Why Are Peperomia Leaves Dropping? (And How to Fix It)


Indoor potted peperomia plant leaves dropping.

It can be heartbreaking when your peperomia wither or even leaves dropping. The peperomia plant is a small, easy to maintain indoor houseplant with attractive foliage. Like any other houseplant, its leaves are prone to drooping and falling. 

Peperomia leaves dropping mainly results from overwatering. This damages the roots preventing them from supplying the vital nutrients to the plant. Insufficient nutrients, pests, plant diseases, and extreme temperatures can also be why peperomia leaves droop.

Fortunately, some remedies can prevent peperomia leaves from dropping. This article features every detail you would want to know about the beautiful peperomia, including maintaining it. Read on to find more practical maintenance tips. 

Reasons For Dropping Peperomia Leaves

If your peperomia is no longer attractive and beautiful because of the leaves falling, the following might be the problem.

1. Watering The Plant Excessively

Excessive water causes peperomia’s roots to rot, resulting in the withering and drop of peperomia leaves. Watering the plant is not straightforward, mainly because of the uncertainty of the correct humidity and temperature.

Watering the radiator plant during the colder seasons as well can be a bit challenging. Overwatering remedies include:

  • Avoid watering the plant during cold seasons
  • Check the soil’s moisture before watering the plant
  • Ensure the ground is almost dry and water it moderately
  • You can also water the plant from the bottom so that it holds the water for extended periods.

Should you be unsure about overwatering the peperomia plant, the following steps can save it:

  • Hold the overwatered pot in direct sunlight and allow it to drench excess water.
  • Gently pull the plant from the pot.
  • Inspect the roots and trim the damaged and the unhealthy ones using a clean pair of scissors.
  • Treat the remaining healthy roots with a fungicide.
  • Repot the plant using fresh soil and pot for it to grow perfectly.

Read this article to save your overwatered peperomia.

2. Underwatering The Plant

One of the reasons that cause peperomia plant’s leaves to drop is when little or no water is added. You should always check the plant for appropriate water levels in the soil, especially when you notice too dry soil.

If you don’t do this as soon as you can, the roots will start to wither, weakening the plant.

As a result, the plants can wither because of insufficient nutrients and water supply to the plant. Underwatering remedies include:

  • Water the plant frequently, but you should be careful not to overwater it.
  • Soak the plant if its soil is drier than it should be.

You can soak the plant through the following procedural steps:

  • Remove the plant from the pot, put it in a sink, and fill a basin with cold water.
  • Place the plant near the drainage hole and allow it to soak for no less than thirty minutes.
  • If the soil doesn’t feel saturated, you can water the plant from the top to aid saturation.
  • If you accidentally dampen the soil, you should drain it by resting the plant against the sink.
  • Finally, return the plant in its pot and return it to its property

3. Damp Soil

The peperomia plant thrives in woods and not soil. Should you plant it in your home, you must maintain its soil.

When the soil is poorly drained, the radiator plant will start wilting. Damp soil deprives the plant of receiving oxygen, causing the roots to decay.

Consequently, the leaves would begin curling, and if not appropriately maintained, they will start dropping. You can fix damp soil challenges by doing the following:

  • Use the correct soil to plant it –you can use coarse soil or a mixture of perlite and peat moss.
  • Drain the pot to prevent the soil from dampening. 

4. Planting Incorrectly

It’s a common mistake for radiator plant lovers to grow it in blocked containers or pots. Doing this prevents the soil from draining excess water. You can resolve this problem by:

  • Creating holes at the container’s base to drain excess water easily
  • Avoid planting in oversized pots because they hold water for extended periods.

5. Low Humidity

Though the plant thrives in humid conditions, peperomia leaves curling and dropping might be inevitable if the humidity is too low.

Having an AC and a heating unit might cause the house to be drier. As a result, the leaves begin to curl and drop. For you to increase humidity, you can:

  • Mist the plant’s leaves frequently
  • Acquire a humidity monitor to regulate the humidity levels

6. Insufficient Light

The position and direction of the plant is vital if you want a healthy peperomia plant. As such, it will thrive when it doesn’t face light directly to prevent it from facing harsh sunlight. How to prevent peperomia leaves from dropping because of excessive light:

  • Grow under a shade
  • Avoid exposing the plant to the sun directly
  • Use fluorescent lighting as a solution to harsh lighting
  • If planting indoors, make sure the plant can receive light indirectly through a window

7. Extreme Temperatures

Peperomia flourishes in room temperature ranges of at least 65-80̊ F/ 18-27°C. Transpiration depends on the temperature levels.

Scorching temperatures cause the leaves to droop regularly. Hotter temperatures would imply that the plant will lose water faster compared to what it consumes. 

When this is not corrected immediately, the leaves start drooping, and the plant will die. You can solve this by:

  • Setting the plant on a tray full of pebbles and water
  • Avoid positioning the plant near extreme sunlight and heat sources like fireplaces.
  • Place it far from air conditioning units.

8. Fertilizer Application Mistakes

Like any other plant, you must apply fertilizer to the peperomia plant appropriately. Excess fertilizer causes the plant’s roots to rot, preventing them from providing oxygen and nutrients.

If left uncorrected, the plant would start withering as the leaves turn yellowish, weaker, and start to drop.

Should you suspect that the dropping results from excessive fertilizing, try the following remedies:

  • Add water to the soil and allow it to drain for some minutes. 
  • You can also transfer the plant to new soil.
  • Use diluted liquid fertilizer
  • Use slow-release pellets to regulate the portion.

Other fertilizing cautions include:

  • Fertilizing weekly or at the beginning of the planting season.
  • Avoid fertilizing during winter.

9. Water Quality

Though you can easily ignore the quality of water you are using in watering the plant, it might surprise you to realize that its quality causes the leaves to droop. Tap water is full of chemicals, chlorine, and salts, which could affect the plant significantly

The perfect remedy to using tap water is using filtered waters. It is considered best because it has little or no chemicals that are harmful to the plant. You can also use melted snow or rain water instead of tap water.

10. Infestation By Insects, Pests, And Diseases

Perhaps one of the challenges you have to grapple with when growing plants is infestations and diseases. You can note this when you see curling leaves that might start dropping.

Insects like fungus gnats hatch on moist soils, causing dehydration and later falling off the leaves. 

You can do away with insects and pests by:

  • Spray using insecticides like neem oil on the stems, leaves, and the soil for not less than a week.
  • Alternatively, you can use insecticidal soaps.

Diseases can cause the roots to rot and cause the leaves to drop, and eventually cause the plant to die.

This results from damaged roots that are caused by overwatering and waterlogged soil. You can prevent diseases and damaging roots by avoiding overwatering.

11. Natural Aging

Like any other plant, peperomia is susceptible to aging. When this starts to happen, there is little you can do.

Regardless, you can get a new radiator plant and enjoy the beauty of having one in your home.

12. Compact Soil

When the soil is too moist, it becomes compact and causes the roots to decay or infests the stem with parasitic diseases.

Compact soil also inhibits the root’s growth and causes the leaves to drop. When caring for the peperomia plant, be sure to drench the soil thoroughly. (Source: University of Vermont Extension, Department of Plant and Soil Science)

13. Cold Draft/Frost

Cold drafts inhibit the indoor plant from growing. This results from extreme frost and inability to tolerate lower light conditions.

It will be best to keep your plant away from the front doors, open windows, radiators, and heating units. 

14. Yellowing And Leaves Falling

It results from rotting roots or fungus gnat larvae. The best remedy is repotting and involves removing the decaying roots and transferring the plant to a different pot that is fertilizer-free.

Since the plant doesn’t grow into a huge flower, it is recommended that you do repot every two to three years. This prevents its soil from getting compacted, increasing the chances of roots rotting. 

You May Also Enjoy: Brown Spots on Peperomia (Causes and How to Fix It)

Other peperomia problems

Apart from the leaves dropping, growing peperomia comes with other issues. These include:

  • Dull leaves that result from direct exposure to sunlight. You can avoid this by moving the plant to a shade.
  • Discolored leaves and plants caused by overwatering -you can prevent this by allowing the container to drain out excess water. It will also be best preventing water from falling on the leaves. 
  • Holes in the leaves: caterpillars cause this. This may not be a significant concern since the infestation is usually over after changing into pupae.
  • Stunted plants- they are caused by mealybugs that can be seen on the leaf’s lower side -if left untreated, the plant could die.
  • Serrated edges and t leaves curling downwards resulting from termite infestation.
  • Using pesticides is a perfect solution to getting rid of termites. 

How To Prevent Peperomia Leaves From Dropping

Drooping leaves doesn’t always imply that the plant has a problem. For instance, aging leaves can easily fall off to make room for new leaves.

But before ruling out aging, check out if the soil is too dry or excess water. You can do the following to prevent the leaves from falling:

  • Frequently check the soil’s dryness by plunging your finger an inch to the soil, and if it feels dry, you can water it. 
  • Avoid watering in winter because the plant already has enough water.
  • Allow the soil to drain excess water and dry after watering to supply water and nutrients to the roots.
  • Shallow watering the plant once per week and monthly during the growing season is a perfect remedy.
  • Make it a routine to repot the plant within two or three years.
  • Grow your plant away from direct sunlight.
  • Fertilize the plant within six months (Source: University of Florida, IFAS)

FAQs

How often should you water a Peperomia?

Since the peperomia plant can hold water for several days, you can avoid watering them for several days in the stem and leaves. If you want them to thrive attractively, you should wait until the soil feels dry. Make a weekly routine to water it for impressive results.

Why do Peperomia leaves turn black?

If you notice black or brown spots on the plant’s stem or leaves, you must pay attention to take care of the plant. In most cases, black spots imply that diseases like phyllosticta leaf spot, such as Cercospora leaf disease, or Rhizoctonia attack the plant.

The best remedy to this condition is isolating the plant from the rest, removing the leaves, and pruning it. Make sure you get rid of the affected areas. Read this article to know more.

Why are Peperomia leaves curling?

It’s quite unusual for the leaves to start curling. However, when it happens, you should know that the plant is infested with bugs. Calcium deficiency can also cause the leaves to curl, resulting from overwatering in a highly acidic medium like peat. 

Overwatering is considered as the main reason why peperomia leaves drop. This is because the plant thrives in wooded areas, and maintaining it elsewhere requires more care. Should you want the plant to flourish, it will be best to be cautious when watering the plant. 

Arifur Rahman

I'm the owner of gardenforindoor.com. After completing my bachelor of science in agriculture, I'm serving as a civil service officer at the Department of Agricultural Extension, Bangladesh. I started Garden For Indoor to make your indoor gardening journey easy and enjoyable.

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