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Watermelon Peperomia Drooping: 10 Reasons Why

Watermelon Peperomia Drooping: 10 Reasons Why

Watermelon peperomia has become a popular addition to many plant enthusiasts’ homes and wish lists. These plants are unique, beautiful, and normally quite easy to care for. They do, however, have some specific requirements they need to thrive. If not provided with the things they need, they will often start to droop. 

In this article, we will be talking about 10 reasons your watermelon peperomia might be drooping and how you can fix it. 

Why are my peperomia’s leaves drooping? 

  1. Too much water
  2. Not enough water
  3. Temperature – Too hot/cold
  4. Low Humidity
  5. Too much fertilizer
  6. Not enough fertilizer
  7. Root rot
  8. Not enough light
  9. Shock 
  10. Pests

1. Too much water

A common mistake many plant keepers make is watering your plant too much. We want our plants to have the very best care, so we overcare for them by watering before they need it. Some symptoms of overwatering are:

  • Soggy soil
  • Yellowing leaves
  • Foul odor
  • Drooping leaves

Soggy soil

If your plant has soggy soil, this is a sure sign of overwatering and one you will want to rectify immediately. Repot your plant into soil that has good drainage and a pot that has a drainage hole. A mixture of 1 part potting soil to 1 part perlite is ideal. I prefer FoxFarms brand of potting soil, but you can use whatever you have available.  

You will want to check for root rot while you have your plant out of the soil. Healthy roots are white and firm, rotten roots will be mushy and usually dark brown or black. If you find root rot, you will want to remove the rotten roots and wash the healthy roots before placing the plant into the new soil. 

Yellowing Leaves

Another common sign of overwatering is yellowing leaves. Unfortunately, this is also a symptom of underwatering, so you will want to check your soil and see if it is wet or soggy. If it is wet you are likely overwatering, if it is dry you are probably underwatering. 

Reduce your watering schedule and see if that helps. You should only be watering your watermelon peperomia when the soil is dry or nearly dry. A normal watering schedule is usually once per week in the late spring-fall and every other week in the winter. If your plant seems to stay wet longer than you think it should, it might not be getting enough light. 

Foul Odor

If your plant seems to be emitting a foul odor, you will want to check the soil for mold or fungus. Odor is usually attributed to one of those two things, or root rot. The best solution for moldy or fungus-covered soil is to repot your plant. You will want to keep an eye on the soil of all your plants as this issue can attract fungus gnats and they can be a pain to get rid of. 

Drooping leaves

A plant that is overwatered will often have drooping leaves. This is due to the stems absorbing too much water and losing stability. Reduce your watering frequency and try exposing your plant to more light to fix the issue. 

2. Not Enough Water

Many of the symptoms of not having enough water are similar to those of too much water. You will have to use your sleuthing skills to figure out which one is affecting your plant. While not enough water is usually less harmful to your plant, it can still cause serious issues if not caught soon enough. Symptoms of underwatering are:

  • Hydrophobic soil
  • Drooping leaves
  • Yellowing leaves

Hydrophobic Soil

If you haven’t watered your plant in a while, your soil could be hydrophobic. Hydrophobic soil repels water and is unable to absorb it. You can tell if your soil is hydrophobic by pouring water onto it. If it rolls off to the edge of the pot or immediately comes out of the drainage hole, it’s likely hydrophobic. 

Thankfully, solving hydrophobic soil is a rather painless process. Simply place your plant’s pot in a bowl or a bucket and fill it with water about halfway up your pot. The soil will slowly absorb the water and make it look healthy again. You can also repot your plant, but the rehydration method is my favorite. 

Drooping Leaves

Underwatering can also cause your leaves to begin to droop. This is due to them not having enough water to properly photosynthesize or to maintain their stem’s turgidity. Watermelon peperomia don’t like to be wet, but they also don’t like to be bone dry. 

Establishing a good watering schedule for your plant can keep its stems turgid and upright. A good rule of thumb is to let the top 1-2 inches of your peperomia’s soil dry out before watering again. You can test the soil with your finger before watering to know for sure if it’s ready. 

Yellowing Leaves

Yellowing leaves, like drooping leaves, can be caused by several things on this list. Underwatering, pests, and overwatering to name a few. Be sure to adjust your watering schedule if you are overwatering your watermelon peperomia and give it time to dry out. 

3. Temperature

Watermelon peperomia prefer to be kept between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. If allowed to get much hotter, or much cooler, these plants could start to suffer. Signs your plant may be suffering from the heat are:

  • Drooping leaves
  • Faster than normal water absorption 
  • Brown leaf tips or edges

If you notice your plant exhibiting any of these symptoms, you will want to check the temperature around your plant. If it is above 80 degrees, you will want to bring it to a cooler area in your house or move it to a shadier area. 

If you are worried about the cold, signs your plant is suffering are:

  • Drooping leaves
  • Curled leaves
  • Dropped leaves
  • Slow water absorption

Once the weather drops below 65, you will want to bring your plant inside. If it’s already inside, but still exhibiting these symptoms, you may need to move it further away from the window or away from any drafts. 

4. Low Humidity

Your plant’s drooping leaves may be a sign of low humidity. Watermelon peperomia need a moderate amount of humidity to thrive and will start to show signs of unhappiness when not given enough. Other signs of low humidity are:

  • Leaves with brown tips or edges
  • Soil is drying out faster than you think it should

If your plant is showing these symptoms, you likely need to raise your humidity levels. You can do this a few ways. 

  • Keep your plant in a terrarium
  • Add a humidifier
  • Add a pebble tray
  • Mist

Terrarium

A great way to keep a humidity-loving plant happy is to keep it in a terrarium. I kept my watermelon peperomia in a terrarium with some of my dart frogs and it really thrived. It eventually even got too large for the 18x18x18 ExoTerra and needed to be moved to a larger tank. 

Keep in mind if you want to go this route that you will likely want to add some invertebrates such as springtails or isopods to your terrarium, as well to keep the soil healthy and prevent mold and fungus. A good plant light is also essential. 

Humidifier

If you have the money in your budget, a humidifier can be a huge asset to plant keepers. They are great at keeping the humidity in a certain area at a specific level and they are perfect for helping your indoor plants thrive. The downside to humidifiers is that it can be easy to forget to fill them and they can be somewhat pricey. 

Pebble Tray

My favorite option for adding humidity is a pebble tray. You can make these as simple or as extravagant as you like, and as the water evaporates from the tray it gives humidity to your plants. 

To make a pebble tray you need a shallow tray, pebbles, and water. Fill the tray with pebbles to just below the rim of the tray. Then add water to just below the top of the pebbles. Place your plant on top of the pebbles and refill as needed. 

I love this option because it allows me to choose trays and pebbles that complement the plants and the pots they are in. 

Misting

Misting is my least favorite option on the list. While it can be effective, it can also cause damage to the walls and furniture in your house if you aren’t careful. If you need to raise the humidity in a pinch, though a mister is a bandaid. Lightly mist your plant every few days and it should keep it at a good humidity level. 

5. Too Much Fertilizer

When caring for plants, it’s easy to over-fertilize. We want our plants to be the best they can be and grow as large as they can. However, too much fertilizer can be detrimental. Some signs you are over-fertilizing your watermelon peperomia are:

  • Drooping leaves
  • Mushy stems
  • Root rot
  • Yellowing leaves

Too much fertilizer can actually burn the roots of your plant. This makes it hard for your plant to get the nutrients and the water it needs and can even lead to the roots rotting. The ideal fertilization schedule for watermelon peperomia is once a month from spring to the end of summer. 

If you have already over fertilized your plant, the best course of action is to repot it and get it out of the current soil. This can be risky, as watermelon peperomia stress easily, but leaving the abundance of fertilizer in the soil can actually kill your plant. 

6. Not Enough Fertilizer

While too much fertilizer can hurt your plant, not enough can cause issues too. If your plant isn’t getting enough nutrients it can start to look sad. Signs of not having enough fertilizer are: 

  • Yellowing leaves
  • Drooping leaves
  • Poor growth
  • Unhealthy growth

There are two ideal methods of fertilization for watermelon peperomia. The first is liquid fertilizer. This is a fertilizer you mix with water and then give your plant once a month in place of regular watering. This method is great for organized and hands-on plant keepers that like to know exactly what their plants are getting. 

If this doesn’t describe you and you would like an easier method, you can also use time-released capsules. These pellets are placed in and on the soil of your plant in the spring and they release small amounts of fertilizer every time you water. 

Both options are great, but shouldn’t take the place of repotting, which should be done every 1-2 years in the spring. Repotting allows you to get fresh soil to your plants and check their roots for growth. 

7. Root Rot

Usually caused by overwatering or over-fertilization, root rot can mean the death of your plant if not caught early enough. Symptoms of root rot include: 

  • Soggy soil
  • Drooping leaves
  • Yellowing leaves

If your plant is experiencing these symptoms, you will want to get it out of the pot and check the roots as soon as you can. Healthy roots will be firm and white, while rotten roots will be mushy and either dark brown or black. 

8. Pests

The worst part of plant keeping is the pests. Thankfully, healthy watermelon peperomia are fairly good at repelling pests on their own. However, if your plant is stressed, it will be more susceptible to mealy bugs, spider mites, and whiteflies. 

If you think your plant may have an insect infestation, check the underside of the leaves, where the stems meet the base of the plant, and where the leaves meet the stem. These are the most likely places insects will hideout. 

If you find insects, treating them can be tricky. My favorite method of treatment is to simply put my planet outside. I find that nature usually takes its course rather quickly and my plants are insect-free in no time. If this isn’t an option for you, neem oil and insecticidal soaps can also be very effective. 

9. Not Enough Light

Watermelon peperomia prefer medium to bright indirect light. If your plant isn’t getting enough light it can definitely lead to a lot of issues. Symptoms of light deficiency are: 

  • Soggy soil/slow water absorption 
  • Yellowing leaves
  • Droopy leaves
  • Root rot

If your plant is experiencing these symptoms and doesn’t seem to be having any of the issues above, it’s likely it isn’t getting enough light. Try moving your plant to a brighter area or add a plant grow bulb above your plant. 

10. Repotting Shock

If you have recently acquired or repotted your plant and its leaves have started drooping, don’t worry. Watermelon peperomia are very sensitive to environmental changes and can stress easily. 

If you have recently repotted your plant and it was fine before, place it back where it was before repotting and give it a few weeks to adjust. It should bounce back. 

If you have recently added the watermelon peperomia to your home, try placing it where you think is ideal and give it a few weeks. If it doesn’t perk up in that time, check its humidity levels, soil, and light and troubleshoot from there.