07 Aug PICK A PEPPER
Move over, pedestrial jalapeno pepper and ho-hum bell pepper! For all of you pepper-loving gardeners out there, it’s time to add some spice to your pepper plots. Try a new shape, an intriguing color, or a hot-as-heck bite — here’s a slew of unique peppers to grow and pick, but don’t say we didn’t warn you. These pepper varieties push the boundaries of subtlety.
5 Unique Peppers to Grow
Ghost peppers: Also called Bhut jolokia, ghost peppers are a hybrid chili pepper from India and have the distinction of being the world’s hottest chili pepper with over one million Scoville Heat Units. In other words, this one’s scalding, piping, ear-blowing, and tear-jerking hot. The fruit is red/orange in color and grows 2.5” – 3.5” long and 1” wide. It’s too hot for this girl — my people were from Scandinavia and we’re proud of our bland, white food.
Black Pearl: Another very hot pepper, Black Pearl is a tiny ¾” pearl-shaped pod that ripens from black to deep red. It’s also a smaller, bushy plant, growing only up to 18” tall and 16” wide, making it perfect for a patio container.
Medusa: Looking for an ornamental pepper in a groovy new shape? This smaller plant (also great for containers) features long, twisted, cone-shaped fruit in colors ranging from ivory to yellow, orange, and red. Not a big container gardener? This one is impressive as a mass planting in the front of your sunny border.
Mad Hatter: Big and bushy Mad Hatter bell pepper plants have unusually shaped fruit that looks like a Bishop’s crown. The red fruit averages 2 ¼” in diameter with red skin, a sweet taste, and a bit of a kick as you near the seed cavity.
Islander: These thick-fleshed, 3-lobed bell peppers have a mild taste with a light lavender color that ripens with yellow and orange streaks before maturing to a deep, rich red. The purple and black peppers always reel me in, if for no other reason than the unexpected and lovely colors. I’m shallow that way.
About the Author
Jenny Peterson is a landscape designer and urban farmer living in Austin, Texas. She comes from a family of gardeners and her gardens include drought-tolerant plants, herbs, veggies, and a wildflower pollinator garden. As a breast cancer survivor, Jenny specializes in gardens that heal from the inside out.