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How to Grow a Black Pepper Plant

The black pepper plant is native to India and is used to hot and humid climates. These plants can gain heights of 32 feet in their natural climate. Black pepper plants produce peppercorns which, when dried, can be ground into the black pepper used by most kitchens. The peppercorn grown on this plant is put through a pepper mill or grinder to get the black pepper powder. While the black pepper plant is considered exotic to the United States, it can be grown here; the best environments are indoors and greenhouse conditions.

Fill the planter with a potting soil made of two parts garden soil, two parts humus and one part perlite/charcoal.

Push the seeds down ½ inch into the potting soil. Water the soil with the watering can to moisten the soil. Cover the top of the planter with the plastic wrap. Wrap the rubber band around the lip of the planter so it catches the edge of the plastic wrap and holds it to the planter. This will raise the temperature under the plastic wrap to between 75 and 85 degrees; this temperature level must be maintained to reproduce the natural growing conditions of the black pepper plant.

Look for seedlings in the pot. Move the seedlings into pots with a 12-inch diameter once you see a second set of leaves on the plants. Mist with the spray bottle frequently to keep the plants moist, using warm water. Place the pots in areas where the pepper plants can get the most sunlight but can also gain partial shade. This can be done in an eastern facing window.

Set a small metal trellis into the soil near the seedling. Pepper plants are vines and will climb if given a support system.

Fertilize the plant weekly during summer. Keep the temperature above 70 for flowers to set. Move the plant outdoors when the temperature is above 75 degrees but bring it back inside when the temperature begins to drop. The plant will bloom late summer, with the peppercorn following in December and January.

Look for flowers on plants that reach 3 years old. The peppercorn will form on long spikes. Wait for the peppercorn on the end of the spike to turn red and then remove them.

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