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In addition to its culinary value, pepper makes a lovely house plant or landscaping plant with its glossy, evergreen leaves and large flowers. Learn how to plant and grow your own peppercorns.Height:
approx. 12 feet Difficulty level:
EasyPlanting & Care
Black pepper is the most commonly used spice in the world and, paired with salt, is found on most tables in the home. The plant that it comes from, common pepper (Piper nigrum), has been cultivated in India for more than 2,000 years for culinary uses. Today, most pepper is imported from India, Sumatra, Japan, Borneo, and the Philippines. Pepper enthusiasts believe that Malabar produces the best pepper.
Plant Piper nigrum in the partial shade, with dappled sun light. You’ll want to grow it near a fence, trellis or similar support structure on which the vines may climb. In doors, it may work in a hanging planter with the vines draping down toward the floor.
WHEN TO PLANT
Plant black pepper when soil temperatures are at least 75° F or start it indoors year round. Transplant outside in the spring if possible when conditions are mild.Soil:
Black pepper needs rich soil that drains easily. A fertile potting mix works great. Garden soil should be amended with lots of compost. Plant in raised beds for better drainage. Soil pH is optimal at 5.5-7.0.Water:
Keep the soil constantly moist for good results. Mist regularly with a spray bottle to keep a humid environment. Water container plants even more often as they will dry out fast. No need to keep the soil sopping wet but don’t let it completely dry out between each watering either.Temprature:
Peppers can’t tolerate temperatures below 60 degrees F.Fertilizer:
Fertilize every spring with a well balanced organic fertilizer. Fertilize house plants every four weeks.Care:
- Soak your black pepper seeds in water for 24 hours prior to planting.
- Sow seeds very lightly, only about ¼ inch below the surface of the soil and about 3 inches apart.
- Moisten carefully with a spray bottle.
- Keep the soil moist and warm until the seeds germinate about 30 days later.
- Place them on top of a radiator or refrigerator if possible to help keep them warm.
- Move to indirect sunlight once they sprout.
- Transplant the healthiest seedlings outside or to larger growing pots when they are 4 to 6 inches high.
Peppercorns can sometimes be harvested starting about one year after planting, but most will take 3 to 4 years to develop. First, flowers will appear throughout the spring and summer. Fruit will begin to form shortly after in clusters. They will ripen from green to red and can be harvested at these different stages. Most gardeners will harvest peppercorns when they begin to turn red. Dry peppercorns in the sun for about three days. They should turn black when completely dry. Grind them up to make black pepper.UseMedicinal use:
- The health benefits of black pepper include relief from respiratory disorders, coughs, the common cold, constipation, indigestion, anemia, impotency, muscular strains, dental disease, pyorrhea, diarrhea, and heart disease.
- Ground pepper can be added to almost any cooked dish, as well as certain fresh recipes.
- It has a pungent, sharp taste that freshens most recipes.
- Additionally, though, black pepper can improve digestion and reduce gas.
Add pepper to soups, meat dishes, or salad dressings.
- Combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and ground black pepper for a simple but elegant dipping sauce for bread.