In the last few years, the kitchen garden has been a growing trend in gardening. Growing edibles in the kitchen is a big part of this trend. At recent trade shows, there has been an introduction of edible potted ornamental peppers to grow indoors. Ornamental pepper plants are pretty and they can also add a lot of spice to your meals and favorite recipes.
These compact plants are not just grown for their flavor, they can add some fierce heat to salsa, fajitas, or stir-fry and brighten up a salad when chopped and added raw. Just beware pepper pungency is 10 times greater after drying. Also, peppers grown under stress and/or high heat and humidity will be hotter than hot peppers grown under moderate conditions.
Ornamental pepper plants need very bright light, so place them in a south-facing window. If you don’t have enough sun, you might need to invest in supplemental artificial light. When watering the plants, drench them and allow the excess water to drain from the plant. You will then need to get rid of the excess water. You can let the soil dry before watering them again. Fertilize the plants two times a month with a liquid houseplant fertilizer. Once peppers start appearing, you can stop fertilizing them.
Here are some new edible potted ornamental pepper varieties you might want to try:
Cosmo – Beware of this pepper it is one of the hottest ones available. Cosmo peppers are used as a source of popular spices such as cayenne, chili, and paprika powders. As an ornamental pepper, this variety has an unusual purple color.
Macho – This is another hot variety. This one has a very hot Scoville heat unit rating, which means it can be up to 10 times hotter than a jalapeno. When the plant is mature the fruit will turn to red. This pepper is native to the Oaxaca and Yucatan regions of Mexico. Learn more about the Scoville Scale.
Hot Fajita – This plant produces 1-inch green peppers that will turn red. While this is a hot pepper it is not as hot as Cosmo or Macho. The colorful peppers last a long time on the plant.
Yellow Tomato – This pepper looks like a tomato hence its name. The pepper is not as hot as the previously mentioned peppers. The plant grows 12-14 inches tall and 8-10 inches wide.
Snack Orange Sweet Pepper - This perfect snack-sized pepper features an eye-catching color that begs to be eaten. This pepper has a sweet taste and is also available in red and yellow. All colors can be grown together in one large container for a fun display.
If you haven’t noticed these compact peppers are bright and colorful and will look great on any kitchen countertop. Just remember while these peppers might look like candy, they are very spicy and some first-time eaters might be very surprised.
Photos courtesy of Ball Seeds.