Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Ornamental Pepper
Capsicum annuum 'Black Pearl'

Family: Solanaceae (so-lan-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Capsicum (KAP-sih-kum) (Info)
Species: annuum (AN-yoo-um) (Info)
Cultivar: Black Pearl

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65 members have or want this plant for trade.

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15-18 in. (38-45 cm)
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Heat (Pungency):
Extremely Hot (above 30,000 Scoville Units)

Fruit Shape:

Fruit Size:
Small (under 2" in length)

Fruit Color:
Purple changing to red

Disease Resistance:
Unknown - Tell us

Seed Type:

Ornamental (not recommended for eating)

Other details:
Suitable for growing in containers

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Propagation Methods:
From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds

Days to Maturity:
Late (more than 80 days)

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15 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive aldous311 On Dec 9, 2014, aldous311 from Fontana, CA wrote:

Chile tepin always looks almost like a perfect circle, chile pequin is a bit elongated with a pointed tip and theres is many varieties of both of these around the world. Most chile tepin plants bought at nurseries or stores are hybrids, to suit containers and home gardens, true chile tepin grows in the wild amongst trees and bushes spread out by birds who eat the peppers, digest them poop the out, its all the work of nature only surving on rain water. The number of attempts and fails to farm it and cultuvate has been many. In Mexico most chile tepin comes from 2 places; Sonora and Chihuahua. There are different areas, changing the characteristics of the pepper. The people of these regions survive off of this peppers and have been doing it for decades. There are still manys indigenous tribes. Demand is big, its an expensive pepper, probably one of the most expensive practical peppers you can buy. For example at a local Hispanic chain of markets called Cardenas here in southern California, I can buy a bag of authentic wild tepin weighing 7 grams for $2.69 and I can buy a bag of pequin weighing 7 grams for $1.29. Big difference, its rare. I cant find it in any other kinds of markets except for Mexican markets since there are no laws against picking and harvesting for resale to the people who love and know of the authenticity and history of thus famous pepper, I have read that is the mother of peppers . It can not get more original than this pepper that has been growing wild for hundreds of years, can even be considered a heirloom cause you cant do nature's work. Here in the united states, it is the same deal with originality and wild authenticity it grows wild in places inside Arizona and Texas mainly but its is protected by law, probably wont be able to buy much of this at all. Hope this helps and let know of updated info on chile tepin. Everything I wrote I read from years of researching it online, since I am a fanatic of this pepper and various various varieties including yellow tepin. I also believe to have a rare related variety call C. galapagoense it has hair all over, described by the word pubescent, it comes from the Galapagos, it matches the description and characteristics. I have pics and seeds available upon request, I have unknown varieties but for sure they will produce you some kind of tepin that will be hot.
Read more:

Positive ampmserv On Oct 13, 2013, ampmserv from Hillsdale, MI wrote:

I found this beautiful plant this past spring @ my local gardening center. I had deer eat the top off one of the plants, but it grew back. (yay).
I am going to try to winter it and hope it is successful.
The peppers are HOT!!

Positive Mieke Achten On Sep 2, 2012, Mieke Achten from Reuver
Netherlands wrote:

Hi i Am from the Netherlands,i have every year new plants.
From my home grow, from the Seeds that i bought years ago.
It is in the summer very wet or Verry hot, i always have them inside in the porch.
In the winter is it to cold ,they doin't survive they get lice.
I have a new problem for the first time, there a holes in the leaves what can i do.?.Thanks Mieke

Positive elevatorman2 On Jun 26, 2012, elevatorman2 from Lorain, OH wrote:

I live in the Great Lakes region and have purchased this plant at a local greenhouse. I was not told that it was ornamental. I make huge pots of chili and thought that this pepper would be better than using a lot of habaneros. The plant is a very beautiful, blackish purple. The pepper came from a very pretty purple flower and has a slight point on the top of it. Looks like it grows with the stem on the bottom. Did not see a green pepper at first and have no idea, other than reading other reports on here, if it will turn red as stated. The pepper right now is about 2 weeks on the plant. Will try to update this post in a couple weeks.

Neutral livinonfaith On May 14, 2011, livinonfaith from Fuquay Varina, NC wrote:

Was given this plant ten years ago as a gift. Loved it until my then 3 yr. old bit one of the peppers. It was very, very hot! He was in so much pain that we finally called poison control to figure out how to get the pepper oil off of his mouth. (First apply a wet cloth, as hot as you can stand it, to melt the oil, then soothe with a cold milk compress. Repeat both steps until the oil is gone.)

I would recommend this exceptionally beautiful plant, but would definitely keep it away from small kids! (On the bright side, it did break my son of eating everything he could get his hands on! LOL)

Positive Omegatop On May 7, 2011, Omegatop from Hampton, VA wrote:

I've grown this plant in pots and in the ground. Was not able to keep it alive, after raising it in pots outside. The shock of moving indoors seems to kill it. A friend kept one potted inside and it lives on. The plants that died, after being moved indoors, dropped seeds that sprouted in the Spring. I ended up with over ten plants.

Positive RxAngel On May 21, 2010, RxAngel from Stratford, TX (Zone 6b) wrote:

Had this plant a couple of years ago, and it was just gorgeous. The black foliage, coupled with the tiny purple flowers, then the peppers, which start out red and turn to is a gorgeous plant, which gets quite large and bushy and fills out nicely. I had it in a planter with Cuban oregano and Cerveza and Lime oregano, and the contrasting foliage was beautiful.

I let the frost get it that year, but it stayed on my mind, and I have been looking for one ever since...I finally found another one this year, and it is planted in one of my beds, and I will over-winter it in our sunroom. I will try to collect seed and see if I can get them to germinate/grow as well.

Positive hollyhocklady On Jul 25, 2009, hollyhocklady from Shepherdsville, KY wrote:

Beautiful plant. I just can not eat the peppers. Way to HOT for me....

Positive WillowWasp On Jul 5, 2009, WillowWasp from Jones Creek, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I grew this one last year and it was a real impressor so I will plant it again next year. I love the color's on the fruit as well as the plant itself.

Positive gardenbugde On Sep 6, 2008, gardenbugde from Smyrna, DE (Zone 7a) wrote:

This has been the most fun and interesting plant! I purchased the seeds, and sowed them in early Spring, indoors in foam cups. I had 100% germination, so that took me by surprise! The leaves are beautiful!- Black matte finish on them. The peppers were delightful to watch. Most started out green, then turned to black then to the most lovely shade of red. I have them growing with Medusa peppers and bolivian rainbow peppers in a strawberry pot. They adapted well after planting and straightened themselves up to the sun. Very cool. I love the clusters of peppers. I've taken many up-close shots and hope to be able to share them with everyone here. I will be collecting seeds to share in the coming months. I would definitely find room to grow these! A word of warning: They are HOT. I got capsicum on my hands while removing seeds from the fresh peppers and it does not wash off. USE GLOVES when collecting the seeds.

Positive ssimon2000 On May 9, 2008, ssimon2000 from Oklahoma City, OK wrote:

Good producer of hot peppers, easy to maintain. I kept it in pots on the patio, but plan on growing them in the ground next season.
Very tasty peppers, good in chili!

Positive bndoolabh On Apr 22, 2008, bndoolabh from Tyler, TX wrote:

I bought this on a whim at the somewhat exotic nursery in our area. Loved how they grew all season long (planted in ground). After frost had consumed the foliage, I cut it back and prayed for its return this spring. Luckily, it is coming back very nicely and I actually have a ton of babies growing in the same flower bed...probably seeded from the peppers that fell off during the growing season.

Positive GrandpaPepper On Feb 22, 2008, GrandpaPepper from Nevada, MO (Zone 6a) wrote:

I grew some in 2006. I really enjoyed the little black bushes in front of the larger pepper plants and cannas. I wintered the smallest plant indoors and it did very well in 2007. So did the dozen or so volunteer plants that came up all over the place. Though I'm not starting any on purpose, I wouldn't mind a few volunteer plants again in 2008.

Positive djk61 On Oct 5, 2007, djk61 from Coralville, IA wrote:

Like most peppers it takes a long time before it gets going from seed( I thought at first the germination rate was going to be very low, but almost all the seeds sprouted after waiting a while longer) through the first few month of summer here in the Midwest. From August through the first killing frost though it is a great addition to your garden or flower bed. When I first saw this plant on the University of Iowa campus I thought they had placed red lights into some of the foliage, the peppers where that bright of glowing red! I have neighbors now asking about it this year in my yard. I'm going to pot up a couple and try to overwinter in the house and see how it goes.

Positive boomer On Nov 30, 2006, boomer from Indianapolis, IN wrote:

i stumbled on this wonderful pepper this season had a ball with it! loved to see them start out as green then go to a mottled appearance then turn a lovely shade of black then watch the pearls turn colors. cute & round no pointy top
hopefully i am able to salvage some seeds from it
i look forward to having this neat pepper in my garden again
FYI dont have to worry about kids picking the fruit and eating them as i do my pea pods. one byte and its curtains for that notion !!

Positive htop On Jul 22, 2006, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Agricultural Research Service (Beltsville, Maryland) plant geneticists John Stommel, of the Plant Sciences Instituteís Vegetable Laboratory, and Robert Griesbach, of the U.S. National Arboretumís Floral and Nursery Plants Research Unit worked together to breed this wonderful ornamental pepper. It was introduced in 2005. The fruit is rounded with a slightly pointed shape when ripe rather than tapered and oblong as stated in this entry's description. It has proven to be a great addition to my landscape and it has had no problems with insects nor diseases. It succumbed after temperaures fell well below freezing; however, I did collect have seeds which will supposedly come true to the plant. I shall see.

Neutral Farmerdill On Nov 29, 2005, Farmerdill from Augusta, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

A new pepper ( 2006 AAS winner). Black fruit turning to dark red on black purple plants. 125 day.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Auburn, Alabama
Vincent, Alabama
Mesa, Arizona
Queen Creek, Arizona
Fayetteville, Arkansas
Menifee, California
Van Nuys, California
New Haven, Connecticut
Somers, Connecticut
Smyrna, Delaware
Fort Pierce, Florida
Immokalee, Florida
Keystone Heights, Florida
Miami, Florida
Palm Coast, Florida
Port Charlotte, Florida
Shalimar, Florida
Zephyrhills, Florida
Snellville, Georgia
Western Springs, Illinois
Coralville, Iowa
Knoxville, Iowa
Derby, Kansas
Salina, Kansas
Barbourville, Kentucky
Glasgow, Kentucky
Shepherdsville, Kentucky
Wayland, Massachusetts
Hillsdale, Michigan
Rochester, Minnesota
Picayune, Mississippi
Tishomingo, Mississippi
Nevada, Missouri
Mount Laurel, New Jersey
Socorro, New Mexico
Utica, New York
Fuquay Varina, North Carolina
Wilmington, North Carolina
Akron, Ohio
Lorain, Ohio
Hulbert, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (3 reports)
Albion, Pennsylvania
Ridley Park, Pennsylvania
Edisto Island, South Carolina
Germantown, Tennessee
Memphis, Tennessee
Austin, Texas
Baytown, Texas
Beaumont, Texas
Bryan, Texas
Canyon Lake, Texas
Dallas, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Freeport, Texas
Garland, Texas
Gilmer, Texas
Houston, Texas
Liberty Hill, Texas
Missouri City, Texas
New Braunfels, Texas
Princeton, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Snook, Texas
Tyler, Texas
Hampton, Virginia
Keswick, Virginia
Leesburg, Virginia
Spotsylvania, Virginia
Williamsburg, Virginia
Kennewick, Washington

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