James H. Schutte
CAPSICUM annuum 'Explosive Blast'( Conoides Group)
Plant Common Name
Explosive Blast Ornamental Pepper, Ornamental Pepper
The colorful fruits of the cone pepper ‘Explosive Blast’ are grown for their ornamental value. The plants are compact and produce moderately-sized peppers that are erect, conical and appear singly, not in clusters. The fruits turn from cream to yellow, orange and finally red when mature. Ornamental peppers are generally edible but they are not often evaluated for hotness or flavor. Care must be taken with plants grown at nurseries for ornamental purposes; they may have been treated with pesticides or other chemicals not suitable for edible plants. Plants take 125 - 145 days to produce fruit after planting from seed.
Native to tropical America, peppers are warm season annuals that have been grown and selected by Native Americans since pre-history times. Cone pepper ‘Explosive Blast’ plants are bushy well-branched with rigid, brittle stems and thin light green leaves. Their flowers are inconspicuous, five-petaled, white and give way to cone-shaped peppers. On the interior they are divided by spongy ribbing which supports many small, flattened, rounded seeds.
Cone pepper fruits are often hot and those of ‘Explosive Blast’ are reportedly hot, young fruits are sharper and mature are sweeter in taste. Their heat is produced by a chemical called capsaicin measured in Scoville units against the Scoville scale. The purer the capsaicin, the hotter the pepper and the higher the Scoville rating. Most of the heat comes from the pithy ribs, inner lining and seeds of the pepper, so keep this in mind when cooking with them.
Peppers are warm season vegetables that are easy to grow, if you can provide them with the correct conditions. Full sun, warmth, regular feeding and fertile, perfectly drained soil are required for good growth and fruit production. Some vascular wilts, tobacco mosaic virus and fungal problems can befall them, but overall they are not needy. Proper spacing will keep diseases at bay and help with fruit production, so plant according to the grower’s guidelines.
These peppers are ornamental too; enjoy them as bedding or container plants as well as vegetable garden standards.
For more information about the Scoville Scale see http://www.chilliworld.com/FactFile/Scoville_Scale.asp