With a caper bush, you can bring Mediterranean holiday flair into your own garden. We reveal what you need to consider when growing capers. A caper bush ( Capparis spinosa ) is definitely a visual enrichment for the garden, balcony, or terrace. And on top of that, it also delivers delicious capers that you can enjoy in salads or on pizza. Although capers like it sunny and warm, it is not impossible to grow them here too. That’s why we’re telling you everything you need to know so that the caper bush can grow and flourish for you too. In this article, we will explain the ideal location and the correct approach to planting capers.
Anyone who decides to harvest capers from their own bush needs staying power. Because it initially takes a long time for a caper bush to grow from the seed. In addition, the roots of the caper bush are extremely sensitive and are not so easy to forgive even the smallest damage. However, those who are patient and careful will be rewarded: The shrub develops fine flower buds that can be harvested and pickled like capers. If the buds remain on the bush, they develop into beautiful, exotic flowers. Expert knowledge is required to succeed in planting the Mediterranean plant because the caper is rarely found in our latitudes. But you can change that now by growing your own caper bush.
When should you grow capers?
The question of when is the best time to grow capers is unfortunately not that easy to answer. Because caper seeds cannot simply be stuck in the ground. This takes some preparation. First of all, the seeds must be stored in a cool, damp place for two months to be able to germinate at all. You can start with this from January to the end of February. The best time to plant the germinable seeds is then from the beginning of March to the end of April. From then on you have to wait because capers need two to three months before they start to germinate. If you have bought a pre-grown caper bush, you can best plant it between April and May.
Summary: when to plant capers?
- Preparation: January to February
- Sowing: March to April
- Germination time: 2 – 3 months
- Planting: April to May
What is the perfect location for capers?
Capers are very sensitive to the cold and therefore cannot survive the winter outdoors. This means that you can only plant your caper bush in pots. This allows the shrub to move to a warmer area in winter. In summer the caper likes to stand outside on the balcony, terrace, or in the garden. There the bush should be protected and kept as warm as possible. A good place is therefore on a house wall or a wall. About the lighting conditions, the following applies sun, sun, and even more sun. The lighter and warmer, the more comfortable your caper bush will feel.
As far as the location is concerned, it does not differ from its Mediterranean co-plants, which predominantly prefer dry and calcareous soil. It is imperative to avoid waterlogging. The soil should therefore be as permeable as possible.
Overview: Where to Plant Capers?
- Capers are not hardy, so cultivate them in pots
- Sunny to full sun
- Protected and as warm as possible
- Dry and calcareous soil
- Avoid waterlogging
How do you go about planting capers?
To be able to plant capers, the seeds must first be prepared. First, soak the seeds in lukewarm water for twelve hours. In the next step, the seeds have to be stratified, i.e. made viable for a certain period of time by a cold stimulus. To do this, place the seeds moist – for example in a plastic bag or a cloth – in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator. The seeds rest there for a full two months. When the eight weeks have passed, take the seeds out of the refrigerator and soak them in lukewarm water again for a day.
Prepare capers for planting:
- Let the caper seeds soak in lukewarm water for a day
- Store seeds moist (e.g. in a plastic bag or a cloth) in the refrigerator for 2 months
- Then soak in lukewarm water again for a day
Once the seeds have been prepared as described above, you can continue planting. First, prepare the planter and the substrate. Capers do not like too heavy or nutrient-rich substrates. We, therefore, recommend mixing normal potting soil with sand in a ratio of 1: 3 or using special cactus soil for the capers. The next step is to create a drainage layer. For example, expanded clay or pottery shards are suitable.
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Then fill the planter with the appropriate substrate. At a depth of one centimeter, the caper seeds are placed, lightly covered with the substrate, and poured on. The best conditions for germination prevail in a self-made mini greenhouse or a sunny, warm place on the windowsill. The temperature should not be below 20 ° C. Now you have to be patient, as I said because it can take two to three months before the caper seeds start to germinate.
If you have succeeded in germinating your caper seeds, the work is not done. The seedling must now be cherished and cared for until it has grown properly. This, in turn, can take several months. Until the young plant has finally grown, it must be watered regularly, as it can dry out very easily.
Sowing capers – step-by-step instructions:
- Mix the substrate
- Create a drainage layer
- Fill the planter with the substrate
- Seed depth: 1 cm
- Germination temperature: over 20 ° C
- Place in a mini greenhouse or on a warm window sill
- Keep the substrate moist regularly
- Water the young plant carefully until it has grown
If you have bought a pre-grown caper bush, it also needs a planter with a drainage hole and saucer. Special substrate and a drainage layer are also a must. Fill the container about a third with substrate and only place the plant as deep as it was in the container. Then fill the container with substrate and lightly water the plant.
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Summary: how to plant a caper bush?
- Mix the substrate
- Create a drainage layer
- Fill the vessel one third with a substrate
- Insert the bush in the middle
- Insert the plant only as deep as it was in the container
- Fill the planter with a substrate
- Pour lightly