Pepper Questions

  1. If I plant a hot chile next to a sweet pepper, will the sweet pepper be hot?

    No. While many are sure that this has happened in their garden, theoretically it can not happen.

    The characteristics of shape, size, color and flavor are determined by genetics. The genetic footprint of the pepper plant is already within the plant. This genetic disposition was within the seed that was used to produce the plant, and was determined when the flower was pollinated the season before. Crosses do occur within the garden by busy bees and other insects, but this cross will only be recognized in the next generation. So if you save seeds from this year's sweet pepper plant that was grown in close proximity to a hot pepper plant, there is a chance that the pollen from the two plants have crossed, and that the seeds you have collected will next season produce a plant with a sweet pepper shape and a hot pepper taste!

  2. My peppers are not turning their mature color. Why?

    Sometimes it takes a long time for chiles to turn to their mature color in summer. But once late summer/early fall rolls around you will see them ripening almost overnight! When the plants are actively growing and producing many pods, their energy is in the fruiting mode, and not the maturing mode. Have patience, they will mature!

    It is best however to use the unripe pods, as picking them will stimulate the plants nto making lots more. If you leave the first fruits on the plant, the plant will not make many more. Pick and use at first, and wait til fall for the mature colored pods!

  3. I have a pepper plant labeled as "ornamental". Can I eat the peppers?

    All peppers are edible. Sometimes the taste of some ornamentals is not as flavorful as other peppers, often referred to as a "green" flavor, but other ornamentals are very tasty.

    Plants labeled "for ornamental use only" means that they have been sprayed with chemicals not registered for use on edible plants. Don't use for food.

    We do not use any chemicals on our plants, so ALL parts of OUR plants are safe for eating.

  4. My peppers are very mild, and not as hot as they should be. Why?

    Or My peppers are very hot, and not as mild as they should be. Why?

    The heat level of peppers is in direct relation with the ambient temperature and amount of water that the plant receives at pollination and as the pepper fruits are forming. Milder peppers are found on plants that had cool pollination temps, or an excess of water. Pampered plants tend to produce wimpy chiles! This will happen with plants grown in cool and wet areas, such as Washington and Maine. Plants grown in Texas and Arizona however tend to produce hotter chiles, due to the dry and hot climate.

    If you want to produce extra hot chiles, stress the plants by withholding water, even letting them wilt. Do this only on established plants, not to plants just getting started. To revive them from the wilt stage, water like normal, do not over-water at this time or you may harm the plant.

  5. My Jalapenos are turning red. Why?

    While most Jalapenos are consumed in the green stage, they will turn red at maturity. As the season progresses, chiles will begin to mature more quickly, possibly quicker than you can eat them! If they are left on the plant, they will continue to ripen to their mature color.

  6. I pickled my peppers and they turned out mushy. Why?

    Use young, immature fruit for pickling, or those varieties with a thick flesh wall to ensure a crisp pod. If older and mature fruit is used, the pickled peppers will turn mushy after being processed.

  7. Will a chile plant survive and produce fruit if it is planted in a pot and kept inside year round?

    While you can keep a chile pepper plant in a pot, and it will survive year round, it will not continue to produce all winter long unless you provide some supplemental lighting. Bringing plants indoors is a great way to extend your harvest, but without extra hours of lighting it will not continue to produce new buds, flowers and fruits, it will only mature those pods already on the plant. Many people have great success keeping chile plants indoors, by using plant lights (grow lights) that are kept on 16 hours per day.

    See our article here for over-wintering your pepper plants.

  8. Back to How To Next: Starting Seeds