small variegated cupped leaves that come in shades of green, cream, and white. The Peperomia obtusifolia variagata is native to Central and South America and goes by the names of the baby rubber plant, American rubber plant, and Pepper face plant. It grows in tropical regions where it enjoys warm, humid environments. It’s a popular houseplant but can also be grown outdoors in warm shady areas.

The baby rubber plant is attractive for those looking for a plant that doesn’t take up a lot of space, as it tends to stay relatively compact and bushy.


How do you take care of peperomia obtusifolia variegata?

Take care of your variegated baby rubber plant by watering it every 1-2 weeks. Keep it in 40-50% humidity with a temperature of 60-70F (15-24C). Place in bright indirect light.

Do peperomia obtusifolia need a lot of light?

Peperomia obtusifolia prefers bright indirect light and should be kept away from bright light to avoid scorching the leaves.

What are the benefits of peperomia obtusifolia variegata?

This compact plant can help reduce carbon dioxide levels and raise the humidity in your living space.

How can I make my peperomia obtusifolia happy?

Peperomia prefers medium to bright indirect light. Give water when the soil is almost dry, control humidity, use a light and airy soil mix, repot every few years and use a balanced fertilizer at half strength once a month during the growing season.

Should I bottom water my peperomia?

Top and bottom watering are both suitable for peperomia plants. Make sure you allow the water to drain out after watering.

Do peperomia obtusifolia like to be misted?

Misting the foliage daily can help raise the humidity levels for the plant. 

A Low Maintenance Plant With Big Rewards

Taking care of your Peperomia can be a piece of cake if you follow simple guidelines. Just keep an eye on the lighting, humidity, temperature, soil, and watering needs, and don’t be afraid to give it a little boost with some fertilizer now and then.

And if you want to multiply your Peperomia collection, propagating it with stem cuttings is a snap! With a little patience, some rooting hormone (if you choose), and a bit of TLC, you be the proud plant parent of a whole new plant in no time.

So go ahead and show your Peperomia some love- the little things make all the difference!

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Alex Tinsman
An avid plant and flower lover! Ever since he was little, plants, flowers, and shrubbery of all kinds filled his life. Alex credits this fascination with nature's beauty to his mother and grandmother who were - and still are - dedicated gardeners. It's now Alex's mission to pass that same love for plants onto others and show them it's as easy as pie to bring nature inside.

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