How To Grow Peppercorns from Seeds : Growing Black Peppers at Home

This article gives details on how to grow peppercorns from seeds at home. Growing peppercorns or black peppers (Kali Mirch) from seeds at home might look difficult, but with the right conditions and a bit of patience, you can grow and harvest peppercorns at home with the right conditions. You may be harvesting peppercorns in about 4 years after sowing the seeds.

The black pepper or peppercorn plant is a woody perennial flowering plant that will grow peppers year after year for 15 to 20 years.

Peppercorn Plant showing peppercorn seeds
Peppercorn Plant Vine

Outside India, it is grown in Vietnam, Indonesia, Southeast Asia, Brazil and all other tropical regions.

Peppercorn Growing Zone

The peppercorn plant is a tropical plant, native to southern India and grows well in warm and wet conditions with mild winters, similar to USDA Hardiness Zone 12. Having said this, it is mentioned that the peppercorn plants are very adaptive and can be grown anywhere with proper care. In Australia, it is grown in north Queensland, but I am trying to grow it in Sydney.

Growing Peppercorns at Home

Choosing the Right Peppercorn Seeds

The most commonly grown varieties of peppercorns are black, white, and green. The black peppercorns, known as Kali Mirch in India, that we buy from stores come from the Piper nigrum plant. The question then comes to mind, can you grow a peppercorn plant from a peppercorn bought from supermarket store. The answer unfortunately is no, because they have been dried and processed to prevent germination, so these are unlikely to sprout. You can try several black peppers from store and try to germinate them, a few may grow if you are lucky.

You should buy high-quality peppercorn seeds suitable for germination form a reputable seed store.

Blackpepper Seeds
Black pepper Seeds

Where to Plant and Grow

  1. Peppercorn plants need plenty of sunlight to grow successfully. Choose a place in warm, humid environment, ideally with temperatures between 24-29°C (75-85°F). If you do not have such a condition outside, then grow peppercorn plant indoors and provide required light conditions using LED grow lights or fluorescent lights.
  2. The plant stops growing below 18°C (65°F). 
  3. Select a place where you have enough space for the peppercorn vine, which can grow to 4.6 m (15 ft) long.

Prepare the Seeds for Planting

To germinate the peppercorn seeds successfully, it is essential to prepare them before sowing for optimal germination. Soak the seeds in warm water for 24 hours to soften the outer shell. Discard any floating seed, these are not viable.

Planting the Seeds

Plant the seeds in seed raising tray or small pot, about 1 cm below the soil surface. Cover the pot with a transparent polythene sheet and keep it in a location with bright, indirect sunlight, in temperature between 24-29°C (75-85°F). Remove the sheet cover when the seeds begin to germinate.

You can keep the pot indoors and use a heated germination mat, if outside temperature is low.

Peppercorn Seed Germination

If you provide the needed warm and humid environment, then the seeds will germinate in about 30 days, depending on temperature and seed variety and its quality.

Black Pepper Seddlings
Black Pepper Seddlings

Transplant the Seedlings

Transplant the seedling into individual pots or suitable location in ground, when they grow 3-4 sets of leaves and the roots become stronger.

Caring For Black Pepper Plants in Pots

Black Pepper Plant
Black Pepper Plant 

Soil for Peppercorn Vine

Peppercorn plants prefer slightly acidic to neutral soil. The soil should be water free-draining. Add lots of compost in the soil before transplanting. A good drainage is crucial, otherwise the plant can suffer from root rot.


Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. In too much saturated soil, the plant may suffer.


Fertilize the black pepper plant regularly with a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer during the growing season. Instead of chemical fertilizer you can mix good quality compost in the soil. You can feed a liquid fertilizer once a month.

Trellis or Support

As peppercorn plants are long vines, so provide trellis or supporting stakes so they climb them naturally for support.


Prune the vines to encourage branching and increase fruit production. Regular pruning also helps manage the size of the plant.


The peppercorn is slow growing vine that take about 4 years years to reach maturity and produce blooms and significant harvest.  Therefore, growing peppercorns from seeds requires patience.

Harvesting Peppercorns

Now the real question, how long will it take to grow peppercorns from seed. The peppercorn grown from seed will start to produce flowers and bear fruit after 4 years.

Peppercorns are ready for harvest when they turn red. Pick the berries individually or harvest entire clusters. Allow the harvested peppercorns to dry in the sun for a few days before storing them in a cool, dry place.

Growing Peppercorns in Pots

  1. You can grow peppercorn plant in a pot. You can grow peppercorns in pots for harvesting peppers or just because they look very beautiful with bright green leaves.
  2. Plant the peppercorn plant in nutrition rich free-draining soil.
  3. As the peppercorn plants thrive in warm, tropical conditions, place the pot in the warmest and brightest area of your garden. If you live in a region with cold winters, you can bring the pot indoors during winter and take it back outside in summer.
  4. Peppercorns do not tolerate frost. During cold weather, place the pot in full sun at temperature above 18°C (65°F) with 50% or greater humidity. If such growing conditions are not met outdoors, move the pot indoors.