Ornamental Peppers are a great way to heat up your garden or containers during the summer and fall. They are very similar to the peppers you grow in your vegetable garden: they produce very colorful fruits which may be either round or pointed. Colors range from shades of purple or white to red, yellow and orange, and may often have several colors on the same plant at the same time. These colorful peppers make a wonderful addition to your fall garden as they work beautifully with Fall garden mums, pansies, and flowering cabbage and kale.
Ornamental Peppers generally have fruit for show rather than edibility–some varieties may be edible but are very hot. They thrive in the heat of summer outdoors, but may also be grown indoors year round. Indoors or out, they require full sun and evenly moist soil. Fertilize twice monthly to encourage flowering and fruit formation.
As the days grow short and the temperatures start to drop in the fall, flowering slows, fruit production stops, and the plant stops growing. Fruits will hold very well until frost, which signals the end of your plant. If your want to keep your plant over the winter, bring it indoors in late fall, before evenings get chilly. Once the peppers begin to dry, prune the plant to remove branch ends and prune to shape. Maintain the plant until spring in a sunny window, when new growth and flowering starts again.
I love using peppers in my fall containers for the unique look they add to ornamental grasses, calibrachoa, mums, and pansies …and don’t forget the scarecrow, corn stalks and pumpkins to a create a beautiful fall or Halloween display that will be the envy of your neighbors.
** Pepper colors and heights vary by variety
by Marian Parsley, Behnke’s Annual Buyer