Hoja Santa (Piper auritum) Root Beer Plant. I noticed that the local master
gardeners were growing this plant, but when I asked them if it would survive
the winter, and come back next week they did not know. I live in
Pittsburgh,PA was wondering if I planted it outside would it come back the
next year, or should I plant it in a pot, and bring it inside for the
winter. I noticed someone on a plant website said they were growing it in a
greenhouse in Indiana.
A google search:
Yielded several conflicting results: 10, 8b, 7.
We were zone 5/6 until recently, we'ce since been moved to 6a (IIRC)
so in all cases, we're too cold.
You *might* be able to get by if you had a southern exposure high heat
retention level microclimate (stone/brick wall sheltered from wind)
but I wouldn't count on it. Best bet is to pot it up and bring it in
in mid/late fall.
Where did you get it?
(sounds like a neat plant... and i like root beer. ;)
I have not purchased it yet. If you live in the Pittsburgh area the plant I
saw is located in North Park at the corner of Ingomar and Babcock where the
cannon is across from the lake. It is planted in one of the flower beds, and
the sign says it was started from seed.
Nowadays, root beer is made from artificial flavor.
When it was made from a plant, that plant was the sassafras tree.
I've got about a hundred sassafras trees along the perimeter of my
property. We made root beer from them last summer. Just add dry ice
(for carbonation) and sugar.
Thank you, Tom, for providing me with the *real* name of this plant. I
bought one in the Spring at the UIs Horticulture Club Plant Sale, but it was
only labeled *Root Beer Plant*. I may try to take a start and leave part
outside (I do have a microclimate area in my garden) and bring the mother
When I lived in Minnesota, I did an experiment one year. I had a few
plants that *should* have died over the winter but I stuck the pots
in a fairly protected area and surrounded them with garbage bags
full of leaves. All around and on top. The plants survived to
grow the next year. (IIRC, at least one a calla.)
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