Help w/ Plant ID (Hoya?Peperomia?) & Resurrection

Chriztine111December 3, 2012


This summer I adopted my great aunt's "wonder plant". This plant had been her faithful companion for decades. Then, when she died last December, the plant was left behind on the windowsill in her empty house. Amazingly, it was still alive (& well!) when I stopped by her house in June.

Upon hearing of the plant's pluckiness, several family members eagerly volunteered to give it home. But, I retained custody by citing my long time gardening experience ... & the rule of "finders, keepers" ;).

Since that time, the plant has been going steadily downhill (& I've learned the virtue of humility). I'm hoping to get some help to id the plant. Fromt there, I would be super grateful for advice in coming up with a recovery plan to try to save it. All ideas & suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!

Many Thanks!

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It looks like a peperomia obtusifolia. Mine does well with little care...kind of a hands off plant. I let it get pretty dry before watering and it does not require a lot of light. Hope you can get it to rebound!

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 8:13PM
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I have one of these...does yours only have those two stems? cause that's a pretty big pot for just a few stems. And it looks like someone is taking nips at it, maybe the your furry gardening partner that's behind your plant in the pic? Also what kind of soil is it in?


    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 1:38AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Great story! What a tough survivor plant! I would learn the lesson the plant taught you already. It lived for 6 months without water. How often are you watering it? Can't tell from the pic, but do you think it's getting enough light? Which was was the window facing where you found it?

You probably are unable to know or tell when it was last repotted, but that would probably be a good idea when you think the time is right. I wouldn't do it until the plant is a little more robust, assuming that's possible to achieve, which I would assume.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 9:41AM
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Thank you all for the replies!! Originally, I thought it might be a peperomia glabella but now after looking at several obtusifolia photos, it look like that is probably a better match.

I've been keeping it on a console table below an eastward facing window w a blind over it (the blind slats are slightly tipped down so as to block the view from below while letting in as much sun as possible) but it used to be on the sill of an "uncovered" window with southern exposure. As, I write this, its striking me that the location might not being meeting its modest light needs. What do you all think? Unfortunately, it is already receiving the best exposure my house has to offer. If it should have more light, would using something like the Fertile Earth LiteStik House Plant Light help the situation?

It definitely had more than 2 stems when I took it in & the stems were more like vines at the time. Then, the leaf damage started to appear & entire vines would get sickly looking and drop off. Aside from having a heart to heart with Henry (the feline blur in the photo who swears he's innocent), I also looked over the entire plant and soil& then re-checked it with a lighted magnifying glass but couldn't find any obvious culprits. I would be inclined to put the blame back on Henry (especially for those leaves that look like they have had their outer edges knawed off) but then there are others with damage that doesn't seem to be cat inflicted.

It looked so full & crowded in its original 7"(traditional deeper style) pot that I ended up replanting it in the shallower 9" one it's in now. Apparently that wasn't a great call either. I kept the sandy dirt it was living in & filled in potting soil around that. Both mediums are very light & quick to dry out. Its always bone dry when I water which I'd guesstimate is about every week or 2 but I've never been sure about what watering interval is best.

Once again, I would welcome any ideas, impressions, &/or advice based on the additional info. What sort of care regime would you all implement over the next few months if you were me? Is there such a thing as houseplant bootcamp? ;)

Double Thanks!

Here is a link that might be useful: photo peperomia glabella

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 1:23AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

"Is there such a thing as houseplant bootcamp?" Yes, you're here!

I wouldn't worry too much about the damaged leaves. Hopefully your plant will get its' strength back and replace those leaves soon.

You may find it helpful to look over some of the discussions about soils. Drying out quickly is good, but kind of conflicts with your description of "sandy." Hardly any plants appreciate much if any sand in their pot. How did the roots seem to you?

After you water, feel the heft of the pot. When it feel much lighter, it's time to water again. Your goal is to find a balance that's definitely not soggy, but letting it go bone dusty dry is probably something you want to avoid.

You can only give as much light as you have. Supplementing that, hard to say if it's necessary. There's a pretty big difference between an unobstructed south window vs. a semi-covered east window, but that may be enough. It's a hard to call to make from a written description, but since you know it may be an issue, I'm sure you'll be trying to decide by observing the plant. If you're often gone in the morning and you don't feel your privacy is invaded if people can see in while you're not there, maybe lift the slats while you're gone? Just a thought...

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 10:07AM
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greenlarry(UK 8/9)

Looks a bit like a ficus to me. Any white sap?

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 1:33PM
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Hi all!

No white sap that I've noticed.

The soil the plant was in struck me as looking especially poor ... when dry it is more of a light grey color than brown, & when wet, it is a dark grey to black. After reading around the boards for a little soil 101, I'm wondering if "silty" would be a better characterization. In any case, since the plant had been doing so well with it, and to manage the shock of transplant, I had thought that keeping the old soil with it was a good idea. Other than loosening up pot bound roots, I've tended to try to maintain the position of the plant in it's existing soil & then use new soil to fill in under & around it when repotting. Is that not advisable?

As for our current patient, I'll pay better attention to its hydration cues to see if they'll lead me to a better watering schedule.

One follow up question I have on the lighting... I have an extra plant light so even if it isn't totally necessary, I'd be up for trying the supplimental light as long as it couldn't make things worse. I've read that these plants don't like direct afternoon sun- could the gro light be too much?

After reading through many posts in the forums, the only other thing I'm conflicted about is whether or not to fertilize at this point. Anybody care to weigh in on when & what to be adding to try to bring the plant back to its past glory?

Happy Growing,

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 1:44AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Silty isn't good in general. A great soil is more chunky with tiny air pockets in it and doesn't hold excess moisture. When there are 2 different soils in a pot, moisture may have difficulty traveling evenly between then. Be on the lookout for that. At this point, it's probably much better off than it was, and should probably be left alone while it gains back some strength. I probably wouldn't have messed with the roots more than you did either since this plant is recovering from a trauma.

The only way to know if there's too much light is if you see sunburn. I'm extremely doubtful that a light could burn a plant that was in a south window before and would probably try using it if I had it.

Fertilizer isn't medicine. Did the soil you added have any fertilizer in it already? That would be the 1st thing to know.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 9:24AM
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