Did you know that propagating a Watermelon Peperomia (Peperomia argyreia) by a leaf cutting is the most simple and efficient way to multiply your plant? Here, I’ll show you the exact steps I took to propagate mine and answer a few of the questions I’ve gotten along the way.
Making the leaf cuttings
Start by choosing healthy leaves for your propagation. You can use the dying ones but the chances of them actually growing roots will be much lower. Simply snap off the red stem and make a horizontal cut through the darker veins. I used a pair of scissors that I had cleaned with water. Some people like to sterilize their tools to ensure that no bacteria would be on the leaf when they make the cut. Bacteria has the chance of causing rot.
Putting the cuttings in soil
I used a regular peat-based potting soil with added perlite (about 10%). Pack the soil down in your container (I used a small 3″ terracotta pot) and moisten the soil completely. Let all the water drain out, then gently press the soil down again to squeeze out the last bit of water.
Next, I used a plastic knife (but really anything with a flat edge will work) to make four slits in the soil. Stick the leaves into the slits, about 2 cm into soil, with the cut side down. Then, gently pack the soil around the leaves it so that they’re sturdily in place. Note that the rounder side of the cutting, which has the point where the red stem used to be, needs to be placed deeper into the soil because it’ll be from that stem that new leaves will grow. The other sections of the leaf don’t have to be placed as deep because the babies will grow from the veins. (In the illustration above, the left leaf will have one baby and the right leaf will have five.)
Lastly, I sprayed down the soil again just to make sure that the leaves are all well anchored.
I chose to put my pot with the cuttings on top of my fireplace. This spot in my house doesn’t get any direct sunlight but on a sunny day, it’ll still see around 200 foot candles because of the white walls we have which reflect the sun’s light. The cuttings don’t need light until new leaves start to show.
Since the cuttings have no roots, the soil must be moist at all times. I added a plastic dome on top so that it wouldn’t dry up. Never once did I have to water the cuttings while they were in there. I only started to water them after I saw baby leaves spring up and it was time to ditch the dome. However, note that my plastic dome was not sealed tight. It was just sitting on top of the saucer and this allowed a tiny bit of air flow. You’ll know if the soil is too moist if your humidity dome has water droplets in it.
Your cuttings should have roots after a month. You can check by VERY gently tugging the leaf. If there are roots, the leaf will be anchored down. If there are no roots, you should be able to pull it up VERY easily.
After about three months, I was ready to repot all the cuttings into their own pots! The pictures above were taken at three months. When I repotted, I tried to keep all the soil that was immediately around the leaf because I didn’t want to damage any of the roots. I used the same soil mix from before.
After repotting, there’s also no need to keep the humidity dome anymore. At this point, I also placed them in direct sun, right beside my south west facing window. You still need to keep the humidity level high though so be sure to either place a good humidifier beside them or mist the leaves once a day.
How do I know if my leaf cuttings have rooted?
Gently tug them, if they’re NOT rooted, you should be able to pull the leaf up very easily.
How long until you saw roots and baby leaves?
My leaf cuttings rooted within a month. The first baby leaf came up in about two months.
How often did you water it?
When It was under the dome — never. When the dome was off, I watered it when the top soil became dry.
What kind of soil did you use?
Regular potting soil with extra perlite.
Mine rotted! What caused it?
Could be that the original leaf was already unhealthy. Or most likely — overwatering. You can also sprinkle some cinnamon on the soil to keep fungi away.
Can I propagate by putting a leaf with a stem in water?
Yes! That will work just as well but I haven’t tried it myself yet.
Hi! Would this method work with other peperomias?
Yes! most peperomia works by propagating from the stem and leaves as well!
I have successfully propagated using this method. When it is time to repot, do you keep the half cut leaf? Do you just bury it so only the new leaf is visible?
That’s awesome! I kept the half cut leaf until it dried out and died on its own.
Okay thanks Jackie! So pleased it worked =]
Very interesting and informative! Do you know if this method would work for other types of plants? Thanks!
A lot of common house plants can be simply cut at the main vine to root in water. However, it’s a specialty of peperomia to be able to root a single leaf! You can also root begonias, and most succulents with a single leaf as well.
I tried this back in June thanks to your post and I have baby leaves! Also produces more pups more quickly than water propagation 🙂
What I was wondering is, when you repotted the pups, did you repot with the leaf? Did you separate them? An update with a picture Of what you did then (and even what the plant looks like now) could be so helpful!
Hello! Unfortunately I don’t have them anymore as I gave them away at plant swaps. When I repot the pups, the leaf was already dying so I put the pups separately into their tiny pots.
Thanks for the great article! This is the most clearly explained method. I have had success with this! My babies that grew have some curling on their leaves. Do you know what causes this? If it’s a nutrient deficiency, how long should I wait to lightly fertilize?
Thanks again 😊
Hello! Thank you so much for reading! And I don’t its nutrient deficiency at all, when this peperomia leaves are curled, it usually indicates a humidity or watering issue. You can try increasing humidity, or maintaining consistency in watering. They are also a lot more unstable as it’s a baby, so I wouldn’t worry too much about it 🙂
Hi! great article.
Can you place your leaf cuttings in a glass jar with no drainage hole?
Thanks for reading! As for the glass jar, I wouldn’t recommend that because it might hold too much moisture and the cutting can rot.
Very easy and informative post! I have successfully propagated them (new baby leafs showed up) and just repotted them into separated pots. What I’m wondering is do I let the soil dry out now that they aren’t under the dome anymore? Or should I slowly cut down the watering in the beginning?
Could you then cut the 5 babies apart? Or does it not work that way if you understand what I mean?
I didn’t separate the babies, because i’ll need really tiny pots for them to grow. I’d recommend separating them after they’ve outgrown the pot down the road.
Is it necessary to repot them? Or can you just allow them to continue to grow in the same pot where you started the propagating?
So informative! I’ve been successful with my watermelon pep propagation too. It’s grown a few babies. Question though, do you eventually get rid of the old half leaf cutting and how?
The old leaf will eventually die on its own so I just waited until its dried up to take it out naturally!
Exactly what I was looking for! May I know how long it takes for the babies to grow into full size? I bought mine with a few baby sprouts for over a month and it just grew a tiny bit. Still not growing beyond 1cm. I’m wondering if I’m missing any elements.
Hi Tracy, it really depends on the environment, light level, humidity, and soil. Peperomia tends to grow faster with bright light and humidity!
Awesome write-up – thanks for sharing your experience! Just wondering if there’s a good reason to use terracotta pots in your dome – would plastic pots work just as well?
Thank you for this post! I found it very useful and whenever I give away watermelon peperomia leaves I always give people the link to this page :). The graphics are so pretty and useful!
What is thr large leaf plant? Looks a little like an elephant ear?
Great post very helpful. can I ask if you used hormone/rooting powder to help the cuttings make roots?
I didn’t use it for my peperomia, but if I do this again I definitely will!
Hello, thank you. This is so informative!
I just miss out something, when you repotted the 5 new babies, do you separately repot into 5 or put them in one pot ? Thank you
I put each of the leaf cutting into its own pot
very interesting, may I ask how long the first leaf grows? thankyou
It took about 2 months to see a tiny baby leaf!
this is the best post about watermelon peperomia in the entire internet, Thank U!!!
Hello! I LOVE your instagram feed and your blog, AND your art!
What did you use as a plastic dome? Do you think covering the pot with plastic wrap will do?
I used a take out container, but for sure anything that will trap moisture and let light through will do!
Enjoyed reading your post. Very informative and helpful for newbies like me. Especially the graphics. Hope your babies do well.
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