As each year passes, we find ourselves utilizing more and more new varieties of ornamental pepper plants in everything from our garden and landscape beds – to hanging baskets all around the farm.
Whether it’s a mass planting of ornamental Sangria peppers in the corner bed of our driveway – a beautiful set of Poinsettia peppers planted with our ornamental grasses, or a hanging planters all over the farm loaded with all types of ornamental peppers – visitors to the farm quickly notice the unique plants. It always leads to a conversation about “what are those plants over there!” Most are astonished to find out they are pepper plants – and even more amazed to find out almost all of them are delicious to eat!
Ornamental and specialty peppers are a perfect dual-use plant. They provide massive color, texture and variety to your garden, flower and landscape beds…and can do the same for your taste buds! Most ornamental and specialty peppers are edible – but even those that have little flavor make up for it with incredible additions of color to your landscape.
6 Great Ornamental Pepper Plants:
An all-time favorite and one incredibly versatile plant in the landscape. We use them in mass plantings, pots and hanging baskets, all with great success. They are a very hardy and tolerant plant – and get by with less watering than other annuals. There are also an ultimate three-in-one plant! You get beautiful dark green foliage in the early spring…followed by hundreds of slim dark purple peppers by early to mid – summer. As the fall come on strong – they turn to a brilliant red and orange for incredible new color to the landscape. The seeds are easy to save for the next year’s planting as well.
Chinese Five Color
You hear us talk about them all the time – but they are just an incredible pepper! They grow hundreds of 1″ peppers on each plant in a beautiful array of colors from light purple to orange to deep red. The plants are so beautiful in fact that we began to grow them all around our farm’s landscape beds to add color and interest.
Their flavor is simply unbeatable, with a spicy zing that doesn’t linger on the tongue. We use them fresh in salads and salsa – but when dried – hands down they make the most amazing pepper flakes and pepper grind you will ever taste. It has the heat of cayenne pepper – but with so much more flavor!
These plants add a lot of interest wherever you plant them! Not only is the fruit dark purple and black in color – but the dark foliage really can give a beautiful accent to your flowerbeds. They grow to be about 14 to 20 inches high and about 15″ wide. The plant produces loads of 3/4-inch fruit that is round with a sharp point near the bottom. The peppers start our black in mid summer, and then turn to a beautiful shade of dark, deep red in the fall. They are very tolerant as well, like almost all peppers, and most insects do not want any part of the hot and spicy peppers. They are certainly edible – but very, very hot!
Another favorite of ours. These are a little taller and bushier than the sangria plants – growing to about 24″ tall – with the pepper pods coming on in late June. Each plant will be covered in hundreds of the peppers! They start out as an ordinary slim green pepper – and then turn to an incredible fiery deep red from early August until well after the first frost. They have a hot and spicy flavor that can be added to stir fry to give off some deep heat – or you can put them in olive oil to create your own hot pepper oil. Poinsettia peppers are another easy seed to save and require little maintenance.
A conversation starter for sure. These plants produce a miniature version of the big belle peppers – with just as much flavor!
They will grow to be about 18″ to 24″ high and will produce a multitude of 1″ to 2″ mini bell peppers. They have a small seed core that is easy to remove, and they are perfect for salads and salsa. This is also one of our favorite peppers to use for making great appetizers. We use a good spicy sausage and cream cheese stuffing that makes for an incredible paring with the sweet taste of the peppers. They also look great in the landscape as an accent plant – adding a splash of color wherever you put them.
These compact plants produce hundreds of hot, fiery, and colorful little peppers. Perfect for adding heat and colors to salsa, they are also great in hanging baskets to provide a touch of color almost anywhere! The calico is another easy plant to save seeds from each year. They are a perfect companion with their red and yellows to the purple and reds of the sangria.
So add a little spice to your landscape this year and try a few ornamental peppers – you wont be disappointed!
Jim and Mary