Who could forget "The Curse of the Black Pearl," the first of the blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean movies from a few summers ago? While they won't sprout a Captain Jack Sparrow for you, there are two 'Black Pearl' veggie varieties that have become hits with gardeners.
(Editor's Note: This article was originally published on March 23, 2007.)
A fairly new exclusive from Burpee seeds, the 'Black Pearl' hybrid tomato is a tasty beauty. These dark, cherry toms develop a unique, extra sweet, 'Concord' grape flavor when chilled. Like most vining cherry tomatoes, these plants produce tons of fruit well into fall. Unfortunately, live plants of this variety cannot be shipped to Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii or Nevada from Burpee, but the seeds are available online.
The other 'Black Pearl' worth growing is an ornamental pepper (latin name Capsicum annuum) with spectacular, dark purple/black foliage and shiny, globe-like black fruits that mature to a glossy deep red. This plant is so handsome and sturdy, it was named as a 2006 All-American Selections Winner.
Exceptionally heat and drought tolerant, the 18 to20 inch plant develops an attractive pyramid shape on its own, without pruning or pinching. It is disease- and pest-resistant, easy to grow from seed, and loves life in a container. Or, pair it in an ornamental bed with some silver-leaved plants for a stunning effect. And the more sun, the better the leaf color. Seeds for this beauty are now widely available.
The peppers on Black Pearl are edible, but be forewarned...they are extremely hot. In fact, eating one may cause you to come up with your own Curse of the Black Pearl.
About Tamara Galbraith
I am an avid organic gardener and certified Master Gardener for Collin County, Texas (that's North Dallas). However, I don't take being an MG too seriously, as I still manage to kill plants on a regular basis.
I enjoy growing nearly everything: vegetables, herbs, tropicals, roses...the only plants I'm really bad with are orchids and houseplants. I am also a fierce defender of spiders.
When not gardening I can be found cooking, birdwatching or hugging on either my sweet English hubby or my two wonderful doggies, Ray and Bailey.