Peperomia Dolabriformis vs Axillaris: Key Differences Explored

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Peperomia dolabriformis and Peperomia axillaris are two fascinating houseplants, both known for their unique foliage and easy-to-care nature. These plants provide a visual appeal to any indoor space with their pea-pod shaped leaves. As a favorite among beginner and experienced plant enthusiasts, peperomias thrive with minimal care, making them an excellent addition to any plant collection.

Distinguishing between the two varieties, Peperomia dolabriformis, also known as Prayer Pepper or Prayer Peperomia, is a shrubby succulent with leaves that have a distinct, elongated shape resembling a pea pod. The Peperomia axillaris, on the other hand, features bright green leaves fashioned like bean pods but grows taller and appears more succulent-like compared to Peperomia dolabriformis. Although they resemble succulents, it’s important to note that neither of these plants are classified as such.

When comparing Peperomia dolabriformis and Peperomia axillaris, both species share similar care requirements, such as the soak and dry watering method. Understanding the characteristics and care tips for these eye-catching plants will help enthusiasts choose the right one to add to their indoor jungles while maintaining their health and vibrancy.

Peperomia Dolabriformis


Peperomia Dolabriformis, commonly known as Prayer Pepper, is a succulent-like plant with distinctive leaves shaped like pea pods. These leaves have a light green color, with a darker green semi-transparent center that makes them appear as if they’re open in prayer. The overall appearance of this plant can be quite striking when well taken care of, thanks to its interesting foliage.

Growth and Care

Caring for Peperomia Dolabriformis is relatively simple, making it a popular choice for both experienced gardeners and beginners. This plant thrives in well-draining soil, which helps to prevent root rot. Ensure that the soil does not become too soggy, as that can lead to complications with the plant’s health.

In terms of lighting, Peperomia Dolabriformis prefers bright indirect light, although it can tolerate lower light levels. However, it is essential to avoid exposing the plant to direct sunlight for extended periods, as this can cause leaf scorching. Maintaining a consistent temperature between 60-80°F (15-27°C) is ideal, while avoiding drafty areas and sudden temperature changes.

As a succulent-like plant, the Peperomia Dolabriformis is somewhat drought-tolerant and can handle a missed watering or two. However, it is essential to maintain a consistent watering schedule as a general rule, allowing the soil to partially dry out between waterings.

Propagation Tips

Peperomia Dolabriformis propagation can be accomplished through stem cuttings. To propagate, choose a healthy plant and cut a stem at least six inches long with two to three leaves attached. Allow the stem cutting to callous before dipping it in rooting hormone. Afterward, place the cutting in a suitable growing medium, such as well-draining soil or perlite, and maintain a moist environment until new roots form. This process typically takes several weeks. With proper care and attention, Peperomia Dolabriformis can thrive and become a stunning addition to any indoor or outdoor garden.

Peperomia Axillaris


The Peperomia Axillaris is an eye-catching plant with its succulent-like leaves and light green color. The thick, fleshy leaves store water, allowing the plant to tolerate dry periods better than other species. One of the most striking features of this plant is its red stem, which contrasts beautifully against the vibrant green foliage. In addition, the leaves display variegation, further adding to the plant’s overall attractiveness.

Growth and Care

Peperomia Axillaris has its origins in the jungles of Ecuador and Peru in South America, belonging to the Piperaceae family. This shrub-like plant is relatively easy to care for, making it a great choice for both beginner and expert gardeners.

When it comes to growth and care, keep these pointers in mind:

  • Light: Provide bright, indirect light but avoid direct sunlight, which can scorch the leaves.
  • Watering: Water thoroughly but allow the soil to dry out between waterings. Over-watering can lead to root rot.
  • Soil: Use well-draining, slightly acidic to neutral soil (pH 6.1-7.3).
  • Temperature: Maintain a consistent temperature range, ideally between 60-80°F or 16-27°C.

Propagation Tips

The Peperomia Axillaris is similar to Peperomia Dolabriformis, as both are easy to propagate using stem cuttings. To successfully propagate your Axillaris plant, follow these simple steps:

  1. Choose a healthy donor plant.
  2. Cut a stem at least six inches in length, ensuring there are two to three leaves present.
  3. Allow the cut end of the stem to dry and callous.
  4. Optionally, dip the calloused end into rooting hormone to encourage faster root growth.
  5. Place the cutting into moist, well-draining soil and keep it in a warm, bright location.

By following these guidelines and providing the appropriate care, your Peperomia Axillaris plant will thrive and stand out as an eye-catching addition to your indoor garden.

Differences Between Dolabriformis and Axillaris

Leaf Shape

When it comes to leaf shape, Peperomia dolabriformis has elongated, thick, fleshy leaves with a fold or groove in the middle that makes them resemble pursed lips. This distinct appearance has earned it the nickname “Prayer Peperomia.” In contrast, Peperomia axillaris features leaves shaped like pea pods or bean pods, giving it a slightly different appearance than dolabriformis.


Regarding size, both Peperomia dolabriformis and axillaris are relatively small plants with similar height and spread. Peperomia dolabriformis generally grows to be around 12 inches tall, while Peperomia axillaris typically reaches a height of 5-12 inches. Although there are some differences in size, both varieties are suitable for use as houseplants.


Both Peperomia dolabriformis and axillaris are considered easy to care for and adaptable to a range of indoor environments. Peperomia dolabriformis prefers bright indirect light and well-draining soil, making it an ideal choice for beginners. It also has a higher tolerance for low light conditions compared to other succulents.

As for Peperomia axillaris, it also thrives in bright, indirect sunlight, and shares the preferential need for well-draining soil. However, axillaris can withstand lower light conditions than some other types of succulents, making it a more versatile option for those who may not have access to abundant natural light.

In conclusion, Peperomia dolabriformis and axillaris may share some similarities in terms of care and hardiness, but they can be distinguished by their unique leaf shapes and subtle differences in size and light preferences. When selecting a Peperomia variety for your indoor garden, consider these traits to make the best choice for your specific needs and preferences.

Common Issues and Their Solutions

Pest Problems

One common issue faced by both Peperomia dolabriformis and Peperomia axillaris is pest infestation, especially by mealybugs. Mealybugs appear as white spots of mold on the plant, and can harm its health. To tackle this issue, you can:

  • Spray insecticide or neem oil on the affected areas
  • Use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to remove the mealybugs manually
  • Keep the plant area clean and debris-free to prevent repeat infestations

Disease Issues

Peperomias are quite resilient; however, they may be susceptible to certain fungal and bacterial diseases. Signs of disease include:

  • Yellowing or wilting leaves
  • Dark, mushy stems
  • Mold or mildew on the surface

To combat and prevent disease issues, follow these steps:

  1. Monitor the humidity levels around the plants, as high humidity can lead to mold growth
  2. Avoid overhead watering to prevent leaf surface moisture
  3. Keep the leaves and surrounding area clean and well-ventilated
  4. Use a well-draining soil mix and pots with drainage holes to avoid waterlogging

Overwatering Symptoms

Both Peperomia dolabriformis and Peperomia axillaris are sensitive to overwatering. Signs of overwatering include:

  • Yellowing bottom leaves
  • Root rot
  • Wilting

To prevent overwatering and maintain proper plant health, adhere to these guidelines:

  • Allow the soil to dry out completely between watering sessions
  • Water the plant sparingly, ensuring the top inches of soil are moist but not saturated
  • Use well-draining soil and pots with drainage holes to promote healthy root growth

In summary, common issues faced by Peperomia dolabriformis and Peperomia axillaris include pest problems, disease issues, and overwatering symptoms. By being vigilant and taking the necessary precautions, you can keep your plants happy and healthy.


In comparing Peperomia Dolabriformis and Peperomia Axillaris, both plants belong to the Piperaceae family, and share striking features in their appearance. The Dolabriformis, often called “prayer pepper,” has elongated, semi-succulent leaves with a folded, purse-like shape. On the other hand, the Axillaris has bright green, bean-like leaves that appear thick and fleshy, with a red stem providing a nice contrast.

Native to South America, specifically the jungles of Ecuador and Peru, both these Peperomia varieties can be grown indoors as houseplants. They thrive with moderate light and well-draining soil, making them ideal for novice gardeners or those with limited space.

In terms of propagation, both the Dolabriformis and the Axillaris can be easily grown through stem cuttings. A minimum of six inches long stem with two to three leaves should be cut and allowed to callous before dipping it in rooting hormone.

A few differences between the two varieties include their growth patterns and variegation. The Axillaris can grow taller than Dolabriformis, and its leaves exhibit a variegated pattern, adding more visual appeal to the plant.

To summarize the comparison:

  • Both belong to the Piperaceae family and are native to South America.
  • Dolabriformis has elongated, purse-like leaves while Axillaris has green, bean-like foliage.
  • Both plants can be grown indoors and propagate through stem cuttings.
  • Axillaris has a taller growth habit and variegated leaves compared to Dolabriformis.

In conclusion, both Peperomia Dolabriformis and Peperomia Axillaris are great choices for gardening enthusiasts looking to add unique, low-maintenance plants to their collection. The decision between these two varieties can be made based on personal preferences and desired aesthetic qualities.

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