The caper plant develops spontaneously and has the particular characteristic of growing on the walls or on the cliffs, but also among the rocks.
In particular, the caper plant develops in the plains, in the sea areas, but also up to a thousand meters above sea level and, for this reason, we can find this plant a little throughout the Italian territory.
the caper is grown, as far as the industry is concerned, above all on the Cote d'Azur, in the Bouches du Rhône and in many other places.
The leaves of the caper are characterized by being alternate and petiolate, with an entire margin and covered with light hair, with a decidedly fleshy consistency.
The fruit of the caper is represented by an oblong and green capsule, with a particular spindle shape, which is also characterized by a pink-colored pulp.
It is a small evergreen shrub, whose fruits are preserved in vinegar or salt, with an extremely intense and spicy flavor and are usually consumed alone, or used in sauces and condiments.
The caper plants need to be placed in particularly sunny areas, so that they can develop in the best way: they are Mediterranean plants and, for this reason, they prefer extremely hot summer seasons, with temperatures which can reach even 35-40 degrees centigrade, despite the fact that they are plants, in any case, capable of withstanding short periods of not too intense frost.
As for watering, caper plants do not need an excessive amount of water, since they essentially prefer drought in comparison to excess watering.
In case you decide to grow these plants in pots, they need to be watered only when the substrate has been completely dry for a few days.
As for the soil, the caper plant is particularly suitable for all those poor, dry soils, with an excellent level of drainage.
In nature they grow spontaneously among the stones or even inside the cracks found in the walls or rocks.
It is also possible to work hard in the preparation of a suitable and ideal substrate: you must mix citrus soil with an excellent amount of sand and lapillus, in such a way as to be able to obtain a soil that is very friable and also rather incoherent.
The multiplication of caper plants occurs by seed, given that fresh seeds are used in particular, which must be sown in large quantities given their poor germination.
If only dry seeds are used, the advice is to leave them for a few hours in warm water before sowing.
In most cases, at the end of the winter season, the capers are propagated, using the branches that are pruned as cuttings: in this way, already in a short period of two years, it is possible to obtain a plant with many flowers.
The caper plant can also reproduce by semi-woody cutting.
Once the semi-woody cutting is detached from the mother plant, it must be rooted in the greenhouse; in case you want to provide for sowing, the advice is to keep the seeds in a bath for about a day and a night and, subsequently, proceed to mix them with soil and then place them inside a crack in a wall or of a rock.
Parasites and diseases
In most cases, capers are not affected by any type of disease or parasites.
The main problems can be connected to the fact of placing these plants in types of soil that are not suitable for their characteristics: in these cases the caper can turn yellow due to rot that also affect the root system.
Usually, the harvesting of capers is carried out when it blooms, ie in the period between June and September.
The first operation to be carried out concerns the removal of the flower buds during the summer season and then they must be left to dry in the air for at least a day (preferably two) and then they are stored.
The harvest must be carried on climbing every ten days.
We must not forget how this plant, during its growth, continually emits new floral, spherical, greenish and aromatic buttons: the smallest and roundest ones are considered the most valuable.
Capers are frequently used in cooking because of their intense flavor, especially for the preparation of dishes, sauces and condiments.
The variety of large capers is exploited, in a particular way, completely, including the stalk therefore, to ensure that aperitifs are adequately decorated.
Floral buds and immature fruits are also used.