When it comes to plants that are “growing” in popularity, ornamental peppers have become the hottest thing going. They provide massive color, texture and variety everywhere and anywhere - in flowerbeds, potted planters, hanging baskets, containers, and yes, in the vegetable garden too! They can handle heat and drought and are hardly bothered by pests at all. And if all of that wasn’t enough, many varieties are edible as well, although most not particularly tasteful (the fruit is either lacking in taste or too hot). Here are a few dazzling ornamental peppers for the garden:
Purple Flash Ornamental Pepper – this unique, exotic-looking plant features nearly black foliage splashed with bright purple and sometimes white. Subtle purple, star-shaped flowers appear in late spring until mid-summer followed by an abundance of deep purple berries with black overtones in mid-summer to early fall. Purple Flash’s compact habit, striking coloring and interesting texture enhance gardens and mixed containers through even the toughest conditions, including heat. The fruit, although edible, is extremely hot and not recommended for eating. Like all peppers, Purple Flash needs plenty of sun and warm temperatures for optimal growth.
Black Pearl Ornamental Pepper – this exquisite pepper plant has rich, deep purple leaves accented by clusters of shiny black fruit that mellow to deep red. In midseason, Black Pearl begins to display lilac-hued blossoms, which are followed by the fruit. Foliage appears greenish when young and matures to glossy black with high light and heat. Its vigorous and bushy growth habit make it an ideal choice for containers or planted in the landscape. Like Purple Flash, the fruit is edible but is extremely hot. This pepper loves the sun and warm temperatures.