If you’re a fan of different types of pepper including white, red, and/or black, growing your own peppercorn plant might just be a good idea! After all, indulging in different types of peppercorns can be costly, but it’s much cheaper to grow your own! Keep reading to find out how to grow peppercorn plants in your garden with our easy to follow gardening guide!
Choose from black pepper plant, green peppercorns, red or white peppercorns – the options truly are endless! Whichever peppercorn variety you choose the plant, the guide will be the same.
The peppercorn plant is native to India and has been used there for thousands of years. In today’s day and age, the peppercorn plant is the most commonly traded and used spice in the world. Piper nigrum, black pepper, can be used to produce white pepper simply by removing the black outer seed coat. Green pepper may be made by harvesting and drying immature black peppercorn seeds.
How to Grow Peppercorn Plant
The peppercorn is a tropical plant that is grown for its white, black, and red peppercorns. The three colors of the peppercorn are actually just three different stages at which they are harvested. Black peppercorns are simply dried, immature peppercorns, while white pepper is made from the inner portion of the mature fruit.
A climbing vine, the peppercorn plant can grow to over 12 feet tall with white blooms in the summer. Keep your peppercorn plant away from cold and dry climates. Black peppercorns require regular and adequate watering if grown outdoors in USDA zones 10-11. If possible, try to keep your peppercorn plant away from temperatures that go below 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15C).
Before you plant your black peppercorn seeds, it’s important the the soil is warm (between 75-85F) and moist.
For best results, be sure to soak your peppercorn seeds for a day or two to promote germination. Sow the seeds just slightly beneath the surface of the soil, about 1/4″ of the way in. While waiting for germination to occur, keep the soil warm and moist.
If you live in a USDA zone 10 or lower, you can grow peppercorns in pots or containers. Make sure to overwinter indoors once temperatures dip below 60F.
- Peppercorn plants are actually grown by propagation through vegetative cuttings and are grown as vines.
- More often than not, peppercorn plants are grown among shade crop trees such as coffee.
- In order to successfully grow peppercorns, the conditions must be right: high temperatures, heavy and frequent rainfall or watering, and well draining soil.
- Most peppercorns in grown in areas such as India and Brazil, where high temperatures and heavy rain are a constant.
- You don’t have to live in Brazil or India to grow your own though: you can easily mimic these conditions either in a greenhouse, or if you already live in a warm or tropical climate, or you can grow them at home in a pot!
- Make sure your potted peppercorn plant is situated in a sunny, warm area.
- Humidity must be at 50% or higher.
- Feed your plant moderately with a 10-10-10 fertilizer – about 1/4 teaspoon per gallon of water every one to two weeks.
- During the winter months, feeding should stop.
- Water consistently, but don’t over-water, as peppercorn plants are susceptible to root rot.
- Keep the plant under a bright light and warm conditions.
- Be patient – peppercorns can take at least two years until they flower.
- Once you do see them flowering, it means that the peppercorns are ready to harvest and this is the fun part – you can choose to harvest at any stage, and depending on the sage, you’ll receive different types of peppercorns with different tastes!
So now that you know how to grow peppercorns, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to planting!