Monday, February 29, 2016

Hot Peppers, Ornamental Peppers... a New Adventure for your Garden!

A special note to our loyal readers… You have helped us achieve more than 8,000 views during past four years (FEB 2012 – FEB 2016).  Thanks for allowing us to share our passion for gardening with you every month!      Keep on planting, “Goodness in the Garden” Staff

HOT Peppers, Ornamental peppers… a new adventure for your garden!

In February 2012, when our “Goodness in the Garden Blog” was created, I wrote a blog entry about cayenne peppers.  This blog reminded readers that the capsaicin component of a pepper can be beneficial to heart health; pepper plants are also a striking addition to the garden, especially late in the season when each cayenne begins to turn from green to a vivid shade of red.  With varied culinary uses, as well as potential health benefits, the cayenne pepper is a WIN-WIN for home gardeners in Wisconsin and throughout the USA.

In February 2016, I was fortunate to spend an afternoon with a Specialist at New Mexico State University on the Las Cruces campus.  The Chile Pepper Institute staff informed me “The Chile Pepper Institute is the only international, non-profit organization devoted to education and research related to Capsicum, or chile peppers.”   Their passion is “Educating the World” about peppers, as stated on each seed packet.   (

We discussed the Chile Pepper Institute’s methods for seed propagation to ensure each variety remains pure and “true to seed” each year.  
Since the genus Capsicum is open pollinated, it is challenging to keep each cultivar from cross pollinating with others, so precise techniques are utilized by the staff.   I purchased four varieties of Capsicum annuum that will be new to my garden in Southeast Wisconsin.  Some will be ornamental, but also edible (… and all quite HOT!) 

For those who don’t wish to eat these hot little beauties, remember peppers can also add a delightful dash of color to autumn floral arrangements.   In Southeast Wisconsin, the peppers planted in late spring should be turning vivid colors just in time for autumn d├ęcor.  

Try some new varieties of peppers in YOUR garden this season… let them take you on a new adventure!

M. Lynn Schmid,   Certified Master Gardener
A.A.S. Landscape/Horticulture/Arboriculture