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Usually, if you Google ‘what’s the best house plant for beginners’ you get lists of plants. I do have a ‘what plant should I get?‘ article, but that is more about working out what plants would thrive in your home depending on the conditions you can provide it.
I don’t want a list here, guys. I want the answer to the question I asked. One answer.
So here it is: the best house plant for people new to plant care is the peperomia hope.
This isn’t my favourite house plant. When I ranked my plants to come up with my top 20 plants, it only reached number 5. My number one, the humble Pothos Marble Queen is FINE as a beginner plant, buuuut they’re a bit pickier about light and humidity. Not actually picky, by any stretch of the imagination, but pickier than Peperomia hope.
I don’t care if you don’t agree, I know I’m right.
Jokes, jokes (kinda).
BUT I HAVE MY REASONS
TEN OF THEM
(WHILST WRITING this article I came up with another two. I am so convinced Peperomia hope is the best plant EVER, never mind for beginners).
If you can give me another plant that meets all the criteria outlined below, please leave me a comment, but as it stands I can’t think of any.
If you hadn’t already guessed, peperomia hope do NOT get enough love in the plant community!
1 – Peperomia hope is cheap
How cheap, you ask? Well, here’s one that I found on Etsy for a fiver. I have literally never seen one priced over £10.
There’s a lot of bragging in the plant space about how expensive your plants are, and it’s unnecessary. Let’s brag about how cheap we can get them.
2 – Peperomia hope is common
Technically this is tied into them being cheap, but it’s VERY important. Imagine you found this very article because someone close to you has said ‘I want to get into plants. Please could you get me a good beginner plant for my birthday?’
So you go out and buy a peperomia hope. And give it to the person, who accidentally it kills it a month later.
They can easily go out and buy another one (especially as they’re cheap!) and avoid awkward questions next time you visit. Yay!
3 – Peperomia hope are ambivalent about humidity
High humidity? Low humidity? Peperomia hope dgaf.
I’d hesitate to put it in a terrarium. 90% humidity is probably too high, but regular household ambient humidity is unlikely to bother your plant, whether it’s 20% or 70%.
4 – Peperomia hope aren’t too picky about water
Underwatered it? Doesn’t care.Overwatered it? Doesn’t care.
Again, it will die EVENTUALLY of being underwatered. It will die quickly if you water it every day.
But it will be more forgiving of either than…most other plants. The only plant with similar disinterest re. watering is Monstera deliciosa, and I think a peperomia hope will last longer being both underwatered or overwatered than a Monstera.
As well as not being picky about the quantity of water they receive, they’re not bothered about quality. Tap water is absolutely fine – this is true if most plants with thick leaves because they’ve usually come from an arid place where those that are picky about water quality die.
5 – Peperomia hope don’t care about fertiliser
My peperomia hope used to live by itself on a kitchen windowsill far away from my other plants, so I used to forget to feed it. So I moved it, and started feeding it every six weeks, and…it didn’t seem to care either way.
6 – Peperomia hope are a pain to pests
Now, I’m not saying that they won’t get pests, just that they’re not a great pest host. They have thick succulent leaves, so things like thrips, aphids and spider mites can’t be bothered to eat them. It’s too much hassle. They do attract mealybugs, BUT they don’t have the cracks and crevices to hide in that a lot of succulents have, so they’re pretty easy to just pick off.
7 – Peperomia hope blooms!
Peperomia tend to produce similar blooms. They’re not particularly beautiful or anything, but still – it’s APPARENTLY a sign they’re happy. I stress the word ‘apparently’ because my string of turtles looked like crap, bloomed then died. My Hope has bloomed (it was healthy though!) but someone (ahem, me) knocked the bloom off.
I couldn’t find a photo, but here’s another peperomia blooming:
Aren’t they creepy?!
8 – Peperomia hope is easy to propagate
Just take a cutting, remove some leaves (because that’s where the nodes are), and stick it in water or soil. Mine also VERY randomly grew two new vines out of the soil, which isn’t something I thought they did. She was just two long vines, and now she’s actually pretty bushy at the bottom.
I rooted mine in the Aerogarden and whilst it rooted quickly, it did the classic peperomia thing where it started growing leaves underwater. The cutting outgrew the Aerogarden and now lives in a fish tank full of sludge (java moss, I think), where it’s continuing to grow underwater. Who am I to judge?
I do judge, because they just rot. Grow out of the water, dammit. They grow underwater for MONTHS and look so cool, and then all of a sudden just disintegrate, because most plants that get submerged in water for any length of time die.
9 – Peperomia hope aren’t fussy about substrate
You will have to adjust your watering to the substrate – the denser the soil, the longer it’ll take to dry out, so water less often – like you would with any plant. Buuuut regular soil, leca, loving crafted homemade potting mix…they don’t seem to care either way.
10 – Peperomia hope grow quickly but are quite small
Always a benefit when you’re new to plants. It can quickly become overwhelming if you have a tonne of massive plants, but peperomia hope stay quite small. They can grow quite leggily if not given enough light, but they look cool trailing, so it doesn’t really matter.
11- Peperomia hope aren’t that fussy about light
I’ve kept mine in full sun in a west-facing window (remember I’m in the UK though, so if you live in a warmer country you may need to acclimate it first) and in pretty medium light. I wouldn’t recommend putting it in a dark corner but I’m also confident it wouldn’t actually die.
Peperomia hope put out bigger leaves in bigger clusters in brighter light, so if you’rs is only growing one small leaf per node, consider increasing the light a bit. Mine is currently about six feet away from a west-facing window and it’s growing three leaves per node a couple of inches apart.
If I moved it closer to the light, I could probably get four bigger leaves, with a smaller internodal gap, but I have other plants that will throw a hissy fit if I move them, so the peperomia is staying where it is for now.
12 – Peperomia hope are non-toxic
Peperomia are one of the few plants out there that manage to be both non-toxic and not particularly tasty. Other non-toxic plants (especially Calathea) are apparently irresistible to any small furries in our homes which can be a pain.
You can’t guarantee that your pets/kids will leave your plants alone, but non-tasty and non-toxic is as good a combination as you can hope for.
Also, you can drop them (source: experience) and they’re pretty cool about it.
I genuinely cannot think of one problem with giving Peperomia hope to a newbie. They are swell.
Though I’m kinda worried that I’m going to google them and come across some kind of horrible environmental issue caused by them or something. ‘PEPEROMIA HOPE KILLS 15 POLAR BEARS IN FREAK ATTACK’ or something.
Seriously though, if you have a worthy contender to the role of ‘Best house plant for beginners’ please leave me a comment.
I have an article here about plants that I wouldn’t recommend for beginners, so check that out if you’re a beginner looking for what NOT to buy (or at least take note of the reasons for perhaps giving them a miss).