Can You Eat Ornamental Peppers?

by Charlie
Can You Eat Ornamental Peppers

Ornamental peppers come in diverse colors, making them look yummy before you even taste them. If you want to make your garden aesthetically appealing, these peppers will do an exceptional job in that. Whether you want a popping orange, purple, or red color in your garden, they will suit your desired look.

Can you eat ornamental peppers? Yes, you can eat ornamental peppers. Whether ornamental peppers are edible or not does depend on your taste. Some are blistering hot, making them unsuitable for eating, while others are bland. If you can bear that scorching flavor, you can feast on them. Otherwise, they will not harm you.

Are Ornamental Peppers Poisonous?

While ornamental peppers are closely related to other vegetable peppers, they are grown for decorative purposes rather than nutrition. If you decide to eat them, you will have to bear their bland or scorching tastes. 

Are ornamental peppers poisonous? No, ornamental peppers are not toxic. However, some of them have extreme scorching flavors, and it is not advisable to eat them.

Whether you choose to plant them for nutrition or aesthetic reasons, you have to place them under direct sunlight for a minimum of 3 to 4 hours daily. Maintain the soil’s even moisture but do not allow it to be soggy. They can also bear room temperatures. However, they thrive when night temperatures decrease to 55 or 60 degrees.

If you opt for the non-pungent varieties like the Medusa for eating, when spring comes, hard prune it. Place the container outside for the pepper to grow again. You might have to re-pot it if it grows large such that the container cannot hold it anymore. 

Typically, ornamental peppers do very well in a sunny and well-drained location. So, if you live in a sunny place, you can try out planting different ornamental pepper varieties.

What are the Types of Ornamental Peppers?

Tangerine Dream

This orange-red ornamental pepper is as tasty as it looks. It has a sweet flavor with hints of heat, so it’s not badly off. It is also bushy and compact so, you can grow it in containers. Seems like a good choice because it serves a function and aesthetic purpose. 

Black Pearl

This ornamental pepper has glossy foliage and shiny fruits. You can use it in mixed beds for its pretty fruits to stand out. When young, this pepper is black, however, it ages to dark red. You can grow it alongside blue, silver, or yellow plants for more pronounced beauty.

Chilly Chili

Chilly Chili is not pungent, and therefore you can grow it in public gardens or near children. The fruits are green when starting. They then turn yellow and slowly change to orange or dark red when fully mature. They grow 9 to 10 inches tall.

Purple Flash

This type of ornamental pepper is extremely hot and therefore not recommended for eating. Its fruits are small, round, and black. It has foliage that is almost black with purple tipoffs, which add more glamour to your garden.

Medusa

Medusa produces an upright sweet fruit that is long-lasting. It does not have a burning taste making it suitable to grow near children. It grows 6 to 8 inches so it easy to grow in containers.

How to Use Ornamental Peppers

Method #1: Aesthetic Reasons

Whether you want your garden to have some popping or dark colors, the Capsicum annum will help you big time. These peppers come in different sizes, plant habits, foliage colorations, and fruit colors, for example, orange-red, yellow, green, and dark red. You can select the one you prefer and place it besides other plants in your garden.

Method #2: Spicing Meals

After learning that some are hot while others are bland, you are perhaps wondering how they can add taste to your food. Some people find it good to add specific ornamental peppers to pasta sauce, hot sauces, and salsas. You can also eat these peppers with salads, curries, omelets, rice, or beans. You can cook them like any other spice (garlic)

Method #3: Nutritional Purposes

Some people use ornamental peppers for nutritional purposes because they believe it has vital elements like any other pepper. However, there is no medical record or recommendation which makes this credible. Unless you are eating it as a herb or spice, there is no evidence to rubber-stamp its dietary benefits.

How Do You Plant Ornamental Pepper?

  1. Begin growing ornamental peppers in containers indoors. To accomplish this, use small individual pots with potting soil.
  2. Bury pepper seeds 6mm to 1cm deep. Give them one or two weeks for germination. 
  3. Allow another 6 to 8 weeks for the pepper seedlings to reach transplanting size.

If you are using the medium to start your pepper, use half-strength fertilizer to begin feeding the seedlings after every two weeks. A medium is a good option for seeding because it manages water well, preventing fungal diseases like damping off. However, it does not have the nutrients that the plants need for growth. 

Your potting soil should have enough nutrients that will sustain your plant for safe transplanting. You do not want to have breaking stems. When transplanting the seedlings, pick a sunny location for them. Ensure that the space has organically rich and well-drained soil. It will help to support and adequately supply the seedling with nutrients for strong and healthy growth.

Space the plants as per the plant tag or seed packet directions. Usually, ornamental peppers require 30 cm and above or around 12 inches. If you choose to plant them in containers, use 15 to 20 cm or 6 to 8 inches. Fill your pots with quality general purpose soil.

Final Thoughts

  • You can or cannot eat ornamental peppers, depending on the taste. Some varieties have a burning taste, while others have a bland flavor.
  • You can find numerous types of ornamental peppers in the market. For example, Medusa, Chilly Chili, purple flash, and black pearl. 
  • Ornamental peppers are not poisonous. Therefore, you will not have any health problems when you eat them.
  • You can use ornamental peppers for different purposes like aesthetics due to their appealing color shades.
  • To plant ornamental peppers, you need seed starting medium or pots with well-drained soil that has essential nutrients for the plant’s growth.

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