Trailing Jade (Peperomia Rotundifolia)

If you are looking for a tropical plant to add to a vivarium, Trailing Jade can be a suitable choice. This plant is great to grow in most humid biotypes. Although there are numerous features that make it an ideal addition to many setups, one of the most important ones is its safeness. Unlike other non-vivarium plants, Trailing Jade is harmless to animals. This article will provide an in-depth care guide to properly growing this perennial plant in a terrarium.

Quick Stats:

Scientific Name: Peperomia Rotundifolia

Family: Piperaceae

Common Names: Trailing Jade, Round Leaf Peperomia, Jade Necklace, Creeping Buttons, String Of Turtles, Radiator Plant

Habitat: Tropical, Subtropical

Height: 6in

PH Range:  6.0 To 6.1

Temperature: 65°F to 80°F

What Is Trailing Jade?

Trailing Jade is a perennial, epiphyte plant species. It is part of the Piperaceae family and falls under the Peperomia genus. Although they almost have the same name, it should not be confused with the popular Jade Plant from the Crassula plant genera. The peperomia genus is one of the two biggest genera of its family, with over 1000 recorded species. Most of the varieties are small, compact, epiphytes that grow on rotten wood.

Trailing Jade (Peperomia Rotundifolia) Care Guide

Trailing Jade Facts

Trailing Jade’s is scientifically referred to as Peperomia Rotundifolia. The plant was first claimed by Carl von Linne but was given its name by German botanist Carl Sigismund Kunth. The name is said to literally translate to “resembling round leaves”, which makes complete sense given the plant’s appearance.

Although this epiphyte is often referred to as a succulent, it has little to no significance in comparison to one. It simply shares very similar visual characteristics in regard to its leaves. Trailing Jade is mostly used for its unique foliage and classified as a vine plant. A vine can be defined as any plant with a growth habit of creeping or trailing stems.

Description

Despite the fact most species under the Peperomia genus have extremely similar characteristics and requirements, Trailing Jade has a very distinct look. The leaves of this plant are said to resemble those of a succulent. They are almost perfectly circular in shape, thick, and soft to the touch. Also, each leaf tends to measure about an inch in diameter and grow intertwined from a wiry brown stem.

When looked at up close, very thin and lighter green veins can be seen within the darker green foliage. Peperomia Rotundifolia has the ability to produce small white flowers. These flowers can be seen growing on spikes, however, to some hobbyists, they’re not attractive or interesting.

Given the right care, Trailing Jade is capable of growing up to 12 inches long. As mentioned before, Peperomia Rotundifolia is epiphytic in nature. This means that the plant commonly grows on trees or in between rock cracks. Instead of absorbing nutrients and water from the soil, it will get them from other sources such as air, trees, and rain.

Habitat

Trailing Jade is a species of plant native to tropical rainforests of South America. In the wild, they can be found vining on trees, rotten logs, rock crevices, and even the forest floor. The natural habitats of this plant are known for their tropical temperatures, moisture, and bright yet shaded sunlight.

In the wild, Peperomia Rotundifolias can survive a fair share of cooler temperatures. As long as they are not left in anything below 50° degrees Fahrenheit, the plant will be fine. However, Trailing Jade’s ideal temperature for optimal growth falls anywhere between 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

PH Preference

Peperomia plants are not extremely picky when it comes to PH levels. They do usually prefer their soil to be within neutral levels. A PH of 7 is considered neutral. A PH below 7 is acidic and a PH above 7 is alkaline. Trailing Jade is not the exception. With that in mind, the ideal PH for Peperomia Rotundifolia will range anywhere between 6.1 and 6.5.

Vivarium Type

This type of Ivy will do great in a variety of vivarium types. When trying to decide whether this plant is right for a specific enclosure, make sure to keep in mind the amount of available space. Trailing Jade should be placed in a vivarium that has enough amount of land areas away from constant water sources.

Some aquatic features are suitable for the plant as long as its leaves have enough room to grow above water. Here are recommended vivariums Peperomia Rotundifolia will do well in:

  • Paludariums – Half aquatic/ half terrain-based enclosure.
  • Terrariums – Fully terrain-based enclosure with little to no aquatic features.

Vivarium Placement

One of the best advantages to Trailing Jade is its flexibility as far as where exactly it can grow. Due to its vining nature, it can be placed either at the bottom of a vivarium as well in the upper areas.

If placed towards the ground area of the tank, Peperomia rotundifolia can attach itself to the sidewalls and climb its way up. On the other hand, if it is planted towards the top (in a bucket like-area), the foliage will form a sort of curtain as it cascades down. Since Peperomia can grow epiphytically, this specific species can also be attached to surfaces in the tank such as other greenery, rocks, or wood.

Unlike many other vines, Trailing Jade will not grow too large. This means that the plant can pretty much be placed anywhere in the enclosure, without having to worry about it becoming too invasive and overpowering the setup. However, it is a terrestrial plant. That being said, it will not survive when grown underwater.

Substrate

When it comes to the substrate, this species of Peperomia will have a better success rate in moist, yet well-drained soil. A peat-based soil mixture will more than likely be ideal for this plant.

Try mixing 2 parts peat and 1 part perlite or sand. The peat moss will help maintain dampness in the soil, while the perlite or sand will ensure there is proper drainage. A lack of appropriate drainage can lead to rotting roots and eventually the plant’s death.

When Trailing Jade will be grown epiphytically, it will not need any substrate. Instead, make sure that the surface the plant is attached to has a neutral PH and provides sturdiness. Peperomia Rotundifolia might need to be tied with cotton thread at the beginning until it is able to properly attach itself.

Lighting

Tailing Jade will thrive best in bright indirect light. It should not be placed in direct sunlight. The plant needs a sufficient amount of light for growing properly but direct sunlight will easily burn the leaves.

When setting up lighting inside of a vivarium, lights will work extremely well. Try to go for cooler colors that resemble a bright, but shaded day. This will assure the plant is receiving all the light it needs, without being harmed. Avoid any type of light that has high levels of UV rays. This will be like placing the fern under direct sunlight and eventually damage its foliage. If the terrarium doesn’t have any artificial lighting, place the tank near a window. Make sure it is bright enough, yet does not come in direct contact with sunlight.

On the contrary, if Trailing Jade is not getting enough light,  it will become leggy and begin growing towards any available light. When this happens, simply move the plant to a brighter location or add more lighting to the tank.

Buy Trailing Jade

When it comes to buying a Peperomia Rotundifolia, it is important to make sure the plant being purchased is healthy. Expect to look for a few key indicators you are buying the best quality plant. First, make sure that you are buying from a trustworthy place. Whether it is an online store or a physical location should not matter.

Trailing Jades can be a little sensitive to low temperatures, inappropriate storage or transportation could lead to a damaged plant. Damage that has been recently done to the plant might not always be visible right away. For this reason, it is important to make sure the source is reputable. In addition, the purchased plant should be green, vibrant, and healthy-looking. Make sure to inspect the foliage for yellowing, wilting, black spots, or any other signs of damage. It is also important to check both sides of the leaves. Pay close attention and look for any pests or fungal diseases. Click the image below to find out more about the current price and other relative info of this plant:

Trailing Jade Care and Propagation

Trailing Jade is a very forgiving plant. It is a species of plant that does not require much care and maintenance to see positive progress. As long as it is receiving the right amount of lighting and it has the proper drainage, successful growth should be expected. Removing dead left and periodically pruning the Peperomia will also be extremely beneficial to the plant.

How to grow

Peperomia Rotundifolia is a very easy plant to grow. It can be propagated through the use of cutting or plantlets. When using the stem cutting method, simply take a healthy adult plant and cut off a small amount off the top of the stem. The new pieces should then be re-planted somewhere moist and warm in order to grow. Make sure to also provide enough bright light to promote new growth.

Propagating Trailing Jade using plantlets will also be fairly easy to do. Plantlets are basically tiny baby leaves that will begin growing along the stem of the plant. These can then be carefully cut off from the mother plant and left in water. The same light and temperature requirement applies to this method.

Watering

One of the most common issues with Trailing Jade is actually the use of too much water. Much like a succulent, this plant does not like to be overwatered. Peperomia Rotundifolia is not a fan of regular watering.

In fact, it should only be watered once the top 1 to 2 inches of the soil has completely dried. An easy way to determine if the soil is dry enough is by dipping a finger into the top layer. There are also a few key indicators that something is not right with how much the plant is being watered. Rotting stalks, wilting or yellowing leaves, or waterlogged soil are all signs of trouble. A good rule of thumb is to water the plant once every one to two weeks.

Plants Similar To Trailing Jade

Adding diversity to an enclosure is key to an aesthetically pleasing setup. Try mixing up the look of your vivarium with different flora that can easily co-exist in the same types of environment. Furthermore, if for some reason you find this ivy hard to acquire or would like to consider something similar to this plant… Here are some other vine plants you might find may do well with or in the place of Trailing Jade:

Aluminum Plant (Pilea Cadierei)
Baby Tears Plant (Soleirolia Soleirolii)
Wandering Jew (Tradescantia Zebrina)

Conclusion

Overall, Trailing Jade is easy to manage ivy that is full of personality. It is hardy as well as very forgiving. Under the right conditions, this plant won’t grow very large but will perfectly tuck into open pockets within a terrarium and won’t pose a threat to nearby plants. If you are reading about Peperomia Rotundifolia for the first time, what are your thoughts about its use in a closed enclosure?