Peppers are native to South and Central America, and they come in an astounding range of flavors and levels of heat. Peppers get their heat from the chemical compound capsaicin. They can be a challenge to germinate, but once established will flourish in most gardens with a little fussing. Start seeds indoors 8 to 10 weeks before the last frost date. Peppers require heat, so a heat mat can be very helpful. Ideal germination temperature is 78-85 F. Seeds germinate in 7-21 days. Sow seeds 1/4 inch deep. It’s important to harden off pepper starts by acclimating them to outdoor temperatures before planting as they are very cold sensitive. Plants should be set about 18-24 inches apart, in full sun, after all chance of frost has passed and the soil has reliably warmed. Provide regular watering.
90 days. Capsicum baccatum. A Chilean aji pepper with a bodacious blend of citrusy flavor and heat. This slender, 4-inch pepper transforms from green to yellow and finally a pale red, and the heat intensifies as the fruit reaches maturity. This crispy fleshed pepper clocks in at about 30,000 Scoville Heat Units, which is six times hotter than a jalapeño. If you prefer your peppers on the milder side, harvest them when green. Our friend Ligia Parisi, who grows Aji Crystal at her farm in Chile, describes using them to create a delicious salsa called Pebre, which is similar to Pico de Gallo. This is an all-around versatile pepper that can be used fresh, for pickling, hot sauce, salsas, soups and dried and kept longer for seasoning.
85 days. Capsicum baccatum. Not a true habanero, but a sweet, baccatum, aji type pepper. The name is a nod to this pepper’s distinctive habanero-like flavor, which is fruity and smoky, but this pepper has just a tiny fraction of the heat of a true habanero. These beautiful tapered 3-inch long peppers are ideal for drying into hot pepper flakes and powder, as well as for fresh cooking.
80 days. A tiny yellow Brazilian pepper, tangy and sweet with a nice kick of heat. One plant will produce an average of 100 little peppers and will grow around 24 inches tall. It can be eaten fresh as snacks, cooked in soups, and is really amazing pickled in vinegar. You will love this unique looking little pepper!
90 days. Capsicum chinense. A beautiful take on the classic Trinidad Scorpion pepper. This stunning cocoa-colored chili pepper may be about 100 times hotter than the jalapeno. We recommend wearing gloves when harvesting and to be cautious eating it raw. The short, stubby, 2 inch long, wrinkled, chocolatey-brown-red peppers are borne on productive plants. The peppers have a more mellow, less acidic flavor with smoky undertones and hints of a nice earthy sweetness -- perfect for hot, hot sauces!
A beautiful and delicious pepper from eastern North Macedonia. This Jalapeno-level hot pepper was brought to us by Steve Neumann, who also introduced the phenomenal and uniquely etched Rheza pepper and the Ajvarksi pepper. Steve collected the seeds for this variety while visiting the village of Kalugeritsa. This super rare pepper is not known outside of the region, and he was unable to find a variety name; therefore the pepper bears the name of the little town in which it is grown. We love this pretty little pointed pepper. The flavor is full bodied and is one of the best peppers for roasting!
(C. baccatum) 100 days. Seasoning pepper from Peru ripens to a clear lemon yellow, sometimes with a dark purple blush. The flavor is a very clean, uncomplicated, slightly citrusy heat. 2-foot plants are covered with the thin-walled, conical fruit which reaches 2-3 inches in length, with very few seeds.
A pretty, peachy colored riff on the world’s hottest pepper! Whether you’re a capsicum collector, an ornamental appreciator or just a pepper freak chasing the next Scoville high score, this pod is for you! The gorgeous, screaming hot, peachy pods may clock in at 1.5 million Scoville units. They owe their fire to their parental genetics, the Carolina Reaper, which is considered the world’s hottest pepper! A super long season pepper that demands hot weather, it must be started indoors early and kept in hot growing conditions! Plants reach 3-4 feet tall.
A habanero with more backbone! The Red Savina was bred to be larger, hotter, and heavier than a traditional habanero. This beautiful crimson pepper ranks about 250K Scoville Heat Units. This pepper adds that lovely habanero flavor to sauces, salsas, soups and more! Bred by Frank Garcia of GNS Spices in Walnut, California.
80 days. The name means “engraved.” Another local name, Vezeni Piperki, means “embroidered.” Both names refer to the curious lines on the skins of the tapering, long, thin peppers. The fruit, which ranges from mild to sometimes very pungent, is to be seen hanging in great clusters, drying in North Macedonian warm late autumn sun. This is an old traditional variety grown almost exclusively in in small villages and not on a large scale. Our foundation seed was donated by school children from the villages of Kalugeritsa and Zleovo.
(Capsicum chinense) A traditional ingredient in jerk seasoning in the Caribbean. These gorgeous scarlet peppers reach 2-3 inches long and pack just the right amount of spice for medium to spicy preparations. It delivers the fruity overtones of a habanero, but with just 500 Scoville Heat Units, it is much milder than a traditional habanero.