How To Grow Ornamental Pepper Plants: A Guide

How To Grow Ornamental Pepper Plants
16 min reading time

Ornamental pepper plants are a colorful and unique addition to any garden or indoor space. With their vibrant hues of red, orange, yellow, and even purple, these plants are perfect for adding a pop of color and interest to your decor. But growing ornamental pepper plants can be challenging, especially if you’re new to gardening. In this article, we’ll provide you with tips and tricks on how to grow ornamental pepper plants successfully.

Key Takeaways:

  • Ornamental pepper plants are a colorful addition to any garden or indoor space.
  • Growing these plants requires attention to detail, including proper soil preparation and watering techniques.
  • With the right care, ornamental pepper plants can thrive and bring beauty to your home or garden.

Understanding Ornamental Pepper Plants

Ornamental pepper plants, also known as Capsicum annuum, are stunning additions to any garden or indoor space. They are easy to grow and care for, and provide a spectacular display of colorful fruit throughout the season. Ornamental pepper plants are available in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, making them a versatile choice for any landscaping or gardening project.

These plants are native to Central and South America, where they have been cultivated for centuries for their medicinal and culinary properties. Today, ornamental pepper plants are appreciated for their ornamental value, especially for their bright and colorful fruit that ranges from yellow, orange, red, purple, and black.

Understanding the Different Types of Ornamental Pepper Plants

There are several types of ornamental pepper plants that you can choose from, depending on your preference and gardening needs. Here are some of the most popular types:

Compact PlantsThese plants are ideal for small spaces or container gardening, as they grow up to 12 inches tall and produce small fruit that are usually less than an inch long.
Tall PlantsThese plants can grow up to 36 inches tall and produce fruit that are usually larger than the compact plants. They are ideal for large landscaping projects or patio gardening.
Chili PeppersThese plants produce small, fiery fruit that range from medium to hot. They are perfect for adding some spice to your culinary dishes or for adding some color to your garden.
Ornamental PeppersThese plants produce fruit that are not edible but are highly decorative. They come in a variety of colors and shapes, ranging from small round fruit to long, thin fruit that resemble Christmas lights.

Understanding the different types of ornamental pepper plants can help you choose the right variety for your garden or indoor space. Whether you prefer hot and spicy or mild and colorful fruit, there is an ornamental pepper plant for everyone.

How To Grow Ornamental Pepper Plants: Selecting the Right Location

Choosing the right location for growing ornamental pepper plants is crucial for their success. These beautiful plants thrive in warm temperatures and require at least 6 hours of sunlight per day to produce vibrant, colorful fruits.

When selecting a location, it’s essential to consider the soil conditions as well. Ornamental pepper plants prefer well-draining soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0.

Sunlight:At least 6 hours per day
Soil:Well-draining with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0

It’s also important to choose a location that provides some protection from strong winds, which can damage the plants and weaken their stems. If your area experiences heavy rainfall, consider planting ornamental pepper plants in raised beds or containers to ensure proper drainage and prevent root rot.

By taking these growing tips for ornamental pepper plants into consideration, you can ensure that your plants will have the best chance of thriving and producing beautiful, colorful peppers all season long.

Selecting the Right Location

Choosing the right location for growing ornamental pepper plants is critical for their overall health and development. The plants need plenty of sunlight to thrive, so it’s essential to choose a spot where they can receive at least six hours of direct sunlight per day.

It’s also important to consider the temperature and soil conditions in the growing area. Ornamental pepper plants prefer warm temperatures and well-draining soil. If the soil is heavy and clay-like, amend it with organic matter like compost or peat moss to improve its drainage and aeration.

Finally, be mindful of any potential environmental factors that could affect the plants, such as strong winds or nearby trees that could shade them from the sun.

Planting Ornamental Pepper Plants

Now that you’ve selected the right location and prepared the soil, it’s time to plant your ornamental pepper plants. Follow these tips for a successful planting:

  • Choose the right time: Plant your ornamental peppers after the last frost date in your area, when the soil has warmed up and temperatures are consistently above 60°F.
  • Spacing: Space your plants 12-18 inches apart to allow for proper air circulation and growth.
  • Depth: Dig a hole that is slightly deeper than the root ball of the plant. Place the plant in the hole and backfill with soil, pressing down gently to remove any air pockets.
  • Watering: Give the plants a thorough watering after planting to help settle the soil around the roots. Continue to water regularly, keeping the soil moist but not waterlogged.
  • Mulching: Apply a layer of organic mulch around the base of the plants to help retain moisture and suppress weeds.
  • Staking: Depending on the variety, ornamental pepper plants can grow tall and leggy. If necessary, support the plants with stakes to keep them upright.

Pro Tip:

If you’re planting in containers, choose a pot that is at least 12 inches wide and deep to accommodate the roots and allow for growth.

Watering and Fertilizing

How To Grow Ornamental Pepper Plants

Giving your ornamental pepper plants the right amount of water and nutrients is crucial to their growth and overall health. Here are some tips to help you keep your plants properly hydrated and fed:


Ornamental pepper plants prefer evenly moist soil, but avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot. It’s best to water deeply but infrequently, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. A good rule of thumb is to water when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch.

If you’re growing your peppers in containers, make sure they have proper drainage, and always water from the bottom to encourage deep root growth.


Ornamental peppers benefit from regular applications of fertilizer throughout the growing season, typically every 2-3 weeks. Choose a balanced fertilizer with equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, or a fertilizer specially formulated for peppers.

Be careful not to over-fertilize, as this can lead to excessive foliage growth at the expense of fruit production. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application rates and timing.

In addition to fertilizer, you can also amend the soil with organic matter, such as compost or aged manure, to provide additional nutrients and improve soil structure.

By following these watering and fertilizing tips, you can help your ornamental pepper plants thrive and produce an abundance of colorful, flavorful peppers.

Pruning and Training

Pruning and training are essential for maintaining the shape and appearance of your ornamental pepper plant. Regular pruning also encourages bushier growth and better fruit production. Here are some care tips for ornamental pepper plant pruning and training:

Remove Dead or Yellowing Leaves

Dead or yellowing leaves can be a sign of disease or pest infestation, so it’s important to remove them as soon as possible. Use sharp, clean scissors or pruning shears to cut the leaves at the base of the stem and dispose of them in the trash.

Pinch Back the Tips

To encourage bushier growth, pinch back the tips of your ornamental pepper plant. Pinch off the top inch of the stem at a 45-degree angle, just above a set of leaves. This will stimulate the plant to produce more lateral branches and create a fuller, more compact plant.

Train Plants to Grow Upright

Ornamental pepper plants can become top-heavy and bend or break under the weight of their fruit. To prevent this, use stakes or trellises to train your plant to grow upright. Tie the stem of the plant to the stake or trellis using soft, flexible ties to avoid damaging the stem.

Control Plant Height

If your ornamental pepper plant starts to become too tall, you can control its height by pruning back the tallest stems. Cut back the tallest stems to just above a set of leaves. This will encourage lateral growth and help keep your plant at a manageable height.

By following these pruning and training tips, you can maintain a healthy and beautiful ornamental pepper plant that will provide you with plenty of colorful and spicy peppers.

Care Tips for Ornamental Pepper Plants: Pest and Disease Management

Ornamental pepper plants are generally low-maintenance, but like all plants, they are vulnerable to pests and diseases. Here are some tips for managing common issues:

Pest Management

Ornamental pepper plants may attract a variety of pests, including:

AphidsTiny, pear-shaped insects that can cause leaf distortion and sap depletion.Use insecticidal soap, neem oil, or ladybugs to control infestation.
Spider mitesSmall, red or black arachnids that can cause discoloration and webbing on leaves.Use a forceful spray of water, insecticidal soap, neem oil, or predatory mites to control infestation.
WhitefliesTiny, white insects that can cause leaf yellowing and stunted growth.Use sticky traps, insecticidal soap, neem oil, or predatory insects to control infestation.

It’s important to monitor your plants regularly for signs of pest infestations and take action promptly to avoid widespread damage.

Disease Management

Ornamental pepper plants may also be susceptible to various diseases, including:

Bacterial spotSmall, water-soaked spots on leaves, stems, and fruit that can lead to decay.Remove affected plant parts and use copper-based fungicides to control spread.
Mosaic virusYellow mottling and distortion of leaves, stunted growth, and reduced yield.There is no cure for mosaic virus, so remove infected plants to prevent further spread.
Fusarium wiltBrowning and wilting of leaves, discoloration of stems and roots, and eventual plant death.Remove infected plants and avoid planting peppers in the same spot for several years to prevent re-infection.

Proper watering and fertilization practices can help prevent stress and susceptibility to disease. It’s also important to maintain good air circulation around your plants to prevent the buildup of moisture and reduce the risk of fungal infections.

By following these tips for pest and disease management, you can ensure your ornamental pepper plants remain healthy and vibrant throughout the growing season.

Harvesting Ornamental Peppers

Knowing when and how to harvest ornamental peppers can ensure that you get the most vibrant and flavorful peppers possible. Here are some essential ornamental pepper plant care instructions for harvesting:

When to Harvest Ornamental Peppers

The best time to harvest ornamental peppers is when they have fully ripened. Depending on the variety, this could take anywhere from 60 to 90 days from the time of planting. You can check the ripeness of the peppers by looking at their color and firmness. Mature peppers will have bright, bold colors, and a slight give when lightly squeezed.

How to Harvest Ornamental Peppers

When harvesting ornamental peppers, be sure to wear gloves to avoid any skin irritation from the pepper oils. Use a sharp pair of scissors or pruning shears to cut the peppers from the plant, leaving about 1/4 inch of stem attached to the fruit. Avoid pulling the peppers off the plant, as this can damage the plant and reduce future yields.

Storing and Preserving Ornamental Peppers

Ornamental peppers can be stored fresh in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. For longer-term preservation, you can also dry the peppers or pickle them. Drying ornamental peppers is simple—just thread a needle through the stem of each pepper and hang them in a warm, dry location until they are completely dried out. Pickling ornamental peppers involves boiling the peppers in a mixture of vinegar, water, and salt, and then storing them in sterilized jars in the fridge.

Ornamental Pepper Plant Care Guide for Winters

How To Grow Ornamental Pepper Plants

Ornamental pepper plants are heat-loving plants that are typically grown as annuals. As the temperature drops in winter, it’s essential to take necessary steps to protect your plants from cold temperatures and frost.

The first step to winter care is to move your plants indoors if possible. You can either bring them inside or relocate them to a greenhouse or other sheltered area. Ideally, you should do this before the first frost arrives.

If you can’t move your plants indoors, you can cover them with blankets, burlap, or frost cloth. Make sure the covering extends to the ground and is secured in place to prevent heat from escaping. You can use stakes or rocks to hold the cover down.

Another option for protecting your plants is to use a layer of mulch around the base of the plant. This will help to insulate the roots and keep them warm.

During the winter, you should also reduce the amount of water you give to your plants. Be careful not to let the soil dry out completely, but avoid overwatering as well. Water only when the top inch of soil is dry to the touch.

Finally, you should take the time to inspect your plants regularly during the winter months. Look for any signs of pests or disease, and address any issues immediately before they become more significant problems.

By following these winter care tips, you can ensure that your ornamental pepper plants survive the colder months and come back healthy and strong in the spring.

Best Practices for Growing Ornamental Pepper Plants

Ornamental pepper plants make for stunning additions to any garden or indoor space, but proper care is crucial for ensuring their health and vitality. Here are some best practices to keep in mind when growing ornamental pepper plants:

1. Start with a clean slate

Before planting your ornamental pepper plants, make sure to remove any weeds or debris from the soil and surrounding area. This will not only help prevent pests and diseases, but it also allows the young plants to establish roots more easily.

2. Choose the right location

Ornamental pepper plants prefer full sun and warm temperatures, so it’s important to choose a location that meets those requirements. Make sure the area also has well-draining soil and adequate air circulation to prevent moisture buildup.

3. Keep the soil moist

Ornamental pepper plants require consistent moisture throughout the growing season, but be careful not to overwater as this can lead to root rot. Check the soil moisture regularly and water only when the top inch of soil feels dry.

4. Feed with a balanced fertilizer

Add a balanced fertilizer to the soil once a month during the growing season to provide your ornamental pepper plants with the necessary nutrients for healthy growth. Avoid fertilizers high in nitrogen as this can lead to excessive foliage growth instead of fruit production.

5. Prune regularly

Regular pruning is essential for maintaining the shape and bushiness of ornamental pepper plants. Pinch back the tips of new growth to encourage branching and remove any yellow or dead leaves to prevent disease spread.

6. Monitor for pests and diseases

Keep a close eye on your ornamental pepper plants for signs of pests or diseases such as aphids, spider mites, or fungal infections. Early detection and treatment are key to preventing costly damage or plant loss.

7. Harvest regularly

Harvest ornamental peppers as soon as they reach their mature color to encourage new fruit production. Use a pair of sharp scissors or pruners to avoid damaging the plant or surrounding foliage.

By following these best practices, you can enjoy healthy and beautiful ornamental pepper plants year-round. Happy growing!


Growing ornamental pepper plants can be a rewarding endeavor for any gardener. With the right location, soil preparation, and planting techniques, these plants can thrive in a variety of conditions.

Remember to provide adequate care and attention, including regular watering and fertilizing, pruning and training, and pest and disease management. By following these best practices, your ornamental pepper plants will be healthy and vibrant.

Harvesting and storing the peppers can be a fun way to enjoy your hard work, and proper winter care will ensure your plants survive to see another season.

So why not give it a try? With these tips on how to grow ornamental pepper plants, you’ll be on your way to creating a colorful and unique display in no time!


Should I prune my ornamental pepper plants?

Pruning ornamental pepper plants is not necessary unless you want to shape or control their growth. However, removing spent flowers and fruits can help redirect the plant’s energy towards producing new blooms.

Do ornamental pepper plants require fertilization?

Yes, ornamental pepper plants benefit from regular fertilization. Use a balanced water-soluble fertilizer diluted according to package instructions. Apply the fertilizer every two to three weeks during the growing season.

How often should I water my ornamental pepper plants?

Water ornamental pepper plants consistently, keeping the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged. Aim for a frequency of about once or twice a week, adjusting based on weather conditions and the moisture level of the soil.

Are ornamental pepper plants prone to pests and diseases?

Ornamental pepper plants can be susceptible to pests such as aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies. They may also experience fungal diseases like leaf spot. Regularly inspect your plants and take necessary measures, such as using organic pest control methods or fungicides if needed.

Can I overwinter my ornamental pepper plants?

Yes, if you live in a region with mild winters, you can overwinter your ornamental pepper plants indoors. Before bringing them inside, prune the plants back and check for any pests or diseases. Place them in a sunny location, and reduce watering and fertilization during the dormant period.

Can I eat the fruits of ornamental pepper plants?

While some varieties of ornamental peppers may be edible, it is crucial to note that many are bred for appearance rather than flavor. To ensure safety, it is recommended to avoid consuming the fruits unless you are certain they are from an edible variety.

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