Chile Pepper 'Tabasco'

Capsicum frutescens

Family: Solanaceae (so-lan-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Capsicum (KAP-sih-kum) (Info)
Species: frutescens (froo-TESS-enz) (Info)
Cultivar: Tabasco
Additional cultivar information:(aka Tobasco - misspelling)
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24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Heat (Pungency):

Hot (5,000 to 30,000 Scoville Units)

Fruit Shape:


Fruit Size:

Small (under 2" in length)

Fruit Color:

Cream changing to red

Yellow changing to red

Disease Resistance:

Unknown - Tell us

Seed Type:




Fresh (salsa, salads)



Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Propagation Methods:

From woody stem cuttings

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Wear gloves to protect hands when handling seeds

Days to Maturity:

Late (more than 80 days)

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Can be grown as an annual


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Batesville, Arkansas

Ceres, California

Morgan Hill, California

Oceanside, California

Rosemead, California

Brooksville, Florida

Interlachen, Florida

Jacksonville Beach, Florida

Keystone Heights, Florida

Pensacola, Florida

Rockledge, Florida

Wakulla Springs, Florida

Dacula, Georgia

Marietta, Georgia

Snellville, Georgia

Chatham, Illinois

Benton, Kentucky

Frankfort, Kentucky

La Place, Louisiana

Marrero, Louisiana

Georgetown, Massachusetts

Newaygo, Michigan

Nevada, Missouri

Drexel, North Carolina

Howard, Ohio

Carnegie, Pennsylvania

Mc Keesport, Pennsylvania

Wexford, Pennsylvania

Charleston, South Carolina

Manchester, Tennessee

Cypress, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas

Iredell, Texas

Leander, Texas

Liberty Hill, Texas

Pflugerville, Texas

Spring, Texas(2 reports)

Portsmouth, Virginia

Radford, Virginia

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Jun 28, 2020, YeeFam from Leander, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Been growing these peppers as perennials - in a container. You must bring them indoors when the temperature gets cool - I bring them in when it gets below 55ºF.
My last one lasted over 6 years - not sure if age, disease, or the stress of a move - so I started another one - 3 seasons so far.


On Oct 5, 2015, bougy from Palm City, FL wrote:

i grow the tobasco peppers every summer in central florida. most plants get about four feet tall and produce hundreds of peppers which makes it a beautiful ornamental plants.

i save about a hundred or so peppers and freeze them to keep a supply all winter. i pick them when red, remove the seeds and wrap in foil and into a plastic bag and keep them frozen.

after i get all i want i leave the other couple of hundred peppers for the birds. the cardinals and mockingbirds love them.


On Jan 17, 2010, JackTheRipper from McKeesport, PA wrote:

Very good intro plant for new gardeners.
Easy to take care of, grows like a weed, and you'll soon be swimming in pods.

Heat level is moderate. Pods are thin walled and juicy.


On Dec 11, 2009, dianne11 from Spring, TX wrote:

I purchased this little 3" Tabasco plant at Wal Mart for $.87 expecting to grow a small plant with a few peppers. Well lo and behold, this little plant grew to over 10' tall and produced hundreds of peppers. My husband and I just watched this thing grow and grow and grow. We planted it in a side garden along with some flowers and herbs and was just amazed, still are. We had a freeze here in Spring, Texas last week and the freeze has it wilted. We have saved a lot of peppers for seeds and will plant again. I don't know if the plant will come back from root or not. I am going to prune back and wait. The peppers were hot, but very tasty. We supplied many neighbors and friends with these peppers and everyone enjoyed them. 12-10-09


On Apr 27, 2008, shog from Catonsville, MD wrote:

Maryland. Aggressive grower, prolific fruit, truly drought resistant, brutal peppers, brutal flavor. Hard to kill. Ideal for pots and plant neglectors.

Bought a seedling. Produced fruit much later than my other peppers, once it got going it went crazy. Foolishly i had put it in a window box with a habanero and cayenne, it overwhelmed those. It put up one main branch that grew up two feet and then sideways three feet, until it became ridiculous and I had to prune it. Overwintered in a dorm room closet under cool white fluorescent. Did not water for 1 month during winter break. When i came back, Cayenne and Habanero were dead, Tabasco was fine. Next year, in the old box, even heavier production. Overwintered a second time and it was threatened by aphids, who were in turn threa... read more


On Aug 10, 2005, kabel from Wexford, PA wrote:

Grows like gangbusters on a deck with full sun, southern exposure. I'm a rookie and am a little unsure as to what color to harvest peppers at, but I'll find out. Very hardy plant.


On Mar 8, 2005, Breezymeadow from Culpeper, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

I purchased one tiny (4" high) pot-bound seedling of this at one of my local garden center's end-of-planting-season sales last June.

I set it, with a few other hot pepper varieties, in a raised bed of primarily well-composted horse manure, & covered it with a lightweight row cover to protect against any possible pests until it was necessary to uncover it for blossom pollination. Except at the initial planting time, I did not have to provide it with any additional water, nor did I fertilize it.

By the end of August/early September, this one plant was approximately 3-feet tall & covered with HUNDREDS of small (1"-2" long), extremely HOT, narrow, thin-walled peppers, ranging in color from pale yellowish-green, to bright yellow, to bright orange, to bright scarle... read more


On Mar 7, 2005, melody from Benton, KY (Zone 7a) wrote:

Very productive...this pepper is absolutely covered in the tiny, pointed fruits.

Besides the obvious use of making hot sauce, it makes a great addition to your homemade pickles and dried pepper mixes. One or two will flavor a whole pot of salsa also.


On Nov 9, 2004, PvillePlanter from Pflugerville, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I grow these every year. They are quite hardy and easy to start by either direct seeding or reseeding by allowing a few of the peppers to fall to the ground. We use them in small amounts for cooking but mostly dried and ground as a spice or puree them fresh in the blender and add a little vingegar and just a pinch of salt for tabasco sauce. Do be careful when handling both peppers and seeds. Avoid any hand contact to your face as this can cause severe eye burning. Wash hands thoroughly after handling.


On Nov 6, 2004, melody from Benton, KY (Zone 7a) wrote:

Grows with abandon and produces tons of hot little peppers here in West KY. Seems to tolerate drought better than some of the other peppers I've grown, but is content if it gets lots of moisture also.

A couple of plants will produce enough peppers to serve the needs of most will cover itself in fruits until frost.


On Oct 21, 2004, Farmerdill from Augusta, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

Matures in 90 days. This heirloom was introduced into Louisiana in 1848, and became the main Ingredient in Tabasco Pepper Sauce. This pepper is very hot and has a delicious flavor. The plants grow up to four feet tall and are covered with small, thin peppers. Needs a warm summer or can be grown as a potted plant. Fruit ripen from green to orange, then red. I grew this cultivar in the early seventies. It grew well and the small peppers which point upward are very attractive growing. I prefer the flavor of the Slim Cayenne but it is an attractive pepper.


On Feb 28, 2004, dvingin from Carnegie, PA (Zone 5b) wrote:

I've had a tabasco plant in each of tha past two summers- one very dry and little rain, one with rain practically every day- and had success both times. Enough, at least, to encourage me further. This will be my first time starting from seed- wish me luck!


On Sep 28, 2003, clantonnaomi from Iredell, TX wrote:

We have grown these for years. My husband makes pepper sauce all of the time - he picks the peppers , puts them in jars, pours boiling vinegar over them, and then seals the jars. This pepper sauce is fantastic - much better than store bought.


On Sep 10, 2003, Thaumaturgist from Rockledge, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

Avery Island, Louisiana.

A 50,000-foot subterranean salt dome surrounded by marsh, swamp and a bayou. It is also where Edward Avery “Ned” McIlhenny’s Company had been growing the Tabasco pepper and making the fiery Tabasco pepper sauce since 1868.

Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders carried bottles of Tabasco sauce at San Juan Hill.

In World Wars I, II and the Korean War, bottles of Tabasco sauce were shipped to the soldiers from their loved ones.

During the Vietnam war, the McIlhenny Co. sent thousands of copies of the Charley Ration Cookbook with recipes for spicing up C Rations with Tabasco sauce, wrapped around bottles of Tabasco sauce in waterproof canisters.

By the time Operation Desert Storm ended in 1991, Tabasc... read more