How to: Propagate a Watermelon Peperomia

How to Propagate peperomia

Is your new “it” plant a watermelon peperomia? No? It should be, because they’re awesome and pet safe. We love them at Leaf and Paw – their shiny, almost sparkly unicorn leaves are gorgeous and teardrop shape steal my heart. And what’s better than one watermelon peperomia? Two. At least two. Maybe three.

My Watermelon Peperomia, Walter Melon, was getting leggy and crazy, not compact and short as he was initially. Due to winter in NY and not-the-best plant placement, I was left with a Peperomia Agyreia that needed some TLC. I cut a few leaves and back and thought – can I make a few more Walter Melons?

The answer is yes and here’s a short and sweet post about watermelon Peperomia propagation, much like the plant itself. It was actually difficult to find Peperomia propagation tips online, too, so some of this was trial and error. My particular approach works best for Peperomia Agyreia, not necessarily all Peperomia, which is why it needed a post all by itself.

Prepping for Propagating

In a nutshell, Watermelon Peperomia needs to be cut in a certain way to optimize root development. It’s a little unconventional from your typical propagation procedure. For instance, I typically use rooting hormone on any plant cutting I perform, but not these little leaves. Rooting hormone actually suffocated the stem and didn’t help roots to grow at all, so I left it out. Also, I am keeping my cuttings in a makeshift greenhouse to help with humidity, something that greatly increased healthy roots despite the propagation being done mid-winter in NY.

So far, I’ve documented how to propagate Monsteras and Rubber Trees, but if this is your first propagating rodeo with Leaf and Paw, then you’ll need some basic hardware and a stare-down before you get started.

Before you do anything, look closely at your peperomia, but not like, in a creepy way. You want to make sure Peppy ticks these boxes:
-It’s a healthy plant
-It’s established (not newly propagated or rooted plant)
-It does not have any pest friends

Trying to propagate your plant with any of these issues will lead to tears and heartbreak for you and Peppy. The most important thing with propagating any plant is its health and mental state – you want to be sure both are in the green.

How to Propagate

What you’ll need:
-A pot filled with high quality potting mix, moistened.
-A glass dome or plastic freezer bag (I recommend buying a dome to use for future propagating)
-A sterilized knife or blade
-Paper towels
-Cutting board or surface (I bought a marble board specifically for cuttings)

  1. Take off those leaves.

    Trim off 3-4 healthy leaves from the Mother plants. Cut at the end of the stem using a sharp, clean knife or blade. Propagate Watermelon Peperomia

  2. Trim ’em.

    The petiole is much too long as-is, so let’s trim it down. I usually cut the petiole in half then again for the length I want. You want 1/4 inch left.

  3. Plant him up.

    Now it’s time to grab that planter with loose and moist potting mix. I used a 4″ pot for two leaves, anymore will crowd the pot. Have more cuttings? You’ll need another planter. How to Propagate a Watermelon Peperomia

  4. Make a casual greenhouse.

    Place your glass dome over the cuttings or place the pot in a plastic zip top bag, leaving 25% of the top open. I prefer the dome, but the bag works well, too. The only tricky part is remembering to water them. The bag (naturally) fogs up with moisture and it’s just hard to tell when it’s time to water. Do yourself a favor and just put a reminder on your phone to check the soil every 4-5 days.

  5. Care for him.

    Keep soil moist and place in a warm location without direct sun. I usually recommend a bathroom window or a south window in a warm house. It’ll take about 4-6 weeks to see new roots.

It’s hard to tell in the above photo, but in about 2 months, you should see baby roots. To check, gently scoop up your cutting and brush off the bits of soil – you should see something like this:

That’s a good sign! They may be tiny but they’re mighty. In another 4 months or so, you should see some leaves. Keep this plantlet in a bright warm spot to make sure he grows up to be the best he can be.

Propagating in Water

You can also propagate Watermelon Peperomia or any type of Peperomia cuttings in water! Some types of Peperomia make babies (similar to how Pilea Peps do), which can be cut off the mother plant and put in water to encourage root growth. In addition to the propagation by cutting method, I tried this as well. I cut a small plantlet (just a single leaf worn’t work, it needs to be a plantlet) off of Walter and placed it in a tiny vial filled with purified water (no chlorine, please). After 2 months, I see some baby white roots growing!

Have you tried propagating your Watermelon Peperomia? Have some questions? Leave a comment!

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39 replies
  1. I had no idea that the peperomia family was so varied and prosperous. We just got a peperomia rossa. I love it. Deep green pointed leaves with burgundy undersides and funny little spike blooms, make this a must-have for me. Quick question- watering and feeding the rossa?
    Also, is the purple waffle plant a peperomia?

    1. Hi Robert! Peperomia Rossas are gorgeous! They follow the same care as other peperomia family embers, keep them moist and in bright (not direct) sun. I water mine once a week. And to my knowledge Purple Waffle Plants (Hemigraphis) are not related to peperomia, but are also great non toxic plants for pets! 🙂

  2. Can I put a leaf that dropped off into water to propagate? It is turning black so I don’t know if it is working.

    1. Unfortunately they don’t propagate that way, which is why it’s turning black. The only way to really propagate peps is as I talk about above, or you can follow the same instructions but cut just the leaf in half and stick the top half in soil. Keep it moist and there’s bout a 50/50 chance it will root that way too.

      1. I was plant sitting for my neighbor back in July when one of the leaves from his peperomia fell off. At the time I had never seen the plant. I took the leaf home and put it in a tiny glass bottle. The leaf did not die but the tip of the stem turned dark. I left it alone and within a few weeks I saw roots. I then cut the tip of the leaf and now there are tiny leaves growing in the water. I must have gotten lucky. Plus I was very patient.

      2. Although you cannot water propagate a leaf. You can water propagate a single stem with a leaf attached to it doesn’t need to be a plantlet.

  3. New to the peperomia craze, I’m a good gardener, very good, but my 1st peperomia, a pilea, did pass on, literally. Help please – I need some helpful tips n’ tricks!

  4. I just received some ruby peperomia cuttings and they keep coming out of the soil when I shift them (I’ve had them five days now). I’ve planted them up to the first leaf of the cutting. Any advice? I am a newbie to houseplants and hope to love these beauties to lush growth!

    1. Hi Lizzie, They sound like they’re in great shape, but do these cuttings have roots? If not or if they are very gentle roots, that is why they keep popping up. It’s normal for small cuttings to come out of the soil since the rooting system is so shallow, and while it’s frustrating, they’ll be this way until they mature; just be sure to keep the cuttings lightly moist and in a warm location. It shouldn’t take long though! Peperomia grow quickly.

  5. I put 2 watermelon peperomia leaves with stem in water to root. I have a baby leaf on each. One of the baby’s has lots of roots. Rather than plant the baby and mama leaf together, can I gently detach the baby, plant it and leave the mama leaf and see if it gets a new baby?

    1. Hi Joan, Yes you can! I just warn you to be very careful when planting the plantlets, they are fragile and prone to dying when they’re young. Be sure to not overwater and keep it in a warm spot. The mother should sprout a new plant in a few months. Good luck!

    2. I propagated a healthy stem cutting in water only to see it rot. 🙁 I haven’t really been lucky w propagating this plant but the last one really puzzled me cos I already picked the healthiest leaf.

  6. Just received my first watermelon plant and a few leaves had come off during transit. They still looked super healthy so have tried soil propagating 3 leaves. Looking forward to see if it works. Fingers crossed ☺️ Thank you for your help x

  7. I started your process and i am one month in, i start to see a leaf in water with some roots, now my question is – how to i plant it in soil? I read somewhere to wait till i see three leaf at least. when i plant it, do i keep leaf above soil? Im confused

    1. Hi Tara, so, ideally you don’t want to cover any of the new growth but you don’t want it to dry out. So, I suggest, yes waiting for some larger growth and as long as you have the new growth facing up and uncovered when you plant, you can gently plant the original leaf under soil. The trick is to wait until the growth is large enough so nothing is being “covered” per se, and the original leaf falls off. I hope that makes sense!

    1. They can, but I don’t advise it since they do not like bright harsh run or to be too wet (if it rains). It totally depends on what country you live in but I would still keep this plant indoors.

    1. Hi Michelle, if you mean a peperomia flower, then no, that’s not possible. You can propagate peperomia from leaf/stem cuttings or from the baby plants that pop up alongside the main plant.

  8. Hi L&P
    I have propagated my 1 leaf W Peperomia in spagnum miss , it was beginning of Australian winter so I did not have high expectations, but I put the zip up bag over the tall glass with the S. moss and left it in the corner of the kitchen bench with almost no light. To my surprise within2-3 weeks I saw a new leaf emerging near the mother . The mum and baby doing fine . Thank you.

  9. Hi! I’m propagating a watermelon peperomia, I’ve cut a healthy leaf in half and planted it in soil. That seems to be going well (fingers crossed!) I left the stem on the leaf and have now noticed little roots forming on that. Can I cut the stem off and plant that too? Or would it be better in water? I don’t want to hurt the half leaf that’s there either.
    I hope that makes sense and any advice gratefully received x

    1. You can plant that too! Right in the soil is fine. Water propagation is great, but if you have roots growing from it hanging out in soil, you’re doing a great job and can plant any piece with roots.

      1. That’s great, thanks! I’m really enjoying it and so excited to have plants I’ve grown myself!! I’m already looking for what to grow next, it’s very addictive!! x

  10. I have propagated a WM pep both ways ( leaf, halved in pumice and one with petiole, in water) and have fine roots on each method currently. At what point do I plant them, and in what medium?

    1. I plant them when there is pretty decent roots, like 6-10, 2-3″ ones or so and they’re beefy. I just plant them right in potting soil and keep them lightly moist at all times as they acclimate.

  11. Just getting into propagating plants. My friend gave me a watermelon peperomia leaf with stem yesterday. Can I just put that in water? I did overnight and it seems like the end of the stem is turning black. 🙁

    1. Unless the piece is a baby plant or pup from the mother plant (and has stem attached), it won’t work with just water. I would try my soil propagation method I do in this post. If the stem is rotting you may need a new cutting. The trick is keeping the cutting moist in soil and in a warm location. Good luck!

  12. And while I have never tried this personally, James @james_renaud shares that he has seen the watermelon peperomia successfully propagated in soil with only a little section of the leaf.  Roots and a new plant will actually grow right from a piece of leaf.  Super cool if you ask me.  And something I cannot wait to try!

  13. Hey there,

    Am I correct in saying that a peperomia cutting via water propagation, doesn’t need a node? My instincts say it needs a node – but it seems that isn’t the case here? I’m looking to propagate a peperomia moonlight.



    1. Hi Lucinda, They do best with a node but I have seen some luck propagating without one, it just seems to work with Peperomia argyreia (watermelon peppy) only. You can definitely try, but peperomia moonlight usually puts out little plantlets at the base which you can propagate on their own.

  14. I seem to have no luck in leaf propagation in soil. Each time I’ve done it, some weird bug seems to eat away at the leaves and I’m left with nothing! I’m wondering, have you ever tried propagating leaves in sphagnum moss? Do you think it would work?

    1. Oh no! And yes I have, but I have a love hate relationship with sphagnum, I just never remember to keep it moist. If you are more diligent than I am, it should definitely work. I’ve also seen people use leca. Good luck!

  15. I trimmed my watermelon peperomia and put the leaves with stems in water with some worm casings. They all grew roots and once they were about 1”-1.5” long I put them in soil but they’re not doing wel, I just trimmed 2 of them shorter and put them back in water because the stems were rotting. When I pulled them the root system appeared completely dead… after 2 days. Should I be keeping them humidified (in a plastic bag) in the new pot until they’re established?

    1. I would and I have had this happen, not with a peperomia, but a tradescantia. I just trimmed the dead roots and started over twice and eventually they took. The key is once they are planted to keep them slightly moist and in a sunny spot. Good luck!

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