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Hot pepper

Capsicum annuum

Hot pepper

Fiery hot peppers are easy plants to grow in great variety. There are many different types, each bearing fruits with varying degrees of heat. The plants take up little space, so plant several and decide which you like best. (They're excellent in containers -- and attractive!)

Ancho or poblano peppers are mildly hot and often used for stuffing. Jalapenos are several times hotter. Tabasco peppers are up to 50 times hotter, and habaneros are 100 times hotter.

While the variety of hot pepper is the biggest determinant of spiciness, weather and stress also play roles. Plants suffering from water or nutrient stress produce fewer but hotter peppers. Cool, cloudy weather makes peppers less hot.

Plant Type:
Plant Height:
6-48 inches tall
Plant Width:
18-36 inches wide
Bloom Time:
Colorful fruits are the main show from hot peppers. Many varieties display fruits ranging in color from yellow to red to purple at the same time on a single plant.
Landscape Uses:
Beds & Borders
Top Varieties

Capsicum annuum 'Ancho 211' bears mildly hot heart-shape fruits that are good for stuffing, making chiles rellenos, or drying. 90 days
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Capsicum annuum 'Holy Mole' is a mildly hot pasilla-type pepper that was developed especially for mole sauce, but it can be used in other hot-pepper dishes as well. Green fruits mature to chocolate brown. 85 days
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Capsicum annuum 'Pretty in Purple' bears attractive purple fruits, stems, and leaves. It's a great ornamental plant as well as edible hot pepper. Fruits turn red at maturity. 85 days
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Capsicum annuum 'Tabasco' is used to make the sauce with the same name. It is best adapted to the Southeast. 120 days
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Capsicum annuum 'Thai Hot' features pencil-thin fruits that are borne above the foliage, making an attractive display as the fruits change from creamy yellow to orange and then to red at maturity. The extremely hot fruits are used in Thai cooking. 42 days
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Harvest Tips
Use a sharp knife or pruning shears to cut off fruits when they are full size or later when they are fully colored. Wear gloves when harvesting and handling hot peppers to protect your hands and face from capsaicin, the chemical compound that makes peppers hot. Avoid touching your face (especially your eyes) when handling hot peppers.