Pepper Trees: Everything You Need to Know
So, you want to learn a bit more about pepper trees?
From their unique benefits to growing and maintaining them, we’ve put together the comprehensive guide on pepper trees right here.
What are pepper trees?
A fast-growing evergreen shade tree, pepper trees are native to an area from the Andes of Peru, down to southern Brazil. In the US, pepper trees are found naturally in southern and southwestern states and thrive in locations like southern California.
Pepper trees grow up to 40-50 feet tall, delivering an ample shade for those hot summer months. Pepper trees are famous for their long, thin leaves with smaller leaflets jutting out in a mesmerizing, fan-like pattern.
Although unrelated to standard table pepper, the vibrant, rosy-red berries from pepper trees are sold as pink peppercorns and often blended in with ordinary pepper. But be careful, the fruit and leaves could be poisonous to some animals and aren’t suitable to be consumed by adults or children.
Why are pepper trees so popular?
People love pepper trees for the unique, textured appearance of their large, drooping branches with brightly-colored berries.
Pepper trees will liven up your landscape and complement the plant life around them. Pepper trees also grow rapidly, delivering wonderful shade to your home or yard and acting as a centerpiece of your landscape.
Growth and erosion control
As long as several conditions are met, pepper trees are not difficult to grow and maintain.
Ensure you have enough space in your landscape for a mature pepper tree to grow into.
Pick a spot that has both direct sunlight and well-drained soil. This refers to soil that drains at a normal rate, without releasing water too quickly, or allowing the water to sit still and pool.
Consider buying a container tree to plant in your landscape, as growing a pepper tree from a seed is a much more difficult process.
Pepper trees thrive in hot climates and don’t require much water. In fact, one of the biggest challenges with pepper trees is simply making sure too much water isn’t trapped in the soil around them, leading to root rot.
Aiding in soil erosion
Planting pepper trees in your landscape can work to reverse the effects of soil erosion.
Pepper trees not only require minimal water to thrive, but their far-reaching canopy also helps protect the space around them from rain storms, flooding, and other water-related issues.
Do’s, dont’s, and maintenance
Here’s a quick list of do’s and don’ts and tips for general maintenance of your pepper trees.
- Pick a large enough space for the tree to mature into - Plant in a spot with direct sunlight
- Liberally irrigate the soil around your pepper tree
- Overwater your pepper tree
- Allow puddles or pooled water to form near the tree
Only water your pepper tree as needed. Once its roots are established, the tree will likely thrive with minimal to zero added water.
You can prune pepper trees anytime throughout the year by clipping away growth crowding the trunk of the tree and trimming branches about 1⁄2-inch thick.
Pepper trees love hot climates and thrive with minimal water and maintenance. They are gorgeous trees that add texture and aesthetic to any landscape and may even help your soil from eroding.
Want to get local pepper tree trunks or seeds in your area to start planting? Head over to the ADIY site and shop local vendors.