Heat up your garden with ornamental peppers! Much like hot peppers you would grow in the veggie garden, ornamental peppers produce colorful little fruits that are round or pointed. But these are so attractive in their own right that they can be grown just for show -- not eating. The peppers are indeed edible, but usually their flavor is lacking compared to peppers grown for the table.
Depending on the variety, the peppers appear in shades of white, purple, red, orange, and yellow -- often with multiple colors on the same plant. They like rich, well-drained soil that is evenly moist.
Shown above: Calico pepper
- Plant Type:
- Plant Height:
- 8-18 inches tall
- Plant Width:
- 6-12 inches wide
- Landscape Uses:
- Containers,Beds & Borders
- Special Features:
- Flowers,Attractive Foliage,Dried Flowers,Drought Tolerant,Easy to Grow
'Black Pearl', an award-winning variety, features iridescent purple-black 3/4-inch diameter fruits that turn scarlet-red at maturity. Compact plants with purple foliage are good for containers or in beds and borders. It grows 18 inches tall and wide.
'Calico' bears attractive purple-and-white variegated foliage with purple fruits. It grows 1 foot tall and 16 inches wide.
'Chilly Chili' bears nonpungent ivory fruits that mature to bright red. It grows 10 inches tall and 14 inches wide.
'NuMex Twilight' bears cone-shape purple fruits that mature to bright red.
'Pretty in Purple' offers attractive purple fruits, stems, and leaves. It's a great ornamental as well as edible hot pepper. Fruits turn red at maturity.
'Purple Flash' bears new leaves in colorful shades of purple and white that mature to rich dark purple. It also has purple flowers and round black fruits. It grows 15 inches tall and 2 feet wide.
'Sangria' bears green foliage and bright purple fruits that mature to shades of oranges and red. It's always producing new fruits, so it's continually showing a range of colors. The fruits are nonpungent. It grows 1 foot tall and 18 inches wide.
Plant It With
Gazania, another heat- and drought-tolerant annual, combines well with just about every ornamental pepper variety.
Because of their festive colors, ornamental peppers are often sold in fall. The red, orange, and yellow types are the perfect end-of-the-season complement to mums.
Dark foliage types of peppers, such as 'Black Pearl', look stunning when combined with a skirt of bright red varieties of verbena.