Other common names: Wild Betel, Kadok, Kaduk, Daun Kaduk, Chabei, Sri Tanah, Chaa Phluu, La Lot, Akar Bugu, Sirih Duduk, 假蒟, 细叶青萎藤, 青蒟
Wild pepper is a common herb grown both for consumption in edible gardens but also as an ornamental plant as part of landscaping in shady urban areas. Wild pepper leaves have a peppery taste, and it is typically cooked raw with rice or meat. This plant is also native to Singapore and is naturally found growing in the understory of forests.
This plant is a perennial crop that is easy to propagate, making it a popular choice for herb borders. It can also be used as an living mulch to suppress weeds and keep the soil cool as part of companion planting.
Sun and soil needs:
This plant thrives in 4-6 hours of indirect sunlight, but can also grow in 2-4 hours of direct sunlight.
Plants do best in pots with loamy soil at least 10cm deep, or in true ground. These plants are vulnerable to root rot, so ensure that your pots drain well, and that your soil has plenty of organic matter to let the roots breathe.
Seeds can be sown directly into pots or the ground around 15cm apart. Lightly water the soil until damp, once a day. Seeds should sprout within two weeks.
Wild pepper is a rapid grower and generally does not need fertiliser, but it can be fed with high nitrogen fertilisers once every 6 months to encourage leaf growth. Regular pruning will encourage additional growth and improve air circulation.
Seeds can be harvested when fruit pods are dark green and dry.
Common problems & solutions:
This plant is relatively resistant to pests and disease if kept healthy.
Wilting leaves during hot weather is a sign of heat stress. Increase the number of times the plant is watered daily, and apply mulch at the base to prevent water loss.
This plant may get leggy as it grows older. Hard prune it to encourage bushier growth.