Pepper are almost always part of a recipe. Knowing how to grow black pepper can surely come in handy.
It adds that earthy spiciness in the food that will surely improve your appetite.
For that reason alone, peppercorns are always seen as one of the primary crops in a garden.
I’ve had my share of growing peppercorns, and I can tell you that they are by no means easy.
I wrote this guide to teach you how to grow black pepper inside your house without having much of a hassle.
Things to Prepare Before Planting Black Pepper
Growing black pepper requires a lot of patience. For one, it only grows in moist and humid conditions.
These perennial vines are also hard to maintain during the first year of growth.
However, once you have established them, you will be awed by the beauty that they can add to your landscape, added to it a year-round supply of their flowers ready for consumption.
List Of What You Need To Prepare
- Clay pot - this will be the container that will house your peppercorns.
A great thing about peppers is that they do not occupy a lot of space. This feature allows the plant to be grown inside the home.
However, if you plant them without prior preparation, they will spread all over the place and will surely add a lot of headache on your part.
- Seed tray - you need this in order to germinate the peppercorns. Once the plant is high enough, you can replant them in the clay pot.
- Peppercorn seeds - since we are growing black pepper, we absolutely need to have its seeds.
Luckily, peppercorn seeds are available in a lot of online nurseries.
Go ahead and inquire on your trusted nursery if they have available seeds that you can use.
- Stake - Peppercorns need something to latch to, them being a vine. Thus, it is advisable to put up a stake on your container in order to guide the growth of your vine.
While you may grow them without using a stake, they tend to get entangled with each other, making it harder to maintain.
- Fertilizer - as with all plants, peppercorns also need fertilization.
It is advisable to give fertilization to the plants once every month to ensure that they are getting the nutrients they need.
- Warm place - peppercorns generally thrive in hot environment, and tend to die when the temperature becomes colder.
Ideally, you would want to place your plant on your windows for it to get all the sunlight that it needs.
How Do You Grow Black Pepper?
As I have mentioned earlier, you should grow your pepper where there is plenty of sunlight, and the temperature is high.
Typically, peppercorns grow best at temperatures above 75 °F. Be careful not to place the pepper on temperatures below 60 °F as they will die once the temperatures drop.
This step-by-step guide will help you in growing your black pepper from the seed up to the fruit bearing plant.
It usually takes a year or so to grow the plant, and it typically lasts for a couple of years before you have to plant another set of seeds.
1. Preparing Your Black Pepper Seeds
Soak the seedlings overnight to soften their coating. Have your seed tray ready for germination.
Use a well-draining soil for the plant. I recommend a standard peat-lite potting soil of acidic pH as peppercorns thrive more in an acidic environment.
Also, be wary of the presence of soluble salts in the soil as peppercorns absorb fertilizer quickly, and the presence of soluble salts may be bad for them.
2. Planting the Seeds
Plant the seeds at least ¼ inch beneath the soil. The seeds should be spaced as least three inches apart.
Keep the soil moist while waiting for the seed to germinate. For best results, place the tray near a warm place where sunlight can reach.
Germination can take up to a month depending on the temperature.
Germination may be inhibited at temperatures lower than 60 °F so always keep that in mind.
3. Re-planting After Germination
After germination, the plants are ready for replanting in your clay pots.
This is usually done when the seeds grow to six inches in height. There is no specific method for replanting the plant.
Just make sure that the clay pot is big enough to house it, and there is enough soil to give room for the roots to grow.
4. Watering the Plant
Keep the soil moist by sprinkling water on top of it daily. This will ensure that the plant is getting enough water.
Since the plant is located in a warm place, there is a higher tendency for the soil to get dehydrated.
Be careful not to put too much water though as the plant will eventually die in the event of flooding.
Thus, it is really advisable to use a well-draining soil for the plant.
5. Using The Right Fertilizer
Be sure to put fertilizer at least once a month, preferably every two weeks, during the warm season.
If you are going to apply fertilizer every two weeks, you can use a liquid fertilizer and administer it while you water the plant.
If you are planning on applying fertilizer once a month, on the other hand, I advise the use of granular fertilizer, to be sprinkled on top of the soil when you water it.
Do note that peppercorns do not like a lot of fertilizer so you should control the amount you put depending on the amount of sunlight it gets.
As a rule, the higher the sunlight that the plant gets, the more fertilizer you put in.
During the winter season, stop putting fertilizer and wait for the season to get warmer until you resume.
6. Staking At The Right Time
Attach the stem to a stake for the plant to latch on to. Peppercorn plants can grow up to fifteen feet in height, and if they have no support, it will surely be a mess.
You should put up the stake as soon as the stem is high enough, and the vine is long enough to propagate.
A way to do it is to tie the stem to the stake and just let the plant climb through it.
You can put more stakes if needed, depending on what manner of growth you want to plants to do.
This video provides a great summary of the things that you need to know in order to grow peppercorns in your garden:
7. Preventing Pests and Diseases
Peppercorn plants are susceptible to root diseases. This oftentimes happen when the soil has too much water.
In order to prevent it, make sure that the soil is dry first before watering it again.
Also, I have suggested the use of a clay pot since it prevents the soil from being too moist.
The most common pest that peppercorns house is the mealy bug. However, peppercorns tend to attract these pests if there are other infected plants nearby.
Since you will be growing your plant indoors, there is little chance of the plant attracting these pests.
Wrapping Up How to Grow Black Pepper At Home
With the right amount of water, sunlight, and fertilizer, your peppercorns will surely grow as you want them to be.
Since they bear flowers all year long, you will have a steady supply of seeds.
Just cook them with hot water for a short time, and then dry them under the sun for several days until they shrink to the black peppers that you see in your local stores.
Knowing how to grow black pepper will give you a year-round supply of one of the most commonly used spices in food, grown and picked from your own garden!