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April 21st, 2021

Florida Peperomia

by R.S. Walsh

Florida Peperomia (Peperomia obstusifolia) is a native groundcover primarily used for natural landscapes and shade gardens in southwest Florida. This unique species is an epiphytic herb with thick succulent leaves 2-6 inches long. This plant grows 6-9 inches in height and spreads and forms clumps broader than it is tall. Preferring shade environments, this plant does best in moist, less fertile, and well drained environments that mimic the moist hammocks and swamps where they are found naturally. This plant is ideal for carefree gardeners as it is very easy to take care of once established. Characterized as a slow growing groundcover, this plant can be spaced close together to encourage them to fill in faster.

This plant is classified as endangered in its natural environment as its numbers have declined due to poaching, exotic species invasion, and habitat loss. The Peperomia plant can be propagated by cuttings which makes this plant all the better to share with your friends! This plant will cascade over the side of a hanging basket or planter making for a beautiful shade ornamental piece. The Peperomia also comes in non-native variegated varieties that tolerate a few hours of sunlight.

This plant column is a joint effort by all at In The Garden, a Sanibel garden center, located at 3889 Sanibel Captiva Rd., Sanibel, Florida.

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