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CAPSICUM annuum 'Serrano'

Image of Capsicum annuum 'Serrano' (Longum Group)

Jessie Keith

Family

Solanaceae

Botanical Name

CAPSICUM annuum 'Serrano'( Longum Group)

Plant Common Name

Hot Chili Pepper, Serrano Pepper

General Description

Renowned for its high pungency, this chili pepper from uplands of Mexico adds heat to salsas, stews, and other Mexican dishes. Like many hot peppers, it is a member of the Longum group, which encompasses poblanos, jalapenos, cayenne peppers and various other chilis. These annual vegetables descend from varieties that were grown and selected by Native Americans for thousands of years.

The bushy, knee- to waist-high plants bear thin, oval, dark green leaves on stiff brittle stems. Inconspicuous white flowers appear in warm weather, followed by pendent, narrowly conical to cylindrical, 3-inch (8-cm) fruits with thick, pungently flavored, dark green flesh that ripens to red. The hollow, chambered interior is divided by spongy ribbing that holds 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 and pungency.

Full sun, warmth, ample spacing, and fertile well-drained soil are required for this pepper variety to grow and produce well. Harvest of green 'Serrano' peppers begins about 80 days after seedlings are planted, with fruits ripening to red about 15 days later. The fruits are do not dry well and are best used fresh. Harvest continues until hard frost, or into winter in frost-free conditions. Vascular wilts and fungal diseases can be a problem in subpar conditions.

Pinch off early flower buds to encourage stronger branching and roots. Heavily fruiting plants may break apart under the weight if not staked for support. Harvest ripe fruit daily to encourage new blossoms to form. Wear gloves and safety glasses when slicing hot peppers.

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. The Scoville rating of 'Serrano' is 6000 to 23,000 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

    2'-3' / 0.6m - 0.9m

  • Width

    18"-30" / 45.7cm - 76.2cm

  • Bloom Time

    Indeterminate

  • Native To

    Mexico, Central America, South America

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    White, Light Yellow, Ivory

  • Fruit Color

    Red, Green, Dark Green

  • 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

    Container, Edible, Herb / Vegetable, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No