Watermelon peperomia (Peperomia argyreia) has gained increasing popularity among houseplant lovers thanks to its stunning watermelon-patterned leafage. Native to South America, watermelon peperomia grows naturally in the rainforest understory, requiring little attention to thrive.
So why is watermelon peperomia drooping? In other words, why are watermelon peperomia leaves drooping?
In general, watermelon peperomia drooping indicates dehydration caused by low humidity, underwatering, or repotting issues. However, peperomia can also wilt because of pest infestation, extreme temperatures, and root rot caused by overwatering and other conditions.
You can fix these issues by providing your watermelon peperomia with the necessary growth conditions, including proper watering, adequate temperature, and soil drainage requirements.
Read on to find out everything you need to know to prevent your watermelon peperomia from wilting and properly and successfully reviving it.
See also: 11 Most Common Peperomia Varieties (And how to properly care for each!)
Reasons Why Watermelon Peperomia Drooping
Here are the main reasons why your watermelon peperomia may be drooping. Preventing these issues will help you grow a healthy and strong plant.
1- Underwatering Can Cause Watermelon Peperomia Drooping
An absence of water for an extended period might deprive your plant of its hydration to sustain solid and healthy leaves. Instead, thirsty leaves will become sluggish, lifeless, and droopy.
Underwatering is generally the most common reason why watermelon peperomia is drooping. Underwatering your watermelon peperomia plants will cause them to wilt.according to North Carolina State University.
Remember, watermelon peperomia does not tolerate wet soil and very dry soil. Allow the soil to dry at the top before watering again, and reduce your watering frequency in the winter months.
When watermelon peperomia has enough water in its tissues, it can be puffy or firm. Plants breathe out water vapor all the time, and if there isn’t sufficient water available for them to replenish it in their tissues, they will start to show signs of stress.
A dehydrated watermelon peperomia will no longer stand erect; therefore, it will drop and lose its turgidity.
In addition, underwatering will cause the stems to sag and the leaves to droop down from the branches and develop brown tips and edges.
Signs of an Underwatered Watermelon Peperomia:
- Underwatering your peperomia will cause its brilliant green leaves to crisp, fade, and curl inward due to water deficiency.
- Water pushes soil to expand and take up additional space, known as the soil gap. In excessively dry conditions, the soil will reduce in size and start to peel away from the pot’s sides.
- An easy way to check if your peperomia is underwatered is to examine its soil. Try and grasp it with your fingers – if it is hard to hold, brittle, and dry, you need to increase your watering.
How to Solve an Underwatering Issue With Your Watermelon Peperomia:
- Increase your watering frequency. The general rule of thumb is to only water any plant when the top 2 inches (5 cm) of soil are dry.
- In particularly dry soil, ensure the water can reach your watermelon Peperomia’s root system.
2- Overwatering May Cause Watermelon Peperomia Drooping
Along with understanding, overwatering is one of the main reasons houseplants die. Generally, over-watering your watermelon peperomia will cause root rot, according to North Carolina State University.
It is a sign of an overwatered plant if you notice that your peperomia has droopy, soggy stems and wilting, yellowing leaves. The roots will start to rot, and they can’t deliver nutrients to the plant. And consequently, your watermelon peperomia will droop and eventually die.
It is better to choose a potting mix that is loose and lumpy enough for good aeration.plantsheaven.com
Signs of An Overwatered Watermelon Peperomia:
- Signs of root rot include above-ground yellowing and dropping leaves.
- Overwatering also results in stunted growth, including leaves dropping and slow to no growth.
- Damp soil indicates that the soil is too dense for the plant’s roots to soak water effectively, or there is either too much moisture in the soil for your plant to absorb.
How to Solve an Overwatering Issue With Your Watermelon Peperomia:
- Start by clearing any plant’s dead, drooping, or mushy leaves to encourage growth.
- Slowly and gently brush the soil away from the roots of your watermelon Peperomia plant by pulling it out from its pot.
- Remove any unhealthy, dark, or mushy root segments.
- Repot your Peperomia plant by using a specialized potting mix to encourage sensitive roots growth.
- Remove a good amount of the root system and repot your Peperomia in a smaller container, as they do better in slightly root-bound.
See also: Top 4 Gardening Sleeves For Beginners (And why you need one of these!)
3- Low Humidity Can Cause Watermelon Peperomia Drooping
Since watermelon peperomias are native to South America, humidity is essential when caring for them. Peperomias grow well in warm, humid environments and thrive in an environment with more moisture than your average indoor plant.
And, sometimes they can droop if the humidity level in the house becomes too low. In most houses, humidity varies from one room to another and can be particularly low when the heater is in winter.
If the humidity in your house drops too low, your plant might try to conserve moisture by curling its leaves and even dropping them, reducing your plant’s surface area and losing moisture.
At the same time, watermelon peperomias do not like a dry environment, leading to leaves dropping.
How to solve a Low Humidity Issue With Your Watermelon Peperomia:
- Aim for an average room humidity of between 40-and 50% to keep your watermelon peperomia healthy.
- Mist watermelon peperomias’ leaves to increase their humidity. The rule of thumb is to mist them every other day to avoid overwatering issues.
- Invest in a humidifier to boost moisture levels in your house.
- Place your watermelon peperomia near other indoor plants or a water-filled pebble tray.
4- Extreme Temperatures (Too Hot or Too Cold) Causes Watermelon Peperomia Drooping
Watermelon peperomia thrives in temperatures between 60⁰ F and 80⁰ F (15⁰ C and 27⁰ C). And temperature below 50⁰ F (10⁰ C) will cause stress to your plant, leading its leaves to curl and droop, and the entire plant will wilt.
Watermelon peperomias don’t also handle freezing temperatures because they are tender herbaceous plants. High temperatures exceeding 80⁰ F (27⁰ C) also cause watermelon peperomias stress and can contribute to leaf curl and droop.
Signs of Extreme Temperatures Include:
- Freezing temperatures:
- Cause watermelon peperomias’ leaves to curl and droop
- The entire plant will wilt.
- Generally, freezing temperatures will create ice crystals in the plant
- Too high temperatures:
- Cause your watermelon peperomia’s leaves to curl, roll, or turn into a cup shape.
- Can show leaf scald and dry edges.
- And in too high temperatures, a peperomia plant can grow too fast and become leggy.
How to solve an Extreme Temperatures Issue With Your Watermelon Peperomia:
- Native to South America, watermelon peperomias plants grow well with average temperatures between 60 to 80°F (16 to 27°C).
- Avoid placing watermelon peperomias indoors in an area where temperature quickly fluctuates close to drafty windows, a fire, radiators, or any heating system.
- Move your peperomias from outside to inside when the temperatures are expected to drop below 50⁰ F.
5- Incorrectly Repotting Your Watermelon Peperomias May Cause Them to Droop
In general, it is recommended to repot watermelon peperomias every two or so years to freshen the soil and give the plants more room. However, every time you repot a plant, it experiences a bit of a shock before settling into its new environment, which may cause it to drop before acclimating to its new home.
But sometimes, after repotting watermelon peperomia, you might notice its leaves drooping. This is typically a sign that you may have stressed the plant and damaged its already fragile root system.
And, because of its fragile roots, watermelon peperomia can easily be injured when repotting. Remember that damaged roots will not absorb water quickly enough to support your plant.
Additionally, watermelon peperomia prefers a slightly acidic pH range of 6 to 6.6 and a rich and well-draining soil. Your new container needs to replicate suitable watermelon peperomia’s growth conditions.
How to Solve an Improper Repotting Issue With Your Watermelon Peperomia:
- In early spring, aim to repot ahead of watermelon peperomia’s primary growing season so that it can recover any damage during its adaptation.
- Before repotting, lightly water your soil.
- Add coffee grounds or peat moss to adjust the pH level of your soil because watermelon peperomia thrives in slightly acidic soils.
- Clip off any dead leaves, water them thoroughly and let any excess water run out the drainage holes.
- Differences in the environment can typically increase the stress on a newly repotted watermelon peperomia and cause it to droop.
6- Water Quality Contributes to Watermelon Peperomia Drooping
Water is essential for all plants’ healthy growth; however, if it contains toxic elements, it will do more harm than good to your plants. Did you know that city tap water can damage your plants; particularly, lilies, spider plants and spikes, and dracaena?
Sensitive plants watered with city water can develop fluoride toxicity resulting in tip burn.According to Michigan State University
How To Ensure That Your Watermelon Peperomia Gets Suitable Water:
- Whenever possible, use well-water or rainwater to irrigate susceptible crops.
- If you use city water containing fluoride only, ensure your fertilizer is free of fluoride or superphosphates.
- Try to maintain the pH level between 6.0 to 6.8 to lower the presence of fluoride in the growing media.
- Also, you can use a reverse osmosis water filtration system to prevent fluoride toxicity for a long-term solution.
- Another option is collecting and storing rainwater and using it to water your plants.
7- The Amount of Light it Receives May Lead to Watermelon Peperomia Drooping
To avoid watermelon peperomia drooping, aim to provide it with the proper amount of light. Too much direct sunlight can cause underwatering by accelerating evaporation and further dehydration.
Insufficient can also prevent your plant from photosynthesizing (plants need to photosynthesize to grow). Without proper photosynthesizing, your watermelon peperomia will not grow properly and look droopy and sick.
Providing Your Watermelon Peperomia With The Right Amount of Light:
- Watermelon peperomia requires 2 to 6 hours of sun exposure when grown outdoors.
- Watermelon peperomia grows well with partial shade.
- If your watermelon peperomia has been harshly damaged by the sun, move it to a well-shaded spot until it recovers.
8- Not Getting Enough Nutrients May Lead to Watermelon Peperomia Drooping
Generally, watermelon peperomia drooping is a sign that your plant is not getting enough food. Even though peperomia requires low maintenance without proper nutrients, they might experience slow growth.
How To Provide Watermelon Peperomia With Proper Nutrients:
- A simple way to provide nutrients to your plant is by using fertilizer to help reintroduce nutrients back into your potting soil, particularly if you haven’t repotted your plant in quite some time.
- Use a well-balanced, slow-release fertilizer rich in nitrogen and potassium to boost your peperomia and support a healthy root system.
- The general recommendation is to use liquid fertilizers because they are easy to use and can be diluted with distilled water to ensure that your plant is adequately fed.
See: Can You Turn Granular Fertilizer Into Liquid Fertilizer? (Yes, and here’s how!)
9- Pests Infestation Can Cause Watermelon Peperomia Drooping
Generally, all varieties of peperomia are pretty resistant to indoor pests. Still, if exposed to infested plants from a nursery, store, greenhouse, or even the outdoors, a heavy infestation can cause its leaves to be yellow and droop and the whole plant to wilt.
Caterpillars can also be an issue because they can leave sizable holes on the edges of your plant’s leaves.
The most common enemies are:
- Spider mites
- Fungus Gnats
See also: Here Are The 10 Best Helpful Insects For Gardens.
How to Solve Pests Issue With Your Watermelon Peperomia:
- Natural insecticides, including neem oil, can deal with soft-bodied pests, like mealybugs and thrips by suffocating and killing them on contact.
- Hand-picking works well with caterpillars, particularly in the evening when they are most active.
- Strong-smelling sprays like pepper or chili can also help keep them off your plant.
- You can use a soapy water solution on your peperomia’s leaves for spider mites. These pests thrive under arid conditions; gradually increase your watering frequency to keep them at bay (but ensure you don’t overwater your plants too).
10- Over Fertilizing Can Cause Watermelon Peperomia Drooping
Over-fertilizing can also adversely impact your plant’s growth as the salts in fertilizers pull out the water from their roots, causing the plant to burn as the roots lose their ability to retain water.
The drop in the amount of water your plant can absorb will cause your plant’s leaves to turn yellow and start dropping.plantsheaven.com
How To Fix Over Fertilizing of a Watermelon Peperomia:
- Start by removing the dead or blackened roots.
- Remove the excess fertilizer by flushing your plant with abundant water.
- During watermelon peperomia growth (especially during the spring season), use a diluted liquid fertilizer once every 2 to 4 weeks.
11- Improper Care and Dusty Leaves
Even though dusty leaves are not generally a big concern, they can limit the amount of sunlight your plant can absorb.
If you don’t properly take care of your watermelon peperomia plants, the leaves may start collecting dust on their surface, which might limit their ability to absorb sunlight.
Eventually, the photosynthesis process will be negatively impacted, causing your plant to lose its turgidity and droop.
Caring for Watermelon Peperomia Plants:
- Rinse your watermelon peperomia leaves with lukewarm water.
- Regularly check and inspect your plants for signs of pests and diseases.
- At least once a week, wipe your plants with a slightly wet paper towel.
12- Not Choosing the right Container Might.
Even though watermelon peperomias are known to be slow-growing plants, you must match your container to the rate of growth of your plant to ensure healthy growth.
If your watermelon peperomias’ leaves are drooping despite their size, it could signify that it wants more room to grow more roots.
Properly Choosing The Right Container for a Watermelon Peperomia Plants:
- Repot your watermelon peperomias into a slightly larger container to provide them with rich and well-draining soil.
- And ensure that you choose a container with drainage holes at the bottom.
- Big terracotta or ceramic pot are excellent choices for containers because they encourage better water drainage and aeration in the soil.
See also: Best Tips Terrace Gardening For Beginners (A helpful guide)
Watermelon peperomias are among the most common varieties of peperomia because they can elevate the beauty of any space, including offices, homes, and cubicles.
Whenever you notice watermelon peperomia drooping, it means one of the reasons mentioned above, and it is time to act and save it. It is crucial that you properly diagnose your plant for a proper solution.
With the advice outlined in this article, you will be able to successfully revive your watermelon peperomia and ensure it grows healthy and stronger.