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Christmas Pepper Capsicum annuum

Phonetic Spelling
KAP-sih-kum AN-yoo-um
Description

Capsicum annuum is a pepper that can be easily grown either in an outdoor pot or in the garden. Edible varieties are used as a spice in food while ornamental varieties can add eye-popping color to your garden. Capsicum annuum requires full sun but is a great heat and drought-tolerant annual. For best results, start from seed indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost date and set seedlings or purchased plants out in the garden after any possibility of frost. It can be temperamental if its roots are disturbed and it prefers full sun and moist, well-drained, rich soil. It is best to keep this plant's soil consistently and evenly moist. To promote a bushy appearance, you can pinch young plants. Flowers give way to edible peppers, ranging from extremely hot chili peppers to sweet bell peppers.

It is a herbaceous perennial and will grow well in the garden at the higher USDA zones; however, lower zones may be problematic. In North Carolina and many other places with cold or harsh winters, peppers are best grown as annuals because they are tender to the cold.  Ornamental peppers, though in the same family as normal peppers and though they are technically edible, will lack the taste necessary to be used properly in culinary applications. Some varieties can be excessively spicy, much more than normal pepper varieties but are typically grown for their exotic and breathtaking colors.  Fortunately, this plant is seldom damaged by deer.

Insects Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  This plant has a few potential pests. It is important to look out for aphids, whiteflies, cutworms, pepper maggots, and Colorado potato beetles. This plant is also sensitive to Verticillium wilt (a fungal pathogen) and mosaic virus (which should show a uniform yellow-green mosaic across the leaves followed by wilt).

 

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Edibles, Bulbs, and Houseplants" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.   

More information on Capsicum.

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscapes:
Vegetable No-Till Garden
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Aurora', 'Basket of Fire', 'Black Pearl', 'Buena Mulata', 'Calico', 'California Wonder', 'Candelabra', Cerasiforme Group, 'Chilly Chili', Conioides Group, 'Early Jalapeno', Fasciculatum Group, Grossum Group, Longum Group, 'Mad Hatter', 'Purple Flash', 'Sweet orange', 'Sweet Sunset'
Tags:
#black#full sun tolerant#small spaces#heat tolerant#annuals#drought tolerant#edible plant#white flowers#purple leaves#low maintenance#showy fruits#tender perennials#deer resistant#vegetable garden#yellow fruits#edible garden#fantz#orange fruits#fruits summer#purple fruits#colorful fruits#warm season vegetable#Buncombe County Sun and Shade Garden#wilson mg plant sale 2021#vhfn#vhfn-v
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
'Aurora', 'Basket of Fire', 'Black Pearl', 'Buena Mulata', 'Calico', 'California Wonder', 'Candelabra', Cerasiforme Group, 'Chilly Chili', Conioides Group, 'Early Jalapeno', Fasciculatum Group, Grossum Group, Longum Group, 'Mad Hatter', 'Purple Flash', 'Sweet orange', 'Sweet Sunset'
Tags:
#black#full sun tolerant#small spaces#heat tolerant#annuals#drought tolerant#edible plant#white flowers#purple leaves#low maintenance#showy fruits#tender perennials#deer resistant#vegetable garden#yellow fruits#edible garden#fantz#orange fruits#fruits summer#purple fruits#colorful fruits#warm season vegetable#Buncombe County Sun and Shade Garden#wilson mg plant sale 2021#vhfn#vhfn-v
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Capsicum
    Species:
    annuum
    Family:
    Solanaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Edible and used as a seasoning
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Tropical North and South America
    Wildlife Value:
    Birds are immune to the capsaicin in peppers and can safely eat the fruits with no ill effects. Therefore, these plants may attract birds. Host plant for Potato Tuber Moth.
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    deer resistant
    Edibility:
    Fruits edible, but spiciness is unpredictable in intensity.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 8 in.
    Width: 0 ft. 6 in. - 1 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Edible
    Houseplant
    Vegetable
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Mounding
    Multi-stemmed
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a, 10a, 10b, 11b, 11a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Orange
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Good Dried
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Fruits are a non-pulpy berry and vary considerably across cultivars. Some are long, thin, bright red, and spicy; others are thick, large, and sweet-tasting; others still are small and in ornamental shapes and colors, grown as decoration.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Bell
    Star
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Small white to purple flowers appear in clusters in summer, but are not particularly ornamental.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Ovate leaves (to 3” long) that are deep green. Some cultivars emerge green but quickly turn shiny black. Leaves retain good color throughout the growing season.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Nodes may darken to a purple shade.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Houseplants
    Walkways
    Landscape Theme:
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Edible Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Border
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Heat