How to Grow a Plant From a Peppercorn


The peppercorn plant is native to India and was one of the first spices traded between the East and West as far back as the days of ancient Greece and the Roman empire. A black pepper plant is a vine that can grow up to 32 feet high in the wild. Peppercorns are dried out and then, of course, used in a huge variety of dishes. Peppercorns require the warm, humid climate found in its place of origin; once you meet these conditions you can have your own fresh pepper in a few years.

Step 1

Determine the amount of potting soil needed for the planter. Mix two parts humus with one part perlite (charcoal) to create the potting soil needed for the peppercorn plant.

Step 2

Fill the planter with the potting soil to within 1 inch of the top of the planter.

Step 3

Pick a location optimal for growing peppercorn. Choose a good indoor location or greenhouse because this plant requires high temperatures as it is native to the warm, humid climates of India.

Step 4

Poke a hole with your finger 1/2 inch into the center of the soil. Plant the seed in the hole and cover it with the soil. Tamp down the soil lightly. Water the soil until it is moist but not wet.

Step 5

Cover the top of the planter with plastic wrap; make sure there is a 1-inch margin of plastic overlapping the container. This will help create the humidity. Wrap a rubber band around the lip of the planter so that it holds the edge of the plastic wrap tightly against the planter. The temperature within the planter will reach a range of 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, which must be maintained.

Step 6

Set the planter where it can get full sunlight. Allow the seeds to germinate. Look for seedlings to appear over the next several days. Watch for the seedlings to develop a second set of leaves before proceeding to the next steps.

Step 7

Fill the smaller planters with the same potting soil mix as used in Step 1. Poke a hole with your finger into the center of the soil for each planter.

Step 8

Move the seedlings to individual planters. Dig up the soil around each plant with the spoon. Lift up the plant with the roots gently. Put the plants into their individual planters and cover the roots with soil. Put the planters in an eastern facing window or opening; this allows the most sunlight in, while providing some shading which avoids scorching of the leaves.

Step 9

Set up small trellises in the soil next to each peppercorn plant. This will provide support as the vines grow up.

Step 10

Mist the plants with water frequently with warm water. Fertilize the soil weekly during the summer season when the air is warmest. Maintain a temperature of 75 degrees or higher.

Step 11

Move the plants outside during days when the temperature is 75 degrees or more. During the evening and cooler days keep the plants indoors.

Step 12

Watch for blooms when plants reach three years old; these will appear in late summer. Watch for long spikes to form on the plant, with the peppercorn at the end of the spike; these will appear in December and January following the summer blossoms. When the peppercorn turns red it is ready to be picked.

Things You'll Need

  • 12-inch diameter planters
  • 36-inch diameter planter
  • Potting soil mixture
  • Plastic wrap
  • Rubber band
  • Indoor growing area or greenhouse
  • Spoon


  • Web India 123: Pepper
  • UCLA Botany Department: The Pepper Vine
Keywords: black pepper, pepper plant, planting peppercorn, grow exotic plants

About this Author

Jack S. Waverly is a Pennsylvania-based freelance writer who has written hundreds of articles relating to business, finance, travel, history and health. His current focus is on pets, gardens, personal finance and business management. Waverly has been writing online content professionally since 2007 for various providers and websites.