It is hard to resist an ornamental pepper finding its way into one’s shopping cart, as these plants can simply not be overlooked when in their prime! Vibrant displays of yellows, oranges, reds and purples, take one to a faraway more tropical place, at a time when our temperatures are dropping, and lend themselves perfectly for use in autumn arrangements with their warm colors. Although used as a fall plant, be aware that peppers are frost sensitive and require protection once temperatures drop below freezing. Peppers do not like to sit either too wet nor too dry, so water well and then allow to dry between waterings. As gardeners we are spoilt with many dazzling varieties of ornamental peppers, here to name a few favorites – Black Pearl, Medusa, Sangria, Purple Flash, Chilly Chili and Sedona Sun. A pepper/chili lookalike is the Jerusalem Cherry, often sold alongside peppers and chilies, also with colorful fruits, but round in shape, which is actually a Solanum and more closely related to our common garden tomato.
Latin Name: Capsicum annuum
Light: Part to full sun
Bloom Color: Yellow, orange, red, purple
Bloom Period: Fall
Height: 6” - 3 ft
Hardiness: 9-11 (not hardy in Chicago)