An Ornamental pepper plant, also known as the Christmas pepper plant, is a plant that bears colorful fruit we know as pepper.
Unlike the regular pepper, however, these ornamental peppers are not as good for cooking. If you are curious about how to grow, care and prune this plant, you’re in luck! Even if you don’t have a green thumb, you can still pull it off.
Facts About The Ornamental Pepper Plant
- The ornamental pepper plant originates from South America.
- Although it produces flowers (color white), the fruits are the main attraction. The plant only bears fruit one time, usually around autumn and winter. After the fruits die, they are usually discarded shortly afterward.
- Though it can bear fruit in summer, it is commonly sold around December. That's how it got its common name, "Christmas Pepper." It also adds to the festive feel because of the bright red color of the fruit.
- They propagate by seeds.
- The fruit is edible, but it is extremely hot compared to regular peppers.
- Some kinds of ornamental peppers also have beautiful foliage.
- You can eat the fruit of this plant.
- They can be grown as perennials, but are commonly grown as annuals.
- There are few different cultivars you can choose from. There's one that turns from green to yellow to orange and some that produce different colors.
- The plant can grow up to one and a half feet tall.
- The fruits are toxic to cats and dogs.
- Ornamental peppers are great container plants, either indoors or on the patio. You can also plant them in your garden with your other vegetables.
- They are edible and can be used for cooking, but these peppers are extremely hot. They are used in Mexican dishes and add flavor to curries.
- You can dry and grind the peppers to make chili powder.
Types Of Ornamental Pepper Plants
Ornamental Pepper Hot Pops Purple
The fruits are cute, small, and round purple and orange peppers, which are very, very hot!
Ornamental Pepper Chilli
This kind produces a fruit that is 2-3 inches with a blunt nose. The fruit turns from green to yellow to orange to red as it matures.
Ornamental Pepper Black Pearl
This kind of ornamental pepper has dark green to black leaves. The fruit is very hot and not ideal for eating.
For more varieties of ornamental peppers, visit here.
How To Grow Ornamental Pepper Plant
Ornamental pepper plants propagate by seeds or by stem cuttings, but more commonly by seeds. The seeds are usually sown in spring when the temperature permits. However, you can plant them indoors, away from the cold.
You can get ornamental peppers as seedlings or sow the seeds yourself. You will need a 5-inch container or a growing tray, and a planting medium. When you plant it, do not cover it because it needs light to germinate.
The seeds will need between a week to three weeks to germinate. Ideally, the temperature should be between 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
In about three weeks, you will have a seedling. Remember to keep the potting mix nice and moist. After 6-8 weeks, it will reach to a transplanting size. If you want to be full grown with fruits by Christmas, you can sow the seeds around May. Once the plant is about 8 inches, you can feed it once a month with fertilizer.
From Stem Cuttings
With stem cuttings, it no longer has to go through germination. However, you need to wait for the roots to develop. First, cut a 3-5 inch healthy part of the plant. Then, you dip the end of the stem in an auxin and then plant it in soil. It will develop roots in a few weeks.
Tips For Growing And Caring For An Ornamental Pepper Plant
- Ornamental pepper plants cannot handle even just a bit of frost because they prefer warm weather. That said, you need to wait for the right time to grow them outside, or you can grow them inside in a pot. The right time varies, depending on where you are, but you can check it out here.
- Though they can grow in any soil, they grow best in loam.
- The soil needs to be evenly moist, so you will need to water it often. However, peppers don’t like too much water, so don’t overdo it. Allow the soil to get a little dry before watering it again. You should also remove any excess water at the bottom of the pot.
- If growing the plant indoors, allow it to have about 6-8 hours of bright sunshine a day.
- Feed your plant monthly with a half-strength liquid fertilizer. When the fruits appear, you can side dress it with general purpose fertilizer once, then again six weeks after.
- Ornamental pepper plants thrive better in temperatures between 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit or 13-16 degrees Celsius at night. During the day it can be between 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit or21-26 degrees Celsius.
- Mist the leaves occasionally.
- The common container for the final plant is a 5-inch pot but with only one plant in it. You can use a larger container to fill three plants for a more colorful display.
Are Ornamental Peppers Edible?
Yes, they are safe to eat. However, the fruit is either lacking in taste or too hot. It’s planted mainly for their decorative purposes.
Can I Plant Ornamental Peppers From Cuttings?
Yes, you can. However, the traditional method is to propagate them first by seeds.
When Is The Best Time Plant The Pepper Seed?
It depends on when you want it fully grown. However, you have to keep in mind that it won’t be successful in cold weather. If you want the plant to bear fruits in summer, you need to plant it indoors.
You can keep it in or move it out by spring when the temperature is okay. If you want it to be mature by December, in time for the holidays, you can plant it in May.
Ornamental pepper plants are colorful and vibrant when in full maturity. The fruit is edible, but people don’t usually plant it for that reason. It’s planted for decorative purposes.
Traditionally, ornamental peppers are propagated by seeds, but it can also be planted by stem cuttings. It’s is temperature sensitive, so you need to find the right time to plant it outdoors or you can plant them indoors.
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