Do you want a colorful addition to your garden? Try planting ornamental peppers that are both lovely and delicious. These vibrant veggies not only beautify the garden but also enhance the flavor of recipes.
These decorative peppers grow fast in summers and are diverse in shape. Their colors vary by their type. Ornamental plants are grown as annuals either outdoors, or they can be grown indoors in containers. Moreover, growing these ornamental peppers in your garden would be a relatively easy task. These small, funky fruits will make you cheerful every time you look at them.
How to Grow Ornamental Peppers
Ornamental pepper plants love to grow in hot weather. Make sure to plant these ornamental peppers when there is no frost when it is warm both day and night. Start by planting seeds indoors in fertile and well-drained potting soil. Take care to keep the soil moisture intact, but refrain from overdoing it to avoid it getting waterlogged.
Place the seed pots in a warm, bright place. They require around 75° F to grow, and it will take nearly two weeks. Transfer the ornamental pepper plants to some large pots outdoors once they have completed the eighth week of growth indoors.
You can also propagate ornamental pepper plants from cuttings. Select one healthy plant and cut off its dying foliage. Cut a few inches of a long stem that has around two leaf nodes and use a sharp knife. These nodes will sprout fresh leaves. Make sure the angle of the cut ensures there is the maximum surface area for increased water absorption.
Transfer the cutting into a pot with holes that contains well-drained, nutrient-rich soil, and place the cutting into a hole. Keep the pot well moistened in a warm place and transplant after eight weeks when the cutting has grown.
Some better growing tips for your edible ornamental pepper plants are water frequently when it is hot, but make sure they don’t become waterlogged, the soil in which the ornamental peppers grow must be fertile and well-drained, and mulch can be added within the growing area so that water gets retained and weeds don’t grow.
How to Care for Ornamental Peppers
Ornamental pepper plants have some growth requirements that must be fulfilled. Otherwise, the decorative pepper plant may wilt and die.
Ornamental pepper plants need to be grown where they receive maximum sunlight. Less than seven hours of daylight could be unhealthy for the growth of the plant. The plants should be exposed to at least eight hours of full sun, so they do not become leggy. If you grow these pepper plants indoors, use artificial lighting.
An all-purpose fertilizer should be added to the ornamental pepper plant twice in the summer season. Fertilizer is essential for nutrient enrichment of the edible pepper plant. Slow-release fertilizer should be used in the early part of the growing season.
3. Pinching off Stems
Ornamental pepper plants may develop bushy growth if the top one inch of stems is pinched off when the plant is nearly six inches tall. The non-pinched plants can require staking after producing fruit.
Grow your ornamental peppers in well-drained, loamy soil. Generously add compost, manure and trace nutrients to the soil for healthy ornamental pepper plants.
Ornamental pepper plants have a limited tolerance to drought, so make sure to maintain a proper moisture level for the plant. Water the plants frequently enough to keep the moisture of the soil intact, especially when the weather is hot. However, make sure the plant does not get waterlogged. Allow the soil to slightly dry before you water the ornamental pepper bush again.
6. Optimum Temperature and Humidity
Optimum temperature is necessary for the healthy growth of the ornamental pepper bush. The optimum temperature for growth of ornamental peppers is 75° F. Humidity is another factor that affects growth. The roots of the plant should stay moist.
7. Repotting in Containers
Ornamental peppers have small root systems as annuals. Use a six-inch container for potting a pepper plant since small containers may dry out quickly. Placing a large container outdoors that holds multiple ornamental peppers will be a good idea for the ideal growth of the plant.
You can pair the ornamental peppers up with some other ornamental plants that enjoy the same amount of sunlight. If the plants require water more than one time every day, then you need to repot them. Repotting plants is necessary as they grow.
8. Ornamental Pepper Care
The ornamental peppers are prone to leaf spot diseases when not taken care of properly. Once the pepper plant gets infected, the best remedy is to remove it to prevent the spread of that infection. Make sure not to replace this plant with some other ornamental pepper plant. Use an insecticidal spray on ornamental pepper plants to control insects and mites.
9. Grow from Seeds
Always start growing the ornamental pepper plants from seeds. Start planting seeds around 8 weeks before the last frost, Cover with half an inch of soil. Get the temperature around 80 degrees using heating mats. Germination may require up to two weeks.
Some Famous Varieties of Ornamental Peppers
1. Black PearlPepper
This variety of ornamental peppers displays purple-black fruits. As they mature, they turn to scarlet red. This ornamental plant grows 18 inches wide.
2. Pretty in PurplePepper
This decorative pepper plant has lovely purple fruits, leaves and stems. The fruits turn red on maturation. It is an ornamental as well as an edible pepper plant.
This annual plant develops mild fruits. The fruit turns from yellow to orange, and they eventually become red, showcasing a beautiful multicolored effect.
This pepper plant has green foliage and attractive purple fruits that mature to orange and red shades. It produces new fruits continually, so it displays a variety of colors. The pepper plant grows one foot tall.
5. Filius BluePepper
This ornamental pepper is from Mexico. It produces round fruits that change their colors from green to blue to peach to red upon maturation. The fruit is very spicy when young, but the flavor becomes milder as it matures. This ornamental pepper plant grows six to ten inches wide.
This pepper plant has a twisty appearance. These edible, ornamental peppers have a sweet flavor. These are plants that grow ten inches wide and tall. The fruits change their shades as they mature from ivory white to yellow and orange before they turn to red.
7. Orange WonderPepper
Orange wonder pepper is a bushy, ornamental pepper plant. This green pepper plant grows to produce orange peppers during the summer.
8. Chilly ChilliPepper
This variety produces blunt-nosed, ornamental peppers that change their colors upon maturing from yellow to orange and eventually to bright red. This ornamental pepper plant grows ten inches tall. The flavor of this type of peppers is not spicy, unlike many other ornamental peppers.
Are Ornamental Peppers Edible?
Ornamental pepper plants are grown for the fruit. The fruits of ornamental peppers are edible, but their taste varies with each variety. They are hot and may lack sweetness so take care while using them for cooking. Wash them thoroughly before use and avoid touching your skin or eyes when handling them.
Those who eat ornamental peppers for the first time may feel abdominal discomfort because these peppers are very spicy. The ornamental peppers are cultivated pretty much for their looks and not their flavor.
The edible ornamental peppers add vibrant colors to your dish and enhance the spirit of an event. They are sometimes referred to as Christmas peppers because of their bright, red color. These ornamental peppers can turn a dull color palette to something brighter and more fun.
Difference Between Ornamental Peppers and Edible Vegetable Peppers
Although ornamental and edible peppers belong to the same genus, they have subtle differences. The ornamental peppers possess a dwarf growing habit compared to edible peppers. Edible peppers that are bred for vegetable gardens have distinct flavors whereas ornamental peppers have a flat, bitter, spicy taste. The fruits of ornamental peppers are produced at the tips of plants while edible peppers have their fruits hidden in the foliage.
From small black pearls to large round fruits, these attractive ornamental pepper plants make a beautiful garden display and exhibit a rainbow of bright colors. They are a great aesthetic choice for hanging baskets and gardens.
Many edible, ornamental peppers are used in making salads and dishes in the kitchen. Although the ornamental peppers are edible, they are sometimes not very tasty for first-time eaters.
However, ornamental peppers can be good for those who enjoy eye-watering spices. These ornamental plants are frost-intolerant and should be grown where there is plenty of sunlight. These ornamental pepper plants also grow flowers with vibrant colors that vary with each type.
So, what are you waiting for? Have some fun in your garden by planting these wonderful ornamental pepper plants. If you want more information on plants for your garden or home, our florists at The Flower Shop of Chicago serving areas around Chicago, IL are available for your plant and floral needs.