The Peperomia obtusifolia, more commonly known as the baby rubberplant, is a short, broad plant with dark green, glossy leaves. It’s a flowering plant species native to Florida, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Like other semi-succulents, the ease of care for this plant makes it an ideal indoor plant.
Occasionally, the obtusifolia blooms with small white, spikey flowers, but these are pretty insignificant and small in size.
Characteristics of the Baby Rubber Plant
|Origin||Mexico to northern South America and West Indies|
|Botanical Name||Peperomia obtusifolia|
|Common Names||Baby Rubber plant, American rubber plant, Pepper face plant|
|Light||Part shade from the sun|
|Temperature||55 to 80 F|
|Maximum size||Can grow up to 1 foot tall and 1 foot wide|
|Propagation||Can be propagated using ()|
Caring for your Baby Rubber Plant
The plant can sustain low light, but it thrives in bright light. The leaves will begin to lose their bright green color if you place the plant directly in the afternoon sun or if there is too little light for too long. You must know How Much Light Does Your Plant Needs?
Because of its succulent-like nature and waxy leaves, the rubber plant does not transpire much. Water it regularly, but only moderately, once the top layer of soil begins to dry. You can water it more often in the summer and less frequently from late fall to winter. But beware! If you overwater your rubber plant, it may succumb to root rot.
High temperatures work well for this plant. Make sure the temperature doesn’t fall below 15 C (59 F) in the winter. In the summer, an air-conditioned room might not be a good location for your plant.
The baby rubber plant is native to the tropical regions of the Earth and really enjoys high humidity, especially during the summer. If your region is not particularly humid, you could consider setting up a humidifier for your plant room or placing the pot on a wet pebble surface. You could also mist the plant a few times a week.
You can fertilize your plant every two weeks with a liquid fertilizer. Or, a light layer of worm compost once every year would do wonders. Avoid fertilizing during late fall or winter or if your plant is water-stressed.
To help your rubber plant grow best, use a rich, dense organic soil mix that drains quickly.
The plant doesn’t have an extensive root system and grows quite slowly. It does not require a huge pot or frequent transplants. You could grow yours for a few years at least before deciding to re-pot it, and only choose a pot that is two inches wider than the previous one. Combine the old soil with new soil, which is slightly more acidic. Here is a step by step guide on How to Re-pot Your Plant in 15 Minutes Max
To help it grow right, remove any shoots that don’t bear leaves or flowers. If you want to make your plant’s growth bushier, pinch it back.
Propagation is ideally done in the spring season. Remove at least two pairs of leaves in a stem cutting with a sharp knife, about 3” from the tip. Then dip the cutting in a hormone rooting powder. Then, plant it in an equal part mix of sand and peat moss. Keep the pot at a temperature of 65 F. Give it a little water regularly until the cuttings take root and show new growth.
Peperomia obtusifolia Arrangement Ideas
1. In a Cup
Here’s a decoration idea we find the simplest and the best. Plant your baby rubber plant in a wide coffee mug, a stout vase, or a small glass pot. You can then place it on your study table, in the window in the restroom, on your bedside, or pretty much any bright place in the house. The plant becomes an instant friend and companion.
2. On a tabletop
This is a fairly small, slow-growing succulent (which is why it’s called the baby rubber plant). It usually grows around 1 to 2 feet high. Although it may begin to spread wide, you can simply prune it to give it a more compact look. It would do fairly well on a desk or tabletop, reaching a max 8 to 12 inches across. It can even adorn walls or line up near your entryway.
In the garden, obtusifolia may do well in a shady corner, in the shade of a wall—wider pots where several cuttings of obtusifolia may be propagated next to each other look great. The dark green color complements colorful companion plants like bromeliads.
4. Hanging arrangements
Although it may take a while for your baby rubber plant to be old enough to trail down, the spilling growth of the stem makes the plant a fair candidate for hanging baskets.
Also, read about Make your Home Ornamented with the Variegated Rubber Plant
Common Issues of the Baby Rubber Plant
The baby rubber plant is a fairly resilient species, although it is susceptible to a few common plant pests.
Aphids are fairly common sap-sucking pests. They love the juicy leaves of the baby rubber plant. A spray of neem oil on the leaves will prevent aphids from attacking your plants, and you can always use some insecticide if you actually spot any aphids on your plant.
Mealybugs or other scale insects might also sometimes attack the rubber plant. You can use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to remove any bugs you find on the plant. Neem oil works as a preventive measure for these too.
Spider mites are very, very small, reddish-brown arachnids. They live underneath plant leaves, where they spin webs and puncture plant cells to feed. Again, neem oil or any kind of insecticidal oil can be used to get rid of spider mites.
Root rot is a common problem if the soil of your plant is not well-drained, or you’re overwatering it.
Risks associated with Peperomia obtusifolia
There isn’t really a risk of toxicity associated with the baby rubber plant.
The ASPCA rules peperomia obtusifolia as non-toxic for pets, specifically dogs and cats.
Why do Baby Rubber Plants make good houseplants?
They look great
The Baby Rubber Plant is a beautiful, green spacefiller for any spot inside your house. The deep green leaves, as we’ve already suggested, present a great contrast to any colorful flower arrangement.
They’re low maintenance
They don’t require very regular watering, don’t need to be repotted or pruned often, and don’t even need much fertilizer or direct sunlight.
They’re good for you
According to one study by Wolverton, Peperomia obtusifolia removes formaldehyde from the air. Formaldehyde is a human carcinogen commonly found in plywood, hair products, and carpets.
They last long
The obtusifolia doesn’t have to be repotted often, and if cared for well, it can last you almost a decade.
Haven’t we said enough already? Next time you visit the nursery, consider the baby rubber plant addition to your office desk.
If you are interested in knowing more about houseplant gardening, check out our home page.
How much sun do baby rubber plants need?
Baby rubber plants are very small, so they don’t need much sun. In fact, too much sun can burn them. They do best in bright but indirect light, like near a window. Keep the soil lightly moist but not soggy. Once they flower, baby rubber plants need less water.
Why is my baby rubber plant drooping?
The most likely reason for your baby rubber plant drooping is that it’s not getting enough light or is too far away from a window. If you have the plant in a dark corner, it will not be able to photosynthesize and produce energy for itself. Additionally, if the plant is too far from a window, the leaves may start to wilt or curl.
Do baby rubber plants like to be misted?
Baby rubber plants like to be misted if they are in need of a moisturizer. A mister can be used to provide a nice mist on the plant. However, you may not want to mist the plant too often due to its small size. The best frequency to mist baby rubber plants is once every few days.