Grow a plant from a peppercorn by first germinating the peppercorn between two damp paper towels inside a plastic bag placed in a warm location. Plant any seeds that germinate in a high-quality potting soil or, in warm locations, directly into the soil outdoors. Black pepper is native to tropical areas, meaning it requires frequent watering and temperatures no lower than 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Growing a plant from a peppercorn is one of the more difficult ways of growing a black pepper plant. This is because black pepper plants produce a very low percentage of viable seeds, meaning that most peppercorns placed between two damp paper towels never germinate. For this reason, most commercially grown black pepper plants are grown from clones, rooted cuttings taken from healthy plants.
Black pepper is a climbing vine, and growing plants require a trellis or cage for support, otherwise the vines spread out over the ground, negatively impacting the quality of their fruit. When black pepper plants do produce fruit, the time of harvest and the processing methods used afterward have a large impact on the spice's final flavor.
Produce regular black pepper by harvesting the seeds at maturity and leaving their dark seed coats on during drying. Producing white pepper uses the same method but requires removing the outer seed coat. Making milder green pepper requires harvesting the seeds before maturity.