How to grow Black pepper (Piper nigrum) from seeds

Black Pepper seeds

If you want to grow black pepper (Piper nigrum) from seed, you must use seed from a nursery. Green, red, black or white peppercorns from the supermarket will not germinate.

How to grow

Pepper seeds can be sown all year round, but in my experience Piper nigrum germinates best at temperatures between 71.6 and 86 °F (22 and 30 °C).

Soak pepper seeds

Do I need to soak the seeds before sowing?

It is best to soak the seeds for about 24 hours before sowing.

Keeping the soil wet for the first two days after sowing has the same effect. However, it should not be left under water for any length of time.

Soil & sowing depth

The sowing depth is about one centimetre.

I have used a regular peat-free potting soil, but mixes for herbs, vegetables or a seedstarting mix will also work.

young pepper plants


The soil should be kept evenly moist. It should not be allowed to dry out superficially until all the seeds have germinated.

Location & time of germination

The location can be light to semi-shade.

At 71.6 to 78.7 °F (22 to 26 °C) it takes about four weeks for the first seeds to germinate.

Pricking out

Young pepper plants can be pricked out from a height of about five centimetres.

Piper nigrum profile

Black Pepper Piper nigrum

Black pepper is a climbing plant. Its shoots can grow several meters long. It is the source of green, red, black and white peppercorns.

The wild type of Piper nigrum is native to India. It is grown in tropical regions (distribution map).

Pepper plants

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