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Houseplants to discover - Pincushion Peperomia or Happy Bean

Peperomia ferreyrae

What a curious plant! The numerous thick but narrow thick leaves of this small plant are apple green, curved and pointed, looking a lot like green beans, as the name Happy Bean suggests. The dark stripe along the top of the leaf is actually a translucent window: light enters through this opening to green cells inside the leave which is where the plant carries out its photosynthesis.

The pincushion peperomia gradually takes on the shape of a small shrub with numerous green branches, but rarely exceeds 30 cm (1 foot) in height and in diameter. Sometimes conical yellow-green spikes appear at the ends of the branches: these are the flower stems. Since they're more curious than attractive, you can simply remove them.


Provide this plant with intense to medium light by placing it on or near a windowsill.


This plant is sensitive to watering. It should neither lack water nor sit in very moist soil. Wait until the soil is dry to the touch, but not to the point where the stems wilt, then water generously.


Apply an all-purpose or foliage plant fertilizer in spring and summer at the recommended rate.


The pincushion peperomia thrives under normal indoor temperatures. Minimum: 10 ºC (50 ºF). It will do well outdoors for the summer in light shade.


Despite its succulent leaves that could lead you to believe that it tolerates dry air, in fact, this plant requires somewhat humid air at all times; otherwise it might lose leaves. It may be necessary to use a humidifier during the winter months to maintain the desired humidity level.


The pincushion peperomia likes to be a bit underpotted. Repot it every spring, but trim the roots back about a quarter, then repot it in a pot of about the same size. Use a very well-aerated potting soil, such as cactus and succulent mix or even an orchid blend.


This plant is most easily propagated through stem cuttings.


This peperomia is not toxic to humans, dogs and cats. However, even though its leaves may look like green beans, they are still not considered edible.

Further Information

Do not hesitate to prune the branches when they become too long or ungainly; otherwise the plant can lose its charm. Fortunately, pruning rejuvenates it and stimulates the growth of new, shorter branches.