Hoja Santa – Piper Auritum



I wonder if someone at Toronto Master Gardeners has experience growing Hoja Santa (Piper Auritum). It is a delicious tropical herb from Mexico. I have tried to grow it from seed with no luck. The seeds are quite small and wonder if they have low germination rates or require very specific conditions. It seems to not be grown or sold fresh in Canada, but perhaps someone here may know of other alternatives to source it.


Thank you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners.

Piper auritum, also known as Hoja Santa, Mexican Pepperleaf, Root Beer Plant and Eared pepper, is a tropical shrubby perennial plant. It would not overwinter outside in Toronto. It grows best in part shade or full shade. In warmer climates, it is considered invasive.

I am not aware of Canadian sources for this plant.

To grow Piper auritum from seed, the seeds should be sprinkled lightly on the soil surface and pressed in lightly. Don’t cover the seeds with soil because they need light to germinate. Keep the soil moist and don’t let it dry out. Use a mist sprayer until the seedlings emerge, then water gently.

Detailed instructions on growing this plant can be found here.