How to Grow Root Beer Plant

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Root Beer Plant is the local name for Piper Auritum, Hoja Santa, or Mexican Pepperleaf, a large-leaf perennial that grows in Zone 8 and above.


This large plant is named for the odor of the leaves when rubbed. You can grow root beer plant easily.

Things You'll Need

  • a large shady area
  • a trowel or shovel
  • a root beer bulb root
  • Find shade in the yard.

    Locate a shady area of your landscape that can accommodate a large leaf plant that grows to six feet tall. Do not be fooled by a small bulb or tender leaves. These plants start small, but get huge. Grow root beer plant with lots of room for growth.

  • Make a hole in a shady spot.

    Dig a hole larger than the bulb, and plant the Mexican Pepperleaf or Root Beer Plant. Keep children and animals from eating the leaves, since there is some indication that they might be carcinogenic. It is used in Southern Mexico as a spice. Grow root beer plant in the shade.

  • Keep it damp.

    Water the plant and keep it moist. It likes damp soil, and will wilt if left in the sun or allowed to dry out. This is a host plant to a swallowtail butterfly caterpillar.

  • Watch for flowers.

    Keep the plant moist, and look for flowers in the summer. These are long skinny white stalks that come out from the leaves. The leaves die at the first frost, but the plant is a perennial and will return with new growth in the spring. Grow root beer plant and watch for flowers.

  • Find more plants.

    Within a year or so, watch for small two-leaf plants in the area where the large plant grows. These can be moved to another location, or maybe give them away. You will grow root beer plant in abundance--more than you can handle.

Tips & Warnings

  • copyright 2009 Linda Richard
  • We often write about gardening and landscaping in Texas. Other articles are available in Resources below.
  • Feel free to link to this article or send it to a friend. Do not copy.
  • Photo Credit images from the author
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