Wednesday, November 30, 2011

No Frozen Root Beer Here

Hey, guess what?  I haven’t had a freeze yet this year!  I can’t decide if I’m bragging or bewildered, maybe some of both.  Since my little 2 acre oasis isn’t located in Hawaii, I know it will eventually freeze, but for the present I am still enjoying the beauty of a green landscape (thanks to the recent rain).

One of the plants I’m still enjoying is called Root Beer Plant (piper auritum).  Root Beer plant, also called Hoja Santa, is a perennial related to the pepper.  As soon as we get a freeze, this plant will die back to the ground.  It’s root hardy to 15-20 degrees, so in Zone 8, it will come back pretty reliably.  Mine came back even after last winter’s 17 degree low.  

Root Beer plant is one of those fun pass along plants.  I saw one in a nursery for the first time this year, but normally you would get one of these from a gardening friend.  Root Beer plant has a tendency to spread by underground runners, so there’s always some to share with friends.

Grow Root Beer plant in the shade, water it regularly and you’ll be rewarded with lush tropical foliage and exotic flowers.  I've read the plants can get quite large, but mine have never gotten larger than 3-4 feet tall. 

The leaves on this plant are big and have a spicy scent when crushed.  Some say it smells like root beer, but I think mine smells like black licorice.  In Mexican cooking, the leaves are chopped for flavoring or used to wrap meat and tamales. 

The flowers of the Root Beer plant are long, white, and unusual enough to attract the attention of passersby.


  1. Can I have one of those too, please?

    YAY! You did the daily posting for a month and every post was a good one. That's quite a feat.

    Cindy S.

  2. Cindy, you sure can. I noticed a few rogue plants while I was taking pictures, I'll reserve them for you, along with a Queen's Tears.

    Thanks so much. 30 days of posting everyday was quite a challenge at times. Blogging is fun, but cutting back to once a week or so will be a welcome vacation :)

  3. I love the root beer plant- we have that at the house and I love the smell. The scents of the plants always intrigue me- the lemon, licorice etc.. smells. So fun.

  4. I have always had a Root Beer Plant, but since I lost my eye sight and had to move, I couldn't get anyone to help me get any of babies that the mother plant had sprouted out, for me to transplant in my new yard when I moved. I am having a hard time find anywhere here in Florida that I can buy a couple more. OH yes, I do still have a very large are to put them at.

    I love cooking with this plant and making tea's. Can you please tell me or help out as to where I can get or at least find this beautiful Plant at?

    Thank you for this blog and all I have read here. You can also email me at


    1. I'm in Texas, so I'm not familiar with stores in your area, but there are online stores that carry this plant. I've included a link below to a store that I found. You might also try a google search for "Piper Auritum for sale florida". Good luck. I hope you find some, it's a cool plant.