Time to take action – this is all about pruning and propagating my Peperomia obtusifolia aka Baby Rubber Plant.
Peperomias, which are available to you in a wide range of variegations and leaf shapes and sizes, make excellent and easy care houseplants. Most of them have glossy foliage; so why wouldn’t we want more of them? I have 2 in my guest bathroom and 1, a Peperomia obtusifolia or Baby Rubber Plant, was taking up too much real estate so on with the pruning.
I love the Baby Rubber Plant not only for its ease of maintenance but also for those dark, glossy green leaves.
My Peperomia obtusifolia before the pruning.
Baby Rubber Plants respond very well to pruning. I’ve cut 1 back to 5″ tall and it came back just fine. This time I took about 10″ of stems off. My new plant that’ll result from these cuttings will have a good start in life. I have a favorite way of propagating these plants (in my opinion it’s the easiest!) which I share with you below and also in the video.
Viola – the post pruning result.
This post and video about pruning and propagating applies not only to the solid dark green leafed Peperomia obtusifolia but also to all the variegated forms of this plant also.
Best time to prune & propagate a Peperomia obtusifolia:
Spring & summer are the best times. Houseplants prefer not to be disturbed in the winter months. A big plus: rooting goes faster in the warmer months.
Some Of Our General Houseplant Guides For Your Reference:
- Guide To Watering Indoor Plants
- Beginner’s Guide To Repotting Plants
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- Winter Houseplant Care Guide
- Plant Humidity: How I Increase Humidity For Houseplants
- Buying Houseplants: 14 Tips For Indoor Gardening Newbies
- 11 Pet-Friendly Houseplants
How I pruned the Baby Rubber Plant:
You’ll see this in the video. There’s nothing scientific or artistic about this pruning adventure. I’m just making cuts to shape the plant & also to propagate.
I made sure my pruners were clean & sharp. Cut cleans are much better & you’ll lessen the chance of spreading any diseases.
I took straight cuts right above a node. This is the point from which new leaves & roots will grow out of.
The stems which were winding & trailing out of the pot, along with those crossing over, were removed. I tip pruned (this is where the top 1-3″ of newer growth is removed) a few of the stems. Most of the cuttings I took were 8 – 12″ long.
Here’s the Baby Rubber Plant about a year earlier. That’s a Rainbow Peperomia next to it.
What this pruning will do:
This shaping of my Peperomia obtusifolia will force it to grow more upright. If I wanted another hanging plant, I would have left it be & just done a little tip pruning.
New side growth will emerge off the main stems & cause the plant to fill in more. If it gets too dense, I’ll prune it again in 6 months or so.
How to propagate a Baby Rubber Plant (Perperomia obtusifolia):
1.) Stem cuttings in water.
This is my favorite method & the one I always do when propagating Baby Rubber Plants. I’ll be referring to this method in the categories below. I take cuttings anywhere from 3″ – 10″ & remove the bottom 1 – 5 leaves
2.) Stem cuttings in mix.
Take shorter cuttings (3-5″) & put them into a light mix like a propagation or succulent & cactus mix. You want the roots to be able to easily emerge & a dense mix will prevent that. Keep them in bright light out of
3.) Leaf cuttings.
I’ve never done this with Peperomias because I’m way too impatient. I know it can easily be done because there’s good amount of info out there on the internet for you.
Another method of propagating Peperomias I have no experience with.
The cuttings on my work table.
I had taken this cutting about a month earlier. You can see the root emerging from the node. The cuttings I took for this post & video are rooting much faster because the temps have significantly warmed up.
How care for the cuttings in water while they’re rooting:
Put them in a bright spot which receives little or no direct sunlight. Mine are currently on an east facing windowsill which gets an hour of direct sun early in the morning.
It’s late March & if they’re not sufficiently rooted for planting in a month (I’m in Tucson so the sun will be getting more intense & the days get hotter as we move closer to summer), I’ll move them to my utility room.
Check the water level to make sure the bottom nodes are covered with water. I do this every 2-3 days because I live in a warm, sunny climate. You may have to do it less often.
If the water starts looking funky, change it completely. I do this every few weeks to prevent bacteria from growing in the water.
How long it takes for the cuttings to root in water:
You’ll start to see roots emerging in a week or 2. In the warmer months, the roots will grow faster. I’ll be planting mine which I started rooting at the end of March in 5 – 7 weeks time.
This is the level at which I keep the water in the glass. Only 1 or 2 nodes are submerged.
Good things to know about the Baby Rubber Tree:
This has nothing to do with pruning or propagating a Baby Rubber Plant: they’re safe for pets. I know a lot of you are pets owners like myself (I have 2 kitties) & I wanted to let you know Peperomias are considered to be non-toxic.
Make sure only the bottom 1-2 nodes are in water. Don’t completely submerge of the stems in water.
Check the water level often to make sure the bottom couple of nodes are in water. Change the water completely every few weeks to so bacteria doesn’t start to grow.
Each cutting should have 3-7 leaves depending on the length of the stem. You don’t want any leaves to be submerged in the water.
Keep your cuttings out of any direct strong sunlight. They’ll burn.
Not the best picture but here you can see my Variegated Rubber Plant. It’s growing in this dish garden.
When these cuttings are sufficiently rooted, I’ll do a post and video on planting them. At that time I’ll show you how the mother plant is growing in after the pruning. You can see me repotting Peperomia plants here along with the mix I use.
The majority of the cuttings I pot up are given away. So not the case with these.
I’ll keep these because I love Peperomias and my Baby Rubber Plants. They do very well here in the desert.
Easy care and glossy foliage – what’s not to love?!
You might also enjoy:
- How to Plant Baby Rubber Plant (Peperonmia Obtusifolia) Cuttings
- Repotting Peperomia Plants (Plus The Proven Soil Mix To Use!)
- What To Know About Planting Aloe Vera In Containers
- How to Pune Off and Plant an Air Layered Rubber Tree Plant
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Edith Tschiemer says
Thank you for sharing this nice information . I love this !
A few weeks ago I bought a peperomia plant from a local nursery that looked exactly like yours and I eagerly pruned it after watching your video. After about a week I then realized the soil was rock hard and very dry and I tried watering it a bit and the water would just go right through the bottom. I thought I had no other choice but to repot it and give it some fresh soil, but now my poor little plant is having a hard time. He is now very limpy, the old leaves are falling off, the new leaves are limpy and soft. I’m not sure what I can do to help this situation! I realized I may have put too many stresses on the plant, and I may have pruned it back a little much, but I’m not sure if I can reverse my mistakes. Any advice would be great! Thank you!
Thank you so much for this information…I have a variegated variety which I love. It is so beautiful but it is awfully top heavy. I thought that it was supposed to remain erect and was therefore getting too tall. I didn’t realize that it has the ability to hang as well. I will follow your instructions for propagating as I prefer the look of the lower height of the leaves. Peace to you and thanks again!
Do the cuttings need to callus over before putting in water?
Nell Foster says
Hi Tom – I usually let them heal over for 1/2 – 2 hours before putting in water. Their stems are fleshy & full of water. Nell
Nell Foster says
Hi Angela – The stems & tops get heavy which pulls it all downward. I don’t mind the look but have so many plants I need it to grow upward. I just pruned this plant again. They grow like crazy. And, you’re welcome! Nell
Nell Foster says
Hi Elizabeth – Limp, spongy leaves are usually due to too much water. Perhaps the soil was too dense. These plants are tough. Here’s a post on care for you: https://www.joyusgarden.com/peperomia-care/ Nell
Nell Foster says
Happy to share Edith! Nell
I have 3 peperomia marbleplants, which came altogether in a single pot. I’ve transplanted them to a 6-inch pot and have staked upright (because I thought they were supposed to be that way). They are growing quickly and have grown to be approximately 24 inches tall, soil to top. They haven’t branched at all, but look stately and healthy. Am considering a repotting to a larger pot to set on the floor or low table, but’s now I’m considering pruning to about 5-6 inches and propagating the cuttings to eventually add to the pot for a denser plant.
Ideas or suggestions? How tall could these plants grow if left as they are? I’m a bit nervous about pruning as I don’t want to ruin this favorite plant!
Nell Foster says
Hi Sally – Baby Rubber Plants, marble variety included, handle pruning very well. I’ve never heard of one getting that tall; maybe 20″ at the most. Pruning should force out new side growth & get them to branch. Nell