How to plant black pepper

Piper nigrum

Black pepper, also known as black pepper and round pepper, is a climbing vine native to India that can reach 4 meters in height. Its drupa fruits are classified according to the degree of ripeness and the treatment they receive, which leads to different flavors and varied uses in cooking.


Black pepper or black pepper is a perennial plant with a humid tropical climate. Therefore, the most suitable regions for its cultivation have temperatures above 23 ° C throughout the year, with regular rainfall and high relative humidity. However, it can be grown in other regions as long as the temperature is never below 15 ° C, or it can be grown in acclimatized greenhouses.


This plant can be grown under direct sunlight or in partial shade.


Cultivate in well-drained, deep, fertile soil rich in organic matter. The ideal soil pH is 5.5 to 6.0.


Irrigate to keep the soil moist, but not soaked.


Planting is usually carried out at the beginning of the rainiest season of the year. Although planting can be done through seeds, these are rarely used, because the seedlings take longer to grow and start producing, and because plants born from seeds may not have the characteristics and productivity of the parent plant. Thus, the planting of black pepper or black pepper is normally done by cuttings.

The branches that will be used to propagate the plants must be about 1 cm in diameter, 25 to 50 cm long and at least 3 knots. These can be planted in pots, plastic bags for seedlings or other containers, with soil kept well moist until the seedlings take root. When the seedlings are well developed, which takes three or four months, they are transplanted to the final location. The recommended spacing is 2 to 3 meters between the plants.

Black pepper or black pepper can be grown in large pots, but productivity will be small when grown like this.


The black pepper or black pepper, being a climbing plant, needs supports to support its growth, which are usually wooden poles or concrete pillars about 2.2 to 3 meters high, but which can also be trusses or even trees. At the beginning of cultivation, it is necessary to tie the plant to the support to prevent it from falling off and falling or breaking with the weight of the foliage.

Carefully remove invasive plants that are competing for nutrients and resources, so as not to damage the surface roots of the pepper plant.

The tip of the main branch can be pruned when it reaches the top of the support to induce further branching of the plant.


The plant begins to produce well only from the third to the fifth year of cultivation, and from then on it can generate two harvests per year in regions of appropriate climate, for up to twenty years. The fruits are harvested according to the type of pepper you want to obtain.

To obtain black peppers, the fruits are harvested immature, still completely green, and are left to dry in the sun for several days or are dried with the aid of appropriate equipment, until they become wrinkled and blackened.

To obtain green peppers, the fruits are also harvested immature and are still used fresh or are subjected to processes that maintain the natural color of the fruits, such as freeze-drying or canning.

To obtain white peppers, the fruits are harvested when they are reddish, already ripe or almost ripe. These are placed in cotton bags and left in tanks with running water for more than a week, to allow the epidermis and the pulp of the fruits to decompose, leaving only the seeds at the end of the process. Other mechanical or chemical processes can also be used to separate the seeds from the pulp. The seeds are then left in the sun for a day or two to dry.

To obtain red peppers, the fruits are harvested when ripe, and are usually preserved in preserves, although they can also be lyophilized.

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