Grown for its brightly colored fruits rather than its foliage or flowers, this plant is a variety of chili pepper and is also often called the ornamental chili pepper.
The medium green leaves are oval and pointed, and white, star-shaped flowers appear in summer and early fall.
Stand the plant outdoors in summer to make sure of good pollination. The usually cone-shaped peppers, which are held erect, change color from green through yellow and orange to red. And there are purple varieties and also some that have round, ball-shaped fruits similar to the false Jerusalem cherry, Solanum capsicastrum.
The peppers ripen in fall and winter, which accounts for their most usual common name in the Northern Hemisphere: Christmas pepper. Keep plants out of the reach of children, who may be tempted to sample the peppers; the fruits of all species are intensely fiery and are not suitable for eating. Juice from the fruits can cause painful burning and stinging of the delicate skin near the eyes and mouth, so be very sure to keep your hands away from your face after handling the peppers.
Ornamental Pepper FACT FILE
POTTING MIX As provided.
REPOTTING Usually none.
PROPAGATION By seed sown in early to mid-spring.
KEEPING PLANTS Usually discarded after fruiting.
ORIGIN South America.
HEIGHT To 12in/30cm.
Ornamental Pepper PLANT CARE
- A brightly lit, sunny location is required.
- Fairly cool conditions, about 55°F/13°C.
- Keep the soil moist at all times, particularly during the flowering period.
- Mist the foliage regularly.
- Stand the plants in an open sheltered location outdoors in summer to aid pollination and fruiting.