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Hot Ornamental Peppers

I have to admit that in late summer when the heat is on in
late summer, my favorite garden plants are peppers, the ornamental variety. They stand up to the temperatures when other
plants are wilting away. What I love about ornamental pepper is the
variety available. They’re big or small; have colorful foliage;
and feature a kaleidoscope of fruit colors, all at the same time on each plant. Chilly Chili ornamental peppers, a 2002 All-America
Selections winner, have wildly colored upward pointing attractive fruit. The fruit changes color from yellow to orange
and matures at red. Extremely heat tolerant, and unlike other
ornamental peppers Chilly Chili fruit are not hot. Purple Flash ornamental pepper is one of the
showiest available and was named a Mississippi Medallion winner in 2010. The purple and white variegated leaves are
promptly seen from across the garden. The attractive fruit starts as dark purple
“marbles” and matures to a bright red color. The variety Sangria holds its slender fruit
pointing upward boastfully as if getting ready for a party. This pretty ornamental pepper bears fruit
that resembles confetti. Young fruit emerge greenish yellow, then march
through a wonderful parade of colors —orange, purple, and finally on to a glorious red. A question I frequently get is “Are the
fruit of ornamental peppers edible?” The answer is yes, but just remember most
are fiery hot. I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman and I’ll
see you next time on Southern Gardening.

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