It can be a real bummer seeing your watermelon peperomia drooping with sad-looking leaves and stems.
The alarm bells going off in your head are all about how to save your gorgeous plant while wondering what is going on.
At the best times, the variegated watermelon peperomia leaves are borne on strong, firm stems.
When the leaves face downwards at the ends of soft, saggy stems, it is an indication that something must be off.
But how serious is the problem? Why is this happening? And more importantly, can the watermelon peperomia be revived?
This is what we would be looking at in this article; plus all the important care tips you’d need for a continuously healthy and thriving plant.
Watermelon Peperomia Drooping: Causes & Fixes
Watermelon peperomias (Peperomia argyreia) are popular houseplants due to their amazing leaf design and the fact that they are easy to grow and maintain.
Originally from the rainforests of South America, they are hardy only in zones 10 – 12 so are mostly grown indoors in pots.
These low-maintenance plants, however, do sometimes respond to neglect by drooping, wilting, leaf discoloration, and ultimately dying.
When it comes to drooping, the major factors responsible are a serious lack of water, inadequate humidity in the area, and low temperatures.
Secondary triggers include over-watering, root rot, pest infestation, and incorrect fertilization.
Most of these problems are often easy to deal with. But, keep in mind that you might be dealing with multiple issues so correcting the drooping problem might require more than a single solution.
Let’s now go into more details about why your watermelon peperomia is drooping and the various ways you can save the plant.
Reasons Your Watermelon Peperomia is Drooping
Lack of Water
Persistent underwatering is the main cause of drooping in watermelon peperomia plants.
While the plants can survive some neglect, they react by wilting if the lack of water becomes extreme.
Usually, moist soil is all they need to thrive. That means you don’t have to irrigate more than once a week and even less in winter.
Neglecting to water the soil for long eventually turns it bone dry. And with no water to be transported to the leaves by the roots, the plant responds by drooping.
The leaves also become soft and lose their thick lushness.
Solution – The best place to start is to verify that under-watering is the problem. Under-watered pots are very light when lifted.
The weight of the pot combined with soil that feels very dry is all the verification you need.
While saturating the soil with water until the excess starts flowing out of the drainage hole seems logical, it’s not the best way to revive the plant.
Fact is, immediately watering the plant normally might shock or stress the plant into more problems.
The best strategy after such a long time without irrigating is to water the soil a little each day.
Do this for a week to give it time to acclimate. After a week, you can go back to the normal watering.
And normal watering, to be clear, means watering the soil only when the top 2 inches is dry.
Low humidity is another primary reason your watermelon peperomia is drooping, especially if the problem is not caused by bone-dry soil.
As tropical plants, Watermelon peperomia thrives best in very humid conditions.
Most often, indoor environments have sufficient humidity.
But the air can get really dry especially in winter when the combination of heating devices and less ventilation leads to low humidity as the air dries out faster.
And with dry air, loss of moisture from the soil through evaporation and the leaves through transpiration takes place at a faster rate.
Drooping and sometimes curling leaves are the plant’s attempt to retain or conserve moisture.
Solution – There are several ways to resolve this problem. First, though, you need to determine that the humidity in the area is low or below 50%.
Consider getting a humidity monitor or a hygrometer to help you track fluctuations in humidity, especially on hot windy days and in winter when heaters are frequently powered up.
Any time your watermelon peperomia droops and the humidity reads below 50% on the monitor, any of the following can rectify the situation:
- Mist the leaves by spraying them with water. But remember to clean water droplets on the leaves with a cloth to prevent infection.
- Place a bowl of water near the plant. Evaporation would increase the humidity around the area.
- You could also set the watermelon peperomia pot in a saucer or tray filled with water.
Ensure that the pot is resting on pebbles so the bottom is above the water. Again, evaporating water would help raise the humidity to revive the plant.
- Getting and installing a humidifier near the plant is considered the quickest way to resolve this problem. So go ahead and install one.
- Finally, if it is possible, relocate the plant to the bathroom where the air is very humid. Ensure the plant is placed close to a bright window or the bathroom is well lit.
Watermelon peperomia plants grow best in temperatures between 65 – 85°F. Temperatures outside that range can be damaging to the plant.
However, it is the lower temperatures below 50°F that would cause your watermelon peperomia to droop. The leaves might also curl as a result.
Solution – If the plant is outside or close to an open door when the weather is cold (in winter for example), you’d have to move it indoors or away from the open door.
Exposure to cold blasts from opened windows (close the windows!) and air conditioners can also cause this problem. Essentially, the solution is to make sure the plant is moved to a warmer area.
Other Possible Reasons For Watermelon Peperomia Drooping
If after applying the above solutions and the problems persists, the secondary culprits should be examined. These include:
The main reason the soil should be kept just moist (as opposed to soggy) is because too much soil water can drown the root system greatly minimizing its effectiveness while hindering air circulation in the soil.
This creates the perfect condition for root rot to develop inevitably damaging the roots.
With the roots affected, transport of vital nutrients and water to the leaves is impaired.
As in the case of underwatering, the plant subsequently droops with no water to sustain it.
The leaves would also begin to show signs of discoloration.
Solution – First, you have to ensure that the over-watering or sogginess is not caused by poor draining soil. Also, check to see that the drainage holes are not blocked.
However, if the roots are damaged already, unblocking the drainage holes won’t revive the plant.
So you also want to uproot the plant and examine the roots for signs of damage.
Affected roots are usually darkish with a telltale bad odor.
The possible fixes include:
- Repotting the plant in fresh, well-draining soil after cutting out the damaged parts of the root system and rinsing out the soil from the good parts.
- If the infection is extensive, you’d have to discard both the plant and potting soil.
- If the roots are not affected by root rot, quit watering and allow the soil to dry. Resume watering when the top of the soil is dry (about 1-2 inches deep).
Watermelon peperomia are not heavy feeders but wouldn’t mind a small dose of water-soluble fertilizer to spur growth.
However, if the fertilizer is applied incorrectly, it can lead to problems such as drooping.
Incorrect application of fertilizer includes using the fertilizer at full strength and applying the fertilizer without watering the soil first.
In both cases, excess salts eventually overwhelm the soil. These salts soak up soil moisture and hinder the operations of the roots.
Other symptoms include brown leaf edges, leaf discoloration, and wilting.
Solution – Quit using the fertilizer instantly for at least 2 months. Also, immediately drench the soil with water to flush out the fertilizer.
You might have to do this about three times to get the best results.
A better solution (to avoid possible root rot when flushing the soil) is to repot the plant in fresh potting soil.
Next time you want to fertilize, do it only after the soil has been watered during the growing season. And ensure the fertilizer is diluted to half strength.
Indoor watermelon peperomia plants are rarely attacked by pests. This doesn’t make them immune to pests though.
And in the rare event this occurs, leaving the plant untreated can lead to fatality.
The usual suspects are aphids, spider mites, and mealybugs producing symptoms such as yellow leaves, wilting, and drooping.
Solution – Watermelon peperomia pests show up as unusual patches or spots on the underside of leaves.
Examine the plant closely with a magnifying glass and look for anomalies on the leaves and stems if you suspect pest infestations.
Getting rid of them is pretty straightforward. Simply spray the plant with neem oil or insecticidal soap.
You might have to repeat this treatment multiple times until no pests are visible on all parts of the plant.
Most houseplants, while quite easy to grow, can throw up some problems given the right conditions.
For problems like drooping watermelon peperomia, the right conditions are linked to negligence in terms of watering and exposure to hazardous growing conditions such as low right humidity and temperature.
However, saving the watermelon peperomia when it droops is not tasking.
Most often, it is simply about ensuring that the correct growing conditions are present and properly caring for the plant.