requires a warm and humid climate. Though an annual rainfall
of 250 cm is ideal for the proper growth of the crop,
it can also come up well in low rainfall areas, if the
pattern and distribution of rainfall are conducive. About
70 mm of rainfall within a period of 20 days may be sufficient
for triggering of flushing and flowering process in the
plant, but once the process is set on, there should be
continuous, though not heavy, rainfall until fruit development
starts. Any dry spell, even for a few days, within this
critical period will result in substantial reduction of
yield. Very long spells of dry weather are unfavourable
for the crop growth.
plant tolerates a minimum temperature of 10 ºC
and maximum of 40 ºC, the optimum being 20-30 ºC.
It can be grown from sea level up to an altitude of
1200 m but lower altitude is preferable.
Pepper prefers a light porous and well-drained soil
rich in organic matter. Water stagnation in the soil,
even for a very short period, is injurious for the plant.
So, heavy textured soils in locations where drainage
facilities are inadequate should be avoided.
Panniyur-2, Panniyur-3, Panniyur-4, Panniyur-5, Panniyur-6,
Panniyur-7, Subhakara, Sreekara, Karimunda, Panchami,
Pournami, Kottanadan, Kuthiravally, Arakulam Munda,
Balankotta and Kalluvally are the commonly cultivated
varieties. Of these, Panniyur-1 is to be grown in comparatively
Sites with slight to moderate slope are ideal for pepper
cultivation, as they promote drainage. Slopes facing
south are to be avoided as far as possible. When such
slopes are to be used for cultivation, the young plants
may be sufficiently protected from the scorching sun
of mother plants
Cultivate only varieties, which are proven to be highly
productive. Select mother plants, which give regularly
high yields and possess other desirable attributes such
as vigorous growth, maximum number of spikes per unit
area, long spikes, close setting of berries, disease
tolerance etc. Selected mother plants should be in the
age group of 5-12 years. Mark and label selected mother
plants in October-November.
Pepper is propagated vegetatively from cuttings. Select
runner shoots produced at the base of mother plants
and keep them coiled and raised to prevent from striking
roots in the soil. Separate them from the vines in February-March.
The middle one-third portion of runner shoot is preferred
for planting. Very tender and too hard portions of the
shoots are to be avoided. The shoots are cut into pieces
with 2-3 nodes in each. Leaves, if any, are to be clipped
off leaving a small portion of the petioles on the stem.
Dipping the lower cut end (up to 2 cm) of the cuttings
in 1000 ppm solution of 3-indol butyric acid (IBA) for
45 seconds will increase root formation and development.
The solution can be prepared by dissolving 1 g of IBA
in one litre of water containing 3-5 g of sodium carbonate
(washing soda). The dipping period of 45 seconds should
be strictly adhered to, as any deviation from this may
be injurious. Treating the cuttings with Seradix B2
is equally effective. But IBA treatment is cheaper and
hence is recommended for large nurseries where technical
supervision is available. Seradix B2 can be conveniently
used by farmers and small-scale nurseries. Plant the
treated cuttings in nursery beds or preferably in polythene
bags or baskets filled with potting mixture. The potting
mixture is prepared by mixing two parts of fertile topsoil,
one part of river sand and one part of well rotten cattle
manure. When polythene bags are used, sufficient number
of holes (16-20) may be provided at the base to ensure
good drainage. The cuttings should be planted at least
one node deep in the soil. The cutting after planting
should be kept under good shade. In large nurseries,
pandals are to be constructed for this purpose. The
cuttings are to be well protected from direct sunlight
and frequent watering is recommended in the nursery
to maintain a humid and cool atmosphere around the cuttings.
Watering 2-3 times a day is sufficient. Heavy watering,
which makes the soil slushy and causes waterlogging
is to be avoided.
Planting of standards is to be taken up in April-May
with the onset of pre-monsoon showers. Murukku (Erythrina
indica) karayam or killingil (Garuga pinnata), Ailanthus
sp., subabul (Leucaenea leucocephala) etc. are suitable
standards for growing pepper. In high altitude areas,
dadap (E. lithosperma) and silver oak (Grevillea robusta)
can be successfully used as standards for pepper. Seedlings
of subabul and silver oak are to be planted 2-3 years
before planting pepper. The cuttings of standards are
to be planted in narrow holes of 40 to 50 cm depth.
The spacing recommended is 3 x 3 m on plain lands and
2 m between plants in rows across the slope and 4 m
between rows on sloppy lands. The soil should be well
pressed around the standards to avoid air pockets and
keep the standards firm in the soil.
planting pepper, prepare pits on the northern side of
standards, 15 cm away from it. The pit size should be
50 x 50 x 50 cm. Fill the pits with a mixture of topsoil
and compost or well rotten cattle manure @ 5 kg/pit.
With the onset of southwest monsoon in June-July, plant
2-3 rooted cuttings in the pits at a distance of about
30 cm away from the standards. Press the soil around
the cuttings to form a small mound slopping outward
and away from the cuttings to prevent water stagnation
around the plants. The growing portions of the cuttings
are to be trailed and tied to the standards. Provide
shade to the plants if the land is exposed and if there
is a break in the rainfall. When pepper is grown on
coconut or arecanut trees, the pepper cuttings are to
be planted 1-1.5 m away from the trunk of the trees.
Trail the pepper vines on a temporary stake for 1-2
years. When they attain sufficient length to reach the
tree trunk, remove the stake without causing damage
to the vines and tie the pepper plants on to the tree
trunk and trail them on it.
If the terrain of the land is sloppy or uneven, carry
out contour bunding or terracing to prevent soil erosion.
Carry out digging around the standards and vines at
a radius of about 1 m from the base or in the entire
plantation, twice during the year, the first at the
onset of southwest monsoon and the second towards the
end of northeast monsoon. Weeding around the plants
is to be done according to necessity. However, in foot
rot affected gardens, digging should be avoided and
weeds removed by slashing. In the early stages, tie
the vines to the standards, if found necessary.
pepper is grown on a plantation scale, growing of cover
crops like Calapagonium muconoides is recommended. When
such cover crops are grown, they are to be cut back
regularly from the base of the plants to prevent them
from twining along with the pepper vines. Lowering of
vines after one year's growth will promote lateral branch
of pepper gardens with ginger, turmeric, colocasia and
elephant foot yam is advantageous. Banana as an intercrop
in yielding gardens reduces pepper yield. Therefore,
this is not recommended beyond three to four years after
planting of pepper vines. However, in the early years,
banana provides shade to the young plants and protects
them from drying up during summer months.
pepper is grown in open places, shading and watering
of the young seedlings may be done during summer months
for the first 1 to 3 years according to necessity. The
young plants may be completely covered with dry arecanut
leaves, coconut leaves or twigs of trees until summer
months are over. Mulching the basins of pepper vines
during summer months is highly advantageous. Saw dust,
arecanut husk and dry leaves are suitable mulching materials.
Removal of unwanted terminal shoot growths and hanging
shoots should be done as and when necessary.
and train the standards in March-April every year to
remove excessive overgrowth and to give them a proper
shape. The effective height of the standard is to be
limited to about 6 m. A second pruning of the standards
may be done in July-August, if there is excessive shade
in the garden.
After regular bearing for about 20 years, the vines
of most varieties start declining in yield. The age
of decline in yield varies with variety and agroclimatic
and management factors. So underplanting should be attempted
at about 20 years after planting or when a regular declining
trend in yield appears. The old and senile vines can
be removed 3-5 years after underplanting depending up
on the growth of the young vines.
By planting lateral branches (plagiotropes) of pepper,
the vine can be grown as a bush. One-year-old lateral
branches with 3-5 nodes are to be planted in nursery
during March-April for pre-rooting after treating the
cut ends with 1000 ppm solution of IBA for 45 seconds.
Rooting percentage of laterals is less than 20%. Only
well-rooted and established plants are to be used for
transplanting. The rooted cuttings are to be planted
at 3-5 per pit or per pot. Fertilizers can be applied
@ 1.0, 0.5 and 2.0 g/pot of N, P2O5 and K2O respectively
at bimonthly interval. Alternatively, application of
15 g groundnut cake (or) 33 g of neem cake can also
meet the N requirement of the crop. The bushy nature
of the plant will have to be ensured by proper pruning
of the hanging shoots. The potted plants are to be kept
preferably under partial shade. It is necessary that
re-potting is carried out after every two years.
Irrigating pepper plants of Panniyur-1 variety at IW/CPE
ratio of 0.25 from November / December till the end
of March and withholding irrigation thereafter till
monsoon break, increases pepper yield by about 50%.
The depth of irrigation recommended is 10 mm (100 litres
of water per irrigation at an interval of about 8-10
days under Panniyur conditions). The water is to be
applied in basins taken around the plants at a radius
of 75 cm. The basins may be mulched with dry leaves
or other suitable materials.
for pepper vines is to be done in basins taken around
the plant, 10-15 cm deep and 50-75 cm radius, depending
up on the growth of the plants. Apply cattle manure
/ compost / green leaves at the rate of 10 kg / plant
/ annum just at the onset of southwest monsoon and cover
lightly with soil. It is desirable to apply lime at
the rate of 500 g/vine in April-May, with the receipt
of pre-monsoon showers, in alternate years.
nutrient dosage for pepper (3 years and above) is:
50:50:150 (general recommendation)
50:50:200 (for Panniyur and similar areas)
140:55:275 (for Kozhikode and similar areas)
Apply 1/3 dose for one-year-old plants and 1/2 dose
for two-year-old plants.
fertilizers may be applied in two split doses, the first
in May-June with the receipt of a few soaking rains
and the second in August-September. Apply fertilizers
in a circle of radius 30 cm around the vine in the case
of plants trailed on erythrina (murukku) or teak pole
For the control of pollu caused by the flea beetle Longitarsus
nigripennis, spray any one of the following insecticides
namely, dimethoate, quinalphos, or monocrotophos
at 0.05% concentration. The spraying is to be given
at the time of spike emergence (June-July), at berry
formation (September-October) and once again at berry
maturing stage, if needed. It can also be controlled
by spraying cypermethrin 0.01% twice, first at the berry
formation stage and the second one-month after the first
controlling pepper leaf gall thrips, monocrotophos (0.05%)
or dimethoate (0.05%) may be used. For control of grubs
(Remphan sp.) that damage roots of live standards and
teak poles, apply phorate at the rate of 2 g ai / standard,
into the soil around the base through slanting holes.
scale (Lecanium sp.) is occasionally found to infest
the foliage and vines at higher elevations. This scale
insect can be controlled by spraying quinalphos 0.05%.
This treatment will be adequate to control the mealy
bugs also. Root mealy bugs can be controlled by drenching
the basins of vines with chlorpyriphos 0.075%. Adequate
precaution has to be taken to ensure that the insecticide
solution reaches the root zone of the vines. Many of
the vines infested by root mealy bugs are also likely
to be infected with Phytophthora and nematodes. For
controlling hard scale, spot application of dimethoate
0.1% is recommended.
shoot borer can be controlled by spraying monocrotophos
(0.05%) or dimethoate (0.05%) on the tender shoots and
flushes. The spraying has to be repeated to protect
newly emerging shoots and flushes.
control of the burrowing nematode Radopholus similis
and the root knot nematode Meloidogyne incognita, adopt
the following measures:
(a) Use nematode free rooted cuttings for raising new
(b) For the nematode infested vines, apply phorate /
carbofuran @ 1 g ai/vine twice in a year. The first
dose is to be given in May-June at the onset of monsoon
and the second dose in the last week of October or early
November. The chemicals are to be applied around the
vines in shallow basins and incorporated into the soil.
(c) Root knot nematode can be effectively managed by
the application of bacterial suspensions of Bacillus
macerans or B. circulans prior to planting of vines
or just before the monsoon period in established plants
(Ad hoc recommendation)
For controlling the disease, adopt the following management
All infected or dead vines along the root system are
to be removed and burnt. Wherever water stagnation is
a problem, effective drainage of both surface and sub-soil
is to be ensured. To avoid soil splash and consequent
disease initiation and spread, a legume cover in the
plantation should be ensured. Runner shoots are to be
pruned or tied back to vines before the onset of monsoon.
At the onset of monsoon, the branches of support trees
may be lopped off to allow penetration of sunlight and
avoid build up of humidity.
1 kg lime and 2 kg neem cake per standard per year as
pre-monsoon dose. The application of neem cake should
be four weeks after lime application.
the control of Phytophthora foot rot, any of the following
control measures can be adopted.
After the receipt of monsoon showers (May-June), all
the vines are to be drenched over a radius 45-50 cm
with 0.2 % copper oxychloride at the rate of 5-10 litres
per vine. This varies according to the age of the plant.
A foliar spray with 1 % Bordeaux mixture is also to
be given. Drenching and spraying are to be repeated
just before the northeast monsoon. A third round of
drenching may be given during October if the monsoon
After the receipt of a few monsoon showers (May-June),
all the vines are to be drenched over a radius of 45-50
cm with 0.3% potassium phosphonate at the rate of 5-10
litres per vine. This varies according to the age of
the plant. A foliar spray with 0.3% potassium phosphonate
is also to be given. A second drenching and spraying
with 0.3% potassium phosphonate is to be repeated just
before the northeast monsoon. If the monsoon is prolonged,
a third round of drenching may be given during October.
pepper vines with native arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi,
Trichoderma, and Pseudomonas fluorescens at the time
of planting in the nursery and field, and apply during
the pre-monsoon period in the established plantations
to control foot rot. In the field, apply the biocontrol
agents around the base of the vine (see the chapter
on biocontrol agents against plant pathogens).
(1) All chemical control measures are prophylactic in
nature and application of chemicals in advanced stages
of disease will not be effective in combating the disease.
(2) In Phytophthora sick fields, use only chemical control
Total replanting has to be undertaken in gardens where
the mortality is 50-60% or above. Where the mortality
is below 50%, timely plant protection measures as described
above should be given to all the existing vines as prophylactic
measure and gaps filled up. Gap filling or replanting
should be taken up only after a period of one year.
At the time of replanting, soil drenching with Bordeaux
mixture or copper oxychloride should be given. While
replanting, farmers should be encouraged to use recommended
the control of fungal pollu or anthracnose caused by
Colletotrichum gloeosporioides, spray 1% Bordeaux mixture,
once before flowering starts (late June and early July)
and then at berry formation stage (late August). Minimize
shade in the garden.
Phytophthora foot rot management is undertaken properly,
separate control measures for pollu disease may not
Since Bordeaux mixture application for pepper is to
be given mostly at a time when the monsoon is very active,
it is to be ensured that a sticker is added to the fungicide.
The cheapest and most effective sticker is rosin washing
For control of rotting disease of seedlings in the nursery,
VAM and Trichoderma can be applied in the potting mixture.
VAM inoculum consisting of root bits and soils can be
applied at the rate of 100 cc per kg of potting mixture
and Trichoderma @ 1g/kg of potting mixture. For the
control of foliar infection apply potassium phosphonate
@ 3 ml/litre at fortnightly interval. In case, biocontrol
agents are not incorporated in the potting mixture,
1% Bordeaux mixture spray at weekly interval may be
resorted to. When the cuttings start germination, ensure
good aeration in the nursery. Heavy watering, which
causes water stagnation is to be avoided. Instead, light
and frequent watering should be resorted to. Remove
shade as soon as continuous rain sets in.
In certain pockets, instead of normal spike with berries,
leaf-like structures are produced. This is caused by
phytoplasma. Such vines, if noticed, must be uprooted
and destroyed. Planting material should not be collected
from such vines.
The symptoms due to this disease include shortening
of internode and narrowing of leaves with mottling.
Such leaves also become leathery and deformed. This
is caused by a virus. Since the disease is systemic
and transmitted through planting materials, extreme
care should be taken to avoid collecting planting materials
from such vines. Once it is noticed, it is better to
uproot the vines even at the cost of losing some yield
to avoid further spread.
period of insecticide / fungicide
berries are harvested when two or three berries in the
stalk turn bright red .
Quinalphos 20 days
Mancozeb 30 days
Black pepper of commerce is produced from whole, unripe
but fully developed berries. The harvested berries are
piled up in a heap to initiate browning. Then they are
spread on the suitable drying floor after detaching
the berries from the stalk by threshing. During sun-drying,
berries are raked to ensure uniform colour and to avoid
mould development. Drying the berries for 3-5 days reduces
the moisture content to 10-12 per cent. The dried berries
are garbled, graded and packed in double lined gunny
Blanching the berries in boiling water for one minute
prior to sun drying accelerates the browning process
as well as the rate of drying. It also gives a uniform
lustrous black colour to the finished product and prevents
mouldiness of berries. But prolonged blanching should
be avoided since it can deactivate the enzymes responsible
for browning process.
White pepper is prepared from ripe berries or by decorticating
black pepper. Bright red berries, after harvest are
detached from the stalk and packed in gunny bags. The
bags are allowed to soak in slow running water for about
one week during which bacterial rotting occurs and pericarp
gets loosened. Then the berries are trampled under feet
to remove any adhering pericarp, washed in water and
then sun dried to reduce the moisture content to 10-12
per cent and to achieve a cream or white colour. White
pepper is garbled, sorted and packed in gunny bags.
Approximately 25 kg white pepper is obtained from 100
kg ripe berries.
mature but unripe berries are harvested and boiled in
water for 10-15 minutes to soften the pericarp. After
cooling, the skin is rubbed off either mechanically
or manually, washed and sun dried to obtain white pepper.
Since no retting operation is involved, the product
will be free from any unpleasant odour. However, white
pepper produced by this method gives pepper powder of
light brown colour due to gelatinisation of starch in
contrast to pure white powder obtained by traditional
This is a form of white pepper produced by mechanical
decortication of the outer skin of black pepper. This
is generally done when white pepper is in short supply.
The appearance of decorticated kernel is inferior to
traditionally prepared white pepper, but is satisfactory
when ground. Also the milling operation requires considerable
skill to avoid excessive volatile oil loss.
In this method, under-mature berries are harvested and
subjected to heat treatment for inactivating the enzymes
responsible for browning reaction. Then the berries
are dehydrated under controlled conditions wherein maximum
retention of green colour is obtained. Dehydrated green
pepper after reconstitution in water resembles freshly
harvested green pepper. The advantage is that the season
of availability can be extended and the berries could
be stored for a year or more. Dry recovery comes to
20 per cent.
Green pepper after harvest is preserved in two per cent
brine solution and the product is heat sterilized. This
product has the additional advantage over dehydrated
green pepper in that it retains the natural colour,
texture and flavour.
Green pepper is preserved without spoilage in 20 per
cent brine solution containing 100 ppm SO2 and 0.2 per
cent citric acid. Addition of citric acid prevents blackening
To overcome the disadvantages of poor texture and weak
flavour of dehydrated green pepper and the high unit
weight and packing cost of canned and bottled green
pepper, cured green pepper has been developed. Berries
are thoroughly cleaned in water, steeped in saturated
brine solution for 2-3 months, drained and packed in
suitable flexible polyethylene pouches.
Most of the moisture from fresh tender green pepper
is removed by freezing the berries at -30ºC to
-40ºC under high vacuum. The colour, aroma and
texture of freeze-dried green pepper are superior to
sun dried or mechanically dehydrated green pepper. Freeze-dried
green pepper has 2-4 per cent moisture and is very light.
Black pepper is crushed to coarse powder and steam distilled
to obtain 2.5 to 3.5 per cent colourless to pale green
essential oil which becomes viscous on ageing. It is
used in perfumery and in flavouring. Oil can also be
distilled from white pepper but high price of white
pepper and low oil yield do not favour its commercial
Extraction of black pepper with organic solvents like
acetone, ethanol or dichloro-ethane provides 10-13 per
cent oleoresin possessing the odour, flavour and pungent
principles of the spice. The content of the pungent
alkaloid piperine ranges from 4 to 6% in dry pepper
and 35 to 50% in oleoresin. When freshly made, pepper
oleoresin is a dark green, viscous, heavy liquid with
a strong aroma. One kg of oleoresin when dispersed on
an inert base can replace 15 to 20 kg of spice for flavouring
Drying percentage and oil content of Panniyur varieties