Peperomia dolabriformis [pep-er-ROH-mee-uh, doh-la-brih-FOR-miss], is a shrubby succulent Peperomia plant with purse-shaped foliage and woody stems.
Common names include Prayer Pepper and Prayer Peperomia.
The Prayer Pepper plant is part of the Piperaceae family, known as the pepper family.
It’s native to the warm valleys of Peru. Peperomia Dolabriformis is part of the Peperomia genus.
Plants in this genus are commonly called radiator plants.
They’re typically short with stout stems and thick leaves.
The Prayer Pepper plant thrives in containers and pots and remains relatively small, making it a simple houseplant to cultivate.
Peperomia Dolabriformis Care
Size and Growth
Peperomia dolabriformis has thick, green succulent foliage.
The shape of the foliage resembles pea pods or small purses.
They are lime green and appear folded in half.
The top of each leaf has a dark green translucent stripe along the fold, helping the foliage absorb more light.
The leaves measure about 3″ inches long and half an inch thick.
The leaves may form a rosette or a loose branch.
Over time, the Prayer Pepper develops a dense cluster of the purse-like leaves, reaching 12″ to 24″ inches tall.
Flowering and Fragrance
Cultivated Prayer Pepper rarely flowers.
In the wild, it may produce green inflorescences measuring up to 16″ inches long.
Small, green-white flowers appear along a stalk and don’t produce a noticeable fragrance.
Light and Temperature
Prayer Pepper requires bright light and warm temperatures.
It can grow outdoors in tropical climates and USDA hardiness zones 12 or higher.
Throughout most of North America, it should overwinter indoors.
Bring indoors at the first risk of freezing temperatures.
Houseplants should receive light throughout the day.
Place near a window receiving full sunlight.
If the window receives direct afternoon sunlight, position the plant at least 2′ feet from the window.
Watering and Feeding
Peperomia dolabriformis doesn’t require frequent watering or feeding.
Overwatering is a common cause of wilting.
Keep the soil moist throughout the summer while avoiding overwatering.
TIP: Water thoroughly one week and allow it to dry the following week.
The soil should remain mostly moist without allowing the soil to become oversaturated.
To promote fuller growth, add liquid plant fertilizer to the water during the summer.
Don’t fertilize during the rest of the year.
Soil and Transplanting
- Plant in well-drained soil such as commercial cactus mix or succulent potting mix.
- Combining standard soil with equal parts of coarse sand and perlite should provide the same results.
- Repot plants at the start of spring each year to refresh the soil.
- Place the plant back in its original container or move up one size.
- These plants remain small and shouldn’t need large containers.
- NOTE: Prayer Pepper grows best when slightly pot bound.
- Keeping it in a smaller container encourages a stronger root structure.
Prayer Pepper shouldn’t require any grooming.
However, if the plant develops leggy growth due to a lack of sunlight, cutting the plant back can renew the plant and allow for new growth.
Cutaway upper leaves and place the plant in a brighter spot.
How to Propagate Prayer Pepper
Propagate Prayer Pepper using stem cuttings placed in soil or water.
The water propagation method requires an entire leaf with part of the stem on the bottom.
- Place the cutting in a glass of water.
- After about six weeks, semi-translucent white roots should appear.
- Transplant the cutting into a small container with well-drained soil.
- Keep the soil moist but don’t cover with plastic.
- The plant needs airflow to prevent mold growth.
To propagate using stem cuttings, carefully remove one or more stems from the plant.
- Allow the cuttings to dry overnight and dip in rooting hormone powder.
- Plant the cuttings in small pots and place them in full sun.
- As with the water propagation method, keep the soil moist.
- After about six to eight weeks, the cuttings should take root using either propagation method.
- Wait several more weeks for new growth before transplanting to permanent homes.
Prayer Pepper Pest or Disease Problems
The Prayer Pepper is virtually pest and disease-free.
It also contains no toxins and isn’t considered invasive.
While it’s a safe and easy plant to grow, it can still attract pests in certain environments.
- White mealybugs provide the biggest threat to the plant, appearing as cottony white masses on the undersides of the leaves.
- Remove the mealybug growth using cotton swabs.
- Dip the cotton swabs in rubbing alcohol and gently wipe the leaves.
- Spray the plants with water afterward.
- If the mealybugs remain, treat the plant with a commercial insecticide.
Another potential issue is mold growth.
- The plant may develop mold if the soil doesn’t drain properly, or the plant is placed in an environment with high humidity levels.
- Trim away leaves infected with mold and transplant to a new container.
- Allow the soil to remain dry for the next several weeks.
- If no new mold appears, continue with the standard plant care tips.
- If mold continues to grow, discard the plant or propagate using a healthy stem cutting.
Suggested Peperomia Dolabriformis Uses
Prayer Pepper is an excellent addition to any succulent or cacti garden.
It also works well on its own, adding colorful foliage to any window.