Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Ornamental Pepper, Christmas Pepper
Capsicum annuum

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

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34 members have or want this plant for trade.

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12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Heat (Pungency):
Hot (5,000 to 30,000 Scoville Units)
Extremely Hot (above 30,000 Scoville Units)

Fruit Shape:

Fruit Size:
Small (under 2" in length)

Fruit Color:
Green changing to red
Cream changing to red
Purple changing to red

Disease Resistance:
Unknown - Tell us

Seed Type:

Ornamental (not recommended for eating)

Other details:
This plant is suitable for growing indoors
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings
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
Wear gloves to protect hands when handling seeds

Days to Maturity:
Mid (69-80 days)

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There are a total of 8 photos.
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4 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral ryandi On Oct 13, 2009, ryandi from Baldwinsville, NY wrote:

My ornamental pepper pland florished outside this summer. Lots of peppers started out red and turned a deep purple. Now that it is cold, I brought it inside and all the leaves are falling off. Is this normal?

Positive Lady_fern On Nov 2, 2006, Lady_fern from Jeffersonville, IN (Zone 6a) wrote:

I have been growing ornamental peppers from seed for years now. They are the cutest little plants for edging--always neat and perky. If you start them early indoors and plant them in full sun, you'll get little peppers turning red by July. If they are self-sown seedlings there's no red color until August. They continue to bloom through fall, so you always see the little white star-shaped flowers above the foliage. They grow fine in pots too, as long as they have good drainage and enough root room. Wear gloves when harvesting the seeds or else be very careful not to touch your face!

Positive JerusalemCherry On Nov 9, 2004, JerusalemCherry from Dunellen, NJ (Zone 6b) wrote:

Christmas Peppers are nice colorful plants. You see them sold at Home Depot many times during the year. They are sold as Ornamental Peppers during the summer months & at Xmas time, they sell them Christmas Peppers at many retailers.

The peppers are very hot to taste & usually elongated. I have seen different varieties sold that have roundish peppers. Just keep in mind, people sometimes purchase a JERUSALEM CHERRY during the holiday season & think its this pepper plant. The Jerusalem Cherry has berries that look more round (like cherry tomatoes). The berries on this plant (Jerusalem Cherry) are mildly toxic, so please keep that in mind.

Positive htop On Sep 29, 2003, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Ornamental peppers provide great color all through the growing season, can withstand high heat and require little care. Mine, growing in hanging baskets, reseed themselves every year. The fruit is edible, but be sure to test it out with a small nibble because some are very hot!! The Christmas Cherry often grown as an indoor plantproducing marble sized, bright red fruit is NOT edible.

Positive moscheuto On Apr 3, 2002, moscheuto from Westland, MI (Zone 5a) wrote:

Give peppers full sun. Average to rich soil that is well drained and evenly moist. They have lance shaped leaves. Ornamental types bear edible, very HOT, fruit that is held upright on the plant.


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

Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Immokalee, Florida
West Palm Beach, Florida
Jeffersonville, Indiana
Benton, Kentucky
Irvine, Kentucky
New Iberia, Louisiana
Georgetown, Massachusetts
Mason, Michigan
Walled Lake, Michigan
Pleasant Hill, Missouri
Brooklyn, New York
Chaumont, New York
Painesville, Ohio
Van Wert, Ohio
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Adkins, Texas
College Station, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Freeport, Texas
Houston, Texas
Round Rock, Texas
San Antonio, Texas (2 reports)

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