Peperomia Piccolo Banda is a rare, beautiful houseplant that is widely in demand for its unique, stunning foliage. It is an ornamental, indoor plant and is one of the hybrids of Peperomias, so, its full name is “Peperomia Albovittata Piccolo Banda” Because it is rare, it is currently under Plant Breeders Rights (PBR) which means that it is illegal to propagate this plant without a license.
- Family: Piperaceae
- Subfamily: Piperoideae
- Genus: Peperomia
- Specie: Peperomia Albovittata
About the Peperomia Genus
One of the two largest genera of the Piperaceae family is the Peperomia plant. These are also known as the Radiator plants, because of their tolerance to warm air and sunlight as well as their capability to survive in both, dry and humid environments. With over 1500 known species, these plants vary in terms of size and foliage, but because they are from the same parent plant, they can look pretty similar to one another. They have thick stems with green, fleshy leaves that are broad and shaped like hearts. Their sizes may vary from 1 to 4 inches and they may even have different designs on them. They may be spotted, striped, or have a marble feel to them.
They don’t bloom very extravagantly so their leaves are the main attraction of these plants.
What’s important to remember is that these are not succulents. They are semi-succulents, compact epiphytes that have particular care needs, very different from those of a succulent’s. Some of the other popular plants of this genus are Peperomia Rana Verde and Peperomia “Rosso”.
Common Names and Synonyms
- Radiator plant
- Mini Watermelon Peperomia
Origin and Distribution
These plants mostly originate from Peru, South America, and Central America as well as in some areas of Africa as well. It is found in the tropical and subtropical regions of these distributions.
Peperomia Piccolo Banda Structure and Features
Foliage and Stem
Its leaves are fleshy and unique silver-green color, with subtle hints of dark green or purple venation pattern on their surface. They grow on tall, fleshy stems that are red.
These plants are evergreen, meaning that they can stay green and beautiful throughout the year and are not affected by seasons or change of climate if given the proper environment to grow in.
These plants are relatively small and only grow as tall as 20 to 30 centimeters. Their small height makes them very easy to move around the house and that is partly the reason why they are adored so much.
Even though they are not fussy about where they are kept, unfortunately, these plants are not temperature tolerant. They need a minimum of 10 degrees Celsius to grow and cannot survive under colder environments.
Peperomia Piccolo Banda does not bloom very significantly. It grows green spikes on its red stems during the summer season which may not even be noticed. They do not have any scent either.
Being a semi-succulent, this plant can conserve a lot of water and is fairly drought resistant, which means that it can survive very well under water-deficient circumstances.
As tough as a Piccolo Banda plant is, it is not entirely resistant to pests. You will need to keep your eyes open, especially for little spider mites, mealybugs, and whiteflies. The thick flesh over its leaves will protect the plant to an extent but these bugs can drastically slow down its growth.
If your Peperomia is taking too long to sprout and grow, don’t panic. These small plants have a relatively slow growth rate and they need a lot of patience. Remember, consistency is key.
Fortunately, these plants are not toxic to cats and dogs. However, as always, it is best if you keep them away from your pets and children because of all the potential dust, bacteria, and poisonous chemicals that may be latched onto the plant’s surface.
Because these plants are slow-growing, it would be a shame if they died too quickly, wouldn’t it? Luckily, these plants have a perennial life cycle, which means that they will live for as long as 3-5 years if given the proper Peperomia Piccolo Banda care. Their expected life is 5 years and once they die and are broken down, they biodegrade in about 9-18 months.
Given that is does not need a lot of water sessions every day and is safe to be kept around living things in the house, it is a fairly low-maintenance plant.
Peperomia Piccolo Banda Care
This particular semi-succulent needs well-drained, rich soil, bright, indirect lights, and moderately warm temperature to grow. It needs water only once a week and fertilizer once or twice a year, so it is not a hassle to grow it in the house.
Make sure the soil stays moist but not wet. These plants are semi-succulents so they don’t need regular soaking but they don’t like to stay dry either. Water them nicely and then wait for the soil to dry up to 2 inches on the top. Use your finger to make sure it’s the right texture before you water it again.
On average, it will need watering every once a week in summers and twice or thrice a month during the winter season. Wet, soggy soil will lead to all kinds of problems you don’t want in your life.
Rich, well-drained soil is ideal for a Peperomia Piccolo Banda plant with a slightly acidic to neutral pH. Even though it prefers a peat-based soil, it doesn’t mind a bit of perlite mixed into the peat. A 2:1 soil mix may be a good idea. But since peat is a non-renewable source, coco coir may be a better option because it is more environmentally friendly and yet provides a fair amount of drainage and aeration in the soil.
Apart from that, Peperomias love orchid bark in their soil. Charcoal is also not a bad choice since it improves the drainage and absorbs all the impurities in the soil.
Another good choice is the compost. Worm compost is an especially favorable soil amendment because of how rich it is. You can even mix these three up in specific ratios and create a customized soil mix for your Peperomia.
Another very important part of the Peperomia Piccolo Banda care is its sunlight exposure.
Even though it loves a bright, airy room, it does not appreciate direct sunlight as that will burn the plants leaves very quickly. It prefers living in bright, indirect sunlight or partial shade. You can use artificial light in the form of fluorescent bulbs or “growing lights”. If you want to put the plant near a window, one facing north or east maybe your best option.
While Peperomias love warm temperatures, they are not tolerant to colder temperatures. Their ideal temperature range is anywhere between 18 to 24 degrees Celsius and anything lower than 10 degrees will damage the plant. So, make sure you shift it to a more suitable, warm spot during the colder winter days.
Just like water, this plant does not need a lot of food either. Fertilizing it every spring or summer should be enough for it to grow healthy. Diluted fertilizers are more appreciated for this purpose.
Since it has a small root system, Peperomia Piccolo Banda likes living in a tight pot and does not need frequent re-potting. Re-potting is not suggested at all unless you see the roots of the plant escaping through the drainage holes. If you see this happening and you do need to repot the plant, do it in the spring season, as that is also a good time to propagate the plant if you need to.
Grooming and Pruning
Over some time, your Peperomia may start looking spindly and untidy. If you decide to prune the plant, it is suggested that you do it in the early spring days. Simply remove the ends of the shoots and pinch the leaves. This will not only make your plant look neater, but it will also encourage new stem and leaf growth.
Peperomia Piccolo Banda Propagation
As mentioned earlier, propagating this particular plant is not legal. But if you do have the permission and you decide to re-produce this plant, you should do it in the mid of the spring season, while you are re-potting the plant.
There are two ways of propagating this plant. You can either use its seeds or its cuttings. Growing the seeds is a rather slow process so obviously, using the cuttings is more popular among the commercial botanists.
- Remove the healthy plant from the pot and divide it into small pieces. Every piece should have at least two to three roots attached.
- Now, use a sharp, sterilized knife and cut the lower area of the stem right under the node.
- Put the divisions on a flat surface and wait for the cuts to form a callus. ‘Once that happens, you can repot the plant in moist, rich soil and keep it under warm temperature. Press the soil around it gently and let it grow its roots.
- Do not completely cover the plant as that may lead to excess humidity. Too much humidity is not the best for succulents and semi-succulents.
Keep in mind that no matter how careful you are, you may lose some leaves and stems while you go through this process, but that’s okay because the plant is very fragile especially when it is dry. Give it time to grow and it will rejuvenate back to looking lush and green.
Day 1-30: Plant the divisions and keep them under warm temperature and bright light. Water mildly every once a week.
Month 1-3: The baby plants will now start to develop roots and settle in the soil. This is a good time to fertilize the plant.
Month 3-5: Shoots will start to appear by now. Watering needs will decrease and you can feed the plant with diluted fertilizer once a month.
Month 5-8: By now your plant will start looking like a healthy, mature Peacock plant. Reduce the watering now and only water it thrice a month.
Some Common FAQs
Why is My Peperomia Wilting?
This may be the result of one of two causes. The first being over-watering and the other being not watering enough. To avoid over-watering the plant, feel your soil with your finger before you water it, and make sure it is not wet. Only then water the plant. If you see the leaves lacking moisture and drying up, it is probably under-watered. Water more often and you will see the plant come back to life.
Why Are the Leaves of My Peperomia Plant Falling Off?
This happens when the plant has too much water in its soil and catches a fungal infection. As discussed earlier, make sure your soil is dry up to 2 inches on top before you water it again.
Should I Mist the Leaves of My Peperomia Plant?
It is not harmful to mist a Peperomia. This may be especially helpful during the winter season since the heating system in the house can fairly reduce the humidity in the air.
Displaying Peperomia Piccolo Banda
These tiny, semi–succulents can be displayed inside well-lit rooms with an airy atmosphere, but they grow very well under artificial lights as well so you can put them in your basement as well. Because of their size, they look great sitting on desks, shelves, and window sills and will quickly bring a fresh, tropical feel to your space.
Peperomia Albovittata Piccolo Banda is a beautiful, semi-succulent houseplant that has green, fleshy leaves with a stunning purple venation and red stems. It is easy to take care of and does not require a lot of time and attention. These are drought-resistant and low-maintenance plants but are fairly slow-growing. Displaying them around the house in well-lit areas is a good idea but since they can adapt to low lights as well, you can showcase them in your office and basement as well.