Search This Blog

My Vertical Garden Wall

My Vertical Garden Wall


Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Piper crocatum


Like most Piper species - famously known as a Betel Leaf. Locally known as (Sirih Merah) meaning Red Betel Leaf. Also known as Celebes Pepper, this particular one is very similar to a common green types but more cultivated for it's ornamental features.

It has a glossy heart-shaped leaves with pointed tip, The upper surface is olive green heavily spotted with pinkish-orange very much evident along the main veins on the foliage. The underside of the leaves are in deep maroon colors. 

Piper crocatum is a vine endemic to Peru, South of America, most commonly found in the lowland tropical rain-forests, but can also occur in clearings and in higher elevation zones.

Piper ornatum (Sirih harimau)

Another local type (Sirih harimau) Piper ornatum has more of a rounder shaped leaves and spaced out spots on the foliage - this one is endermic to Indonesia & surrounding regions which highly sought after for it's medicinal values.

This is a slow growing plant and may easily die if proper care is not given. The Care and the Plant behavior is very much like Scindapsus species (Satin Pothos) where it prefer nothing of any extremes. 

However - it does thrive more to a bright shaded side with few hours on morning sun. Also it does well as a ground trailing plant rather than a hanging potted plant.

Based on my experience,
I would consider this one as a medium difficult level in comparison to most trailing plants.
They do tend to grow slower and may easily rot if no proper care is given but once the plant is stable and show its sign of growth, it will spring forth with vigor and robust growth.

These do have a iridescent sheen that appears like florescent reflection when viewed in an angle.

I wouldn't recommend it for beginners especially if you had received a cutting or trying to propagate it. I had many trial and errors with this one and find that a well established full grown plant fair well compared to cuttings for this one.

Yet, if you are open for a challenge and already have the rest of the piper in your collection and if you are planning to complete that collection - this would be a great accomplishment.

Basic Care and Cultivation:

Potting Mix:

50% potting mix together with coconut chips. I find this medium is very safe and low risk compared to so many that I tried before. The coconut chips had be trimmed in small bite size pieces and slightly packed with top soil (basic potting mix)


50% potting mix together with with perlite, sand, sphaghum moss and coconut chips

It is important to NOT to over-pot the plant - do keep this plant compact and let it overgrow the pot slowly and re-pot to another pot slightly bigger.


Too much water can kill them - therefore keeping the medium moist but not dripping wet is essential. It is best not to place them with a water saucer underneath the pot, treat it more on a drier side and water it when the medium is slightly dry.
Because of this potting medium - I really do not have to worry so much about over watering as the medium is fast draining.


I find this is very important - a wrong fertilizer can kill this plant and the whole this over: The stress and the leaf drop and burned leaves - It is too late to undo the mistake.

I would really recommend to pay attention to use of fertilizer - do not use any strong fertilizers on them, rather work on with the light and weak application of the feeding regime and slowly notice how the plant reacts to the growth condition and maintaining it to an optimum level is really helpful.

I for one use: Osmocote and alternatively use seaweed solution for good strong root growth. I also realized that this is a slow growing plant and so a lot of patience is needed.


I keep this is in a bright shade area - too hot and may burn the leaves, too shaded and the leaves will turn to yellow as lacking sunlight.


The most ideal, high success rate of propagating this one would be air layering and letting the roots to trail to another potting mix and once the roots established - the plant can trimmed of from the mother plant. I find it doesn't not fair well when it comes to cuttings - they do tend to rot and wither away.

As I had mentioned, this is a slow growing plant and may require a lot of patience. The can suddenly die and disappear away and so - do keep them in a visible spot where it is not totally hidden.


Unknown said...


PV said...

I have this piper plant, and it is struggling. Before reading your post, I already suspect too much water and soil too wet for it and hence changed to a smaller pot. 4 of the original big leaves are turning black before dropped off. And, now, left 2 small leave and 1 new leaf (now in smaller pot and try not to water). I really hope they can survive and grow again. :-(

James David said...

Yes they are indeed fussy - try to rejuvenate using some good root hormone to jumpstart the plant and also check if there are any rot anywhere as it can be detrimental for this types of sensitive plants - if there are rot - then use a good fungicide to stop the rot problem.
In most cases, it is due to the overwatering and wrong medium used - try to balance that first before anything.

Jade said...

Hi do you know if this plant is toxic to pets?

James David said...

Hi Jade,
As far as I know piper is considered as a herb, however as far as toxicity is concerned, it is best to check with your veterinarian for your pet health issues.

Anonymous said...

I bought a piper. The leaves look healthy but seem rather limp. It is in a greenhouse. I have it on a moss pole in what I believe is proper soil. Any thoughts? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Marylyn USA

James David said...

Hi Marylyn,

Most likely it is facing shock and may take some time to recover, just slightly mist it to see if the leaves perk up. If it does - most likely its lacking humidity.

About Me

My photo
Tropical Garden, Batu Caves, Malaysia
My Malaysian Tropical Garden mainly focused on unique and colorful plants ranging from rare to common plants all around the tropical belt across the world. Ideal for inspiration for challenging areas in the garden space - indoor gardening, balcony gardening and small green spaces especially for ariods, bromeliads, begonias, edibles, cascading & vertical garden plants, succulents & cacti, orchids, together with both shade and sun loving plants.

Contact Me on the Form Above

Do put your queries on the contact form above and I will come back to you ASAP via e-mail. Also I'm open for any business / advertisement proposals / magazine articles / product sampling and sharing personal product experiences here in my blog. Also for specific plant queries where you need to send pictures for free consultation and plant help and aid.

Contact Form


Email *

Message *

Blog Archive

Popular Posts

Popular Post - 1 Month