Chinese pepper

Family: Rutacea

Genus: Zanthoxylum

Botanical Name: Zanthoxylum Piperitum

The Chinese Pepper, or Zanthoxylum Piperitum, is a deciduous subtropical plant well appreciated as Bonsai. The trunk shows light grey colours with shining oval, dark green paripinnate leaves. It originates from the citrus family and produces a dark red fruit (used as a spice) and small dark yellow flowers. In nature, you will find it in the form of shrub that can grow up to one meter.



This tree is usually shown in the informal upright or S shape, but it can also be in the coiled, broom, semi-cascade, cascade, and clump styles

Location and Position

As a subtropical species, Zanthoxylum Piperitum is ideal for indoor Bonsai. It enjoys plenty of light and a great amount of humidity. It can be grown outside during the summer but needs to be relocated indoors as soon the temperature drops below ten degrees. If grown indoor and above 18 degrees, the plant will not lose it leaves and will keep growing. Otherwise, its deciduous functions will start to activate, and its leaves will fall.


Chinese pepper appreciates moist soil and should be watered as soon it is dry, but attention is needed to avoid soaking wet soil—the roots don’t like it.


Zanthoxylum Piperitum should be fertilised all year round with higher frequency during growth and less during the winter time.Every six weeks should do, or you can use slow-release pellets, which usually last around eight weeks.

Pruning and Pinching

This plant exhibits vigorous growth and can be pruned or pinched all year round. Wait for the new shoots to elongate fully and cut them back to three nodes.

Repotting and Soil

Repotting can be addressed every two years during the growing season with well-draining clay-based soil, such as Akadama and Pumice in a mix ratio of 1:1.


The best shaping method for Chinese Pepper is clip-and-grow, but wiring is also possible.


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