Peperomia Verticillata Red with Keiki Paste - part 1
Cover Up Naked Stems with Keiki Paste
This tutorial shows how to enliven your Peperomia Verticillata Red with the magic of Keiki paste.
Peperomias are low maintenance plants so I tend to leave them to their own devices. However, this means they can end up looking a bit ropey after a few months of neglect. I decided to see whether Keiki paste can perk them up with fresh foliage.
Peperomia Verticillata Red
This lanky specimen grew tremendously over the summer, from 1.9 inches (5 cm) tall to now 13.7 inches (35 cm).
The Latin ‘Verticillata’ (the root for the English word ‘verticillate’ or whorl-like) means a concentric pattern. At its healthiest, this plant should have leaves stacked closely on top of one another, circling the entire stem.
After my plant’s growth spurt, its foliage leaves a lot to be desired. There’s a lot of bare stem relative to the leaves. Not much verticillate action going on here.
This is where the Keiki paste comes in. I will apply it to selective parts of the plant to encourage new growth and balance the silhouette.
Step 1: Finding nodes
First, I selected ‘nodes’ to apply the Keiki paste to. Nodes are parts of the plant where new leaves emerge from. They show up as tiny lumps on stems. Keiki paste contains growth hormones that give the embryonic buds a little help.
Finding nodes can be tricky, especially on thin stems. A magnifying glass can help.
Here are some close-ups of nodes on my Peperomia Verticillata.
I picked some nodes gently with my fingernail while leaving others alone. Picking at the node removes the skin that covers the baby growth. I wanted to see whether this makes the nodes bud more quickly.
Step two: Applying Keiki paste to nodes
Dip a cotton bud in the Keiki paste and dab the paste onto the nodes.
This plant is small so I needed very little product. For larger plants, use a pea-sized amount.
Some nodes were harder to reach because they were tucked in just above the leaves. I used the blunt end of a sewing needle for these.
Step 3: Wait
The Keiki paste can take up to a month to work. During this time, place the plant in optimal light conditions. The Peperomia Verticillata Red does best in bright indirect light so window just next to a tree would be ideal.
To help your new babies along, maintain at least 60% humidity around your plant with regular bottle-sprays or by placing it on a tray of moist gravel.
You should also use high nitrogen fertiliser to give your plant the extra nutrients to push out new growth.