How to Grow: Hot Peppers

Learn about hot peppers, including how to plant and grow them.

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The top 10 vegetables grown by home gardeners hasn’t really changed much in the last 20 years except for one. Hot peppers. They’ve become all the rage. Hot peppers originated in South and Central America. Portuguese and Spanish explorers brought them to Europe and Asia in the 15th century.

There’s a wide variety of hot peppers to grow in your garden. Here are some of my favorites. ‘Black Pearl’ features jet-black foliage and stems with purple turning to red fruits. It’s as beautiful as it is spicy. ‘Big Chili’ is an 8- to 10- inch long, mildly pungent, roasting pepper, while ‘Thai Hot’ has 1-inch long peppers that pack a fiery punch.

To grow hot peppers in our chilly (no pun intended) climate, plant them in containers. Containers provide the heat and drainage they love. Keep plants well watered and fertilized, but don’t apply too much nitrogen fertilizer or you’ll get lots of foliage and few flowers and fruits. Harvest peppers at the green or red stage. Bring the pot indoors when cold weather threatens to extend the harvest into winter.

Now for this week’s tip, I’ve got a hot new petunia for you. Pretty Much Picasso is a new supertunia variety. Supertunias don’t need deadheading, are more vigorous growers, and flower more continually than regular petunias. Pretty Much Picasso has a deep purple throat, lilac-colored flower petals with a lime green edging. This trailing annual looks great in window boxes and containers mixed with taller annuals such as geraniums.

From the Vermont Garden Journal on Vermont Public Radio.

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