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Pepper and Ornamental pepper: sowing, planting, maintenance - Gerbeaud

The pepper is a perennial plant represented by several species of the genus Capsicum: Capsicum frutescens, Capsicum annuum, Capsicum baccatu...

The pepper is a perennial plant represented by several species of the genus Capsicum: Capsicum frutescens, Capsicum annuum, Capsicum baccatum, Capsicum chinense, Capsicum pubescens. They belong to the Solanaceae family. All peppers are native to southern North America, Central America, and South America. Brought back to Europe by Christopher Columbus, the Pepper, originally burning, was selected in order to obtain increasingly sweet varieties: peppers. For their part, the hot peppers, used as condiments, are spreading all over the world and are also diversifying in varieties, from the sweetest to the hottest.

Pepper and Ornamental pepper: sowing, planting, maintenance - Gerbeaud
Piment, Capsicum

The pungent taste of Pepper bell pepper is due to the presence of capsaicin, more or less concentrated, which the Pepper develops to protect itself from predation. Pepper is a condiment that not only spices up dishes, but also allows a better preservation of food (antibacterial effect).

Description of the pepper

Pepper produces a stocky and compact plant for the smallest species. Its thick stems bear lanceolate, whole, bright green leaves with a thick blade. The flowers develop grouped in the axils of the leaves. The fused corolla usually forms a white or purple cup. The fruits are not very fleshy and hollow, they contain round and flat seeds, generally white, sometimes black (Capsicum pubescens).

Numerous on the plant because of their small size, the peppers are cylindrical, rounded, or bishop's hat, of various colors, upright or hanging. Some are even ornamental, with their small colored fruits, or their purple or variegated foliage, while being edible.

Cultivate pepper

Peppers require a lot of sunshine and heat. For a good production, they need a soft and fairly rich soil, well amended. As the young peppers are not hardy and a little slow to start, they are forced under cover to transplant a foot of pepper already advanced in the garden when it no longer freezes. It takes about 5 months to produce ripe fruit.

Either the plants are bought from a grower, or they are sown and then forced indoors before being transplanted.

Sowing peppers

The seeds germinate in less than 10 days in the light and at more than 20 °C, so indoors in March-April or even February, sunk 1 cm in a good wet soil, covered. Discovered as soon as they point, the young seedlings are laid out near the window or under heated frames. The young peppers are transplanted in individual 7 cm pots, when they show their first two leaves (those after the cotyledons). As soon as the roots pass underneath, they will appreciate a second transplanting in a larger pot, in a mixture of garden soil and potting soil. These young plants develop a good root system and will easily adapt to the soil of your garden.

The peppers are planted in the garden as soon as it stops freezing, that is to say in May. A forcing bell, during 2 to 3 weeks, accelerates the adaptation to the open ground. They only start to develop well when the temperature exceeds 10-15 °C. To obtain a good production, watering will be regular throughout the summer.

For small pepper plants, pot cultivation is possible. Their container should be large enough for good root development and so that the soil does not dry out too quickly.

They are harvested ripe and then generally dried in the sun. They can be powdered before use, but also candied in vinegar or oil. They are handled avoiding contact with small wounds on the hands, eyes, mucous membranes...

Species and varieties of Capsicum

  • Numerous varieties
  • Capsicum annuum 'Gorria' the Espelette pepper, not very hot.
  • Bird pepper, Capsicum annuum 'Pequin' (Pequin)
  • Tabasco, from Capsicum frutescens
  • Capsicum chinensis, in the shape of a bishop's hat

Ornamental pepper

Belonging to the same family as the vegetable varieties, the ornamental chilli pepper is a plant with a very decorative fruiting. Its numerous fruits with astonishing colors persist for a very long time. Easy to cultivate, this wonderfully colored pepper can be grown indoors as well as in pots or planters on the balcony or terrace.

Ornamental pepper: a wide range of colors 

Pepper and Ornamental pepper: sowing, planting, maintenance - Gerbeaud
Tricolor ornamental pepper
Ornamental peppers sowing in peat cups
Native to Mexico and belonging to the Solanaceae family, the ornamental pepper (Capsicum annum) is an annual plant that forms a small bushy bush 20 to 40cm high. Its very branched stems carry shiny green lanceolate leaves. Solitary white flowers appear at the end of spring at the axils of the leaves. Small but numerous fruits form in late summer or early autumn and remain decorative throughout the winter. They have a pretty pointed shape and come in many shades of yellow, red, orange, white and even purple or black depending on their stage of ripening.

These fruits are not edible, their interest is exclusively ornamental.

Sowing and planting of ornamental pepper

These small peppers are often bought in garden centers, where they are sold in buckets among seasonal flowers and other decorative plants. But you can also sow ornamental peppers, such as vegetable varieties: it is more economical.


In February-March, sow the seeds in terrine in special sowing soil kept moist at a temperature of 25 °. The emergence occurs in 15 days.

Transplanting and planting

Transplant the young plants as soon as they can be handled in buckets filled with a mixture of 2/3 soil and 1/3 compost. Plant them in May using the same substrate.

Tips for growing ornamental peppers


The pepper appreciates sunny situations protected from cold drafts.


Water the ornamental pepper very regularly, letting the substrate dry a little between watering's. 


To ensure the development of the plant, bring fertilizer (e.g. tomato fertilizer) once every ten days until the fruits have formed.


The pepper is a frozen plant, it suffers much below 10°. Place it at a temperature of 16 to 20°. The fruits will keep very well at 18°.


This pepper is not very prone to diseases. Lack of water causes the leaves to yellow and fall off. Too much watering can cause its roots to rot. In a too dry atmosphere, attacks of scale insects or red spiders sometimes occur. Basin the foliage to eliminate them.

Preserve an ornamental pepper

Ornamental pepper requires no special care. The plant ends its cycle at the end of winter when the fruits start to wilt. It withers shortly afterwards

Potted ornamental pepper - Capsicum annuum Medusa
Potted ornamental pepper - Capsicum annuum Medusa

Some varieties of decorative peppers

  • Varied', yellow then red or purple fruits
  • Samba Red', ripe red fruits
  • Medusa', elongated cream-colored fruits turning orange and then bright red.
  • Red Wonder, bright red fruit
  • Yellow Wonder', bright yellow fruit
  • Orange Wonder', light orange fruit
  • Teno', yellow then red fruits 
  • Sputnik', upright, 40cm, elongated green then red fruits

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