ornamental pepper

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by countrygrrrl, Oct 24, 2004.

  1. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    I found a little ornamental pepper on sale today --- end of season, way outgrown its pot, all that, but otherwise very healthy and very cheap!

    I've never had an ornamental pepper before but, if i understand correctly, they're tender perennials -- is that correct? -- and all varieties are edible, if not necessarily terribly tasty -- hopefully, that's also right.

    My plan is to keep this pepper as a container plant, if it is indeed a tender perennial. I'm getting ready to put plastic on one side and half the front of my front porch, and keep my tender perennials which are in pots there (except for my tropical hibiscus -- it's already inside because we're already hitting the 40's at night).

    Would this be adequate for keeping a containerized ornamental pepper over the winter?

    And is there anything else I need to know about them? It's a really lovely plant --- I've never liked them before but am quite taken by this one. :D
     
  2. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    Indeed they are tender perennials in most of the US and thus treated as annuals in the gardens. However, they will remain alive about a day less than forever if given a chance to stay away from frosts. I used to feel sorry for them and bring some inside each winter. As long as I remembered to water them in a timely manner, they'd easily survive to go outside for another summer. Unlike many other larger peppers, the ornamentals usually don't get tall and straggly when forced to spend a winter inside. I had them do just fine in an east window where they only received a half day's sun. In a south window, they'd do even better.

    Depending upon the variety, they may be either very hot or mild. The hot ones are indeed grown primarily for eating and really should not be considered only as ornamentals. They are called ornamental because they are small, showy, and adapt to growing in pots. I grow two mild ones and a hot one. One of the mild ones is virtually identical to the hot one. No mistaking the mild Medusa but Chilly Chili looks almost the same as Tex-Mex until you bite into them!

    Martin
     

  3. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    :) Thanks, Martin! That's great to know --- I will find my new little pepper a suitable pot for its new permanent home.

    I just bit into one and it's hot, but not uneatably hot --- and it has a nice aftertaste. So it's going to be a definite asset to my garden and kitchen.

    What I may do is leave it on the deck but plan to make a small greenhouse for it or bring it in, should we get a major cold snap --- our winters are a bit unpredictable --- we always at least freeze, but are often relatively mild --- but sometimes horribly cold. Whichever the case, it's good to know they can survive and even thrive, given some protection from the elements. :)
     
  4. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have a friend with a 10 year old bell pepper plant. Its about 3 feet tall and as wide. They give a sunny winter window and put it on the deck in the summer.
     
  5. 3girls

    3girls Well-Known Member

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    One of the ornamental peppers is poisonous. I'm digging way back in memory, here, but I think it was a Solanum (?) Jerusalem cherry also seems to be bubbliing up. :confused:

    I hope someone else knows about this. Most of the ornamental peppers are edible and some are quite beautiful. Johnnies Selected Seeds have some.

    Some senior moments are more senior than others. :eek:

    Sandi
     
  6. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    Sandi, you are quite correct in stating that Jerusalem cherry is poisonous. It is Solanum pseudocapsicum, and is part of the nightshade family. (Peppers are Capsicum family.) Its Latin name, pseudocapsicum, means false pepper. I've had one of them for over 20 years and indeed the fruit looks like a round red pepper. I was quite surprised to see that one of its common names is ornamental pepper. I suspect that someone called it that in order to sell them. After all, nobody would buy an ornamental nightshade!

    The local Jung's nursery store has some beautiful specimens almost 3 feet tall and they call them Jerusalem cherry. Mine usually tops out at about 2 feet and I cut it back almost to the soil level about every third or fourth year. If not, they become a bit straggly. I also believe that they only bloom on second-year wood.

    Martin
     
  7. treeguy

    treeguy Active Member

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    lively chat on this one
    1.tomatoes and buckwheat are also members of the nightshade family
    2.peppers love heat
    3.more people die each year (usually children) from nightshade.than any other plants
    4.be careful. I worked in garden centers for over 20 years. they spray in greenhouses with things that the public cannot buy. Many systemic. meaning that they work by poisoning the inside of plants so that sucking insects will die from drinking the sap. Unless you know the owner well, of the greenhouse and are sure that he started them from seed, don't risk your health.

    4.