Black Pepper , also known as peppercorns, is the world’s most popular and expensive spice. Its scientific name is Piper Nigrum. Black Pepper plant is native to western ghats of India. It is a tropical plant which loves humid environment. An annual rainfall of about 250 cms is ideal for its proper growth and successful cultivation. It can tolerate a minimum temperature of 10 C and a maximum of 40 C. Growing black pepper plant is a little difficult, but you can learn how to do it by reading this article. Let’s discuss how to grow black pepper plant from seeds.
Black Pepper is the dried fruit of the Black Pepper plant. Each fruit contains a single seed, and that seed will germinate if the fruit is planted in fertile soil that maintains the required temperature until the seed sprouts. Black Pepper found in grocery stores should not be planted. Those meant for culinary use have been dried and treated to prevent germination so the peppercorns will not sprout in storage. While there is a small possibility they could germinate if planted properly, it is very unlikely. So it is advisable to avoid using culinary black pepper and instead obtain seeds meant for growing.
Growing Black Pepper is difficult, it requires specific growing conditions:
- Black Pepper is a tropical plant, so hot and humid climates are suitable for its growth. It grows in
humid or very humid subtropical forests. It can be grown at a place where the minimum temperature doesn’t fall below 18 C (65 F) and can tolerate temperature above 40 C (105 F) but the average daytime temperature of 25 C (77 F) is perfect.
- Humidity level for growing cardamom is usually near 75%.
- Black pepper can be grown in clay loams, red loams and sandy loams. However, it thrives best on well drained virgin soil rich in humus content and other plant nutrients.
- It requires little acidic soil and can tolerate PH level up-to 5.0 or 6.5.
- It requires at least 5-6 hours of filtered sunlight or partial shade.
- Black pepper is basically a vine, grow it near a fence, trellis or similar support structure on which the vines may climb.
- Watering is very important. Keep the soil moist all the time, but not soggy. Don’t let the soil to dry out ever. In summer or when the plant is setting fruits, increase watering.
- Black pepper plant loves humidity, the more the better. For this, mist the plant often with soft water. If you’re growing black pepper in pots place them on saucer filled with water, this will also increase the humidity level.
GERMINATE FROM SEEDS
Always use fresh seeds for sowing as these seeds are viable for very short period of time and and follow the following steps:
- Soak your black pepper seeds in lukewarm water for 24 hours prior to planting.
- Black pepper needs rich soil that drains easily. Prepare the potting mix with either well rotten cow dung or compost and soil in 3:1 ratio.
- Fill the container with potting mix and sow seeds very lightly, only about ¼ inch below the surface of the soil and about 3 inches apart. Spread a thin layer of mulch, straw or grass over the mix. Water deeply until the soil feels moist.
- Keep the soil moist and warm.
- The soil temperature must be at least 21 C (70 F) for optimum germination rate.
- Seeds will germinate anything in between 30-40 days, depending upon the seed quality & growing condition.
- When germination occurs, remove most of the mulch, leaving only a thin layer around the seedlings and move them to indirect sunlight.
- Provide overhead shade to protect seedlings from bright sun.
- When the seedlings are 5 to 6 inch tall, transplant them to their individual pots or location
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- Black Pepper found in grocery stores should not be planted.
- Always use fresh seeds for sowing as these seeds are viable for very short period of time.