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CAPSICUM annuum (Cerasiforme Group)

Image of Capsicum annuum (Cerasiforme Group)

Gerald L. Klingaman

Family

Solanaceae

Botanical Name

CAPSICUM annuum( Cerasiforme Group)

Plant Common Name

Cherry Pepper

General Description

Small, round, colorful, and spicy, cherry peppers add fire to foods and color to gardens worldwide. The Cerasiforme group includes many popular peppers such as ‘Marbles,’ ‘Cherry Bomb’ and ‘Purple Flash.’

These annuals or short-lived perennials come from tropical America, where they have been grown and selected for millenia. Peppers became available to Europeans when the New and Old worlds connected. Since then, many unique selections have been developed in Europe—particularly in warm Mediterranean countries like Spain, France and Italy where they grow well.

Cherry peppers plants are bushy and well-branched with rigid, brittle stems and thin, oval to lance-shaped, dark green leaves. Inconspicuous white flowers appear in warm weather, followed by globular fruits with meaty green flesh that ripens to red, orange, yellow, black, or purple. The flesh is typically hot but some varieties are sweet and mild. The hollow, chambered interior is divided by spongy ribbing which supports many small, flattened, rounded seeds, which are hotter than the fruit's flesh. Fruits may be harvested green or allowed to mature to full color. Plants sold as ornamentals may have been treated with pesticides or other chemicals that render their fruits unsuitable for culinary use.

These warm season vegetables grow easily in favorable conditions. Full sun, warmth, proper spacing, and fertile well-drained soil are required for good growth and fruit production. Peppers ripen 60 to 90 days after planting. Potted plants will often survive the winter in a warm sunny place indoors. Vascular wilts and fungal diseases can be a problem in subpar conditions.

Cherry peppers are excellent fresh, cooked, or pickled. They're ornamental too, serving beautifully as bedding or container plants.

Hot peppers get their heat from the compound capsaicin – the higher its concentration, the hotter the pepper. Capsaicin concentration is measured and expressed in Scoville units. For more information about the Scoville Scale see http://www.chilliworld.com/FactFile/Scoville_Scale.asp

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 1

  • Sunset Zone

    A1, A2, A3, H1, H2, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Vegetable

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    6"-60" / 15.2cm - 152.4cm

  • Width

    8"-36" / 20.3cm - 91.4cm

  • Bloom Time

    Spring, Summer, Indeterminate

  • Native To

    Mexico, Central America, South America

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    White

  • Fruit Color

    White, Yellow, Red, Green, Purple, Orange, Ivory, Black

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Black

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    Yes

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Bedding Plant, Container, Edible, Herb / Vegetable, Mixed Border, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No