How to Grow: Red Hot Chili Peppers

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

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Free Chili Chilli photo and pictureWhen you’re planting your vegetables over the next few weeks, don’t forget the spice of life, hot peppers. Not only are there a wide range

of hot peppers to grow in your garden, many are beautiful as well. The flavors range from mild to hot enough to strip paint. India is even using a native hot pepper variety as an ingredient in an ant-terrorist, tear gas spray! All you’ll need are a few plants to get plenty of fruits. Here are some varieties to try.

There are many southwest-type peppers such as serrano, ancho, and anaheim. These peppers are great for grillings, stuffing and making sauces. Jalapenos have a milder flavor and are famous for toppings on pizza and in salsa. Select varieties like ‘Early Jalapeno’ that produce the most in our cool climate.

Remember the hotness of your pepper depends on variety and weather. A cool, moist, cloudy summer will produce a milder pepper, while a hot, dry, sunny summer will spice up even a tame variety.

Some hot peppers are beautiful to look at. ‘Black Pearl’ features jet black foliage, purple flowers, and small, red, hot tasting fruits. ‘Numex Twilight’ has upright standing, hot pepper fruits that start out purple colored, but ripen to yellow, orange, and red, just like a sunset.

For the super hot flavor lover that wants the taste to last beyond one hot minute, try the habaneros. The traditional variety produces crinkled, Chinese lantern-looking orange fruits. Newer varieties feature yellow or red colored peppers. Habaneros are more sensitive to our cool summers, so grow them in containers to give the plants the heat they crave. ‘Hot Paper Lantern’ is a good variety for the north since it matures quickly.

Now for this week’s tip, it’s time to support your peonies. With all the rain lately, herbaceous peonies are growing strong. Place grow through supports over plants or wrap chicken wire around them now so the flowers won’t flop later.

From the Vermont Garden Journal on Vermont Public Radio.

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