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Peperomia Metallica: The Blackish Green Beauty

by gardeningit
Peperomia Metallica : The Blackish Green Beauty

Peperomia Metallica, commonly known as the red tree, is a gorgeous-looking plant that has foliage with an unusual metallic luster that makes it stand out. This beautiful-looking plant has its origin in the tropical region of South America.

Peperomia Metallica is a compact and easy-to-care plant that makes your indoor look attractive with its shiny greenish-black foliage with a touch of red. The color of Peperomia Metallica var. Columbiana leaves make it rare as this colorful foliage is rarely found in other house plants. The leaves of Metallica are usually concave in shape that makes sprinkled drops stay on the leaves and make them appear more beautiful.

Classification

  • Family: Piperaceae
  • Subfamily: Piperoideae
  • Genus: Peperomia

 About the Genus Peperomia

Peperomia genus is one of the two vast categories of the Piperaceae family. The majority of plants of this family are compact, small, little, long-living epiphytes developing on woods in tropical areas. 1500 species of this family have been recorded to date that grows in all tropical/rainy and sub-tropical areas of America and other regions but this species is most commonly found in South and Central America and around 17 of them are found in different areas of Africa.

This species of plants fluctuate significantly in appearance and that is what makes them more beautiful, most of them grow with strong stems and thick fleshy foliage. Peperomia linked with the pepper plant family, blossoms with yellow or brown cone-shaped spikes.

This species consists of smaller plants that are usually sized around 30 centimeters in height but almost all of them differ in appearance, some have thread-like stems whereas some have bold/thick stems. Leaves are smooth, oval, heart-shaped, or spear-like long leaves and some have sharp edgy corners, most have their sizes between 1 to 4 inches.

They can be green and striped, marbled, and flanked with combinations of greens, blacks, and the stalk of different shades of red. The flowers or blossoms are usually unnoticeable and they look like spikes in this genus.

Origin and Distribution

Peperomia Metallica is originally from the tropical regions of South America and can be found in Africa and Central America too.

Peperomia Metallica Features

Foliage and Stem

Peperomia Metallica is famous for its attractive foliage. It is called Metallica due to the metallic shine to its greenish-black elliptic-shaped leaves with a shiny light reddish underside and stem that connects to the stem. Being a small-sized plant, its leave is shorter in size with a heart-shaped appearance. Leaves of Peperomia Metallica are dense and thick and greater in numbers and are about a half-inch long.

Evergreen

This kind of Peperomia is considered to be very easy-to-handle, which means that with minimum care it will continue to make your indoors appear more attractive. They stay green in all seasons and continue to gleam and shine.

Height

These adorable-looking plants can grow up to 15-19 centimeters. Its size makes it a perfect addition for plant racks or handles.

Temperature Tolerance

Being inherited from the tropical region of America, these plants can grow well in slightly warmer temperatures rather than extreme cold. Their preferred temperature is around 18ºC to 24ºC. It cannot tolerate temperatures lower than 10 ºC to 11 ºC. If you keep it at a low temperature for a prolonged time, it will start losing leaves.

Humidity Tolerance

Peperomia Metallica like all other Peperomia species prefers a humid environment. Their humidity requirement is around 75% to 85%. Make sure not to place it in dry places at home.

Flowers

Peperomia Metallica has non-fragrant spiked-shaped flowers which are usually hard to see. Unlike other blooming plants, the part that makes these plants stand out is not their flowers but their leaves.

Drought-resistance

A dry atmosphere can make these plants die very soon, their drought resistance is very low due to their origin in tropical areas. They are humidity-loving plants and need to be misted pretty often.

Disease and Pest Resistance

The main reason for pests attacks or diseases is not providing proper care to the plants. Peperomia Metallica is a humidity-loving plant but overwatering can make it prone to many diseases. Your plant foliage can get a fungal disease like Rhizoctonia and Cercospora leaf spots or Phytophthora fungus attacks. These problems occur due to overwatering, poor lighting, excessive humidity, or no air circulation. To cater to these problems, you can prune, cut, and clean your plant and place them in the best environment possible according to their requirement.

Peperomia Metallica may also be exposed to caterpillar, mealy bugs, whitefly, and mites because of malnourishment and not given the required care. To avoid these problems, you must clean your Metallica with insecticides or Neem oil and provide them with appropriate daylight

Growth

These plants usually grow at a slow to normal pace. They take time in developing fully. Their maximum height is around 15-20 centimeters. All you need to do is take care of the plant and be patient.

Toxicity

These plants are not toxic at all. However, their surface might catch dust and infections which may cause a problem if ingested by humans or pets. So, it is best to keep them away from children and pets.

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Durability

These plants can have a longer life if taken care of. They can appear fresh and lively for more than five years.

Maintenance

Peperomia Metallicas are considered to be pretty low maintenance plants. They do not require excessive care and attention, however, placing them in the desired environment in winters is important as their drought resistance and temperature tolerance is not very good.

Peperomia Metallica Care

Peperomia Metallica, being an easy-to-care plant, doesn’t need extensive care. However, it requires some specific environmental conditions to grow, it needs an alkaline PH range of soil from 5-7.5 and It needs USDA plant hardiness zones of 10 and 11. Few more specifics for care are discussed below.

Water Requirements

In the case of Peperomia Metallica, underwatering causes less harm than overwatering the plant because when you overwater the plant you make the roots and stem prone to different kinds of fungus. Leaving the soil waterlogged in this case can kill the plant. You may water the plant moderately and allow it to dry out.

An easy way to find out if your plant needs watering is to check if it looks slightly droopy then it’s time to water your Peperomia Metallica. The key to watering this plant is to let the water settle in the depth of soil and make sure that the two-inch top layer of soil is dried out between watering. It requires around 1 inch of watering per week in summers.

In winters, the thick leaves of this plant tend to retain water to get the right amount of moisture, so it doesn’t require as much watering in winter as the growth stops then.

Soil Requirements

The most critical part of a Peperomia Metallicais its roots. This plant requires soil that mixes well with the fertilizer, is airy, and allows water to settle in. The preferred soil mixture for Metallica would be a mixture of perlite, peat, and sand. Perlite is a good fit in it because it has good draining properties, is perfectly aerated, and mixes well.

Another option for the soil in Peperomia Metallica is sandy loam. It is another type of soil that has a perfect texture that allows air circulation, has a good quantity of organic matter, provides water penetration, and blends well with fertilizers.

Sunlight

In the case of Peperomia Metallica, the light requirements are highly dependent on the shade/ chroma of its leaves. Plants with blackish-green foliage are best kept inside the house and away from direct daylight. Whereas, multi-colored plants are more resistant to direct light rays and can be safely kept under direct sun.

The Metallica plant needs a good amount of light to grow. The preferred light for Metallica is reflected/ indirect light. They are good with indirect daylight. If that is not available then artificial fluorescent light can also do the job. If your indoor garden is exposed to direct sun, then you can use a shade or place Metallica under a cover where it is safe from direct sun rays.

You can even keep Metallica under direct sun for a few hours if the sun rays are not too warm or scorching. It is best to keep them inside in direct sun with south, east, and west-looking windows will be the best spots. But sunlight is required for the growth of a plant and direct sun can burn the leaves and cause yellowing.

Temperature Requirements

Concerning temperature, Peperomia Metallica grows well in warm, open, or well-ventilated spaces to live in. However, it can endure the limits of both sides of the thermometer to an extent. The ideal and favorable temperature ranges from 16 ºC to 24 degrees Celsius. To make your plant live a longer life, make sure to keep it away from extreme climatic conditions as they may damage it.

Moister and Humidity

Peperomia Metallica is usually a moisture-loving plant. These adorable little plants are extremely fit for keeping inside the house, especially during summer, since it’s the time of their growth and they prefer living inside the indoor ordinary humidity level.

If during winter or day weather days the air inside the house gets quite dry and the plant gets dehydrated then, you can use products like a humidifier or use the natural stone plate hack. For that, all you need to do is, to put your plant pot on a plate with stones and fill it up with water. The water inside the plate will evaporate slowly and increase the moisture in the air around the plant. This will provide the plant with the required humidity. You can also spray or mist the plant now and then even when cleaning it, to maintain the level of moisture near your Metallica.

Fertilizer

Fertilizers are really important for the plant in its developing stage to support the development and save the plant from malnourishment. A decent amount of 20-20-20 manure is required for this Peperomia Metallica. Apart from this, a moderate amount of liquid fertilizer sprayed once a month or after every two weeks can show incredible results for this plant. Recently cut or pruned plant does not require fertilizers in the first year. Granular and diluted fertilizers that work gradually are best for these plants as they support the growth.

Peperomia Metallica doesn’t require fertilizers during winters are they tend to grow around summers usually, fertilizing once every four weeks would be enough during that time. Fertilizers usually contain chemicals, so make sure not to fertilize your plant too much as excessive fertilization can burn the plant.

Grooming and Pruning

Low maintenance or easy-to-care plants also require care and grooming every once in a while. While caring for the plants, make sure that there is no fungal growth or dampness. It makes your plant prone to infections. Don’t forget to spray the plant and clean the leaves to avoid mites and bugs. Also, make sure that the soil is well aggregated. Leaving the soil waterlogged and soggy makes parasitic development easier.

If you want your Peperomia Metallica var. Columbiana to maintain a specific shape then there is no harm in pruning it a bit. Also, it is very important to cut dead leaves or yellow/dead parts of the plant. Pruning with a specific routine can help the plant in developing. It will make it look more fresh, lively, and neater, and it helps new leaves in development. The best time for pruning is right before the summer season.

Re-potting

Re-potting for Metallica Peperomia is not required very often as this plant has smaller roots that don’t outgrow the pot. In case the plant outgrows the pot in spring or summer, then re-pot it but make sure that the pot is not too large to make the soil waterlogged and stay damp for longer times. It is suggested to replace the top layer of soil once a year.

Final Thoughts

Metallica Peperomia can be a delightful addition to your indoor plants or office desk due to its cute compact size. Its different elliptical blackish-green foliage makes it more eye-catching than any other indoor plant.

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