Ornamental Pepper Planting and Care Guide
Quick Facts About Ornamental Pepper
Peppers are typically thought of as garden vegetables that add great flavor too foods. But some pepper plants are highly ornamental and bring color and unique beauty to borders, containers, and even as a house plant. Ornamental peppers are often called Christmas peppers because they're often found before Christmas and given as gifts.
Pepper seeds should be started indoors 6 - 8 weeks prior to the end of frost season for additions to the spring and summer display. If growing as Christmas peppers, start the seeds indoors in August to have plants large enough to give as gifts by Christmas.
Pepper plants need full sun and fertile, well-draining soil. They have a moderate need for moisture. For an indoor houseplant, the plants need a spot near a bright sunny window. For fruiting indoors, aritificial lights are needed.
How to Plant Ornamental Peppers
- Fill starter trays with moistened starter soil mix
- Put 2 - 3 pepper seeds in each cell
- Light is needed for germination, so cover the seeds lightly with soil
- Warmth is very important for pepper seed germination so heat mats are suggested
- Keep the trays both warm and moist for germination
- After germination thin to the strongest seedling
- Light is very important and the use of grow lights for 12 - 16 hours each day is suggested
- Pinch off the growing tips to encourage a bushier growth
- After frost danger has passed and the soil temperatures have warmed, harden off the pepper plants for 7 - 10 days prior to transplanting out
Care And Maintenance
- Pepper plants need to be watered when the soil feels dry
- Container grown plants will dry out faster, so check them often and water the plants regularly
- Harvest peppers when the fruit are full and firm
- Pepper plants do need 1 - 2 fertilizer applications to keep fruiting - use a fertilizer higher in potassium and phosphorous