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Ornamental Peppers
Ornamental Peppers put their own unique spin on designs for fall

Add some Ornamental Peppers to your September mix—they look good right now and as the weather cools down they’ll last until the frosts of late October. We mix versatile Peppers right in with flowering plants and greenery in window boxes and combinations. They are very showy in the garden, make head-turning designer centerpieces, and have a long shelf life at retail.

We find that these curious little fruits put a unique spin on a design, and they even dry well for October décor projects. When considering which Pepper to use we rely on three main criteria: fruit shape (missile vs. berry), fruit color (solid vs. mixed), and leaf type (green, black, or variegated). Here are some varieties that are looking good to go:

PEP Sangria 0002
‘Sangria’ looks like strings of small holiday lights in fiesta colors

‘Sangria’ is one of our favorite Ornamental Peppers—it looks like a string of small holiday lights in fiesta colors: bright orange, red, crimson, scarlet, magenta, lilac, and purple. Narrow, tapered fruits stay upright and there are lots of them, throughout both the interior and exterior of the mounded green foliage. Despite its fiery appearance, ‘Sangria’ is mild in taste so it can be added to salsa or dips for holiday parties. [4.5, 6, and 8-inch]

 PEP Black Pearl 0001
‘Black Pearl’—dark black leaves with glossy black peppers that turn brilliant red 

‘Black Pearl’ is a mid-sized ornamental that can develop nearly coal black leaves if set in a blazing sun bed. We find that the black is a stunning contrast to lime or yellow foliage plants, like any of the Pineapple Coleus varieties. Tight clusters of pearl-like fruits turn from glossy black to brilliant, bloody red—glowing against the blackness as a reminder that they’re fiery hot. [4.5, 6, and 8-inch]

 PEP Chilly Chili 0001
Mild, multicolored ‘Chilly Chili’ is our most popular Ornamental Pepper

‘Chilly Chili’ is our best seller, with multicolored peppers that are extremely mild in flavor, much closer to a bell than a jalapeño. This makes it versatile for use in both indoor and outdoor displays with no fear of curious samplers getting a mouthful of fire. Clusters of fruit morph from pale green-yellow to bright yellow, to orange, and then to dark red—at any given moment all these shades can be present on the plant. Missile-shaped peppers are 2–3 inches long and stand straight up, pointing at the heavens as if they’re about to blast off into space. [4.5, 6, and 8-inch]

 PEP Purple Flash 0001
‘Purple Flash’ has splashy foliage—these peppers turn bright red, too

‘Purple Flash’ sounds like a superhero but this is an Ornamental that puts the focus on the foliage. Smoky purple-black leaves have dramatic splashes of bright purple, green, and white. Branches naturally take the shape of an exotic pyramid reaching up to 15 inches tall, and are decorated with shiny round fruits the size of marbles. Like ‘Black Pearl’ these impish peppers ripen from glossy black to blazing red to remind us that they’re scorching hot—a feast for the eyes and for the hardy heat-lover’s palate. [4.5, 6, and 8-inch]

 PEP Sedona Sun 0002
Little flame-like peppers of ‘Sedona Sun’ set the landscape aglow

‘Sedona Sun’ puts on a monochromatic show in the landscape—all in one plant. Clusters of small pointy peppers glow in vibrant shades of yellow to orange, like candle flames on a centenarian’s birthday cake. Plants grow uniformly in a mounding, spreading habit to add a mass of color and beautiful dark green foliage to borders, beds, or containers for patios and decks. These little fruits are hot. [6 and 8-inch]

 PEP Midnight Fire 0001
‘Midnight Fire’—a black/red combo with narrow peppers rather than round

‘Midnight Fire’ has distinctive dark black foliage like ‘Black Pearl’. It also has purple fruits that mature to bright red, only these fruits are narrow and pointy like those we find on ‘Chilly Chili’ or ‘Sangria’. Of course, the black/red combination is eye-catching and plants are well branched for stunning combinations and large-sized containers. [6-inch]

 PEP Calico 0002
Tricolor variegation of ‘Calico’ is eye-catching—and these fruits are hot!

‘Calico’ is eye-catching with tricolor variegated foliage—deep purple and green leaves are highlighted by splashes of creamy white. Cone-shaped peppers emerge glossy black, turning bright red as they mature. They resemble old-time, pre-LED holiday light bulbs decorating the festive foliage. This low-growing pepper draws attention so use it for a splash of color in a spot where guests congregate—and remember that the fruits are very hot! [6-inch]