Magazine article Sunset

Ornamental Peppers Display Their Colorful Fruit through the Winter

Magazine article Sunset

Ornamental Peppers Display Their Colorful Fruit through the Winter

Article excerpt

Ornamental peppers display their colorful fruit through the winter

The showoffs of the pepper clan (Capsicum), ornamental peppers are bred for color--not flavor. In vivid succession, their fruits turn from green to yellow to various hues of red; plants often display all three colors at the same time. Fruit shapes range from cones to round. In pots, they make unusual decorations or gifts.

This month, look for potted plants at nurseries and florists. Ornamental peppers in 4-inch pots cost about $1.50, in 6-inch pots $4 to $10, and in 1-gallon cans about $4. Here's a sampling of the varieties. (Fruits of ornamental peppers are edible, but some have a fiery bite.)

"Candlelight' (shown in the larger photograph above) bears abundant 1- to 1 1/2-inch fruits that turn from green to crimson red. Plants reach 10 to 12 inches.

"Holiday Cheer' has round fruits that turn from yellow brushed with purple to red on 8-inch plants. (Don't confuse them with the toxic fruits of Jerusalem cherry--Solanum pseudocapsicum--another holiday plant.)

"Holiday Flame' is a compact plant (to 6 inches). Slender 2 1/2- to 3-inch-long fruits turn from brilliant yellow to scarlet red, contrasting with dark green leaves. …

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