What is Peppercorn?
Peppercorn (Piper nigram) is native to India. It’s a perennial vine that blooms lovely little white flowers, typically in the middle of summer.
It’s a climbing vine that lasts for years once it’s established and looks good as an indoor ornamental as well as an outdoor vine to produce peppercorns.
There is another variety (Piper sarmentosum) that doesn’t produce peppercorns, but the leaves are edible. We’re going to concentrate on P. nigram. Are you ready to learn all about this delightful plant?
How to Plant Peppercorn
Peppercorns grow in tropical environments. They love it when it’s hot and humid.
The plants take about four years to grow to a size where they bloom and produce peppercorns, but it’s well worth waiting for, especially if you consider it a decorative plant until it then.
Where to Plant
Peppercorn grows in USDA Zones 10 to 12, where you can provide the hot, humid conditions it craves. I would give it a go even if you aren’t in the right zone because plants always surprise us with their ability to survive.
You can also take the containers indoors when conditions are less than ideal.
Peppercorn loves dappled light. If you think about how it grows in a jungle type environment, the forest canopy allows light in but filters it as well. The plants need between 6 to 8 hours of partial sunlight.
Peppercorn loves humus-rich soil, just like most plants under canopies. That’s because the leaves and debris of taller plants provide well-rotted nutrients once they drop down to the ground.
The soil should hold moisture but drain well so the roots aren’t in standing water. Aim for a slightly acidic soil with a pH of 6 to 7.
When to Plant
Plant outside in spring when temperatures are consistently higher than 60°F. Any lower than this and peppercorn will struggle or even die.
If you’re starting your peppercorn seeds inside, they take about 30-35 days to germinate. They need heat and the soil needs to be a consistent 75-85°F. Use a heat pad for best results.
If you start your peppercorns in seed trays, transplant them when they’re 4 inches tall.
(SOURCE: By Craig Taylor)