Ornamental peppers can add winter spice
Published 1:00 pm Monday, October 23, 2023
By Eddie Smith
MSU Extension Service
I recently admired some gorgeous ornamental peppers that were still popping with color despite the state starting to get some cool weather.
Did you know that you can grow ornamental peppers in spring, summer, fall and winter? They are a great way to add color and spice to your home or garden.
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During the late fall and winter, you can grow them indoors to make a dramatic statement with their stunning hues and varied shapes. But if you decide to grow ornamental peppers indoors, you need to get a few basic supplies.
Start with the right container. Choose one that is large enough to accommodate the plant’s root system and that has drainage holes to prevent water from accumulating. Then fill it with well-draining soil.
Place your container in a sunny location or use a grow light to provide the necessary light. Ornamental peppers need at least six hours of sunlight each day.
Finally, water the plant regularly and fertilize it every two weeks with a balanced fertilizer to promote healthy growth. Whether grown indoors, outdoors, in containers or in the ground, ornamental peppers have these same water and fertilizer needs.
On the other hand, if you prefer to grow ornamental peppers outdoors, keep in mind that they prefer warm temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees. That means you can keep your plants indoors until the weather warms up enough to transplant them outside.
Choose a sunny location with well-draining soil. You can start the plants from seeds or purchase young plants from a nursery. Plant them in the ground or in containers, making sure they have enough space to grow.
I find the Masquerade pepper plant truly stunning. Its fruit undergoes a mesmerizing transformation, starting off purple, then turning orange before maturing into a vibrant red. This transformation is a sight to behold and adds an extra layer of beauty to an already impressive plant.
I’ve also been eyeing the Purple Flash pepper plant. It has dark, almost black foliage with occasional flashes of bright purple or white on the leaves. These beautiful leaves have a slightly glossy texture and retain their color throughout the growing season.
I can’t wait to add it to my garden this spring and experiment with using it in my cooking.
Another plant I’m considering is the Sedona Sun pepper plant. This versatile and compact plant is perfect for containers or small spaces. It produces small, cone-shaped, upright peppers that turn bright yellow when ripe.
The last one I want to tell you about is the Samba DK Orange pepper plant, a beautiful and spicy plant that’s perfect for adding color and flavor to any space. The plant produces small, cone-shaped, upright peppers that turn a vibrant orange when ripe. The plant itself is quite attractive with a bushy, compact growth habit and glossy leaves.
I’m excited to start growing ornamental peppers this fall and adding beauty and flavor to my home and garden. With a little care and attention, I’ll be able to enjoy their unique characteristics year-round. You can, too.
Dr. Eddie Smith is a gardening specialist and Pearl River County coordinator with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. He is also host of the popular Southern Gardening television program. Locate Southern Gardening products online at http://extension.msstate.edu/