Variegated peperomia is dying in an odd way

missappletonMay 17, 2013

Hi all!

I'm new to posting in GardenWeb. But ever since I decided to keep plants and do something with my barren garden, I've been scouring the discussions for tips, pointers and help. Have tirelessly searched for a solution to my current problem, but haven't found any answers :( Hope someone can shed some light!

I bought a variegated peperomia a month ago. Kept it under shaded sunlight, watered only occasionally. It thrived. But it was still in a plastic bag so we repotted it 2 weeks later in a terracotta pot (with drainage holes) using generic organic potting soil. Unfortunately decided to put it in direct sunlight. After reading that it is a no-no I brought it back into shade.

Now, something strange happened somewhere between repotting and full sun exposure. The bottom leaves began to have brown patches and eventually fell off. At first I thought it was because we repotted it too high (my husband had happily piled the soil on!). But later the younger leaves eventually had brown/yellow patches that turned translucent and then all that remained were holes. It is as if the leaves are melting off!

Could it be too much nitrogen? But that does not explain the translucent bit? At first I thought it was scorching, but these symptoms continued well after the plant was in shade for a good few weeks.

At this point I don't know what to do, so have left the plant as it is, not sure what else can be done to save it?

(I live in a tropical climate where sun and rain is abundant and it's often crazy humid, if that info is of any help)

p.s. Don't have a picture now but will post up after work!

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teengardener1888(NY Albany 5a)

Its probally suffering the effects of repotting and direct sun. Can you posta photo of the plant

And welcome to gardenweb :-)

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 2:52PM
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theficuswrangler(9/10)

Yea, without pics it's a shot in the dark, but the description of "melting" makes me suspect over-wet soil. Pepperomias are usually rather succulent, and wet soil is the kiss of death. Too much sun, I would think, would result most likely in scorched leaves, they would look light tan, almost white, and become crispy. Of course, not all plants react the same way, so TG could be right.

In your researches, I would recommend you look up some of Al's excellent tutorials on soil, soil moisture, and "gritty" mixes, on this forum.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 8:06PM
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missappleton

Thanks for the responses! Appreciate them. Yes, repotting is probably a factor, I don't think we did a very good job at it. Will educate myself at the resources suggested :)

Here is a photo. It used to so much more bushier. Also, most of the uglier leaves have been cut off so what you see is less adverse than what it was before.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 12:05AM
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grrr4200(z3 MI)

looks like it got sun burnt

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 2:02AM
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missappleton

I did leave it out in the blazing sun :( However, how long does the effects of sun burn last/carry on? It's been in the shade for the past 2-3 weeks, but the 'symptoms' are still progressing on.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 5:24AM
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teengardener1888(NY Albany 5a)

the plant will grow new healthy leaves and the old leaves will eventually fall off

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 8:33AM
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theficuswrangler(9/10)

Yea, seeing the picture, it does look like sunburn - those areas of very light tan. A fungal infection, which is what you would have killing leaves if soil/roots were the basic problem, would be darker brown with yellowish margins, usually. Of course, you probably have secondary infections striking the necrotic areas that were killed by the sun, and those could be spreading to other leaves.
Why don't you go ahead and cut off the damaged leaves - you'll feel better, and so will the plant.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 9:51AM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

And no more direct sun for this plant pls, I believe it needs bright, indirect light or some shade, but not direct sun. Good luck w/ it.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 10:25AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Agree with the above, and also this could be causing issues:

"The bottom leaves began to have brown patches and eventually fell off. At first I thought it was because we repotted it too high (my husband had happily piled the soil on!)." I would remove any soil above the original level.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 7:58PM
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asleep_in_the_garden

Good catch Purp!

Some plants can take being buried even deeper when transplanted(does wonders for lycopersicon),but in most cases all you are doing is smothering your plant.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 8:31PM
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teengardener1888(NY Albany 5a)

It works wonders for tomatoes which i think asleep mentions

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 10:46AM
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missappleton

Thanks everyone! Have done all that was advised. Fingers crossed they will make it through :)

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 9:17PM
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