All About Piper Crocatum Care

All About Piper Crocatum Care

Celebes Pepper Plant

Piper Crocatum is a gorgeous vining plant that is coveted for its heart-shaped leaves with veins of shimmering silver and pink. New leaves emerge a bright green or rose gold with vibrant hot pink veins. As the leaves mature, they darken in color and grow in size.

Also known as the Celebes Pepper Plant, it is rare among houseplant hobbyists but quickly growing in popularity. Piper plants remain relatively unknown and are hard to find in nurseries. Most plants are acquired through trades and sells between collectors.

These beauties are adaptable to different environments and generally do very well indoors. For the most part, Piper Crocatum is easy to care for; however, it does have a few quirks and special considerations. Read on to learn more….

All About Piper Crocatum Care

Tips for Piper Crocatum Care

Piper Crocatum is from tropical regions of Peru and South America where it grows along the forest floor and climbs up trees. The dark green leaves allow it to photosynthesize well and thus can tolerate more shade than other jungle plants. These usually don’t have to be right next to a window; however, they’ll grow faster if they are.

Take care if moving Piper Crocatum outdoors for the summer. It’ll need a shady porch and a few weeks to acclimate to the increase in light. Once it’s accustomed to higher light, it’ll love the extra fuel. The green leaf color may brighten slightly along with the pink veins. Tip: move your plant closer to the light over a 2-3 week period. A little closer every day.

The average temperature and humidity in most home environments are perfect for these tropical plants. If you live in an arid region, consider ways to increase humidity.

Many hobbyists prefer to grow Piper plants on totem or moss poles. This gives the aerial roots something to attach to and trains an upright growth pattern. Bambo stakes and hoops also work well for Crocatum. If you prefer to have a wider, bushy plant, don’t use a moss pole. Check out our article on How to Make a Moss Pole.

Care Summary

Piper crocatum propagation

How to Propagate Piper Crocatum

Piper Crocatum propagation is slightly more difficult that other trailing plants. It’s best to wait until spring/summer and use rooting hormone for the best chance of success. These rooting hormones have worked well for us:

Garden Safe Take Root Rooting Hormone (can be mixed in water)

HydroDynamics Clonex Rooting Gel

There are two ways to propagate – division, and stem cuttings. Both methods are best done in the spring or during active growth. Tip: ground cinnamon can be applied to cuts to help close the wound and prevent infection on plants.


1. This is easily done while repotting your plant. Once you have the rootball out of the pot, use a sharp knife to cut individual offsets away from the main plant. Make sure to get enough roots to support the new offset.

2. Likewise you can also loosen the rootball with your fingers and gently separate the offset from the main plant.

3. Plant your new offset into a rooting medium, keep moist and wait for the plant to establish.

4. Once your offset is established and growing well. Repot into a pot that is 1 inch larger than the rootball and enjoy your new plant!

Stem Cuttings

1. Take cuttings of healthy stems making sure to get the node. The “node” is where the aerial root grows. This aerial root or node will change into soil roots. Without the node, no roots will grow.

2. Plant the stem with node(s) into a rooting medium and keep the growing medium moist, not wet. Ensure that the node is in the rooting medium, not above it.

3. If possible cover with a clear plastic or glass dome so that the leaves do not dry out. Seed starting kits and propagation boxes work well for this.

4. Place your cuttings/ prop box in a warm area with bright indirect light and keep growing medium moist, not wet.

5. Wait for new growth. Once you have a thriving plant-let, repot, and slowly acclimate to a less humid environment.

6. Piper Crocatum also roots very well in water. Use a clear glass of water and mix in rooting hormone if using. Place the node below the water line. Put the glass in a warm, sunny spot. Change the water and rooting hormone weekly. Wait for roots to grow, then pot in loose soil.

Piper Crocatum sugar crystals
Sugar crystals on the back of Piper Crocatum leaf.

What’s on the back of my Piper Crocatum leaves?

Piper Crocatum plants have a truly ingenious way of protecting themselves from pests. They secrete sugar crystals on the backs of their leaves. Seems strange right? How is this supposed to protect them from pests? The Piper Crocatum plant is feeding ants and thus creating a partnership of sorts. Piper plants make food for ants; in return, the ants protect the plants, their food source. Brilliant!

If you have an ant problem, this may not be the best plant for you but it is hard to resist this beauty. To keep ants at bay, simply wipe off or spray off the sugar crystals during weekly waterings. Use caution if moving Piper plants outside during the summer months. The plants will certainly love it but the ants will love it too.

Monstera soil recipe

Aroid Mix Recipes for Monsteras

The following are a few recipes you can try for making your own aroid mix. Different people prefer different mixes according to their plant care style and environmental needs.

I prefer to use regular indoor potting soil and add amendments as needed. For example, if my plant isn’t drying out in time for the weekly watering, I’ll repot and add perlite to aid in drainage. Conversely, if it drys out too fast, I’ll repot and add coconut coir to retain moisture.

Basic Mix

1/2 Regular potting mix

1/4 Perlite

1/4 Orchid Bark

1 to 1 Mix

Orchid Bark

Compost or Natural Fertilizer


Potting Soil

Coconut coir or Peat moss

1234 Mix (Soil)

1 Part Insect Frass (or castings)

2 Parts Soil

3 Parts Perlite

4 Parts Orchid Bark

1234 Mix (Coir)

1 Part Insect Frass (or castings)

2 Coconut coir or peat moss

3 Parts Perlite

4 Parts Orchid Bark

I hope this article helps you grow a gorgeous Piper Crocatum! Have any other questions about Piper plants? Drop a comment or send a message.

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We are here to spread our love of houseplants! There are many different varieties of plants that we keep in our homes. All of them with different needs and preferences. This blog is to share our knowledge about all kinds of houseplants and help people care for their own plants.

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