Fredrick is a miniature-garden designer and author of landscaping guides. He loves to write about garden flowers, ponds, lawns, and hedges.
Peperomia plants are grown for their ornamental foliage (like the well-known Watermelon Peperomia), so people strive to keep their leaves healthy and looking fresh. There are many species of Peperomia, and all of them have fleshy leaves that are vulnerable to splitting and cracking.
In this article, you'll learn the reasons behind the splitting leaves of your Peperomia plants and how to deal with the problem. So read on to know how to keep your radiator plants lush and attractive.
1. You Are Overwatering Your Peperomia
When you overwater your plants, the leaf cells absorb a lot of water, making them expand excessively. When temperatures increase, the cells lose the water at a high rate, causing rapid contraction. If this process goes on for some days, it can lead to rupturing of the cells, hence the splitting of the leaves.
To avoid this problem, you should stop watering your houseplants every day. It is recommended to water them every 1–2 weeks or when the soil dries out. It is also recommended to use a well-drained soil to avoid excess moisture around the roots.
2. Your Plants Are Exposed to Low Humidity
Peperomia leaves need air containing moisture for them to stay succulent and strong. If they are exposed to low humidity, they dehydrate and appear to wither. They eventually split and most likely dry out.
To improve humidity around your plants, you can mist them every day or use a humidifier. You can also place a tray with pebbles and water around the plants to increase humidity.
3. They Are Exposed to Extreme Temperature
Like any other plant, Peperomia is affected badly by extreme temperature. Very low temperature makes the leaf cells rigid while very high temperature make them weak. So both extremes can lead to the splitting of the leaves.
It is easy to protect your plants from extreme temperature. First, you should not keep or grow them near elements or systems producing heat or cold air. Second, you need to take them to a new location with optimum temperature when it gets too hot or too cold.
4. They Are Exposed to Excessive Sunlight
Excessive direct sunlight isn't good for the leaves of Peperomia. It scorches and sunburns them. This causes the leaves to split along the midrib and crack along the veins.
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To deal with this problem, you need to move your plants from the area with the damaging sunlight to an area with safe sunlight. You can also try to provide shade to your plants.
5. They Lack Enough Micronutrients
Peperomia needs micronutrients like boron and zinc to develop healthy foliage. These two elements help in the formation of strong leaf cells, and if they are lacking or inadequate, the plants develop weak leaves that are susceptible to splitting and falling.
To ensure your soil has enough of these micronutrients, you can apply either a suitable fertilizer or boric acid. It is recommended to apply the right amounts of these substances to avoid damage to your plants. In addition, you need to keep your soil at the optimum pH, as too alkaline or too acidic conditions can render the micronutrients ineffective.
6. They Are Attacked by Pests and Diseases
There are just a few pests and diseases that affect Peperomia, but their attack can really damage the leaves of these plants. The pests that cause the splitting or cracking of the leaves include caterpillars, mealy bugs, mites, and thrips while the diseases include leaf spot, anthracnose, and ring spot.
To control the pests, you can discard the affected leaves or plants. You can also use safe sprays like Neem oil or insecticidal soap. I recommend the Garden Safe Insecticidal Soap which is usually ready to use and can kill all pests that attack ornamental plants. As for the diseases, you can dispose of the affected plants or use an organic fungicide, virucide, or bactericide depending on the pathogen.
7. You Physically or Mechanically Damage Them Without Knowing
When carrying out your daily activities in your house, you can damage the leaves of your Peperomia without knowing. If your plants are located in areas with high traffic, like stairs and doorways, they can really suffer tears and other damages.
This can be prevented by being careful not to come into contact with your plants when moving around or moving items in your house. It can also be prevented by placing your plants in areas that are less frequented.
8. Your Pets Are Damaging Them
Pets like hanging around plants, and they can easily damage the leaves or the whole plant itself. If you have cats, dogs, or any other pet in your home, they could be the ones splitting or ripping the leaves.
To protect your plants from pets, you can place them in a safe location, i.e., where the pets cannot reach like on shelves or tall plant holders. You can also try to train your pets not to be harsh on the houseplants.
In conclusion, it is highly likely that the leaves of your Peperomia are splitting or cracking because of one or more of the reasons discussed above. Whether you grow P. obtusifolia (variegated rubber plant), P. argyreia (watermelon), P. caperata (rosso emerald ripple), P. clusiifolia (red edge jelly/ginny), or P. rotundifolia (trailing jade), you can at least reduce the problem in your houseplants with the help of this article.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Fredrick aka JS