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CAPSICUM annuum (Grossum Group)

Image of Capsicum annuum (Grossum Group)

Felder Rushing

Family

Solanaceae

Botanical Name

CAPSICUM annuum( Grossum Group)

Plant Common Name

Bell Pepper, Sweet Pepper

General Description

The big, blocky, sweet fruits of bell peppers are a garden and culinary favorite.

Native to tropical America, these annuals had been grown and selected by Native Americans since pre-history times. In fact, their specific region of origin is still unknown due to distribution by man. 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, Italy and Greece where they grow well.

Peppers are bushy plants with rigid, brittle stems and thin, often broad, dark green leaves. Their flowers are inconspicuous, five-petaled and white. Peppers have firm, fleshy, hollow fruits that may be harvested green or allowed to mature to red, orange, yellow, purple-brown, or near ivory, depending on the selection. On the interior they are lined with spongy ribbing which supports many small, flattened, rounded seeds. Bell peppers are all members of the Grossum groups, due to their large size and distinctive shape.

Green fruits have a sharper taste and mature are sweeter, but the heat of a pepper is what most are interested in. Many peppers are spicy hot. Their heat is produced by a chemical called capsaicin measured in units called Scoville units against the Scoville scale (http://www.chilliworld.com/FactFile/Scoville_Scale.asp). The purer the capsaicin, the hotter the pepper and the higher the Scoville rating. Pepper seeds carry more heat than the flesh of the fruit. Still, bell peppers have the lowest heat of all and are almost never spicy.

Bell peppers are warm season vegetables that are easy to grow, if you can provide them with the correct conditions. Full sun, warmth, fertile, perfectly drained soil and regular feeding are required for good growth and fruit production. Peppers generally take 60 to 90 days to harvest. Some vascular wilts 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.

Peppers can be ornamental as well as tasty, so enjoy them as bedding or container plants as well as vegetable garden standbys.

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

    Indeterminate

  • Native To

    Mexico, Central America, South America

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    White

  • Fruit Color

    Yellow, Red, Green, Purple, Orange, Chocolate, Ivory

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Dark Green, Black

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Dark Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    Yes

  • 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

    Yes