Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Black Pepper, White Pepper
Piper nigrum

Family: Piperaceae
Genus: Piper (PIP-er) (Info)
Species: nigrum (NY-grum) (Info)

7 vendors have this plant for sale.

43 members have or want this plant for trade.


12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Light Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
This plant is suitable for growing indoors

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From herbaceous stem cuttings
From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds

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By podster
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By MollyMc
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By 35811
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4 positives
2 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive annushka1234 On Sep 26, 2011, annushka1234 from Redwood City, CA wrote:

Responded well to palm fertilizer (container plant)

Positive MollyMc On Sep 21, 2009, MollyMc from Archer/Bronson, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have had this plant growing in a 5 gallon pot in my Orchid/Greenhouse for 3 years. It is shaded most of the day with some filtered sun mid-afternoon. The vines have grown over into the sandy ground floor and taken root along the way.

When I want to share these with gardeners, I just find a rooted runner vine, cut behind it and pot it up. I will be very pleased to let it keep spreading.

Have had it flower, but seen no fruit yet. Wondering when that might happen.

Positive 35811 On Jan 4, 2008, 35811 from Huntsville, AL wrote:

Piper Nigrum:
While living in South Florida (Jupiter) I had found it impossible to germinate from nursery supplied seed, trying for several years under as many varying conditions...I finally found a seller who sold me a tiny rooted cutting, and from that I successfully (with much care) propagated so many vines I had to start giving them away. In that region, I did best by layering - could not get a cutting to take...but layering was ALWAYS a win.
I had the vines planted in pots and let it grow on the ground as a hardy covering...picky when in a container - do NOT over-water or the roots will rot quickly...don't bother feeding...didn't like that either...but in and on the ground, left alone with just a bit of moisture it did not even mind our brief freezes/frosts. In my experience It liked to be mulched (but see note again about too much water) and puts out a wealth of roots. Grows in full sun, partial shade, full grew wherever I let it, but some shade seems best for lush green leaves.
So far no fruit - still a few years off?

I'm in Northern Alabama now with as much as I could reasonably take with me, and this will be a real test; indoor vs. future green/coldhouse and just for kicks, a patch in the woods out back with some protection - it gets mighty cold here...we'll see what it can withstand. I have enough to try an experiment.

**December 29th, 2012**

Saw fruit on one potted vine during the summer of 2011...and then the squirrels ate it before even maturing. I now have a Solexx greenhouse and keep some going in there, sprawling inside and climbing a wooden trellis -- hopefully to fruit again where my furry neighbors can't explore their culinary opportunities to my horticultural detriment.
I'll be nice - they can have what lives outside.

I have successfully grown my 'sample' vine next to the house, facing SW, in zone 7b (Very Northern Alabama) since planting in 2008. There is growth under the leaf cover, as well as what wants to climb the brick (which perhaps I shouldn't allow.) We've had a 'real' winter with 11" of snow (though rare), seen 9 degrees Fahrenheit...the vine still lives. Right now we're in the 30's with a few flakes falling.
(SEE PICTURE, posted today.)
She's covered by the large maple overhead, which also limits how much moisture that area receives. I did not bother laying a bale over her like I had the first couple years, because although that kept her safe, it rotted several leaves off and encouraged slugs, etc..
Now, just humus and fresh fallen leaves. The heat from the house this vine snuggles against must be providing adequate warmth and shelter. I had covered completely, but will try something different this year, just to see if there will be eventual die-back.
I also had tried a small vine in the back yard, more out in the open, but haven't checked to see whether that is still there - will verify later, and also report back how the *exposed vine* fares through January-to-April, when it will be (or should be) a harsher cold than it is now.


Positive podster On Jul 4, 2006, podster from Deep East Texas, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

This plant is a thriving beautiful vine. Needs winter protection in this zone 8a. No blooms as yet but plant is only 1 year old at this time. No pests or problems noted.

Neutral amorning1 On Sep 27, 2003, amorning1 from Islamorada, FL wrote:

Make sure you are not using chlorinated tap water to germinated seeds.

Negative ClydeTakahashi On Sep 27, 2003, ClydeTakahashi from Kahului, HI (Zone 11) wrote:

Having a hard time to germinate seeds in Hawaii.

Neutral Baa On Oct 11, 2001, Baa wrote:

Evergreen, woody climber from India and Sri Lanka.

Has glossy, dark green, veined, heart shaped leaves. Bears spikes of small, white flowers. Has round fruit which turn red when ripe.

Flowers June-August

Likes a well drained, fertile soil in light shade, with high humidity and will need strong supports to take its weight. Minimum temperature is 61F so is best grown under glass in temerate zones, where it may even bear fruit.

When the just ripe pepper corns are harvested they are dried which causes them to wrinkle and turn black. White pepper is the same berry but has the skin removed.

Pepper is the oldest trade item from the Orient and was used in Greek and Roman times as a medicine as well as a spice.

It was used for treatment of a wide range of illnesses, it was used to treat gout, smallpox, scarlet fever, rheumatism, bubonic plague, typhus and cholera.

A pinch of pepper helps to staunch bleeding and also has antiseptic properties.

It is also recommended for some digestive problems in particular nausea and flatulence.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Huntsville, Alabama
Beverly Hills, Florida
Jupiter, Florida
Lecanto, Florida
Miami, Florida (2 reports)
Port Orange, Florida
Saint Petersburg, Florida
Pepeekeo, Hawaii
Wailuku, Hawaii
New Orleans, Louisiana
Vieques, Puerto Rico
Round Rock, Texas
San Augustine, Texas

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